The first fatal maglev train accident occurred on September 22, 2006. A Transrapid train collided with a 60-ton service vehicle which had been left on the track. The crash occurred on a demonstration circuit in the company's native Germany. The train was moving at more than 180 kilometers per hour at the time of the collision. Twenty-three passengers were killed and 10 were injured. Until this accident, the train had safely carried a half million passengers on demonstrations rides. The crash has been blamed on human error by the train controllers and train operator, and therefore is not directly attributable to the train's design or technology. It is a basic fact of trains that the tracks must be kept clear in order to prevent crashes. An accident of this type may have been preventable by design - the Shanghai Transrapid line uses a computerized control system which prevents two trains from sharing the same track and shuts down a train if an obstacle is detected ahead.
A fire occured aboard the world's only commercial high speed maglev train on August 11, 2006. The fire in an electrical storage compartment beneath the passenger cabin created large amounts of smoke. There were no deaths or injuries. An electrical fault was blamed for the fire.
Japan's maglev train holds the current speed record for a maglev train: 360 mph.
The spending by Central Japan Railway Co. will expand a test track just west of Tokyo and fund new magnetically levitated, or ``maglev,'' trains carriages.
Planners eventually want Japan's maglev service to connect Tokyo and Osaka with high speed trains, shortening the trip between Japan's two biggest cities to an hour, compared with the Shinkansen bullet train's 2.5 hours.
The world's first regional Maglev opened at the end of 2003. The 19 mile link between Pudong International Airport and the Shanghai city centre cost $1.37 billion, or $68.5 million per double-tracked mile. Construction started June 2000 and rapidly progressed. Now travelers whisk the 19 miles between the airport and city centre in only 8 minutes, reaching a top speed of 270 mph! The line uses the German Transrapid Maglev technology. Transrapid trains are being considered for further regional links as well as a long-haul link between Shanghai and Beijing that could cost $22 billion. Article on project progress
This 5.5-mile line, the local Linimo train, carries passengers at a top speed of 62 miles an hour.
Atlanta-Chattanooga Maglev Project
This 110 mile segment would link Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport with Chattanooga's Lovell Field, with several intermediate stops including downtown Atlanta, the NW suburbs, and several cities in between.
Baltimore-Washington Maglev Project
This is the other project competing for the Federal grant and is currently completing an EIS. Construction could start in 2005, with commercial operation beginning in 2010. The initial 35-40 mile segment would link the downtowns of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD with an intermediate stop near the Baltimore International Airport and Amtrak/MARC stations. German Transrapid technology would be used. Travel time for the entire stretch including the stop would be 16-19 minutes. The projected project cost is $3.3 - 3.8 billion. By 2010, Maglev could carry 35,000 people per day, or about 4.6% of all traffic along the corridor. Fares on the full stretch may be $26.
Southern California Maglev Project
Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is currently completing an EIS for the first segment of a regional 273 mile system. The first segment of 92 miles would connect Los Angeles International Airport with March Field in Riverside corridor. By 2020, 134,000 passengers per day are expected to ride this segment at speeds of 240 mph using German Transrapid maglev technology. Capital construction costs may exceed $7 billion, with completion of the initial segment as soon as 2010.
This is one of the most active projects. Although it is not in the running for the competition for Federal funds, like Pittsburg and DC-Baltimore are. The first leg, Primm, NV to Las Vegas, NV would ferry California visitors the last 40 miles into Las Vegas at high speed, helping to alleviate the parking and traffic situation. The very fast ride might become a part of the Las Vegas experience.
Pittsburg Maglev Project
This is one of the two projects being considered for a $950 million Federal grant. Under planning for more than 10 years, this project is now in the EIS stage. Construction could start as soon as 2004 with commercial operation beginning in 2009 (the Downtown/Airport segment could open as soon as 2006). The initial 47 mile phase would link Pittsburg International Airport and Greensburg, with intermediate stops at downtown Pittsburg and Monroeville. Travel time for the entire route, including stops, would be 28 minutes. The projected project cost is $2.8 billion. Eventually, the system could link cities from Cleveland, OH to Philadelphia, PA.
Pa. maglev backers looking West for funding alliance
Florida High Speed Link May use Maglev Technology Several companies have submitted Maglev bids for a high speed rail line (may be Maglev or traditional high speed rail) between Orlando International Airport and Walt Disney World, with possible extensions to Tampa. If a Maglev is selected and work commences, the first segment could be finished by 2005, making it the first high speed Maglev link in the U.S.
Southern Nevada - California Maglev Link A maglev train is proposed to link Primm and Las Vegas, NV, eventually stretching all the way to Los Angeles. Here is a recent news story concerning funding.
Old Dominion University Project
Scheduled for operation by Summer of '02, this project in Norfolk, VA may be the first deployment of a short-haul low-speed maglev technology for transit use on a university campus. It will feature a 3200 foot straight line with two terminals and a mid station. It will travel up to 40 mph, transporting up to 140 people between stations in as little as a minute. The only other short-haul low-speed maglev application at the Birmingham Airport, United Kingdom was recently replaced with a faster conventional people mover system. The project cost $14 million.
Information on the companies which build Maglev trains
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