Developing a Maglev Train System in Australia

Pages: 7 (2030 words) Published: October 30, 2010

Aims and Objectives:

The main objective of my research is to know what exactly the barrier in developing a MAGLEV train system in Australia? What are the innovative ideas by the rail industries in the world? Also very important to know why is the need for such innovation in the country like Australia?


According to Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Australia is the sixth largest country in the world having land area of 7,686,850 km2. Australia has eight main cities, which are very far from each other. Except SYDNEY-CANBERRA all other big cities of Australia are more than 800kms apart. So travelling from one city to another takes lot of time, in some cases it takes days if we travel by train. Now the only way to travel such a long distance in short time is by air. The long distance between the main cities generates the need of faster mode of transportation. The train system in Australia is better in comparison to many underdeveloped and developing countries, but still it is lagging behind countries like Germany, China and Japan. They have developed a new train system called MAGLEV trains which is faster, more efficient and more comfortable than the Australian train system. Holmer (2003, p.31) stated that MAGLEV train is the fastest train in the world.

The main reason to develop MAGLEV in Australia is because Australian train system is good but not perfect. There are some negative points. Trains are occasionally late. Sometimes there are major delays due to the maintenance work being carried out. Pudney & Wardop (2000, p.2) stated that 'Australia’s rail network is single track with occasional crossing loops’. Because of this, delay in one train affects the schedule of other trains on the same track. This creates a lot of inconvenience to the passengers.

Lee et al. (2006) suggests that there are mainly three types of technologies of the MAGLEV train. Electrodynamics Suspension (EDS), Electromagnetic Suspension (EDS) & Hybrid Electromagnetic Suspension, Out of these EMS & EDS are more popular. Ono et al. (2002) stated that MAGLEV train in Japan has achieved maximum speed of 581 km/hr which is the world record of highest speed achieved by any manned train and maximum speed of MAGLEV train in Germany is 501 km/hr. Generally the average travel time of any MAGLEV is 400 km/hr.

The secret of success of MAGLEV train is that it does not run on the track, but it levitates on the guideway which allows it to reach very high speed (Ono et al. 2002). Track of the MAGLEV train is called the guideway and train body is called train car. Lee et al. (2006) informs that in MAGLEV train system guideway is made of superconductor and the train car is made up of electromagnets. Yan (2004) explained that as electricity is supplied to the electromagnets and superconductor, it gets magnetized and a magnetic field develops between the guideway and train car, which levitates the train car from the guide way. The cumulative attraction and repulsion force between electromagnets of guideway and superconductor propels the train in forward direction. The friction of wheels and tracks plays a large part in the energy loss (Lee et al. 2006).

Introduction of MAGLEV train in Australia can revolutionise the transport system in Australia. To develop MAGLEV trains in Australia we must think about the problem and hurdles for the development of MAGLEV trains. Schach & Naumann (2007) mentions that there are so many factors which one have to take under consideration before developing the new rail system. As it is new system, it may require new infrastructure, tracks and power stations. Even after knowing almost all the barriers obstructing the construction of MAGLEV trains in Australia, further research is still needed for the total solution of the problem.

Literature Review:

Even though the MAGLEV technology provides faster and safer mode of transportation, it is not introduced in most of...

References: 9. Pudney, P & Wardrop, A, ‘Generating train plans with Problem Space Search’, Proceeding of CORE 2000 Conference on Railway Engineering, Adelaide, 2000.
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