China’s already existing high-speed floating train might get a lot faster if developments proceed as planned by the country. With a current speed of 270mph, the train uses the ‘maglev’ or the magnetic levitation technology.
Ths technology facilitates the train to float and move above the track.
The very high speed of the train is attributed to the non frictional resistance from the tracts as it floats on it and is propelled forward.
Though the maglev concept is not entirely new, its use in transportation is fairly new as the development requires high end skilled expertise.It is very expensive.
The magnetic levitation is caused due to the flow of electricity in the tracks. The technology uses the concept of electro-dynamic suspension (EDS) due to which magnetic field is created both in the train and the tracks. Alternating attractive and repulsive forces between the two fields cause the train to levitate and float on the tracts.
Mostly, it’s because of the repulsive forces that make the train ‘fly’ on its tracts.
The German company, Transrapid International,responsible for China’s Maglev, is also planning to develop a high-speed rail between London to Glasgow.
The extremely high speed version that is being developed, can even counteract the air resistance.It is the prototype “Vactrain” which will use vacuum tunnels,in addition to the Maglev technology. Apart from China, both United States and Switzerland are developing similar technology.
This transport technology is said to have a distinct edge over the transport systems that use the conventional sources of energy and are exposed to the normal wear and tear due to friction and the environment which the maglev trains are not. Therefore, after the initial expenditure incurred in setting up the system, the operational and maintenance costs are relatively low. Furthermore, they also do not cause any pollution and are therefore, environment- friendly transport systems.