WIT Press

An Operation And Maintenance Perspective Of Low Speed Maglev Applications


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L K Siu, D Chan, T Mellor & D Carden


The unique feature of the maglev technology is the use of magnetic forces for vehicle levitation and linear motors for propulsion which eliminate the physical steel wheel on rail contact. Two approaches have been developed for vehicle levitation. These are the electromagnetic suspension system (EMS) based on attractive magnetic forces and electrodynamic suspension system (EDS) based on repulsive magnetic forces. Since the practical concept of using maglev for ground transport first proposed by Powell and Danby [1], many innovative ideas and configurations of maglev based on EDS as well as EMS have been proposed [2], and much advances have been made. To date, typical examples of commercially available products are the Transrapid (Germany) and the CHSST (Japan) system. These two systems are based on the electromagnetic suspension principle which is critically dependent on the dynamic closed-loop control of iron-cored electromagnets. Maglev as a technology through years of research and development has faced many technical problems and challenges, and a significant number of them have been resolved. There could be very little doubt that maglev is a mature and sophisticated technology from a technical point of view. This paper attempts to highlight and address the issues with ways and means to implement a low speed urban maglev system from an operation and maintenance perspective. The paper also addresses \“what if’ questions, which very often would be raised from an end user perspective.