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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

357 mph on the GROUND? No Thanks MAGLEV yes

A French train just hit a record 357 miles per hour running ON TRACKS (right photo), with cars full of reporters, most of whom were terrified. Bad idea to go that fast with track contact so critical - derailment could be caused by a penny on the track. Shanghai's MAGLEV makes more sense for high speed - since magnets cause the entire train to hover over the trackway. On the left is the Shanghai MAGLEV, the world's first (made with German technology).

MAGLEV would make sense for a city like Houston, which has over 5,000 square miles of area compared to the tiny footprint of places like New York. But a train going over 350 mph on steel rails that warp in the summer, etc. - NO WAY. Britian has had several derailments at much lower speeds (125 is their top speed).

Meanwhile in Houston, we have only a single, street grade rail that won't set any speed records. I still wish we had the vision to build what makes sense for Houston - a super fast link to each airport and the city center. A MAGLEV could make the airport run a 20 minute pleasure instead of today's hour(s) long pain.

It could also be a backup way to get around when the road wrecks or floods cut off our primary transport system (roads, roads, roads).

But I don't see that happening - just "more of the same" slow surface rail which will be stalled with everything else in the next flood...and even that is decades late in being built. This is one area where the Toll idea makes sense - set it up as a Toll MAGLEV private/public project, with the first link from Intercontinental to Downtown or Galleria...(or both).

We should get in the global game with a MAGLEV or equivalent rail system connecting our airports to the city...


Dan Kerr said...

Michael -

Interesting that you write about this subject considering I have been involved in it from day one - although I gave that up several years agao. The trains that the Brits use are in no way similar to the MAGLEV. The "penny" on the track could not occur because of the wind velocisity that occurs in front of the train. The trackes themselves are continuous I frame and, as such, cannot seperate from the cars themselves.

I have all the original info about this if you are interested. In fact, most of the mapping and other vital info that Perry has came from my own computer.

Guess they are not into giving one their due.

Great to read you stuff otherwise.

Dan Kerr

Texas Viking said...

That was my point - the German MAGLEV technology is vastly superior to the French and British. Americans should go with the most advanced so we can be technology leaders again - starting with our transport. I have reservations about Gov. Perry's massive tollways (which would be a godsend for terrorists), but we definitely could use a high speed rail link between and in our cities (I just don't want to ride 357 mph on a rail - its a derailment waiting to happen.

taylor13 said...

I think that this is a very interesting subject. But the thing that worries me is that maglev has already killed 23 people. How could anyone explain this? A technical error? And if so, how could you fix it, and have you? How would people feel safe on a train that goes that fast on a rail that even if a penny is on it can derail? Even being 13 I worry about this...and I have never even been on one!!!! Thanks for taking the time to read my comment---Taylor13 of Mexico NY

Texas Viking said...

More than 23 have been killed on just one regular train derailment in England recently. The total death toll when railed trains falling off the tracks is far greater...MAGLEV promises to be faster and safer than TVG and other trains running on rails...

Anonymous said...

Do a dual-concrete-tube elevated maglev along highway right-of-way, and put solar panels on top of the tubes.. Put compressed air on the cars and make the tubes vacuum for reduced air resistance, with superconducting maglev you could probably push that up to 400-500mph for long intercity (SA to Dallas)..