Monthly Archives: March 2013

UK Super Train – Megastructures – National Geographic Documentary

Published on Feb 1, 2013

Having set up their first railroad during the reign of Queen Victoria, it was about time that UK updated their railroad network to match the fast pace of 21st Centuries. UK Super Train, an episode of the National Geographic documentary series Megastructures tells the exciting tale of UK’s high-speed train project that was then known as the Highspeed1. This super train traveled at a daunting 300 km/h and was a much more complicated task than building bridges and highways. Construction of railroads resulted in a more drastic change to the topography of land than road networks and required building bridges and tunnels; the latter being a risky venture, if the possibility of cave-ins and fluctuating air pressure is taken into account.

The project made use of existing Victorian landmarks such as the St Pancras Station that was turned from a liability into an asset. This National Geographic documentary film of Megastructures series follows the entire grueling tasks and procedures assigned to the engineers, from digging a trench through a chalk hill to a possible threat to the historical heritage of the country; the project had its fair share of setbacks. Stumbling across artifacts that were almost 4000 years old, the construction venture was exciting, but also raised a nationwide concern regarding the safeguarding of these precious items. Despite these challenges, the project managed to survive and was completed, while as well preserving the historical sites that were done with the undying efforts of Archaeologists, who outnumbered the construction workers at one point.

MegaStructures: UK Super Train: The National Geographic documentary film entails interviews and an engaging narration that gives in-depth insight into the nature of the project and the various challenges it battled. The construction began with the aim of turning loss-making infrastructure into assets and to cut down on the cost of building the high-speed rail network that already stood at an overwhelming 7 billion pounds. The venture was one of the largest and most expensive engineering projects carried out in UK and became a major tourist attraction. UK Super Train, the National Geographic documentary film of Megastructures series covers every aspect of the development of Highspeed1 that gave UK’s railroad network a much-needed boost.


Superconducting vacuum trains

While fast, frictionless maglev train systems have been operational for decades, they haven’t exactly become ubiquitous – perhaps because of the cost of the systems, or perhaps because there is no compelling need to replace the already widespread and workable conventional railway infrastructure. Either way, the idea is not about to fade from our collective imagination and several maglev of the future concepts have been floated.

The Evacuated Tube Transport (ETT) system envisions superconducting maglev trains operating in evacuated tubes at speeds of up to 6,500 km/h (4,039 mph) on international trips – that’s New York to Beijing in two hours! The proponents of this system say that ET3 could be 50 times more efficient than electric cars or trains.

Terraspan goes even further than ultra-efficient mass transport with its vision for a network of superconducting tunnels. As well as providing infrastructure for “Terraspan trains,” this network would also facilitate zero loss transmission of electricity to our homes. Read More

5 New Super Trains on Fast Track to World’s Fastest Bullet Read more: 5 New Super Trains on Fast Track to World’s Fastest Bullet – Popular Mechanics


The case for high-speed, low-impact train travel is clear, and many governments have ambitious high-speed train plans in the works. But are they realistic? The reporter who tested AmericaÂ’s first maglev now evaluates proposals for the 200-mph trains of the future, in their order on the horizon.

Gazing at the verdant blur of mountains zipping by noiselessly as you ride on the Japanese Shinkansen (bullet train) is enough to make anyone fall in love with high-speed train travel. When you couple that appeal with concerns about energy consumption and global warming, a mass-transit rail system that can whisk passengers along at speeds in excess of 300 mph seems like an obvious solution to today’s transportation woes.

But high-speed railways are outsized mega projects with multi-billion-dollar budgets that can rival those of space programs. So constructing them isn’t simply a matter of next-gen tech–it’s also about money and political will. To wit, this year a magnetic levitation line planned for Munich, Germany, was squelched at the eleventh hour when officials balked at cost–not of the maglev setup itself but rather at the billions of dollars it would take to tunnel under the center of the city.

Read more:

China Unveils World’s Fastest High Speed Train (VIDEO)

BEIJING — A Chinese passenger train hit a record speed of 302 miles per hour (486 kilometers per hour) Friday during a test run of a yet-to-be opened link between Beijing and Shanghai, state media said. (Scroll down for video.)

The Xinhua News Agency said it was the fastest speed recorded by an unmodified conventional commercial train. Other types of trains in other countries have traveled faster.

A specially modified French TGV train reached 357.2 mph (574.8 kph) during a 2007 test, while a Japanese magnetically levitated train sped to 361 mph (581 kph) in 2003. More

Magnetic Levitation Projects for Kids

mag lev trainIt’s not a bird, a plane or even Superman; it’s a bullet train. A maglev train levitates above the ground and is propelled at speeds of up to 300 miles per hour by powerful superconducting electromagnets. Experimenting with maglev models and other magnetic levitation projects is a good way for children to learn about magnetism and electricity.

Read more: Magnetic Levitation Projects for Kids |

Floating Paper Clips

  • Magnetic fields attract metal such as iron and steel.

    Ferromagnetism is a natural force created by the motion of the electrons. In most elements the spinning electrons are paired with other electrons moving in opposite direction. Some metals, such as iron, have most of their electrons moving in the same direction. This creates a field of lines of magnetic force which can be demonstrated using iron filings and a permanent magnet. Metals which are attracted to a magnetic field are called ferromagnetic metals, according to Georgia State University.

    A way to demonstrate the attraction of metals to a magnetic field is to do the floating paper clip experiment. The student attaches a permanent magnet to a metal bracket mounted on a shelf or box. He or she will then tie a piece of string to a paper clip and place it underneath the magnet. The magnet causes the paper clip to rise up and float at the end of the string. The kids can test the strength of the magnetic attraction by pulling on the string to see how far away from the magnet the paper clip will float. Read more:

Facts About Bullet Trains for Kids


For kids interested in trains, the bullet train features a wealth of interesting facts. Shinkansen, commonly known as the bullet train, gets its nickname from its rounded nose, similar to the shape of a bullet. These Japanese trains are among the fastest in the world, capable of traveling up to 186 m.p.h. The bullet train lines connect Japan from Aomori in the north to Kagoshima in the south. Read more

Kids Zone

trains-of-the-futureTrains of the Future

The future for trains is exciting! Great Britain has the fastest growing railway network in Europe and the number of people using the train is expected to keep growing. Trains of the future will carry more passengers and go at faster speeds than ever before.

Futuristic Trains

The new High Speed 1 service opened in December 2009 travels from London to Kent at speeds of up to 140mph and the government are considering investing in a High Speed 2 service from London to Scotland. The fourth generation Pendolino tilt trains, the newer version of the ones used by Virgin Trains, will be able to carry up to 638 passengers and could be able to reach speeds up to 275kph! See Whats Next