Transrapid

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Transrapid 09 at the Emsland test facility in Germany

Transrapid is a German high-speed monorail train using magnetic levitation. Based on a patent from 1934, planning of the Transrapid system started in 1969. The test facility for the system in Emsland, Germany was completed in 1987. In 1991, the technical readiness for application was approved by the Deutsche Bundesbahn in cooperation with renowned universities.[1]

Its current application-ready version, the Transrapid 09, has been designed for 500 km/h (311 mph) cruising speed and allows acceleration and deceleration of approximately 1 m/s2 (3.28 ft/s2).

In 2004, the first commercial implementation was completed. The Shanghai Maglev Train connects the rapid transit network 30.5 km (18.95 mi) to the Shanghai Pudong International Airport. The Transrapid system has not yet been deployed on a long-distance intercity line.

The system is developed and marketed by Transrapid International, a joint venture of Siemens and ThyssenKrupp.

At the end of 2011, the operation license of the Emsland test track has expired, and it has been closed. Early 2012, the demolition and reconversion of all the Emsland site, including the factory, has been approved.[2]

Technology[edit]

See also: Technology in the Magnetic levitation train article.

Levitation[edit]

The super-speed Transrapid maglev system has no wheels, no axles, no gear transmissions, no steel rails, and no overhead electrical pantographs. The maglev vehicles do not roll on wheels; rather, they hover above the track guideway, using the attractive magnetic force between two linear arrays of electromagnetic coils—one side of the coil on the vehicle, the other side in the track guideway—which function together as a magnetic dipole. During levitation and travelling operation, the Transrapid maglev vehicle floats on a frictionless magnetic cushion with no physical contact whatsoever to the track guideway. On-board vehicle electronic systems measure the dipole gap distance 100,000 times per second, to guarantee the clearance between the coils attached to the underside of the guideway and the magnetic portion of the vehicle wrapped around the guideway edges. With this precise, constantly updated electronic control, the dipole gap remains nominally constant at 10 mm (0.39 inches). When levitated, the maglev vehicle has about 15 centimetres (5.91 inches) of clearance above the guideway surface.

The Transrapid maglev vehicle requires less power to hover than it needs to run its on-board air conditioning equipment.

In Transrapid vehicle versions TR08 and earlier, when travelling at speeds below 80 km/h (50 mph), the vehicle levitation system and all on-board vehicle electronics were supplied power through physical connections to the track guideway. At vehicle speeds above 80 km/h, all on-board power was supplied by recovered harmonic oscillation of the magnetic fields created from the track’s linear stator (since these oscillations are parasitic, they cannot be used for vehicle propulsion). A new energy transmission system has since been developed for Transrapid vehicle version TR09, in which the maglev vehicle now requires no physical contact with the track guideway for these on-board power needs, regardless of the maglev vehicle speed. This feature helps to reduce on-going maintenance and operational costs.

In case of power failure of the track’s propulsion system, the maglev vehicle can use on-board backup batteries to temporarily power the vehicle's levitation system.

Propulsion[edit]

The Transrapid maglev system uses a synchronous longstator linear motor for both propulsion and braking. It works like a rotating electric motor whose stator is "unrolled" along the underside of the guideway, so that instead of producing a torque (rotation) it produces a linear force along its length. The electromagnets in the maglev vehicle that lift it also work as the equivalent of the excitation portion (rotor) of this linear electric motor. Since the magnetic travelling field only works in one direction, if there were to be several maglev trains on a given track section, they would all travel in the same direction—reducing the possibility of collision between the moving trains.

Energy requirements[edit]

The normal energy consumption of the Transrapid is approximately 50–100 kW per section for levitation and travel, and vehicle control. The drag coefficient of the Transrapid is about 0.26. The air resistance of the vehicle, which has a frontal cross section of 16 m2 (172 sq ft), requires a power consumption, at 400 km/h (249 mph) or 111 m/s (364 ft/s) cruising speed, given by the following formula:


P = c_w \cdot A_{\rm Front} \cdot v^3 \cdot (\mbox{density of surrounding air})/2


\begin{matrix}
P &=& 0{.}26 \cdot 16\,\mathrm{m}^2 \cdot (111\,\mathrm{m}/\mathrm{s})^3 \cdot 1{.}24\,\mathrm{kg}/\mathrm{m}^3 /2 \\
P &=& 3{.}53\cdot10^6\,\mathrm{kg}\cdot\mathrm{m}^2/\mathrm{s}^3 = 3{.}53\cdot10^6\,\mathrm{N}\cdot\mathrm{m}/\mathrm{s} = 3{.}53\,\mathrm{MW}
\end{matrix}

Power consumption compares favourably with other high-speed rail systems. With an efficiency of 0.85, the power required is about 4.2 MW (5,632 hp). Energy consumption for levitation and guidance purposes equates to approximately 1.7 kW/t. As the propulsion system is also capable of functioning in reverse, energy is transferred back into the electricity network during braking. An exception to this is when an emergency stop is performed using the emergency landing skids beneath the vehicle, although this method of bringing the vehicle to a stop is intended only as a last resort should it be impossible or undesirable to keep the vehicle levitating on back-up power to a natural halt.

Market segment, ecological impact and historical parallels[edit]

Compared to classical railway lines, Transrapid allows higher speeds and gradients with lower wear and tear and even lower energy consumption and maintenance needs. The Transrapid track is more flexible, and therefore more easily adapted to specific geographical circumstances than a classical train system. Cargo is restricted to a maximum payload of 15 tonnes (14.8 long tons; 16.5 short tons) per car. Transrapids allows maximum speeds of 550 km/h (342 mph), placing it between conventional High Speed Trains (200–320 km/h or 124–199 mph) and Air Traffic (720–990 km/h or 447–615 mph). The magnetic field generator, an important part of the engine being a part of the track, limits the system capacity.

From a competition standpoint, the Transrapid is a proprietary solution. The track being a part of the engine, only the single-source Transrapid vehicles and infrastructure can be operated. There is no multisourcing foreseen concerning vehicles or the highly complicated crossings and switches. Unlike classical railways or other infrastructure networks (as jointly administrated by the Bundesnetzagentur in Germany) a Transrapid system does not allow any direct competition.

Ecological impact[edit]

The Transrapid itself is an electrically driven, clean, high-speed, high-capacity[citation needed] means of transport able to build up point-to-point passenger connections in geographically challenged surroundings. This has to be set in comparison with the impact on heritage and or landscape protection areas (compare Waldschlößchenbrücke). Any impact of emissions has to take into account the source of electrical energy. The reduced expense, noise and vibration of a people-only Transrapid versus a cargo train track is not directly comparable[clarification needed]. The reuse of existing tracks and the interfacing with existing networks is limited. The Transrapid indirectly competes for resources, space and tracks in urban and city surroundings with classical urban transport systems and high speed trains.

Comparative costs[edit]

Track construction cost[edit]

The fully elevated Shanghai Maglev was built for $US1.33 billion for 30.5 km including trains and stations. Thus the cost per km for dual track was $US43.6 million per km including trains and stations. This was the first ever commercial use of the technology. Since then conventional fast rail track has been mass-produced in China for between $US4.6 and $US30.8 million per km - mostly in rural areas. (See High-speed rail in China).

In 2008 Transrapid Australia quoted the Victoria (Australia) State Government A$34 million per km for dual track .[3] This assumed 50% of the track was at grade and 50% was elevated. In comparison the 47 km Regional Rail Link to be built in Victoria will cost A$5 billion, or A$105 million per km including two stations.

From the above it is not possible to say whether Transrapid or Conventional fast rail track would be cheaper for a particular application.

In comparing costs it should be noted that the higher operating speed of the maglev system will result in more passengers being delivered over the same distance in a set time. The ability of the Transrapid system to handle tighter turns and higher gradients could heavily influence a cost comparison for a particular project.

Train purchase cost[edit]

In 2008 Transrapid Australia quoted the Victoria (Australia) State Government between A$16.5 million (commuter) and A$20 million (luxury) per trains section or carriage .[3] Due to the 3.7 m (12 ft 2 in) width of the Transrapid carriages they have a floor area of about 92 square meters (990 square feet). This works out at between A$179,000 and A$217,000 per square meter.

In comparison InterCityExpress which are also built by Siemens cost about A$6 million per carriage. Due to the 2.9 m (9 ft 6 in) width of the ICE carriages they have a floor area of about 72 square meters (775 square feet). This works out at about A$83,000 per square meter.

This shows Transrapid train sets are likely to cost over twice as much as ICE 3 conventional fast rail train sets at this time. However each Transrapid train set is more than twice as efficient due to their faster operating speed and acceleration according to UK Ultraspeed. In their case study only 44% as many Transrapid train sets are needed to deliver the same amount of passengers as conventional high-speed trains.

Operational cost[edit]

Transrapid claims [4] their system has very low maintenance costs compared to conventional high speed rail systems due to the non-contact nature of their system. Because there is no contact between the track and the magnets, there is essentially no need to replace worn parts, as the train has a lifespan longer than that of a maglev company.[citation needed]

Critics[edit]

Critical voices, such as Rod Eddington[5] refer to recent developments of railway and other competing technologies and draw parallels between Transrapid and previous high technology hypes without broad market impact outside niche applications.

Implementations[edit]

China[edit]

Transrapid magnetic levitation train in Shanghai, connecting the subway station to Pudong International Airport

The only commercial implementation so far was in the year 2000, when the Chinese government ordered a Transrapid track to be built connecting Shanghai to its Pudong International Airport. It was inaugurated in 2002 and regular daily trips started in March 2004. The travel speed is 430 km/h (267 mph), which the Maglev train maintains for 50 seconds as the short, 30.5 km (18.95 mi), track only allows the cruising speed to be maintained for a short time before deceleration must begin. The average number of riders per day (14 hours of operation) is about 7,500, while the maximum seating capacity per train is 440. A second class ticket price of about 50 RMB ( Renminbi) (about 6 Euro) is four times the price of the Airport Bus and ten times more expensive than a comparable Underground ticket.

The project was sponsored by the German Hermes loans with DM 200 million. The total cost is believed to be $1.33 billion.

A planned extension of the line to Shanghai Hongqiao Airport (35 km (22 mi)) and onward to the city of Hangzhou (175 km or 109 mi) has been repeatedly delayed. Originally planned to be ready for Expo 2010, final approval was granted on 18 August 2008, and construction was scheduled to start in 2010 for completion in 2014.[6] However the plan is cancelled, possibly due to the building of the high speed Shanghai–Hangzhou Passenger Railway.[7]

Germany[edit]

To date, the Emsland test facility remains the only existing Transrapid track in Germany.[citation needed]

Planned systems[edit]

Iran[edit]

In 2007 Iran and a German company reached an agreement on using maglev trains to link the cities of Tehran and Mashhad. The agreement was signed at the Mashhad International Fair site between Iranian Ministry of Roads and Transportation and the German company. Maglev trains can reduce the 900 km (559 mi) travel time between Tehran and Mashhad to about 2.5 hours.[8] Munich-based Schlegel Consulting Engineers said they had signed the contract with the Iranian ministry of transport and the governor of Mashad. "We have been mandated to lead a German consortium in this project," a spokesman said. "We are in a preparatory phase." The next step will be to assemble a consortium, a process that is expected to take place "in the coming months," the spokesman said. The project could be worth between 10 billion and 12 billion euros, the Schlegel spokesman said. Siemens and ThyssenKrupp, the developers of a high-speed maglev train, called the Transrapid, both said they were unaware of the proposal. The Schlegel spokesman said Siemens and ThyssenKrupp were currently "not involved" in the consortium.[9]

Switzerland[edit]

SwissRapide AG in co-operation with the SwissRapide Consortium is developing and promoting an above-ground magnetic levitation (Maglev) monorail system, based on the Transrapid technology. The first projects planned are the lines BernZurich, LausanneGeneva as well as Zurich – Winterthur.[10][11]

Colorado I-70[edit]

Transrapid is one of a number of companies seeking to build a 120 mi (190 km) high speed transit system parallel to the I-70 Interstate in the US state of Colorado.[12] Submissions put forward say that maglev is offers significantly better performance than rail given the harsh climate and terrain. No technology has been preferred as at November 2013 with construction mooted to being in 2020.[13]

There have been several other evaluations conducted in the USA including Washington DC to Baltimore, Los Angeles to Las Vegas, Chattanooga to Atlanta and Pittsburg to Philadelphia.[14] So far no actual project has been started.See List of maglev train proposals:United States

Rejected systems[edit]

Germany[edit]

High-speed competition[edit]

The Transrapid originated as one of several competing concepts for new land-based high-speed public transportation developed in Germany. In this competition, the Transrapid primarily competed with the InterCityExpress (ICE), a high-speed rail system based on "traditional" railway technology. The ICE “won” in that it was adopted nationwide in Germany, however Transrapid development continued. A number of studies for possible Transrapid lines were conducted[by whom?] after the ICE had entered service, including a long-distance line from Hamburg to Berlin.

Munich link[edit]

The most recent[vague] German Transrapid line project, and the one that came closest to being built, having previously been approved[when?], was an airport connection track from Munich Railway Station to Munich Airport, a 40-kilometre (25 mi) project between Munich Central Station and Munich Airport was close to being built, but was cancelled on 27 March 2008, when the German government cancelled the Transrapid project because of a massive overrun in costs. Prior to the cancellation, the Bavarian governing party CSU faced internal and local resistance, in particular from communities along the proposed route. The CSU had planned to position Transrapid as an example of future technology and innovation in Bavaria. German federal transport minister Wolfgang Tiefensee announced the decision after a crisis meeting in Berlin at which industry representatives reportedly revealed that costs had risen from €1.85 billion to well over €3 billion ($4.7 billion).[15] This rise in projected costs, however was mostly due to the cost estimates of the construction of the tunnel and related civil engineering after the designated operator Deutsche Bahn AG shifted most of the risk-sharing towards its subcontractors - and not due to the cost of the maglev technology.[original research?]

United Kingdom[edit]

The Transrapid was rejected in 2007[16][17] by the UK government for a maglev link between London and Glasgow, via Birmingham, Liverpool/Manchester, Leeds, Teesside, Newcastle and Edinburgh.[16]

Incidents[edit]

September 2006 accident[edit]

On 22 September 2006, a Transrapid train collided with a maintenance vehicle at 170 km/h (106 mph) on the test track in Lathen. The maintenance vehicle destroyed the first section of the train, and came to rest on its roof. This was the first major accident involving a Transrapid train. The news media reported 23 fatalities and that several people were severely injured, these being the first fatalities on any maglev.[18] The accident was caused by human error with the first train being allowed to leave the station before the maintenance vehicle had moved off the track. This situation could be avoided in a production environment by installing an automatic collision avoidance system.

SMT fire accident[edit]

On 11 August 2006, a Transrapid train running on Shanghai Maglev Line caught fire. The fire was quickly put out by Shanghai's firemen. It was reported that the vehicle's on-board batteries may have caused the fire.

Alleged theft of Transrapid technology[edit]

In April 2006, new announcements by Chinese officials planning to cut maglev rail costs by a third stirred some strong comments by various German officials and more diplomatic statements of concern from Transrapid officials. Deutsche Welle reported that the China Daily had quoted the State Council encouraging engineers to "learn and absorb foreign advanced technologies while making further innovations."[19]

The China Aviation Industry Corporation said in its defence that the new Zhui Feng maglev train is not based or dependent on foreign technology. It claims it is not only a much lighter train, but also has a much more advanced design.

Development history and versions[edit]

Date Train Location Present location Comments Top speed (km/h)
1969 / 1970 ? Transrapid 01 Munich Deutsches Museum, Munich By Krauss-Maffei. Indoor benchtop model. Only 600 mm long track.
6 May 1971 MBB Prinzipfahrzeug MBB's Ottobrunn factory (near Munich), West Germany  ? By MBB. First passenger-carrying principle vehicle. 660 m test track. Prinzipfahrzeug=principle [demonstrator] vehicle. 90 (1971)
6 October 1971 Transrapid 02 Krauss-Maffei's plant in Munich - Allach, West Germany Krauss-Maffei, Munich By Krauss-Maffei. 930 m test track which included one curve. Displayed at Paris Expo from 4 June to 9 June 1973. 164 (October 1971)
16 August 1972 Transrapid 03 Munich Scrapped By Krauss-Maffei. Air-cushion vehicle (ACV or hovercraft) propelled by a linear motor. The system was abandoned in 1973 due to the too high noise generation and the too large consumption. Attempts in France (Aérotrain) and in the USA ([1]) led in the following years to similar decisions. 930 m test track. 140 (September 1972)
1972 / 1974 ? Erlangener Erprobungsträger (EET 01) Southern edge of Erlangen (near Nuremberg), West Germany  ? By Siemens and others. Electrodynamic suspension (EDS) (like JR-Maglev). Unmanned. 880 m circular track. Erlangener Erprobungsträger=Erlangen test carrier. 160 / 230 (1974) ?
20 December 1973 Transrapid 04 Munich - Allach, West Germany Technik Museum Speyer By Krauss-Maffei. 250 (end 1973), 253.2 (21 November 1977)
1974 / January 1975 ? Komponentenmeßträger (KOMET) Manching, West Germany  ? By MBB. Unmanned. 1300 m track. 401.3 (1974)
1975 HMB1 Thyssen Henschel in Kassel, West Germany  ? By Thyssen Henschel. First functional longstator vehicle. 100 m guideway. Unmanned.
1976 HMB2 Thyssen Henschel in Kassel, West Germany  ? By Thyssen Henschel. World's first passenger-carrying, longstator vehicle. 100 m guideway. 36 (or 40 ?)
17 May 1979 Transrapid 05 International Transportation Exhibition (IVA 79) in Hamburg. Reassembled in Kassel in 1980. ThyssenKrupp, Kassel 908 m track. 75
June 1983 Transrapid 06 Transrapid Versuchsanlage Emsland (TVE), West Germany A part is in Deutsches Museum, Bonn Presented to public in Munich on 13 March 1983. 31.5 km track. 302 (1984), 355 (1985), 392 (1987), 406 (1987), 412.6 (January 1988)
1988 Transrapid 07 Transrapid Versuchsanlage Emsland (TVE), West Germany Munich International Airport and Infozentrum Lathen (TVE Emsland) Presented to public at the International Transportation Exhibition (IVA 88) in Hamburg. 436 (1989), 450 (17 June 1993)
August 1999 Transrapid 08 Transrapid Versuchsanlage Emsland (TVE), Germany Destroyed 22 September 2006 in accident
2002 Transrapid SMT Shanghai Maglev Train, China Shanghai, China 501 (12 November 2003)
2007 Transrapid 09 Transrapid Versuchsanlage Emsland (TVE), Germany  ?

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Promotional Video in German with that statement at the endTranslation
  2. ^ Transrapid-Teststrecke vor dem Abriss, NDR (in German)
  3. ^ a b Transrapid quote to Victorian Government
  4. ^ Transrapid Website - Economic Efficiency
  5. ^ Eddington Study
  6. ^ http://www.china.org.cn/china/national/2008-08/18/content_16258686.htm
  7. ^ http://english.eastday.com/e/110119/u1a5677922.html
  8. ^ http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=6163&sectionid=351020102
  9. ^ http://news.alibaba.com/article/detail/technology/100109815-1-update-2-thyssenkrupp%252C-siemens-unaware-iran.html
  10. ^ "Lausanne en 10 minutes" (in French). GHI. 3 March 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  11. ^ "In 20 Minuten von Zürich nach Bern". Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German) (Zurich). 20 June 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  12. ^ "Maglev: On-Time Travel For Colorado". Retrieved 6 Dec 2013. 
  13. ^ "Colorado Springs residents get look at proposed Front Range rail system". November 21, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Dawn of a new transportation era". Transrapid International-USA. Retrieved 27 March 2008. 
  15. ^ "Germany Scraps Transrapid Rail Plans". Deutsche Welle. 27 March 2008. Retrieved 27 March 2008. 
  16. ^ a b "Government’s five-year plan". Railway Magazine 153 (1277): 6–7. September 2007. 
  17. ^ Clark, Andrew (6 June 2005). "China's 270mph flying train could run on London to Glasgow route if plan takes off". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 December 2008. 
  18. ^ "Deadly crash on German monorail". BBC News. 22 September 2006. Retrieved 27 March 2008. 
  19. ^ "China Masters German Train Technology, Will Cut Costs". Deutsche Welle. 28 April 2006. Retrieved 27 March 2008. 

External links[edit]