Friday, December 05, 2008

A Mugging

There was a show on maglev trains the other night on the Discovery Channel and the technology and physics that drive the trains are mind-blowing. Imagine; the highest recorded speed of a maglev train is 581 km/h (that’s just over 360 mph, for our American friends)—that’s Baguio and back in under an hour… with only magnets propelling the train! There are numerous ways of applying the technology, but the underlying principle is always the same: powerful electromagnets and their opposing magnetic fields push a 50-ton train from point A to B. I don’t believe performance is an issue but the economics may well be, though. Maglev transport systems are notoriously expensive to build, but, proponents claim operation and maintenance costs are less than those of traditional trains and even buses. One thing’s for sure, however; don’t count on a maglev train ferrying you and your friends to Baclaran anytime soon.


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