When one thinks of futuristic vehicles, the first to come to mind might be the “hovercraft.” What was once only a figment of our imagination has become a reality in maglev.
Maglev is the highest speed train transportation system ever developed. Its name is short for “magnetic levitation,” which is exactly what it does. Magnets are used to levitate the vehicle from its track and propel it forward. It literally floats from destination to destination, very smoothly—very quickly. Maglevs are now being created that can reach speeds of up to 375 mph.
The idea grew throughout the 20th century, with maglev train technology being tested as early as 1979 and the first commercial maglev appearing in 1984. It traveled only a short distance, from one Birmingham, England, airport to another, and moved very slowly.
How Does It Work?
Because there are no wheels to provide friction, the ride is very smooth. Turbulence is minimal because the train is actually floating across the track with only air to contend with.
Maglev is considered a very safe form of transportation. Collisions are less likely to happen, as trains on the same route are always going the same speed. The magnets are designed so that the further off track the train may become, the stronger the magnetic force keeping it there becomes. With various braking systems and extremely thorough safety measures on top of the design’s inherent safety features, safety is a major advantage in this type of travel.
Where Can I Find One?
The Future Of Maglev
New technologies sometimes just pop up, and some have longer trajectories with great ideas building upon themselves in the implementation. This has certainly happened throughout the long history of this futuristic vehicle. Something this different requires brand new infrastructure, which takes time and thought so that the purpose of its creation can be fulfilled. In this case, it is an environmentally friendly, safe, comfortable, and most amazingly, very quick way to travel. This also, potentially, gets some of those cars off of the road, cleaning up the air and reducing highway traffic.