What Are MagLev trains?

Maglev technology uses two sets of magnets, one set to repel and push the train off the track and another to move the floating train ahead. "A Maglev the train car is just a box with magnets on the four corners," says Jesse Powell, the son of the Maglev inventor. The train is guided across the track by an electric current that creates a magnetic field. Pushing the train from the back and pulling from the front. The train is essentially floating making traveling smooth as air is the only thing it is in contact with. With no wheels, maglev trains offer maximum speeds of around 620 km/h (385 mph) compared to 360 km/h (225 mph) for high-speed rail. This technology could potentially play a crucial role in helping build towards a much greener future. HSR America proposes that It will play a key role in helping achieve America's climate-neutrality objective.

Maglev is Totally Doable

People in the main cities have grown up in an environment that has seen greenhouse gases (smog) grow to unacceptable levels. Traffic congestion has increased almost exponentially, yet relatively nothing has been done to alleviate the congestion problem. This is because very little can be don't to accommodate a doubling or tripling of the number of vehicles on the road. The simple reason for this is that road capacity is limited -  and measurable. If the "throughput" of vehicles exceeds 2,000 vehicles per lane-mile, per hour, you get traffic jams. The only way to accommodate all the additional vehicles is to build new lanes of roadway to keep up with maximum throughput. This creates a huge problem by being exorbitantly expensive and environmentally disastrous. More road building is impractical from a land-use perspective - yet this is exactly what our State Department of Transportation is trying to do because the "public" is demanding road widening.

In urban areas with efficient mass transit, cars are excess baggage. Without a new and expansive high-speed rail service, cross-city, mobility would be impossible. In sprawling cities, as with any large urban area, time is the most important commodity. Los Angeles and its large adjacent suburbs now surpass 18 million residents according to the 2020 census. California's population in 2021 is estimated to be 39.7 million residents. It is the most populous state in the US and is one of the most congested. This is a perfect example of why areas such as our Anaheim to Los Angeles I-5 commute demand a new transportation infrastructure that enables the reliable and efficient movement of more people per hour through a narrow right-of-way than any 20-lane highway - and something a dual-track maglev does in a financially sustainable and environmentally benign way.

America and Maglev Technology

The fact is, very few Americans understand what maglev is, what it can do, and especially, what it costs. For starters, maglev is not just one type of technology; it is a class of technologies  - all with different performance and speed characteristics, technological approaches, and capital cost requirements. There are a variety of commercial maglevs operating in Korea, Japan, and China, with more systems coming online in the near future. The Chinese have now embraced this technology and have developed their own versions of low, high, and medium-speed maglev systems. However, it is not just the high-speed capability of maglevs that makes them good for mass transit. A maglev system's true advantage lies with its extremely low operational and maintenance costs, accompanied by high reliability at all speed ranges -  in other words, no "speed/ maintenance penalty". Unlike high-speed trains, maglev maintenance is essentially the same at 30 mph as it is at 300 mph and far safer since they cannot derail. These systems are also incredibly quiet and provide an extremely smooth ride.

HSR America Inc.
Vic Peloquin

When our friend Kevin Coates, (www.coatesconsult.com) was involved in some Colorado high-speed rail/maglev studies (2009-2016), he provided verifiable information about the much lower cost of building new maglev infrastructure. To the amazement of the study's engineers, they learned that through automated high-quality mass production component parts and advanced construction techniques (developed overseas) that both manufacturing and construction times could be vastly accelerated and therefore, result in an initial capital cost that was far lower than, on the ground, high-speed rail infrastructure costs. That's right, one maglev technology had lower costs. Surprisingly, an elevated infrastructure not only helps lower costs, but does also not interfere with the congestion below, and improves the safety and reliability of the system in prevent bifurcation of communities.  As a result, Kevin, and HSR America both believe that maglev is totally doable and cost effective in the right corridors. Future generations are the ones who will thank us for building such a smart travel option.

Kevin C. Coates (www.coatesconsult.com) is a maglev transport consultant living in Rockville and is presently writing a book on mobility challenges.