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Transrapid (MagLev) Test Successful In China: 405

Hemos posted more than 11 years ago | from the were-you-sent-here-by-the-devil dept.

Technology 317

theBunkinator writes "Use your favorite translator (+ unit converter) to read about the first successful beyond 400km/h (~250MPH) test of the MagLev train in China. News Blurp in German at The offical Transrapid site is bilingual, with choice of German/English. Pictures & Video, too. Beats the Autobahn any day. Probably beats a plane in many situations as well."

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Magnets: (5, Funny)

ekrout (139379) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793042)

"Magnets: Not just for your fridge anymore."


Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793115)

ekrout is actually funny!

Re:Magnets: (-1, Troll)

macksav (602217) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793126)

stupid fucking comment. please move your shitstained ass aside and let a real loser fp-er occupy the fp! position. have you no sense of decency? a /. story without an inane and childish frost pist! is tragic. go outside and play in traffic, fuckstick!

Re:Magnets: (2, Interesting)

j0ebaker (304465) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793159)

Are these things using Electro-Magnets? Imagine the impact of loosing power. I'd worry about bringing magnetic strip credit cards on board unless I was assured that the magnetic fields wouldn't erase them. This is interesting technology and I'd like to know the answer to these questions.

Re:Magnets: (2, Insightful)

Seahawk (70898) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793247)

I believe som kind of wheels are mounted so in case of a power failure, the train would just stop and run to a halt slowly - no problem there!

About the magnetic fields affecting credit cards - I really cant imagine that the magnetic field would be strong enough to matter as it would make such trains of very little use - so I would guess they have solved it some way!

All in all - Be happy - MagLev is nice! :D

Re:Magnets: (4, Interesting)

Ozan (176854) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793379)

The train itself has batteries which have enough capacity to levitate it for about an hour. In case of a power-failure during travel the train would continue to float until it stops.

There is no magnetic field in the cabin, credit cards, etc are safe.

Re:Magnets: (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793194)

I guess a robot would have to be crazy to wanna be a folk singer ...

Re:Magnets: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793345)

Man, this ekrout character is a fucking worm. Which 379 LAMERS befriended this faggoty fuckfaced little 17 year old shitter? Ekroute, WELCOME TO MY FOES LIST, MOTHERFUCKER!

Re:Magnets: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793429)


The sad thing is that you probably scream the same thing at other cars in traffic.

Hi. This is Slashdot. It's a Web site. Go outside.

Re:Magnets: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793445)

You might want to hit your refresh button. Somehow, ekrout has obtained 390 fans, 11 more than your estimate of 379.

fuck you (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793044)

first post!!

First post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793048)

This would be my second first post in as many weeks - and I'm not a regular troll. So to those who are...


Trolls suck. This means you. See ya!

Autobahn? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793054)

"Beats the Autobahn any day"

But, but Autobahn is a highway... Besides, the Autobahn does carry more people per hour and kilometers than does this train any time soon.

Re:Autobahn? (3, Insightful)

BigBir3d (454486) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793092)

Shall we compare emmissions output? Both sound and nasty chemicals...

Re:Autobahn? (1)

Lieutenant_Dan (583843) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793288)

Err, what do you think powers the magnetic coils? Fairydust? Nope ... big massive coal-burning electrical generators. Don't know which one is better, but the MagLev is not exactly superfriendly to the environment.

Re:Autobahn? (1)

hatchet (528688) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793370)

Actually.. germany has 19 nuclear power plants.. which are better for environment in short-term. Too bad they will soon be closed down though..

And eventually they could send nuclear waste to other planets.. lets say jupiter or saturn...

nuclear waste (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793432)

"And eventually they could send nuclear waste to other planets.. lets say jupiter or saturn... "

You neglected to mention the obvious planet [] to send nuclear waste to!

Re:Autobahn? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793164)

autobahn in real, train is not is all lies government do not have train go 250 KMH we lied on truth! Train goed maybe 100 miles KMH then then tell us 250 but no! 250 is lie! I work on train and make easy parts - not engineer I build seats but I know about fast and speed. They want train to look and be faster than the American trains but they can't so they make papers with lies numbers. Do not believe them they just want to make good looks on TV! This train will kill anyone body who tried to ride on it at miles so fast. It will burn or explode up. We will look bad at end of story since we made stories about time and speed.

Re:Autobahn? (3, Informative)

Yokaze (70883) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793255)

Hmm, 450km/h, 959 persons, every 10minutes a train.
This amounts to a throughput of 5754 persons/h.

For a single lane Autobahn: 130km/h, distance between two cars, 170m. This amounts to 765 cars per hour. A typical car carries up to 4 persons.
3060 persons/h.

A typical Autobahn has at least 2 lanes, several have 3.
This makes roughly 6kP/h or 9kP/h. So one could say a Autobahn with 3 lanes has twice the troughput than the Transrapid.

But, this is the theoretical limit. The numbers for the Transrapid is devised from the implementation with two trains on the tracks.
Double the number of trains you get the the same throughput.

170 meters!? (2)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793393)

Well, I don't know about germany, but here in america we certanly driver closer then 170 meters! Perhaps 170 decimeters :P

Re:Autobahn? let's add some facts here! (3, Insightful) (551216) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793396)

Fine, almost honor pre-calculus.

1. There are no single lange Autobahns, at least not in Germany. (They might have em in Poland, but as far as I remember, there are no designated lanes anyways and, secondly, that's not called the Autobahn.)

2. The average car does not transport four people, but around 1.3.

3. Serious (empirical!) studies give us better numbers for the number of car throughput: A Swiss study [] mentions up to 115 000 cars / day, 4800 per hour. According to guidelines used in planning of roads, the acceptable throughput for a 2x2-lane Autobahn is 20.700 to 70.000 cars/day, so it's far less than the figure mentioned. (Source [] ) That's data for both directions.

4. Assuming 40.000 cars/day (in accordance with the guidelines), we end up with 2166 persons per hour.

Re:Autobahn? (2)

rseuhs (322520) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793280)

Besides, the Autobahn does carry more people per hour and kilometers than does this train any time soon.

A bold statement.

Let's calculate: The autobahn has usually 2 lanes in each direction. If the drivers keep a distance of 2 seconds, we get one vehicle per second - maximum.

Optimistically, we assume that each vehicle carries 2 people (in reality this number is much lower), so we get a realistical maximum throughput of 2 persons/second or 7200 persons per hour.

Now let's compare: The Transrapid carries up to 1000 people. If we have intervals of 5 minutes between trains, we would get 12000 people per hour.

yea yea.. (0, Flamebait)

prell (584580) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793058)

wheres my hoverboard?


Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793071)

Fuck those goddamned dirty hippy communists right in the ass! The western world 0wnz china!

I'm not riding it (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793076)

Seeing China's current economic condition, it's probably just a repainted 1964 World's Fair monorail.

You might not know it (2, Interesting)

merikari (205531) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793258)

...but China is fast becoming the next Asian economic powerhouse. Many people living in Hong Kong now go shopping for consumer electronics, mobile phones, computers etc. in mainland China. New cities are already larger and produce more goods than HK.

Re:You might not know it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793348)

If they maintain this growth, they will dwarf the US, buy it out because everything from property to ideas are for sale and turn us all into commies.

Re:You might not know it (2)

Iguanaphobic (31670) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793426)

(+ unit converter)

The expense of converting this backwater to the system of measurement of progress and worldwide commerce would be too great. They'd pass.

Re:I'm not riding it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793403)

It is the german Transrapid.
The system has been in test mode here in Germany for some 20 years now.
No one wanted to pay the huge investment for a real application.
You also need a long track (some 100 miles) without stops to get an impressive average speed.

405? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793079)

405 what? Or is it the preemptory /. effect "405 : Method Not Allowed"

hmmmm....their slogan should be.... (1, Funny)

nebenfun (530284) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793082)

"Wreaking havoc with harddrives at 250mph!"

or maybe not

Re:hmmmm....their slogan should be.... (1)

jjl (514061) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793166)

I wonder if living near MagLev track will cause HD corruption.. ;-)

Does not beat the French TGV (5, Informative)

Tsk (2863) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793087)

which is described here [] . And it's network described here []

Re:Does not beat the French TGV (1)

WalterSobchak (193686) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793140)

What I know about this, is that when the Transrapid was planned and designed (in the 60ies), people could not envision rail-based cars to achieve such speeds.

To me, the Transrapid is the Concorde of trains: Nice, yeah, but nowadays, who needs it?


Re:Does not beat the French TGV (1)

DOsinga (134115) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793204)

Actually it does. The TGV has a normal speed of around 300 Km/hour, while the transrapid in this case seems to have a production speed of 430 (according to the article). Of course the TGV has (so far) a higher speed record, but that is quite something else as cruise speed.

Re:Does not beat the French TGV (5, Interesting)

Bender_ (179208) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793223)

Does not beat the French TGV

The point is: the TGV has once reached a maximum speed of more than 500km/h with a specially designed trainset on special rails, while 400km/h is the usual travelling speed for the transrapid. I see quite a difference there. The TGV does not come close to 400km/h, let alone 500km/h in everyday travel..

Re:Does not beat the French TGV (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793240)

No, it doesn't beat the TGV. The TGV is a rail-wheel-system, whereas the Transrapid is a rail based system riding on magnets. Besides, the speed record isn't the target of the Transrapid. And, to quote the link you posted:

Running at over 500 km/h (311 mph) with a specially prepared trainset on brand new track is an accomplishment, but one should not expect such speeds to be possible in commercial service anytime soon.

The 400kmh of the Transrapid in china are its standard speed, and that is more than a standard TGV in public service achieves currently.

Re:Does not beat the French TGV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793355)

I very much doubt that the TGV could accelerate to and break again on a 30 km distance.

Excellent news. (5, Funny)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793094)

Passengers can now go 405 kilometers before they're hungry again.

This is all crap! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793099)

Is all CRAP government not have train go 250 KMH we lied on truth! Train goed maybe 100 miles KMH then then tell us 250 but no! 250 is lie! I work on train and make easy parts - not engineer I build seats but I know about fast and speed. They want train to look and be faster than the American trains but they can't so they make papers with lies numbers. Do not believe them they just want to make good looks on TV! This train will kill anyone body who tried to ride on it at miles so fast. It will burn or explode up. We will look bad at end of story since we made stories about time and speed.

Re:This is all crap! (-1)

macksav (602217) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793165)

very eloquent. are you some rag-head dune coon with pretentions to techno-savvy? in my not so humble opinion, all you rabid sand niggers should be rounded up, beaten, and then publicly executed: preferably by castration and disemboweling. in any just society, you fucking ayrab assholes would no be allowed to live.

Look ma, it's a Jew! (-1, Troll)

BlackTriangle (581416) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793438)

Aren't they going extinct? Oh yeah, having kids costs money, so they're right out.

Google Translation (-1, Redundant)

nyphot (470962) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793108)

Successful test for Transrapid

The Transrapid existed an important speed test successfully in Schanghai. As the "Shanghai DAILY one" reports, the magnetic levitation transport system with 405 kilometers per hour drove for the first time the entire distance, which was to bring the passengers from the southern outskirts of a town to the international airport in Pudong.

"this proves that the Transrapid will be as planned in the coming year for the public accessible", said a speaker of the Shanghai Maglev Transportation development CO Ltd., which coordinates the project. With the building approximately 30 kilometers long distance in March yearly passed had been begun.

Everyone of of ThyssenKrupp of built courses can up to 959 passengers carry and is the distance with 430 kilometers per hour in eight minutes put back. For the 31. December be the the official travel the of the Transrapid with Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and China Prime Minister Zhu Rongji plan.

hey , does that mean i can't (2, Funny)

EvilSmile (547095) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793120)

use my suit of armour ->
i mean what if i get stuck to the track ? :)

Re:hey , does that mean i can't (2)

twoslice (457793) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793278)

Yeah, but you tinfoil hat should still work! =)

The real questions on everyone's mind: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793124)

Can it play Ogg Vorbis?
Can you imagine a beowulf cluster of these?

TGV (5, Informative)

Maxwell42 (594898) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793135)

Please note that you can already travel at 300Kmh using the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse, 'High Speed Train'), in France, since since 1980...
Not 400Kmh, but it works very well.

More informations can be found here [] .
(There is a nice flash map of the french railways).

What's the real speed of this? (3, Interesting)

newsdee (629448) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793137)

If this is like every other "high speed" trains, then it can only keep its maximum speed for short periods of time.

I believe it's more related with the environment (i.e. "let's not hit a cow") than anything else. So I wonder if they developed a system to allow a constant high speed (other than "we don't care about cows")?

Re:What's the real speed of this? (3, Informative)

Dark Lord Seth (584963) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793175)

Maglev trains usually run on elevated platforms high enough to let roads and the like pass underneath while still low enough to avoid most birds. That, and it simply looks cooler on an elevated platform as these pictures [] show... :)

Re:What's the real speed of this? (1)

Da Fokka (94074) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793187)

The 'not hitting a cow' part is accomplished by the entire train being elevated on poles.

And another advantage og MagLev trains over traditional high-speed trains is that it can accelerate and decelerate much faster.

I've seen this train myself (3, Informative)

Ewann (209481) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793256)

This train line is actually pretty darn impressive. I was in Shanghai three weeks ago, and to get from the city to the airport, we took a highway that for much of its length runs parallel to the train "tracks". The train's path is, for at least a good portion of the trip, elevated on huge concrete pillars, thus avoiding cows and other earthbound wildlife. The train itself looks pretty cool, too.

Shanghai, BTW, is a very nice city- at least the areas I saw. I got the impression there is, relative to many other Chinese cities, a lot of money there.

Re:What's the real speed of this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793262)

You could incase the track in a thin concrete

If am trac was private investers would already
have one from los angeles to state line.

but the govenment own system has hels us back for a long time.

If they had let it go into bankrupcy some group would have bought it out and it would have had a fresh start.

But what we got was the worlds largest boondogle
what morons I think we would not hire morons elect if you had to have say a IQ in the top 10 %
in order to vote.

and top 1% to get elected.

Re:What's the real speed of this? (2, Insightful)

nniillss (577580) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793266)

This is wrong. The only reason that high-speed trains have to slow down is for picking up passengers. Other practical limitations are the extent of high-speed routes (with minimal curvature and slope and improved rails and electric system) and to some degree risk (while going through/near stations) and noise. These latter are, however, only a matter of spending.

Our german system of ICE trains travelling at some 150 mph is just getting reasonably dense to be useful. Ultra high speed like maglev would only be useful for connecting very large towns (e.g. Berlin and Hamburg) some 300 km apart.

By the way: Cows are not endangered by maglev since the rails are several meters above ground.

Re:What's the real speed of this? (1)

jtshaw (398319) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793267)

The track will be elevated, so most of the issues that cause trains to slow or stop on conventional track are gone. Much like a subway track, there will be a third rail or some sort powering this thing, so it is important to keep people/animals away from it. There are other bonus's as well.

For one, the track is a lot lighter. And doesn't require all the ground fortification work that a conventional rail requires. As it turns out, mag-lev tracks are usually cheaper per mile then conventional rail (with the exception of the German design that included magnets on the track itself).

And of course, the speed.... Mag-lev trains have the potential of being VERY fast.

There are negatives as well... Like the fact that they aren't so good for heavy cargo runs. But that is partially because the people developing the current mag-lev technology are pretty much only building it to deal with passenger cars.

And ... ?? (3, Informative)

AftanGustur (7715) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793138)

I'm missing something ???

The French TGV [] already drove over 515km/h.

And that was in 1990 !!!

Re:And ... ?? (2, Informative)

Mas3 (620769) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793273)

405 km/h was just testing speed.
Travel speed will be about 430 km/h.

515 km/h is a record, not the travel speed!


DevCounter ( [] )
An open, free & independent developer pool.

Re:And ... ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793309)

The TGV is not a maglev train. That's the difference.

Re:And ... ?? (2)

smagoun (546733) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793310)

If you look harder, you'll find out that they used a specially-prepared trainset and a specially-prepared section of track for that speed run. Furthermore, the TGV runs about 300km/h in production; nowhere near 515km/h. As I understand it, the maglevs will run ~450km/h in production, which is substantially faster than the TGV.

Not to mention that steel-rail trains are a completely different technology than maglevs. You might as well say, "so what, we've had airplanes that go >450km/h for 70 years."

HeadLines (2, Funny)

phantompoett (630745) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793145)

possible news in the future *In international news today the worlds fastest maglev train was derailed when someone threw "a really big magnet" on the track, the repulsion of the poles sent the train flying off the track at around 260 km/h *

We already have (1)

pommiekiwifruit (570416) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793376)

kids throwing gas cylinders at local trams so its only a matter of time if the track goes under a highway bridge...

For sake of comparison (5, Informative)

sam_handelman (519767) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793155)

The cruising speed of a typical commercial jutliner is about 550 mph. []

The speed of sound is about 761 mph [] (sea level, bleah bleah.)

Re:For sake of comparison (2, Informative)

Shamashmuddamiq (588220) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793395)

The speed of sound is about 761 mph

Wrong! Sound travels 741.1 [] mph at STP. I knew memorizing that value way back in 7th grade would pay off some day! I never imagined I'd be able to troll Slashdot with it, though...

Uh oh! (-1, Troll)

BlackTriangle (581416) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793404)

You're using cro mag units. Please convert to Homo Sapiens Sapiens units without reference to goat to the sex.

May beat the airplane? (5, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793156)

From the german article not anytime soon. The line is running from the city to, TADA, the airport!

If anything this thing will make airtravel therefore easier by getting people to and from the airport faster.

I recently had to go to london from amsterdam and checked out the three different methods. Boat, train (via channel-tunnel) and plane. Plane beat the other by a few hours. Mostly because of the number of transfers(?) and the inevitable waiting time this entails, required in the other two.

LTR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793174)

Iam expecting to see about 1/2 dozen ppl or so who are going to get on this list and preach that this is the religion of monorails and that LTR is better. It is nice to know that if it is a religion, then at least it has gone someplace.

Reporting from the old days... (5, Funny)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793176)

5 or so years ago this would have been reported as

"Under the guise of a civilian transporter the Chinese goverment demonstrated a potentially terrible military weapon, capable of accelerating several tonnes upto half the speed of sound"

Just think, if Iraq had just done this we'd declare war.

Not cost-effective (5, Informative)

BadDoggie (145310) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793186)

Here in Munich, we dodged a bullet as the Transrapid idea from the airport to city center was killed. The current S-Bahns can be sped up to 160km/h (from a current 80-120, generally), which would take the travel time down to 16 minutes versus the expected 10 for the Transrapid. This requires no more land, no additional building disruptions (lots of construction and really bad traffic here in Munich), and, even more importantly, the S-Bahn can do the job for half the cost and one-fifth the energy.

The Transrapid would've cost us about $38 million per kilometer and additional annual costs of $215K. For comparison, ICE train tracks (Inter-City Europe express tracks) cost $16.5 million per km and around $165K annually.

It gets worse. There's a 30km test track in Emden, and the train has never been up to it's supposed max speed of 500 km/h. The distance from the Munich airport to the city center is only about 20km, and the thing needs 5km just to get up to 300 km/h. Planned costs were set at $1.6 billion (with a "B" as in, "bwooaaaahhh!") -- expected costs around 50% more. Planned completion was 2006 and expected 2008-2010.

Munich dodged a bullet, but now faces over a year of public transport hell as the main through-tunnel for all S-Bahns is upgraded to increase capacity from 20 to 30 trains an hour. (All S-Bahn trains pass through this tunnel, resulting in massive delays whenever there's a problem even near the tunnel, which extends some seven stations, 5 in the tunnel and end points.) To make things worse, the video schedule displays along the lines run Windows and crash at least once a week. Luckily, the trains don't.


Re:Not cost-effective (1)

TheMidget (512188) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793239)

To make things worse, the video schedule displays along the lines run Windows and crash at least once a week.

Why do you consider that this is making things worse? Just consider this as a golden opportunity for Linux advocacy while communiting...

Re:Not cost-effective (2)

BadDoggie (145310) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793362)

It makes things worse because along with delays and the resulting schedule changes, we have no idea when the train we want is coming. Public transportation (regular and express trains, S-Bahns, subways, streetcars and buses) generally run on or very close to schedule.

If the S-8 is the dead line then I've got at least a 30-minute wait for the next one. I could take an alternative route by U-Bahn and bus and be at work (or home) quicker if the big board in Karlsplatz wasn't showing a GPF window or BSOD dump.

Linux advocacy? Not a chance. There's no way to contact the MVV/MVG (public transport operating companies). Furthermore, they paid big bucks (OK, Deutschmarks) for the Win32 program and aren't about to pay for it all over again on another OS. Even if they were willing, they'd be hard-pressed to explain why they were doing so and why they went with the crappy Win program to begin with.

Yes, they made a mistake, and in an ideal world, they'd admit it. But bureaucracies are not part of an ideal world. The person who admits to doing it wrong -- or who points out his boss or department did it wrong -- has all the job security of a blind photographer.


Re:Not cost-effective (2)

Hanno (11981) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793272)

ICE train tracks (Inter-City Europe express tracks)

A nitpick: ICE stands for Inter City Express. I'm actually quite sad that each European has its own, more-or-less incompatible high speed train system, with the ICE being the German train.

Re:Not cost-effective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793301)

I've noticed more and more things running windows, and you only usually notice when there's a blue-screen or the app has crashed. I see it all the time on the London Underground ticket machines, saw it on a flight status board at Heathrow, and on a new British Telecom phone at Oxford Circus.

Is there a web page where people can send in photos of public Windows crashes?

Re:Not cost-effective (2)

rseuhs (322520) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793320)

I agree that it's not effective to move from the city to the airport, but between cities it should do very nice.

Airports take up lots of space and are very noisy. (= even more space made unvaluable. Who wants to life near the airport?) while a train can stop directly in the city.

So instead of city -> airport -> airport -> city you could go directly from city to city. On the same continent, this should always be faster than planes.

Re:Not cost-effective (2, Informative)

smagoun (546733) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793441)

Munich may have made the right choice, considering that there's already an existing infrastructure and the distance is relatively short. However, some of your facts need to be put in perspective.

You state that the maglev needs "5km just to get up to 300 km/h." While correct, you neglect to compare this to ICE, which takes 30km to reach the same speed. Since there's no wheel/rail friction, maglevs can accelerate much more quickly than conventional high-speed trains.

Furthermore, maglev trains use less power than conventional high-speed trains once you get past about 200km/h. At 300km/h, ICE trains use 71 Wh/km. Maglevs use 47 Wh/km; a maglev could go 400km/h on the same amount of power it takes to get the ICE up to 300km/h.

Maglevs are also quieter, safer, easier to maintain (no moving parts!), and so on.

Slashdotted already! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793211)

Fortunately, there is a mirror on CNN []

Re:Slashdotted already! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793261)

Thanks for the interesting mod... hehe ;-)

Re:Slashdotted already! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793286)

Do slashdot editors EVER check the links that bozos like the one above me submit???

Re:Slashdotted already! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793291)

well, the picture wasn't interesting, but the redirection cgi is... someone mod the parent down. geez.

NOOO!!! (2)

isorox (205688) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793212)

A semi-monorail related story. That means only one thing. Please mod down the 1000 idiots that go to snpp and post that stupid song for the 1000th time this year! It was funny the first time, but its beyond a joke

Before any gets into "why not in US?"... (5, Informative)

Insightfill (554828) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793214)

There's often a Simpson-esque rally in the US press whenever another country pulls this sort of thing off. People often ask "Why can't we just covert/reuse existing railways."

The problem becomes one of how you define straight. These tracks need to be really straight for long lengths to get such numbers, and while your typical subway or Amtrak route looks straight, that's only when viewed at lower speeds (under 60MPH). Even then, lots of these routes are shaky. Take it up to over 100 and suddenly, it's not so straight anymore.

Anyone who's taken their car to really high speeds on public roads can usually attest that a straight road at 70 isn't as straight at 120.

Re:Before any gets into "why not in US?"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793452)

Not me, I live here []

This is all well and good, but (2)

suman28 (558822) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793229)

How come there aren't any of these in the U.S? I would have thought that U.S being ahead in technology (or atleast money), they would have one of these running somewhere by now. Also,are there any health related problems when riding so fast and so close to electricity and magnetism for extended periods of time?

Re:This is all well and good, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793303)

There will be. Right now, Baltimore and Pittsburgh are competing for Federal funding for a demonstration project. Its not looking too good for Pittsburgh (where I live) right now - too many people who live near the proposed route are protesting.

Re:This is all well and good, but (1)

Hrshgn (595514) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793305)

>How come there aren't any of these in the U.S?

Because there is no significant left wing party in your country.

Re:This is all well and good, but (2)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793389)

Also,are there any health related problems when riding so fast and so close to electricity and magnetism for extended periods of time?

No - where did you get this silly idea? Consider - 'so close' being about 6-7 feet above the rails (and your heart and head being even higher than that), and 'extended periods' being anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour? That's nothing.

The real dangers for being close to an energy source come from really high frequency stuff - radio (and not AM even, mind you - FM, VHF, UHF, Microwave, etc.) Those will cook you, and the higher frequency stuff is going to do it faster.

I'm a broadcast engineer, and whenever we have someone climbing our tower to work, we have to lower power on our FM as they pass that region, by FCC reg... but even then, some tower guys are willing to and have been known to work on towers without lowering power. They figure they aren't up there long enough to cause damage.
Note, this doesn't include AM, which they will happily climb live... as long as they can get onto them without first forming a circuit to ground (zzzzzzzzot), nor does it include microwave - get your head in front of a transmit dish, and turn your eyeballs into scrambled eggs.

But low frequency AC and magnetism? Nothing.


Transrapid in Germany... (4, Informative)

Hanno (11981) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793236)

...has been highly controversial over here. The state-funded Transrapid consortium has developed a high-trech train and then, when asking the German government for a track to deploy it live, suddenly found that actually noone in Germany cared for it.

Germany, being a rather small country, yet with a very high density of population, has a very good and highly accepted high-speed railtrack system. (Japan and France are still far better, but still.) The Transrapid offers very little time benefit per direction, yet requires massive construction work for its tracks. Most people here say - why bother? Why do we have to pay billions of tax Euros for a 30 minute benefit?

The Transrapid consortium has struggled during the last years to find an excuse on where to build its track in Germany and why, and so far, plans are still going back and forth.

Why not an air cushion? (4, Interesting)

Thag (8436) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793244)

If your goal is just to reduce friction, why not simply float the train on an air cushion, like a hovercraft? It seems like it would eliminate a lot of the complexity.

The air cushion could be fairly efficient compared to military hovercraft, since the ground clearance could be an inch or so, instead of feet. Your track could be prepoured concrete instead of electromagnets.

I'm probably missing something.

Jon Acheson

TGV is faster, but only in test conditions. (4, Informative)

h4mmer5tein (589994) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793251)

Yes the French TGV has gone faster, but only under specific test conditions after over 2000 hours of work on the track and engine.
This story implies that the maglev was running at the same speeds it would operate at commercially. There's a big differance between that and the world speed record. To quote TGV themselves from their site []

"Running at over 500 km/h (311 mph) with a specially prepared trainset on brand new track is an accomplishment, but one should not expect such speeds to be possible in commercial service anytime soon."

If the maglev speeds are reproducable in a production - ie passenger carrying - environment then this is a major achievement and certainly seems to be what they are aiming for.

Money (3, Insightful)

vlad_petric (94134) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793260)

This is precisely what a country with a GNIPC (gross national income per capita) of ~750$ (see WorldBank) needs these days.

Re:Money (1)

Hrshgn (595514) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793335)

What's your point? Strategically it is exactly the right time for China to establish a clean mass transport system.

Re:Money (5, Insightful)

Ektanoor (9949) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793408)

Well you could say that about the US building the A-Bomb right after Depression and during the hard years of WWII...

Or about Soviet Union building up satellites and sending the first man to Space...

Besides, the train AFAIK is built in one of the richest parts of China. And China is quite big and possesses a huge contrast in cultures, economies and resources. So I don't see a reason why they wouldn't loose some money to build a Maglev.

If you consider that they should "feed the poor and then think about progress", I sincerly consider it populist demagogy. No country has ever solved this question by putting its feet into the swamp of development. On the contrary, most socialist countries who tried to follow such path went nearly bankrupt. The only way to give people a better living is to push every possible path of development forward. Wealth does not rise from "more equal distributions among the people" but from the development of infrastructures with far-reaching effects among the population. And Maglev is one such infrastructure. This system allows common citizens to have a better and speedier means of transportation. This system demands better enginners and technicians. This system is a challenge for lots of classical means of transportation. This system is a path to new scientific and technological researches. And more, this system allows people the use of faster travel, which may be much more economical than other means with the same speeds and approximatelly the same service.

So this might be one of the things that may rise their GNIPC a few dollars more.

Must be nice (-1, Insightful)

PhysicsGenius (565228) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793283)

I think this will never see the light of day in the US.

Why, you ask? Not because it's not interesting and efective technology, but because we Americans don't like mass transit. We want cars. We have a *right* to cars. Look in the Bill of Rights. It's there. Or if it's not, I think it should be, so it might as well be there right next to my right to own a minigun.

Seriously, though, there are hundreds neat ideas for viable mass-transit available, but I'm stuck riding a 30 year-old, beaurocracy-lader system called BART to work everyday. That has, to put it mildly, soured my viewpoint somewhat. Until we remove the corruption that wil always accompany mass transit, we might as well forget about it.

At least... (4, Funny)

Niles_Stonne (105949) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793295)

At least it wasn't:

404: Maglev not found

Probably does beat a plane... (3, Interesting)

Mark_in_Brazil (537925) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793304)

Sorry about previous post. Hit "return" when reaching for "shift."

I myself have discovered (by living in São Paulo and having a girlfriend in Rio de Janeiro) that traveling by bus is already better for me than traveling by plane.
First, it's much more comfortable. The buses have seats that are much bigger and much farther apart (front-to-back) than airplanes. I am not a big person (173 cm and about 65kg, or about 5'8" and around 145 lbs) and I feel cramped in commercial airliners. Imagine tall and/or heavy people!
Besides that, on a bus, the seats really recline (not the almost imperceptible 5 "recline" of an airplane seat), making it possible to sleep, which I now cannot do on airplanes (I used to be able to, but they are forever cramming more and more seats in, and thus limiting more and more the space each passenger has, and they have now surpassed my comfort limit). Additionally, there is no limitation on when you can recline the seat (there is no takeoff and landing) or on what kind of electronic devices you can use (it's nice to be able to use my cell phone to make or receive calls while en route) or when you can use them (again, no takeoff and landing).
Also, you don't have to pass through really invasive security procedures to get on a bus. I also discovered something surprising: even though the bus travels much slower than a plane, I don't lose much time taking a bus. In fact, it's much better. Let me explain.
If I take a plane, I have to get to the airport first. And I have to be there at least an hour before the flight (it would be 2 hours if I were in the US, but I am fortunate to live in a free country... if anyone thinks this is a troll, I'll be happy to discuss it with you. But basically, I enjoy many freedoms I couldn't dream of having in the US). After standing in a line to check in, I have to answer stupid questions, show ID, and check my luggage. Then I have some time to kill before the plane leaves. I usually get some kind of soft drink in the departure lounge (waiting area). Oh yeh... I have to show ID and my ticket to get in there. With all the noise and hurrying people around, it is all but impossible to make any kind of use of this waiting time by, say, reading. Then they call us to board. I then have to get in another line, present my ticket, and go to the plane. I then find my seat and sit down. I can try to read during this time, but again, there are people all around making a lot of noise and hurrying and arranging their stuff. Then the plane takes off. I can now try to read, but within a few minutes, the flight attendants come around with drinks. In the case of the São Paulo to Rio flight, the whole flight lasts only about 40-60 minutes (depending on direction, weather conditions, and air traffic at the destination). In the case of longer flights, the attendants come around several times to offer drinks and/or food.
After the plane lands, it taxis to the gate. This can add another 5-15 minutes, depending on traffic. Then we are released into the terminal, which usually involves another wait while people block the corridor to take down the 74 bags they just couldn't check and had to bring on board. The one time I saw a flight attendant enforce the limit on the number of bags a couple could carry on, I literally applauded, and did I ever get dirty looks from the couple.
Next we all go to baggage claim, which can take anywhere from seconds to forever. After that, either I meet my ride or go to car rental to get a car.
In the end, I don't really save any time taking a plane instead of a bus, even though the flight part of the journey by plane takes 40-60 minutes and a bus trip takes 5-6 hours. Taking the bus has the added advantage that I can arrive at the bus station without a reservation, buy a ticket for the next bus, go down and wait a few minutes (not 45 like in the airport, plus buses are rarely late, while airplanes always seem to be) before getting on the bus. I can than either sleep (not possible in the airplane due to comfort and time constraints) or actually do some work or just relaxing reading. If I had a laptop, I could do work too. Also, buses have much more flexible hours. In the Rio-São Paulo example, the last plane (and you've gotta reserve that several days in advance) leaves around 10:00 PM. There are buses leaving with relatively high frequency until about 1:30 AM, and there are others that leave at even later hours, though not as frequently.
Now imagine a train, which can offer all the advantages of buses, plus it doesn't get affected by traffic and can travel at 400 kph (about 250 mph). Add in that it can be much more energy-efficient than a plane, has an even lower risk of accidents, and (Steven Seagal movies aside) an even lower risk of hijacking than a bus, since it has very limited possibilities in terms of alternate routes (i.e., it can only go where there are tracks) and basically cannot be used as a weapon (except possibly against a vehicle on a road at a train crossing or another train). Basically, there's no comparison. A maglev train would blow away an airplane for everything except trans-oceanic travel. And best of all, it would probably be much cheaper than an airplane flight. I started taking buses because my girlfriend and I couldn't really afford to be flying back and forth every weekend, and the bus is a much, much cheaper option. I expect a maglev train ticket would be more expensive than a bus ticket, but less expensive than a plane ticket. I traveled extensively in Europe by train, and the prices were quite reasonable, even for the TGV (Train de Grande Vitesse (or sumfin' like that), which just means "high-speed train" in French) between some Swiss city (Geneva?) and Paris. And if you think about it from a business point of view, the marginal cost of adding space for more passengers (by adding more cars, not by cramming the passengers in like sardines like the frickin' airlines insist on doing) is very low. So if there is less demand, you send less cars. If there is more, you add some. So the "full flight" problem is reduced without large additional costs... wow.
If I were a stockholder in a major airline, I would be even more worried now than before thinking about high-speed maglev trains... as a consumer of mass transport, I am definitely more happy than before thinking about these things because of the /. article.

Re:Probably does beat a plane... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793391)

Three words - "Right of Way".

Where do you propose building the tracks for this thing? In your back yard? I didn't think so. Maybe you would like to have those massive magnetic fields setup near hospitals and elementary schools.

The transrapid system just *rules* (3, Insightful)

decarelbitter (559973) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793351)

The test site (which can be seen on the Transrapid [] site is quite close to the Dutch borders. As my dad works as a journalist in that area, he had to do a story on it once. Which included a few rounds in the train on the 8-shaped test track in Lathen, Germany. Due to some luck I normally never encounter I had the oppurtunity to go with him and thus also do a few rounds on the track. And I must say, it is nothing less than impressive. We didn't go faster than about 340 km/h, but doing that a few meters above the ground in a very silent train was an unforgetable experience. For short-long-distance (100-500 km.) this is an ideal solution. Clean, fast and just ultra-slick. I hope this system will now finally get some more attention, because it deserves it and is a very good replacement for short-distance flying and long-distance car driving. Hurray for Transrapid!

Transrapid argues, some more important facts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793375)

As posted before, the transrapid is very controversial discussed here in germany.
Some companies of the transrapid consortium (thyssenkrupp, former a steel producing heavy-industry company,siemens and others.) are lobbying for more money because the transrapid has not yet fullfilled the expectations. The more consverative parties are tradionally pro-transrapid, and the social democrats/greens are against it. (the greens mostly because of the environment issues).
Initially there should be a track between hamburg and berlin, but environment issues (there are some nature reserves "in the way") led to a cancel of this project. Because many are thinking of the transrapid project as a "prestige object" for german high-tech industry, they are still promoting other tracks. One is the munich munich airport track, but it is also looked at the "Ruhrgebiet" (german's big industrial area with > 16 mio. people) for possible transrapid ways.
So for now there is only the test-track in Emsland (near the netherlands) and there was, not well-known, a test-track in Braunschweig.

Who needs fast (0)

LiquidAsphalt (627915) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793411)

The Long Island Rail Road (The most commuted, commuter train in the US) goes a cool 50-60 mph. Who needs fast anyways, the new double deckers have a chicks voice talk to you with big seats and plugs for your laptop.

Besides, the drunks need the time to finish their 6 beers off before they get home to the wife and kids.

Better in more ways (3, Insightful)

r_j_prahad (309298) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793423)

In the post-9/11 world, any country considering any kind of mass transport must ask what kind of target opportunity it represents? I think, unfortunately, that this will be much easier to attack than an airplane at 35,000 feet. Every foot of rail will have to be alarmed, patrolled, and inspected. With more passenger capacity than an Airbus A380, how long will the security checkpoints take? A full day?

While it may now be technologically practical, it remains impractical for political reasons.

Do your math... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4793433)

8 minutes for 30km is an average of 225km/h. It would seem that the train would need more than half the distance for acceleration/deceleration.

An average speed like that is fairly easy to achieve with rail-bound trains.

Maglev: a solution in search of a problem. (2, Troll)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 11 years ago | (#4793450)

Maglev is just plain stupid. Given that conventional rail can do well over 500 km/h (new French fast trains are ROUTINELY tested at over 400 km/h - most of the journalists invited for the ride don't bother to show up anymore), there is no compelling reason to build a maglev.

What would you trust more, a well developped and well researched almost 200 year old technology (the first steam train ran in 1804 [] ), or a new, extremely complex technology that has yet to carry it's first passenger???

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