>> About Maglev >> Maglev Technology
of Magnetic Levitation
[ Introduction ]
It is transportation that is the direct product of the
social link and social relationship of the people. Revolutionary
changes have taken place in the life of the mankind
since human beings acquired the capability of walking
upright as a result of evolution from the ape. Human
being’s vision was widened to enable itself to better
observe the surroundings and to be watchful against
any possible crises. But due to the low productive forces
and constraints on people by the conditions of the nature
in the primitive times, usually they could not but live
by hunting animals or gathering plants within a certain
region to maintain the lease of life by making use of
a few elements of the nature, let alone any act of transport
for the commercial intercourse among the peasants, workers
Nevertheless, with the development of human society,
people gradually widened their vision in the geographic
space through several forms of lateral social contact
in their production activities and injected active seeking
factor into the passive man, environment relationship.
Gradually, human being mastered the use of tools and
other special at his service. Among others, the horse,
an animal which changed the speed of human transportation,
enabled a cart to run at some 10km/h, thus the region
scoped varied and the link between city and city became
closer, enhancing the progress of culture and civilization
in various places.
The British Industrial Revolution shook the transportation
modes left over in thousands of years. The advent of
automotive and train realized the revolution of power
and the engine enabled vehicles to substantially increase
their speed. From then on, speed was associated with
energy and efficiency. Nowadays, a car usually runs
at 80 to 100km/h. Train has evolved from a very slow,
heavy iron “thing” into a sort of popular surface transportation
means, which can attain a speed of 150 to 200km/h.
Speed is a target the mankind is eternally seeking.
At present, high speed rail is in common use in Europe
as well as in Japan. Its max speed exceeds 200km/h,thus
pulling cities, even countries still closer and vigorously
promoting information exchanges and talent folw.
One of the characteristics of the society created by
modern science and technology is the large volume of
information and the wide high speed transmission of
information. A wholly new concept of region and speed
has been formed in the minds of people and it has become
a global culture, which is more and more unchangeable.
With such an aspiration of the mankind’s for high speed
transportation, maglev technology was born at the right
moment. In the labs of many countries, scientists and
engineers were striving to put the product which integrated
traditional electromechanical components with modern
control technology into commercial application.
[ Maglev Technology ]
Electromagnetic levitation: controllable electromagnetic
field is generated by exciting the on-board levitation
magnets and the magnets and stator packs of long stator
linear motor along the guideway attract each other,
thus pulling the train upward and a stable levitation
gap being guaranteed by controlling the levitation excitation
current. Levitation gap between magnets and guideway
is normally controlled to the range between 8 and 12mm.
High-speed maglev system consists of four major components,
i.e. guideway, vehicle, power supply and operation control
guideway guides the direction of the train’s movement
and bears the load of the train and transmits it to
the sub grade. The superstructure of the guideway comprises
precisely welded steel or reinforced concrete guideway
beams for connecting long stators and substructure constituted
by the reinforced concrete piers and foundations.
vehicle is the most important part of the high speed
maglev system, comprising levitation chassis and the
magnets mounted on the chassis, secondary suspension
system and vehicle section. Besids it includes such
electrical appliances as on-board batteries, emergency
braking system, levitation control system.
The power supply system includes substations, trackside
feeder cables, switch stations and other power supply
equipment. Power supply system feeds the train with
the power required for the train operation by energizing
the long stator windings on the guideway. First, high
voltage alternating current is taken from the 110KV
public power grid, stepped down to 20KV and 1.5KV via
step-down transformer, then converted into direct current
via rectifier, then converted back to variable frequency
a c current between 0 and 300Hz via rectifier. After
step-up, the current will be fed to longstator winding
on the guideway via guideway cables and switch stations,
generating propulsion force between the stator and on-board
magnets. The rectification equipment, conversion equipment
and motor stators etc. of the maglev system are all
installed on the ground. No strict requirements for
the volume, weight, and anti-vibration of the equipment
Operation control system:
It is the fundamental guarantee for the normal operation
of the entire maglev system. It includes all the equipment
to be used in security guarantee control, execution
and plan and also includes the equipment to be used
in communication among the equipment. Operation control
system consists of operation control center, communication
system, decentralized control system and on-board control
Development of Maglev ]
Development of German
In 1922, Hermann Kemper put forward the principle of
magnetic levitation levitation and received a patent
for magnetic levitation technology-the first patent
of the kind in the world in 1934.
The Germans’ researches of maglev transportation in
the real sense began in 1968. Before then, no systematic
research had been carried out because the level of technical
and technological conditions remained rather low which
limited its development to a large extent.
From 1968 on, Germany was in urgent need of developing
new high speed transportation systems due to environment
and energy problems.
In 1969, the Federal Ministry of Transport, DB AG and
industry of Germany launched H S R (high performance,
high speed rail) study in which HS maglev line was involved.
The German Industry began the development of maglev
transport on this basis, aided finan cially by the Federal
At the initial stage, equal stress was laid on the research
of both normal conducting superconducting maglev technology.
In 1971, the test run of the first principle vehicle
in Germany was conducted on a 660m tral track. The vehicle
was propelled by the short stator linear motor mounted
on the sides of the vehicle.
In 1975, a maglev vehicle propelled by synchronous long
stator linear motor on the guideway side was tested
at the NMB1 Test line at Thyssen Henschel in Kassle.
In 1976, passenger-carrying long stator test vehicle
HMB 2 was tested at Thyssen Henschel.
In 1977, after systematic analysis, the Federal Ministry
of Research and Technology (BMFT) decided in favor of
the concentrated development of the transport system
propelled by longstator linear motor using normal conducting
magnets, considering the technical level required for
super conducting maglev rail was too high and it was
difficult to make adequate progress in a short period
In 1978, the German Government decided to build a transrapid
test track in Emsland.
In 1979, at the International Transportation Exhibition
(IVA 79) in Hamburg, a 900m long TR demonstration route
was displayed. It was not until then that people began
to come in contact with and be concerned with maglev
train in real sense. Hamburg residents showed great
interest in the vehicle which can run at a speed of
75km/h. The successful display of the maglev vehicle
at the Exhibition gave a great impetus to the development
course of the high speed transrapid. Moreover it helped
to bring about Germans’ decision to construct a large-size
transrapid test facility.
In 1980, the construction of the Transrapid Test Facility
started in Emsland. To build its first portion, the
German Industry formed “Magnetbahn Transrapid” Consortium.
Project phase I consists of a 21.5km-long test guideway,
test center and the Experimental Vehicle TR 06. Test
run of unmanned vehicle began on that portion of guideway
in 1982. The portion was put into trial operation on
June 30, 1983. At the end of the same year, the vehicle
attained the speed of 300km/h. To increase the test
speed, it was decided in 1984 to extend the southern
loop. The construction of the southern loop was completed
in 1987. The total length of TVE guideway reached 31.5km
and speed increased to 400km/h.
Prior to December, 1991, the Deutsche Bundesbahn in
cooperation with renowned universities set up an expert
team under the leadership of DBA. The expert team, having
made a comprehensive inspection and appraisal of the
highspeed Maglev Transrapid, came to the conclusion
that “the technology had been fally mature for application”.
Thus Transrapid became the world’s first superspeed
maglev system with technical readiness for application.
In 1993, Vehicle TR 07 attained a new max speed record
of 450km/h at TVE.
May 9/June 14, 1996 the Federal Parliament passed the
“Transrapid Requirement Law”.
In April, 1997, Germany decided to build 292km-long
Transrapid route Berlin Hamburg. It had been planned
to start the construction in the second half of the
yaer 1998 and to be put into commercial operation in
2005. TR 08 vehicle had been developed specially for
use in that line. The vehicle was tested at TVE in October
1999. However, the construction plan had to be cancelled
in February, 2000 because new forecast indicated that
the construction of the new route might encounter the
risk of suffering lossesl
Sino German Construction
of Maglev line in Cooperation
In June, 2000, the city of Shanghai and Transrapid International
agreed to jointly carry out a feasibility study on highspeed
Transrapid demonstration line in China. In December,
China decided to build a highspeed transrapid demonstration
line in Shanghai from Metro Longyang Road station to
Pudong International Airport. The construction began
in March 2001.
On December 31, 2002, the Shanghai Maglev Line, after
more than two years of designing, construction and commissioning
by the experts of China and Germany, eventually came
into view in the world. The Chinese Prime Minister Zhu
Rongji and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder were
among the first guests in her maiden trip. On board
the world’s sole commercially-operated maglev train
and looking through the windows at the road vehicles
lagging far behind, they enjoyed the pleasure to them
by the speed of 430km/h and nodded with smile.
Development of Maglev
Transport in Other Countries
Progress of world interest have been made in Maglev
transport not merely in Germany and Japan. Since the
seventies of the 20 century, developed countries like
Japan, USA, Canada, France, UK etc have in succession
carried out development of maglev transport system.
In UK there used to be a maglev line linking Birmingham
Airport with International Railway station, 600m long.
It need only 90 seconds to bring the passengers to their
destinations. Though that maglev line was no longer
in service, its maglev impact wares serged was no doubt
In Japan, R & D of Maglev which adopts normal conducting
technology began as early as in 1962. Whith the rapid
development of superconducting technology, Japan turned
to the R & D of Maglev using superconducting technology
in early seventies.
In 1972, for the first time, the test run of a superconducting
maglev vehicle 2.2 ton in Weight succeeded on the 480m
long test track and attained the speed of 60km/h.
In December,1977, vehicle attained the max speed of
204km/h on the Miyazaki Maglev Test Track.
In December 1979, the speed in the unmanned vehicle
run was raised to 517km/h.
In November 1982, the test of manned maglev train succeeded.
In 1989, 494km/h in unmanned vehicle run was attained.
In 1994, max speed of unmanned run attained 431km/h,
that of manned run attained 411km/h.
Test runs are now underway in Japan. So are the researches
on the improvement of aerodynamics, reduction of noise
and cost decrease. Commercial application is planned
to the place in 2004.
So many countries in the world have been involved in
the researches of the maglev technology, but only in
Shanghai a real maglev operation line was successfully
built. The success again proves that the maglev technology
is safe, economic and advanced .Surely the economic
benefit and political effect brought can not be overestimated.
Someone said: "Maglev train is the most fundamental
breakthrough in the railway technology since the advent
of Stephenson’s "Rocket " steam locomotive
about 200 years ago". This is not at all too much
praise. Maglev train should be regarded not merely as
a fundamental breakthrough, but much more as an example
of a modern transport means.
We recalled the development history of the maglev train
with a clear purpose of commemorating the past 80 year
of development, and more for the purpose of meeting
the arrival of new brilliance the maglev transportation.
© 2005 Shanghai Maglev Transportation Development Co.,Ltd.