Railways to explore hyperloop, vacuum tube technology

Railways has floated express of interest for introduction of Maglev (magnetic levitation) trains, a second generation high speed trains running.

Published: 24th August 2016 09:20 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th August 2016 09:20 PM   |  A+A-

After being criticized for inviting proposals for introduction of high speed Maglev (magnetic levitation) trains, which are being phased out world over, Indian Railways has now decided to explore other high end technologies like vacuum tubes and hyperloop which are faster and efficient than Maglev.  

Railways has floated express of interest for introduction of Maglev (magnetic levitation) trains, a second generation high speed trains running in China, Japan, Germany and South Korea. According to a rough estimate, it will cost about Rs 150 crore for constructing one km of elevated high speed track for Maglev train which runs at 500 kmph.

Railway has so far received interests from Maglev 200, Japanese consortium, Tesla and Swiss Rapid Maglev Rail System for high speed train technology. The bid closes on September 6. 

“We have received interests from several global players to showcase some of the other high speed latest technologies like hyperloop and vacuum tubes. We will take a decision on technology after the bid closes next month. We may choose other technology over Maglev,” said a senior railway officer.

Railways plan to run Maglev on two routes for the specified stretch of approx 200 to 500 km which shall include a test and trial stretch of approx 10 to 15 km.

There has been a division among the railway officers over the public run transporter exploring technologies like bullet trains, Talgo and Maglev for increasing speed.

“The Maglev technology has been phased out world over and why is railway getting it when we already know that the cost of construction and maintenance is very high. Developed countries like US and Japan have already taken a decision to phase them out,” said another railways officer.    

Maglev trains work on the principle of electromagnetic propulsion, wherein the cars are suspended, guided, and propelled using powerful magnets. But in most of the countries these are being phased out and new technology is used.

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