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Magnetic Levitating Trains Get Go-Ahead In Japan

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the futureworld-is-now dept.

Transportation 425

An anonymous reader writes "They've been on the drawing board for 40 years but the politicos have finally approved routes for the 500kph maglev trains to replace bullet trains." I wonder if they'll let me test out maglev rollerblades on the track.

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Rollerblades + zero friction.... right! (0, Offtopic)

frooddude (148993) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469121)

So maybe you forgot to mention the jet pack? Or you plan on lighting your farts?

Re:Rollerblades + zero friction.... right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25469157)

Rollerblades doesn't even make sense (why would you need wheels?). Maglev skis maybe.

Re:Rollerblades + zero friction.... right! (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469161)

Put down the fruit-boots: real men ride maglev skateboards.

Re:Rollerblades + zero friction.... right! (5, Funny)

mamono (706685) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469165)

As long as they don't go over water, then you need POWER!

Re:Rollerblades + zero friction.... right! (1)

obergfellja (947995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469201)

1.21 Gigawats

Re:Rollerblades + zero friction.... right! (2, Informative)

Enki X (1315689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469795)

That's "Jiggawatts!"

Re:Rollerblades + zero friction.... right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25469237)

isn't the point of mag lev that the propulsion is provided by pulses of current in the "tracks", or some such shenanigans?

magic trains (5, Funny)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469163)

Anyone else read that as "Magic Levitating Trains" ?

Re:magic trains (5, Funny)

PatLam (1389819) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469255)

You were able to take out 3 letters from Magnetic but you got Levitating right...?

Re:magic trains (2, Funny)

acklenx (646834) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469495)

Thanks, no really - I wanted my milk to come out my nose

Re:magic trains (5, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469917)

I wanted my milk to come out my nose

Milk out of nose? Okay...
NOSE
Change N to P: POSE
Change S to L: POLE
Change P to M: MOLE
Change O to I: MILE
Change E to K: MILK

Re:magic trains (2, Funny)

tzhuge (1031302) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469503)

What are you going to mistake 'Levitating' with?

  • Magic Levi's Train
  • Magic Leviathan Train

That's all I can think of.

Re:magic trains (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469625)

  • Magic Leviathan Trolls

Those are really hard to kill.

Re:magic trains (4, Funny)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469281)

Anyone else read that as "Magic Levitating Trains" ?

Not really. Though now you reminded me of Hogwarts Express.
To make it worse, I had to concentrate so I wouldn't type "Hogswatch Express", which would have been pretty embarr... oh, never mind.

Re:magic trains (4, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469381)

Freudian DiscWorld slips are more embarrassing than reading Harry Potter?

I like both, but DiscWorld definitely has more geek-chic.

Re:magic trains (2, Funny)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469293)

Well, to most people, they would be Magic Levitating Trains...

Re:magic trains (0, Troll)

NekSnappa (803141) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469747)

Hey, leave Sarah Palin outta this!

Or the poor woman might have to go on another shopping spree, causing McCain to pull his ad buys from yet another state.

Re:magic trains (2, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469651)

Anyone else read that as "Magic Levitating Trains" ?

I read that as "Magnetic Leviatans"... whatever that means.

Re:magic trains (1)

robinsonne (952701) | more than 5 years ago | (#25470065)

Anyone else read that as "Magic Levitating Trains" ?

Glad i'm not the only one going crazy and read it that way. Is it the weekend yet?

Rollerblades (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25469179)

I wonder if they'll let me test out of maglev rollerblades on the track.

Q: What's the hardest part about rollerblading?

A: Telling your parents you are gay.

Re:Rollerblades (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25469477)

Your mother is a whore and I has boned her.

Don't worry about your mum, douchebag.

ONLY the routes have been approved (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25469205)


Rather astonishingly for anyone used to most Western trains, the Japanese technology has been in the pipeline since the 1960s, with a major publically viewable 20km test track to the west of Tokyo since 1997.

Still, we mustn't get too excited - the Japanese say they won't be ready to put a maglev train into service at those speeds until 2025 at the earliest and that's at a cost of around ¥5 trillion ($50 billion).

That acclaimed members-only dating site seems much more promising than some route plans.

Test whatever you want on the tracks, CmdrTaco! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25469211)

Spend as much time on train tracks as possible.

good idea, maybe the island is to small for it (2, Insightful)

tisch (1371229) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469243)

leave it to the japanese to set the bar.
500kmh eh? wouldn't that be more useful in places with HUGE distances to trek, like, canada or usa, or the russian frontier? haha.
i'm sure we westerners will steal the technology when it become cheap enough to implement. it's gonna be a looong while.

Re:good idea, maybe the island is to small for it (2, Informative)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469337)

i'm sure we westerners will steal the technology

Umm, look up "Eric Laithwaite".

Re:good idea, maybe the island is to small for it (1)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469869)

Yep - 1974 was the best set of Royal Instiution Christmas lectures ever.

It's time they repeated that series - I was only 10 at the time, but was spellbound, especially by the air-powered gyroscope.

Lest we forget, Laithwaite also helped build the Manchester Mark 1 computer - the first stored-program computer, so we have more than just fancy trains to thank him for.

Re:good idea, maybe the island is to small for it (5, Funny)

Trails (629752) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469343)

Meh just buy it now on credit. I'm sure the japanese will lend us the money. It's foolproof!!

Re:good idea, maybe the island is to small for it (5, Interesting)

butterflysrage (1066514) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469491)

except being far apart you have the problem of getting the track actually built. While I don't know much of the Russian frontier, or much of rural US... I know there is a whole LOT of empty land in Canada, rocky, swampy, forest covered nothing. Plowing a train route through the Canadian Shield is not just difficult, in many places it's pretty damn impossible. The hardest rocks in the world cover most of eastern Canada, and despite not being a steep as the Japanese Alps, the sheer hardness of the rocks would make blasting/tunneling prohibitively expensive. On the flip side of that, one would need MASSIVE bridges to cover many of the dips and rivers in Quebec and Ontario.... It is just all around cheaper to fly over it all.

The Tokyo/Nagoya run was likely picked as a first attempt as it is fairly flat and there is an absurd amount of travel between the two centers. At about 20 million people in the greater Tokyo area, and over 8 in the area around Nagoya, these are two of the thee largest cities centers in the country... add the two together and you have almost as many people as there are in ALL of Canada.

They have the demand, money, and geology for it.

Re:good idea, maybe the island is to small for it (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469695)

There are lots of flat spaces in Canada. Think of a link between TO and Montreal. Or Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnepeg.

Calgary to Vancouver would be a bitch, but I like driving the route anyway, or taking a slow train; such lovely scenery.

And by the time one considers the Air Canada subsidy taxes, you could finance mag levs from Halifax to Prince George.

Re:good idea, maybe the island is to small for it (2, Informative)

inca34 (954872) | more than 5 years ago | (#25470129)

Wouldn't it be awesome if Canada had an awesome rail system with stunning scenery, decent trip times and fairs, and with good train stops? Oh wait, they do, and it's world class:

http://www.viarail.ca/en_index.html?wt.ad=english_link_view&wt.ac=click_English_link

Re:good idea, maybe the island is to small for it (1)

Dan9999 (679463) | more than 5 years ago | (#25470267)

and slow...

Re:good idea, maybe the island is to small for it (0, Flamebait)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469693)

I hope you can afford automated laser defense systems along the whole line by that time too, because something like that would be an awesome target for a terrorist attack. Even if you didn't kill anyone, just damaging the lines would cost a whole lot of money in repairs and inconvenience a lot of people.

I don't think the US government can risk anything like this while their "war on terror" is still in effect. Canada or Russia maybe could do it if they can free up budget for it - not so many people seem to hate them (okay some little countries around Russia hate it, but they haven't shown as much initiative as Al Qaeda).

Re:good idea, maybe the island is to small for it (4, Insightful)

smidget2k4 (847334) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469861)

Yeah, we are really being pummeled with terrorist attacks over here in the US. All of the place. They are something we should definitely not advance our horrid land-based transit system for.

Re:good idea, maybe the island is to small for it (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#25470093)

Hey I know that, you know that, but your government either likes to pretend or really believes that there are going to be more terrorist attacks. I usually get annoyed at people expecting terrorist attacks at airports all the time or whatever (and I live in Scotland where those morons tried to blow up their landrover at glasgow airport).

The thing is that since they made a big deal out of the whole thing, Al Qaeda probably would take such an easy opportunity to piss them off. I'd probably want to do that if I'd had the hell bombed out of my friends and family for the last few years, and I think this would be a great way to send the "Great Satan" into even more of an economic depression. There's no way they could defend thousands of miles of highly expensive maglev track adequately. Railway lines are cheap as chips in comparison.

I don't think they'd do it even without the whole terrorist situation anyway. It just doesn't seem practical. Perhaps in a looooong time as the original poster said, it will make economic sense. Hopefully everyone will be playing nicely by then. Not likely though.

Re:good idea, maybe the island is to small for it (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 5 years ago | (#25470281)

Hey I know that, you know that, but your government either likes to pretend or really believes that there are going to be more terrorist attacks.

Hence the term "security theater" -- and the current threat level which is "lavender" I think, well, it's probably "yellow" and by "yellow" I mean cowardly.

Seriously though, it's all show -- hand waving, conjuring up imagined threats to justify their living off of the taxpayer teat.

Re:good idea, maybe the island is to small for it (1)

gary_7vn (1193821) | more than 5 years ago | (#25470241)

I think that both the US and Canada need to build East/West and North/South high speed rail lines, and cost be damned. These could be the new national dream. It would revitalize the economy the way the Hoover Dam and other mega projects (like WWII) did. A good start would be a New York to Montreal high speed corridor. A Halifax to Vancouver line would be amazing, you could get across the country in what, 8 to 10 hours?

Population Density (5, Interesting)

Daryen (1138567) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469247)

This sort of project makes a lot of sense in a place like Japan where there are a few places with very dense population separated by rural areas.

America is one of very few places in the world with sprawling suburbs that make transportation projects like this unfeasible. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try, but it will be exponentially more difficult than for us than for a country like Japan, or even most Eastern European countries.

Re:Population Density (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25469457)

Most, if not 95%+ of all rail traffic in the US is in small, highly populated corridors - think BosWash or through Californian cities. If this was a viable alternative to air travel, I think most folk would hop on it in an instant to avoid the hassles of modern air travel.

Re:Population Density (5, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469669)

If this was a viable alternative to air travel

The airliners have nothing to fear. Since the trains levitate, the TSA will simply declare that they have authority over security for them, and they'll make sure its just as much of a hassle as flying.

Re:Population Density (4, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#25470231)

The TSA has no need to declare levitating trains as aircraft. They already have authority over rail traffic and mass transit sytems like subways and busses.

Re:Population Density (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469647)

Maybe not country-wide, but what about, for example, New York? LA to San Fransico to Las Vegas? Places with population density that rivals Japan.

Then again, America has never been a fan of investing in public services.

Re:Population Density (3, Interesting)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469977)

I remember reading a report that said that for the cost of the "stimulus checks" that the government wrote last spring (150billion), they could have built a 300+mph train from SF to Chicago, using 2 tracks, one for eastbound, one for westbound. Future projects would be cheaper, since that included wiggle room to iron out a few problems. so that's what, 5-6 hours from SF-Chicago, with all the legroom you could want, large bathrooms, dinner cars, etc? No more feeling like cattle, no more airport body cavity searches. Something 600-1000 people per train, trains leaving every hour or less.. My god that would clear up roads and airports.

Re:Population Density (4, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469701)

America is one of very few places in the world with sprawling suburbs that make transportation projects like this unfeasible.

Not necissarily true. I think the important thing is to get people thinking of a maglev more the way they think of airplanes than the way they think of trains. Americans in general are very resistant to rail travel for some reason, mostly because the only experience they have with it is a friend of a friend who rode Amtrak once. Why not have non-stop routs between the major cities of each region (LA, Chicago, Houston, Miami, New York). Put the Maglev terminals at the airport and consider them another part of the air transportation network.

Alternatively, put maglev lines between airports that are close together but still see lots of traffic. I'm thinking something like Mineapolis to Chicago since that is what I am familiar with. Generally, if you want to fly into or out of Minneapolis, it is cheaper to go through Chicago. It would save a lot of time, money, and polution if you could ride the maglev between them. If it worked out and was profitable, it would also be a powerful proof of concept for longer lines in the future.

Re:Population Density (4, Interesting)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#25470021)

actually, in the last amtrak bill that passed, their was money in there to extend the high speed rail between chicago and milwaukee (one of the most reliable and most profitable routes for amtrak, airport to airport). They are going to extend it to Madison, then up to St. Paul Not Maglev, but 100+mph trains, with limited stops. Even without Maglev, the diesel electric trains are the most efficient and environmentally friendly way to move cargo or people around.

Re:Population Density (1)

Dripdry (1062282) | more than 5 years ago | (#25470185)

Right, but if it could be built, perhaps it could begin to change the entire mentality around surburban sprawl.

If business-people could get from Chicago to Minneapolis, or Denver, or St Louis, at a fraction of the cost they do now, do you think businesses just might decide that an office building downtown would be a good idea? People might just decide they are willing to travel more (I know a fair number of people who are too scared too fly).

Just some thoughts, sort of "build it and they will come" mentality.

Re:Population Density (4, Insightful)

porpnorber (851345) | more than 5 years ago | (#25470323)

Two thoughts on this. First, yeah, why do you guys do that? What is it about Americans that they want their towns to be so mindbogglingly inconvenient? I don't know about you, but I like to be able to, I don't know, pop out for some milk and fresh tomatoes, stroll down to the fountain where the pretty girls walk by, go for a coffee or a beer or an ice cream, perhaps even walk to work! This is supposed to be a democracy—why build such misery for yourselves?

Second, HSTs, like aircraft, connect hubs, not suburbs. Starting and stopping works better than with a plane, but it still puts a hell of a dent in your average speed, which is your selling point. The population density of the US is more than a quarter of that of the EU; that means that the distance between hubs is on average only doubled—and the fact that there's nothing much happening in the midwest only argues in favour of trains by pushing up the density on the sides. Indeed, if we take the (sadly American) argument that we cannot take any risks and we can only deploy technology where we are sure it is justified, well, France has HSTs. If you need a population distribution like that of France to do this thing, then—if I read these maps right—there ought to be HSTs (and I mean like TGV, not Acela) from Boston to DC, from New York to Chicago, and within the states of California and Florida.

Of course, what's really going on is that America just doesn't do infrastructure, because the country is hung up on a psychological model of 'winning' against the 'competition' by holding back your neighbours. That's why businesses talk all the time about 'market share' and in times of difficulty fire R&D and boost marketing. If you built a train system, other people could use it! Perhaps even—OMG—poor people! Then how would I know I was better than them?

(And I'm not making this up. I'm living in San Jose and hearing what the people around me are saying about the light rail, the BART extension, the HST project.)

Efficiency (5, Interesting)

ILikeRed (141848) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469249)

Anyone know how the energy usage per passenger compares with a large jet?

Re:Efficiency (4, Insightful)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469355)

You need to remember that you don't have that costly climb to 10 km. It will probably be a lot cleaner.

Re:Efficiency (5, Insightful)

interiot (50685) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469451)

2) You don't have to carry an entire trip's worth of fuel with you.

Re:Efficiency (3, Insightful)

entgod (998805) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469531)

3) You don't need to use fossil fuels in the first place.

Re:Efficiency (3, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469657)

Fine, let's just _surrender_ to the fossils, shall we?

Re:Efficiency (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469663)

4) Profits!

Re:Efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25469849)

Forgot this...

3.5) ????

Re:Efficiency (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 5 years ago | (#25470229)

4) You must keep everything cool.

Re:Efficiency (1)

ILikeRed (141848) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469513)

"Clean" is a whole different issue. I just wonder about it's efficiency. I would like to have fast trains between major cities in either case, but the engineering interests me.

Re:Efficiency (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469519)

Also you don't need a portable energy source (like fossil fuel) You can use normal infrastructure energy including the more clean types. The problem with Cars and Airplains is that they need to carry their energy with them and convert it in real time, So fossil fuel is good at that, A lot of energy in a small package that is controllable, and affordable.

Re:Efficiency (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25470209)

Your a bunch of sheep.

If you're going to insult the world, at least use proper grammar. Your an idiot.

Re:Efficiency (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25469863)

You need to remember that you don't have that costly climb to 10 km.

You realize you also get to come down from 10 km for free...

Re:Efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25470089)

Too bad you can't turn that 10km drop back into fuel, otherwise you might have had a point.

Re:Efficiency (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25469687)

A maglev train is supposed to compare favorably with other high-speed rail systems.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transrapid#Energy_requirements

Braking also generate electricity back on the power grid.

Re:Efficiency (2, Informative)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 5 years ago | (#25470005)

I would imagine the train wins hands down. Electrical generation is more efficient than jet engine thrust, being a more closed system vs the jet engine. Even early maglev systems (Disney) had been shown to be fairly energy efficient with computerized control of power distribution.

Don't forget to account for the share of costs of the ATC system of radars, centers and towers to track and route the jet. This would significantly outweigh the cost of similar systems for a maglev train.

I won't go into airport congestion, weather delays and other cost additions for aircraft in flight. A maglev train parked on a siding should absorb only sufficient power for safety, communications and environmental (comfort) systems.

The US already has a maglev (5, Informative)

AnEducatedNegro (1372687) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469253)

Our university [odu.edu] has had this technology [slashdot.org] on our campus for almost 10 years now. If you're wondering how it works check out Dr Lawrence Weinstein's page on maglevs [odu.edu] . Our current problem is vibration which makes riding at any speed intolerable. AEN

Re:The US already has a maglev (5, Interesting)

coppice (546158) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469873)

The one from Pu Dong airport in Shanghai has no vibration problems. In fact its super smooth at 430km/h. However, they have used an enormously thick concrete structure to be stiff enough to achieve that.

It moves? (1)

paxswill (934322) | more than 5 years ago | (#25470083)

I've only heard of it moving, not actually winessed the act. And it's outside my window...

Re:The US already has a maglev (4, Informative)

jmichaelg (148257) | more than 5 years ago | (#25470305)

The Japanese have solved the vibration problem along with a host of others. There have been a few other problems that crept up like quenching and the not insignificant problem of cost.

Quenching appears in magnets when they're jiggled enough that the atoms lose their orientation and the material stops being magnetic. According to their blog, that happened to them at least once a few years back (around 2001-2002). At the time, one of the American inventors, Jim Powell, told me that his partner and co-inventor of superconducting maglev, Gordon Danby, thought that the Japanese had not used pure enough aluminum. Using purer aluminum, of course, drives up the already high cost of the technology.

Contrary to what you might think, the roadbed is not magnetic as that would have made the cost far too high. Instead, they line the roadbed with aluminum plates that become magnetic in the presence of a moving magnetic field. The magnetic field is provided by superconductors on the train. When the train is moving slowly, it runs on rubber tires as the roadbed can't generate enough lift to support the train.

Cost has been the key factor that his stalled this technology. I've seen cost estimates as high as almost $1 billion/mile. The Tokyo-Osaka link was estimated at $200 billion. This proposal coming in at $50 billion for the short route from Tokyo to Nagoya of 160 miles is saying they can build it at .3 $billion/mile. The detours, of course, will drive the cost up as well as slow the train down.

So if nothing else, the Japanese will provide the world with real data for both construction and operating costs. Their test bed already provides lots of interesting video [youtube.com] . Best part is at 5:30.

Oh Fast (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469269)

About seven years ago I would have thought this was the epoch of cool. Now I think it's cool, but not even in the top 100 of cool civics works projects. Once I started riding my bike to work fast doesn't impress me like it once did. On the other hand Copenhagen has redid it's infrastructure to have protected bike lanes all over the city and residential districts are close to work. Now that's cool.

Re:Oh Fast (2, Insightful)

entgod (998805) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469419)

Bikes are nice but they are an option only for people who live relatively close to their working place. Weather can also be an issue. Here in Finland it can be a real pain cycling to work through half molten snow.

Also, trains can carry at least hundreds of people at the same time. Also, a crowd of hundreds of japanese riding their bikes to work would look funny :)

Re:Oh Fast (1)

LinuxIdiot (708662) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469887)

"work through half molten snow."

That's-a some hot snow!

Re:Oh Fast (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 5 years ago | (#25470211)

I couldn't agree more. A good safe bike path network blows all this high tech stuff away easy. I ride 6.1 miles each way and it is only about ten to fifteen minutes slower each way--and way more fun and relaxing.

I'd want to ride a maglev once, though! It would be really cool from NYC to DC.

monorail (5, Funny)

Paralizer (792155) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469403)

I've sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook. And, by gum, it put them on the map.

Re:monorail (3, Funny)

Kratisto (1080113) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469569)

Well sir,
There ain't nothin' on Earth like a
Genuine,
Bona fide,
Electrified,
Six car,
Maglev Train

Re:monorail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25469809)

Mono-- ...DOH!

Wow (1)

boristdog (133725) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469429)

I didn't think the Japanese could do anything to make the bullet trains (Shinkansen) any more awesome. Those things are fun to ride. Smoother than France's TGV.

Should be no problems, (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25469475)

it worked great for Ogdenville, North Haverbrook, and Brockway.

maybe (-1, Offtopic)

IsaacD (1376213) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469483)

they'll let you learn of the grammar english

Obligatory (1)

InspectorxGadget (1230170) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469499)

Miss Hoover: I hear those things are awfully loud...

Lyle Lanley: It glides as softly as a cloud.

Apu: Is there a chance the track could bend?

Lyle Lanley: Not on your life, my Hindu friend.

MagLev rollerblades? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25469549)

Was that supposed to be funny? Do you really want to travel 500kph on rollerblades? If they're "maglev", can they still be called "rollerblades"? Why do people post interesting articles and then follow it up with a f*cktard-ish comment like that?

Re:MagLev rollerblades? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25469645)

+1, CmdrTaco is an idiot. Also, he should proofread... "I wonder if they'll let me test out of maglev rollerblades on the track.

Slashdotted? (1)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469603)

Well at least their trains will go faster than their server!

Transport Tycoon Deluxe (3, Interesting)

Captain Spam (66120) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469723)

Well, looks like Transport Tycoon Deluxe is a few years late in its estimates, strangely. I guess that makes up for SimCity 2000 being (apparently) more than a few years early with microwave power.

Re:Transport Tycoon Deluxe (1)

baka_toroi (1194359) | more than 5 years ago | (#25470003)

Anyone else learned firsthand with TTD about maglevs?

kph? (0, Flamebait)

Stormx2 (1003260) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469759)

"...approved routes for the 500kph maglev trains..."

What the hell kind of unit is kph? kilos per hour? What is that supposed to mean? I appreciate trying to use SI units, but this is just silly. How hard is it to do km h[sup]-1[/sup]?

(obviously make the [sup] bit an HTML tag. /. seems to eat it when I use it)

Re:kph? (0)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469997)

"...approved routes for the 500kph maglev trains..."
What the hell kind of unit is kph? kilos per hour?

Yes, it's kilos per hour. They had to use a unique fuel source to get it to go as fast as they wanted it to and Cocaine was the only fuel that would keep it running through the night.

creators' newclear power eliminates neediness (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25469837)

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Meanwhile, in California, (3, Informative)

gmor (769112) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469853)

we have a ballot measure this November to borrow $10 billion dollars (and receive matching amounts from fed) to build a bullet train line half a century after the Japanese did it. According to the planners [ca.gov] , maglev was rejected because there are no large-scale deployments. Why do we never get to leapfrog technology in the US?

Security? (1, Insightful)

AcidPenguin9873 (911493) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469895)

Not only of the passengers, train, and endpoints/stations, but now you have to protect the entire track too. All it takes is some terrorist group with RPGs going around blowing up sections of track, causing train derailments.

Re:Security? (1)

AcidPenguin9873 (911493) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469913)

Okay okay...build the track underground?

Re:Security? (2, Insightful)

Sperbels (1008585) | more than 5 years ago | (#25470055)

Technically, this can be done now.

Re:Security? (2, Insightful)

robinsonne (952701) | more than 5 years ago | (#25470155)

How many times have you seen terrorists blowing up train tracks with RPGs in the U.S. or Europe lately?

Maintenance? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25470179)

Not only of the passengers, train, and endpoints/stations, but now you have to protect the entire track too. All it takes is some terrorist group with RPGs going around blowing up sections of track, causing train derailments.

Deaths and injuries from train derailments due to poor maintenance and simple human error vastly outnumber deaths and injuries due to terrorists.

In fact I'd go so far as to say, to the best of my knowledge, the number of deaths and injuries due to terrorist attacks on trains in the United States is, ummm, zero.

And that's with virtually no security at all.

US in the dust... (2, Interesting)

demonbug (309515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469907)

Great, it finally looks like we might start catching up [ca.gov] to where the Japanese were 40 years ago [wikipedia.org] , and now they have to go and make the jump to MagLev.

Yeah, I'm voting for Prop 1A - been following it since '97 or so (the proposition was originally supposed to appear back in 2000 or so, but they keep pushing it back). Expensive, and I doubt it will get the ridership they are projecting until a lot of additional work has gone into local transit in the destination cities, but I'm hopeful that it will kick-start our state and local governments into looking at options besides "build more roads".

For all ye Americans out there.. (3, Informative)

Piranhaa (672441) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469911)

500 kph(km/h) = 310.685596 mph

For some of ye Americans out there.. (1)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#25470265)

I know we post on slashdot but at least a couple of us can do the conversion...

woe discordia (-1, Offtopic)

scatteredsun (981481) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469973)

Blaine is a pain.

Why did the dead baby cross the road?

Transrapid (1)

mattMad (1271832) | more than 5 years ago | (#25469991)

The Transrapid technology is still ahead - it already has a running commercial system in Shanghai, China. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transrapid [wikipedia.org]

Much better than 500 kph... (3, Interesting)

MickLinux (579158) | more than 5 years ago | (#25470191)

... would be only 250 kph with zero wait, nonstop direct. The huge expense (and questionable success... see what happened at ODU) of maglev would not be necessary.

To do that, you have a main line, and then side branches with stations. On the side branches, people get on, and an engineer takes them out onto the main line in front of the train. The trains dock (basically at full speed), and lock together.

Meanwhile, the back unit drops off the back, to proceed to the next station. Trains could go through, basically every half hour, and all rides would be one way, nonstop, direct at 250 kph (150 mph).

When you get on the train, you slide your ticket through a reader, and are instructed which car to proceed to. Additional color coding can also help.

That's for Japan, which would use a basically linear system.

It's slightly more complicated for continental countries, requiring the main trains to travel in circuits -- but basically the same.

With electric propulsion, and today's computers, GPS, and measurement, the system shouldn't be all that difficult.

You end up with less wait than a nonstop flight, much cheaper transport, a lower carbon footprint, and comfortable travel.

Add into that the possibilities for ordering meals and having them delivered piping hot, and it would replace most of your short-hop air travel. Now use the meals to make the tickets significantly cheaper the way Vanderbilt did on his NJ-NYC ferry, and you'd have a huge commercial success.

That's not to say that one wouldn't need to design in certain protections, and that there wouldn't be hurdles to overcome, but the design would far outperform a 500 mph train that travels twice a day, at costs close to that of airfare.

Predicting since 1982 (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25470317)

Wow. I did maglev trains as a science fair project in 1982. I predicted they would reach speeds of 400kph and radically alter the real estate markets.

I almost killed myself making one seriously intense transformer while making a metre long magnet from flat bar and plugging it into the wall. Pop! A 12v car battery was the better solution.

It's about time!

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