A ride on the fastest high-speed train in the world
Posting in Cities
SmartPlanet contributing editor Boonsri Dickinson took a ride on the Maglev Train in Shanghai. The trip was short, only lasting less than 15 minutes....
SmartPlanet contributing editor Boonsri Dickinson took a ride on the Maglev Train in Shanghai. The trip was short, only lasting less than 15 minutes. The train uses magnetic levitation technology to get people from town to the airport in record time. In a growing city, alternative modes of transport like the high-speed train can help people get around.
Feb 1, 2011
15 minutes for 18 miles is really $1 billion for 18 miles. That is not worth it. Express trains running at speeds up to 100 MPH on dedicated express rails would be more affordable to build and maintain than 200 mph trains that require a higher standard of track, rail bed and train. 100 mph trains would be fast enough to compete with car travel on all trips and competitive with short and medium range air travel. The big advantage over air could be cost if the trains are affordable to build and maintain. Keep the costs low and the tickets would be lower than air. Many people would sacrifice an extra hour of travel on a 200-mile trip if the ticket costs half as much. Affordable also means no subsidies for taxpayers. Designing in express cargo service could be the moneymaker for new express rails while passenger traffic aims for a break-even operation.
Are the origination and destination stops the only ones, or are there multiple stops? It clearly i speedy, but 15 minutes for 18 miles seems to be a bit of a waste of such a train - averaging just a bit over 60 mph. Or I'm missing something here.
Maybe what should be done in this country is to complete a few short lines like the one in the story to link, say, downtown L.A. with LAX to demonstrate to Americans what the very best and fastest high-speed rail technology can do. The same thing should be done in each of the 10 largest SMSAs. When that has been done, move on the the next 10 SMSAs. Do this before linking metro areas with each other. In this way, a large proportion of the population can be introduced to the benefits of high-speed rail without spending the kind of money it would take to create a national HSR system. When a sufficiently positive degree of public opinion about HSR has been created, a productive national debate about linking the whole country can commence.
It does not travel at 268 miles per hour, as the text indicates. The train top speed , in the video, is 268 kilometers per hours, big differences - but fast nevertheless. EP
(Rant on) I'm a rail fan (my ID is pronounced Engineer) but I doubt we'll see a real comprehensive rail system in the U.S. any time within the next 50 years, if ever. The large oil, rubber and trucking industries decimated mass transit in the U.S. back in the 40s & 50s. And the rapid rise of air transportation after WW-II didn't help re: cross-country passenger travel. One common comment is that cities are too spread out in the U.S. to make passenger travel useful. The railways actually speeded up their own demise by ripping up 10s of thousands of miles of track that used to service smaller communities. Now, it's alll a hub operation like the airline's airports. Well, DANG!, when I was in China last year I rode the trains (air travel is much more expensive) and the tracks connect with thousands of small towns along the rights-of-way. People ride the trains there because cars are few and gasoline cost an arm & leg. Typically passenger trains are so crowded that people who couldn't get seat assignments have to sit in the aisle. And there are NO rail crossings! All roads and highways go under or over the tracks. But to build that kind of setup is extremely expensive. So, today, in the U.S. railroads are considered a quaint "Choo-Choo Chuff-Chuff" thingie for kids, Tourist attractions, RR Museums and oddballs. (Rant off) Regarding China's rail system. Sorry to say, China's system may be due for some major trouble. Quoting an article in the NY Times: (The whole piece and a followup piece can be found at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/18/world/asia/18rail.html and http://ph.news.yahoo.com/afp/20110214/tap-china-transport-rail-corruption-8d4ea94.html ) "Railway Minister Liu Zhijun, who also had occupied the ministry's Communist Party chief role was fired by the party?s disciplinary committee, on February 17th, for ?severe violations of discipline,? a euphemism for corruption. There are concerns in some quarters that Mr. Liu cut corners in his all-out push to extend the rail system and to keep the project on schedule and within its budget. No accidents have been reported on the high-speed rail network, but reports suggest that construction quality may at times have been shoddy. A person with ties to the ministry said that the concrete bases for the system?s tracks were so cheaply made, with inadequate use of chemical hardening agents, that trains would be unable to maintain their current speeds of about 217 miles per hour for more than a few years. In as little as five years, lower speeds, possibly below about 186 miles per hour, could be required as the rails become less straight, the expert said. Strong concrete pillars require a large dose of high-quality fly-ash, the byproduct of burning coal. But the speed of construction has far exceeded the available supply, according to a 2008 study by a Chinese railway design institute. "
RE comment of alan@ I agree fully. This is one more illustration of how the USA will soon have willed itself into planetary irrelevancy. That's what happens when a society glorifies and values ignorance and swashbuckling donkey talk over reason and common sense. To say nothing of the fast buck right now, for ME, ME, ME and to hell with the grandkids. What a sad state of affairs, the more so when one recalls the ideals that used to be upheld in your country.
In China they are building the fastest railways in the world. In the US, states are turning down money to build the same because it goes against their ideological hatred of "big government". Every year I go to Shanghai, I find a new subway line built. In the US, it takes years or even decades just add a piddly little extension to a subway line and anti-big government politicians don't want to pay to renovate our 19th century transportation system.
I rode the maglev train in Shanghai too. I left my bottle of water on the arm rest, opened, and it never even fell off during the trip. Fast, smooth, nice views, and was even less expensive than a taxi, and more fun too. Why aren't more of these built?