Let's talk about maglev for low speed rail (metros, commuter line, etc).
Are they worth it?
I say no it's not worth it. On a commuter line each time a Maglev stops it will stop levitating and need to touch down with wheels. It's highest efficiency will be when it can accelerate to top speed and stay there for long periods of time. A maglev won't perform better than a traditional EMU, for example, on metros/commuters because:
-Maglevs are ill-suited for rapid acceleration. Starting and stopping repeatedly will be a huge waste.
-One of the biggest advantages of a Maglev over steel wheel-steel rail trains is it's speed. It can't even reach its top speeds (which over long distances saves time) in such short distances.
-They need to either be elevated or have a foundation set in, you can't just pour ballast and lay track.
Maglevs will be the most useful for intercity (that is, between two cities. Not to be confused with intracity which means within one city) where they can be run over long, straight sections of track with minimal intermediate stops. With their higher speed they have the best chance of bridging two cities within a time frame that is good enough to outclass air travel.
Maglev is efficient only in high speeds. Acceleration and even breaking in maglev consumes more energy than classic railway.
Therefore no. Maglev metros and commute lines only for longer lines with no stops. Something like the Shaghai or porposed Munich maglev is on the limit of efficiency I think.
>Ill-suited for rapid acceleration
>Biggest advantage is speed
No, it's the efficiency, which in high speed systems allows for higher speeds. In low speed systems it's quietr and uses less power.
>Elevated or foundation
No one 'just pours ballast' for a railway track unless you're in a 3rd world country like the US. There's a shitload of earth prep involved.
Maglev isn't suitable but the reasons you give are just fucking stupid
>Additionally, testing by US authorities found that the train was both noisy and had a harsh ride, quite the opposite of early predictions. The noise was due to the interaction of the linear motor and the plates of metal it reacted against (the "reaction rail"). The magnetic fields were so strong that they caused the plates to vibrate at 50 Hz (he standard European power frequency) which caused a loud humming sound that riders found distracting.
It's more efficient in reducing both track and wheel wear, and extending both the maintenance time and useful life, and reducing the maintenance cost
The initial cost may be higher (up to 3x),, but that's only because of the economic of scale hasn't catching up
Maglevs can't do crush loads without overdesigning the levitation systems. The Linimo faced this very problem. They had to limit the number of people on it at a time
To quote the wiki
>On March 19, 2005 and again on March 24, the number of people inside the trains exceeded the design capacity of 244 passengers and the train was unable to levitate.
I imagine other systems would have the same issue as they hardly look designed to take heavy loads either and you'd need particularly strong fields after a while
As it stands, the Linimo itself was just a way for the Japanese to wank over linear motor technology on a more accessible scale
VVVF propulsion renders that example moot anyway. It'll just follow through with the same notes as any regular train and once at speed, the frequency is much higher
Depends on the system. The SCMaglev yes, but the Linimo and Transrapid both stay levitated iirc
Well, here in brazil we are developing a maglev system designed exactly for low speeds, its called Maglev Cobra
Video of the vehicle on testing: http://g1.globo.com/rio-de-janeiro/noticia/2014/10/trem-urbano-de-levitacao-magnetica-feito-na-ufrj-e-apresentado-no-rio.html
>All this nonsense bullshit
The only reason maglev is not used for low speed rail its the cost.
The high initial costs does not scale (compared to regular rail, where the faster and longer you go, higher the costs since you need a better ballast and track preparation), so the longer the distance, it affects less on the total cost of the system.
The systems itself (except Japan maglev, that is different from others since it uses the speed to levitate instead of having a separate magnet) are way more efficient than regular rail at ALL speeds.
Besides probably just being relatively reliable
I assume it's in that little bureaucratic nook where it's complicated enough that even though it's more expensive in the long run to keep it as a maglev, nobody wants to touch it due to the upfront cost of doing so. That and because it's their own little babby maglev to promote
It is about 15 times longer than the Birmingham line too