Technical Reports

Maglev-Rail Intermodal Equipment and Suspension Study: Final Report

  • 01
  • Feb
  • 1993
AUTHOR: E. E. Gilcrease Jr., C. M. Gillam
OFFICE: RPD
REPORT NUMBER: DOT/FRA/NMI-92/22
SUBJECT: Maglev
KEYWORDS: Rail Carrier Intermodal Equipment, Maglev/Rail Interface, Guideways
ABSTRACT: The physical and operational characteristics of four existing and planned maglev systems were surveyed pertinent to the intermoda! interface for each system. The maglev systems investigated were: Grumman "New York State" (Configuration 002) Maglev; Transrapid Intercity (Transrapid 07) Maglev; HSST. Passive Intermediate Speed (HSST-300) Magfev; and Japan Railways Vertical Magnet (Configuration MLU 002) Maglev. The focus of this study was to investigate the feasibility of using existing railroad right-of-way to access center-city terminals in one of three possible methods: Maglev vehicles traveling over existing railroad tracks with the use of steel guide wheels and some means of exterior propulsion; maglev vehicles transferred onto modified railroad flatcars and transported over existing railroad tracks with locomotive power; or new grade-separated maglev guideways on existing railroad rights-of-way. AREA clearance requirements were compared with those used by Amtrak for unrestricted operation on its nationwide system, with the finding that Amtrak clearance requirements were the most restrictive. Each of the four maglev technologies were superimposed upon the Eastern U.S. Summary Clearance Diagram in two different modes of transportation - the "piggyback" and the "at-grade" modes and their impacts upon the clearance diagram were evaluated. As the result of this evaluation, the HSST-300 maglev technology was carried forward for the investigation of a maglev-rail car carrier intermodal concept. This investigation showed that a transition process is technically feasible and. can be achieved within a four-to-five minute time span with little or no passenger disruption. To assess the feasibility of maglev systems accessing existing center city terminals in the United States, information on 15 selected cities was reviewed, and the feasibility of implementing maglev systems in these areas was assessed. Recommendations are presented for each urban area.
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