Category Archives: Train of the future

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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

Why Can’t We Have a 300-MPH Floating Train Like Japan?

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Japan’s Maglev train leaves the platform for a test run on an experimental track in Tsuru on May 11, 2010. US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood took a test ride on Japan’s super-fast magnetic train that day, but President Obama’s high-speed rail plans have largely fallen through since then.
Photo by Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images

A Japanese railway company this month unveiled a prototype for a commercial passenger train that it says can reach speeds of 310 miles per hour via magnetic levitation. According to theAsahi Shimbun, the plan is for the floating train to begin zipping commuters from Tokyo to Nagoya in 2027. At that speed it could make the 200-mile trip in under 45 minutes, less than half the time it takes today on Japan’s already-zippy bullet trains.

Maglev trains have long been the holy grail of ground transportation. Levitating above steel rails, Maglev trains need no wheels and have no friction with the track, resulting in an ultra-fast and ultra-quiet ride. So far they’re also very expensive. Counting an additional planned Tokyo-to-Osaka leg, the project is expected to cost upwards of $100 billion.

But if that sounds prohibitive, consider that the United States spends significantly more than that on highways in a single year. And while a highway might get you from Los Angeles to San Francisco in six hours if you’re lucky, a Maglev train like the one Japan’s building could theoretically do it in an hour and 15 minutes. In fact, California has been trying to build a Los Angeles-to-San Francisco high-speed rail line for some 30 years, but the fight for funding has been tooth-and-nail. The state is now slated to have a 220-mph train up and running by 2028—but that’s just a conventional bullet train, the kind Japan has had for decades. There were once plans for a California-Nevada maglev train, but they never left the station, and the money for planning them ended up being reallocated to a highway project.
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Trains of the future on their way!

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Superfast double-decker trains will be taking passengers from London to six big cities in the UK by 2033. 

The Government set out plans for the high speed rail network – known as HS2 – on Monday (28 January). When the project is finished, it will take a lot less time to get to London from major cities like Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. Read More

Maglevs: The floating future of trains?

They have been promised for decades, but is it now finally the time for magnetic levitation (maglev) trains to hit the mainstream?

As a vision of the future it is a little underwhelming. A battered shipping container sits on top of a black platform that straddles a 130m (400ft) raised track. As I climb into the metal box, I note there are no seats and very little to hold on to.

I am still excited though, as I am about to ride the only magnetic levitation, or Maglev, train in the United States, owned and operated by General Atomic.

A red light flashes, there is a jolt and then a sense that we are floating…because we are. The platform beneath the cargo container I am in is being buoyed up and moved along by powerful electromagnets, allowing the train to move with low friction and no moving parts. As we move off, there is hardly any sound. A gentle whine is the only indication of the current flowing through the track below, and the main noise we can hear is trucks on the nearby freeway. As the shipping container gathers speed, the wind blows through the open doors and the ride is smooth and effortless. Just 20 seconds later we are at a standstill, but it is enough to help me understand why proponents believe Maglev systems are the future of trains and high-speed, long-distance travel.

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Vacuum trains: a high-speed pipe dream?

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Vacuum trains promise to speed between Europe and the US faster than a plane. But will they ever make it off the drawing board?

Transatlantic passengers on Concorde often referred to the supersonic plane as their “time machine” for its ability to land in New York two hours before it left London.

But that kind of illusion could look like child’s play if so-called vacuum trains ever take off.

These futuristic transporters, designed to hurtle through tunnels that have had all of the air sucked out of them, could theoretically hit speeds of up to 4,000 km/h (2,500 mph), cutting the commute from Europe to North America to just one hour.  In this high-speed future, passengers would arrive a full four hours before they set off. Read More

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