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Maglev Problems and Solutions to be Addressed

Germany Optimistic About Train Technology Despite Setback

Problem 1 - Accidents have occurred and will continue to occur. The accident of September 2006 in Germany (to the left) took the life of 23 people.

Solution 1 - Learn from the accidents that have occurred. The head of the Shanghai Transrapid project visited the crash site in Germany to learn what occurred to keep this incident from happening to them.


Problem 1 - An example of this is the Tokyo to Osaka rail at an estimated cost of 100 billion dollars.

Solution 1 - Cost is relative. According to Maglev2000.com, the average cost for air travel is about 13 cents per passenger mile. This includes labor, airplanes, fuel, and other costs, and corresponds to a ticket price of about $600 round trip, for a coast-to-coast flight. M-2000 Maglev operational costs for vehicles, energy, and labor total about 4 cents per passenger mile, not including the amortization cost for the guideway.

Land purchases for the track will be offset if the Interstate highways can be used with permission and subsidy of the federal government.

Problem 2 - Liquid nitrogen is used to makes magnets more efficient but is not readily accessible to the public.

Solution 2 - According to the Physics Factbook, the farther you are from the condensing plant, the higher the cost of the liquid nitrogen. In addition, when delivered in Dewar flasks, liquid nitrogen costs about $2 per gallon but when delivered in bulk storage tanks, it costs about $0.50 per gallon. Nonetheless, the atmosphere is about 78 percent nitrogen so liquid nitrogen can be manufactured anywhere and will still be relatively cheap. As with biofuel, the more the demand, the easier it will be to find.

Gravity Gravity

Problem 1 - Traveling up steep grades is hard for this means of transportation. For instance, traveling through the Smoky mountains.

Solution 1 - Create roadbeds that are level or use existing Interstate byways. The use of lightweight materials in the construction of the vehicles will aid in maintaining the speed and create a more efficient vehicle. There are a number of examples where a steep grade is actually not a problem for some tracks. This issue is being addressed by NASA in their attempt to send a maglev assisted rocket into outerspace using this technology.

Sabotaoge Sabotage

Problem 1 - People sometimes throw objects off bridges into oncoming traffic.

Solution 1 - Cover the overpasses with circular fine mesh fencing. A marble hitting the windshield of a fastmoving train could cause tremendous damage.

Problem 2 - There is the chance someone will attempt to blow up some of the track or obstruct it.

Solution 2 - A smartrack or smartroad will sense the obstruction or break in the electronic line and automatically slow the traffic to a stop or re-route it around the problem.

Weather Weather

Problem 1 - A direct lightning strike could take out an electonic road pretty quick.

Solution 1 - Power lines take strikes every day and usually recover quickly. The technology has been around a long time and should be easy to adapt to the maglev.

Problem 2 - Heavy rain and snow can cover the flat magnetic rails in the road.

Solution 2 - Maglev vehicles can 'float' over many obstacles with little problem. Unless the water is saturated with a lot of iron, there should be little difference. Safety increases in bad weather with a maglev highway over regular highways since the vehicle is automatically directed and the smartroad knows the proximity of the nearest traffic.