Thursday, May 29, 2014

Russian Rail Group Aims to Develop Magnetic Container Freight Train

Partnership with Power Giant to Construct Test Track in Port
Shipping News Feature

RUSSIA – State owned nuclear power company Rosatom and Russian Railways (RZD) have signed an agreement to research and develop magnetic levitation (maglev) rail line for use specifically in container freight transportation. The first stage of the project will combine efforts to develop technical and technological solutions of the basic components, and elements of the transport system, with magnetic suspension. After working out the technical issues, there are plans to establish a 3 kilometre test system in the port of Ust-Luga. RZD President Vladimir Yakunin said:

“This is real technology. It is about moving the containers as a pilot project, but this is not only limited to the movement of containers for loading and unloading, containers will be transported on fairly long distances.”

The agreement also provides the organisations with joint scientific research in the fields of non-destructive testing, vibration diagnostics, remote analysis, mathematical modelling, energy conservation, water purification, sewage and industrial waste.

Maglev trains come in several forms and have been around for over a century with German scientists advancing the technology considerably during the Second World War when Hermann Kemper patented systems he had been working on for over twenty years. Kemper’s work led to the now defunct Transrapid monorail test facility and latterly to the Shanghai Maglev line. Maglev trains easily produce the fastest speeds ever achieved as against wheeled track trains (Transrapid was designed with a cruising speed of well over 300 mph) and uses less power to hover 15 centimetres above its track guideway than to power the on board air conditioning equipment.

Photo: The Shanghai train in operation.