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Why don’t we use more magnetic-levitation?

Magnetic-levitation no wheels: no wings: no take off; no landing; no engine; no fossil fuel no carbon; no noise; fewer airports; city centre to city centre 500kph. Why are we still pouring billions into wheels on rails invented in 1804?
Guy Macdonnell from East Sussex (Age 55+)

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One Response

  1. The kind of magnetic levitation you describe is, and will always remain. firmly in the realm of science fiction. The mag-lev trains that do exist are noisy, because they travel fast through the air, require very complex and expensive tracks to run on, and consume energy, usually from fossil fuels, all the time they are hovering, whether or not they are moving forwards.

    The short answer is that we are still pouring billions into conventional railway technology because it is much better for most applications than magnetic levitation – it is simple, well understood, doesn’t consume energy when its not moving and the tracks are much simpler to make and maintain (and switching from one track to another is SO much easier with rails).

    It is a decided mistake to assume that just because a technology is old, it is outdated. Railways are actually older than you think – the earliest railway in Britain that we know of was built in the year 1603, and we’re pretty certain that true railways existed in German metal mines at least 50 years before that.

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