Maglev or magnetic levitation, is a system of transportation that suspends, guides and propels vehicles, predominantly trains, using magnetic levitation from a very large number of magnets for lift and propulsion. This method has the potential to be faster, quieter and smoother than wheeled mass transit systems. The power needed for levitation is usually not a particularly large percentage of the overall consumption; most of the power used is needed to overcome air drag, as with any other high speed train.
The highest recorded speed of a Maglev train is 581 kilometres per hour (361 mph), achieved in Japan in 2003, 6 kilometres per hour (3.7 mph) faster than the conventional TGV speed record. This is slower than many aircraft, since aircraft can fly at far higher altitudes where air drag is lower, thus high speeds are more readily attained. The technology has the potential to exceed 6,400 kilometres per hour (3,977 mph) if deployed in an evacuated tunnel.
The first commercial Maglev "people-mover" was officially opened in 1984 in Birmingham, England. It operated on an elevated 600-metre (2,000 ft) section of monorail track between Birmingham International Airport and Birmingham International railway station, running at speeds up to 42 km/h (26 mph); the system was eventually closed in 1995 due to reliability and design problems.
Perhaps the most well known implementation of high-speed maglev technology currently operating commercially is the IOS (initial operating segment) demonstration line of the german-built Transrapid train in Shangai, China that transports people 30 km (18.6 miles) to the airport in just 7 minutes 20 seconds, achieving a top speed of 431 km/h (268 mph), averaging 250 km/h (160 mph).Source: Wikipedia
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