Trains For America

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Are High-Speed Trains the Future of Travel?

I hereby toss this raw meat into the midst of wild animals. I shall now close my eyes. May God have mercy!

Maglev 2000 Inventor Jim Powell on the future of high-speed rail in the U.S.

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4 Responses

  1. Pat, thanks for posting this video, but I really don’t think you have much to fear.

    For one thing, Jim Powell and his partner in maglev crime, Gordon Danby, are icons in the field — having invented in 1966 the high-speed superconducting maglev that Central Japan Railway is planning to commercialize in Japan in 2025 — so he has the credibility to speak of their “second-generation” system with conviction.

    On the other hand, they’ve yet to establish any useful connection with any legitimate hardware manufacturers, as far as I know, so they have almost no chance to see their proposed new system built and running anywhere in their remaining lifetimes. That’s too bad.

    Railroaders, especially those who have doubts about maglev, will always pooh-pooh advancements in the field, but no one should doubt Jim’s and Gordon’s persistence.

  2. […] Are High-Speed Trains the Future of Travel? « Trains For America […]

  3. A. Schirmer says:

    There’s all this “Made in America” technology push surrounding the recent surge in HSR enthusiasm…. …why not jump on that bandwagon and be different from the rest of the world by actually developing a system that is mostly based on maglev?

    If we have to start from scratch anyway, why not start with the fastest?
    (or at least, let the debate begin)

    Still, in the spirit of a more modest capital investment, I am a proponent of building a cheaper alternative, making the most of long straight sections of existing unused rail corridors and interstate highway median sections.

  4. @ A. Schirmer:
    1: “…why not jump on that bandwagon and be different from the rest of the world by actually developing a system that is mostly based on maglev?”

    Actually, we are already different from the rest of the world. Germany and Japan have been developing intercity maglev systems since the 1970s, and China has had the German Transrapid in revenue service in Shanghai since 2004. We’ve yet to invest anything but study money in the technology here in the U.S.

    2: “If we have to start from scratch anyway, why not start with the fastest? (or at least, let the debate begin)”

    Good idea, starting with the fastest. It’s also the most expensive, since it has the most high-performance features. I’d guess it would cost at least $2 billion to start from scratch to field a reasonable world-class, high-speed maglev.

    And the debate you call for has been underway for 40 years. It began back in the 1960s, when the U.S. DOT (Commerce Dept., actually) set up the Office of High-Speed Ground Transportation, which folded 10 years later. In the mid-1980s, the debate was reignited by the late Sen. Moynihan from New York, who held hearings and sponsored the Maglev Technology Advisory Committee, whose 1989 report called for a U.S.-made maglev of various designs. This activity was followed by the federally funded National Maglev Initiative (1990-1993), the Maglev Study Advisory Committee (1994-1995) and the Maglev technology Deployment Program (1999-today). Several projects are still being studied in pre-construction planning.

    3: “Still, in the spirit of a more modest capital investment, I am a proponent of building a cheaper alternative, making the most of long straight sections of existing unused rail corridors and interstate highway median sections.”

    And what would that cheaper alternative be? A conventional 110-mph steel-wheel train, say, or an urban-speed (100-mph) maglev? Whatever it is, I’ll bet someone’s already proposing it.

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