* Posts by ShiekoBento

4 posts • joined 23 Oct 2009

Rigid sky-train to fly through magnetic rings on sticks


Will the U.S. Be a Leader?

Thanks for the information on Dr. Harding. I know about him as well and respect his opinions and will probably contact him for his thoughts. I agree that the true cost of Maglev in the U.S. still needs further develoment. However, when it comes down to the LV to LA corridor, nobody knows the costs better than the companies that developed the $12B estimate. 

These studies and costs estimates were not prepared by some fly-by-night companies. They were prepared by highly reputable firms and are leading engineering companies in the world who all were present during their forum (General Atomics, Parsons, Hirschfeld Industries and Transrapid - the German maglev technology providers).

General Atomics is the company that designed and patented the Predator, unmanned aerial vehicles that save thousands of U.S. military lives.


They are also currently under contract with the U.S. Navy to replace the existing steam catapult system with patented maglev technology for launching jet fighters on aircraft carriers.


Parsons is a worldwide engineering and construction firm more than 60 years old. They consistently rank among the Top 10 firms by the Engineering News-Record every year and have completed major multi-million dollar projects in 49 states and 25 countries.


So yeah, I believe these firms have a lot more credibility than any opposing projects, politicians or opinions who are either distant from the data specific to this corridor or who try to discredit maglev because they want to promote their own agenda.

Oh, and I like your point on how at one point some well educated people thought the world was flat, just like some well educated people nowadays are still stuck on old train technologies. Fortunately there were explorers in that day that thought there had to be more and discovered the New World. Just like the visionaries today that know that new technologies such as Maglev will be our "New World" in transportation. 

As I said peviously, traditional HSR has its place but Maglev will continue to develop, surpass HSR and costs will continue to be reduced with each new project. 

The only question now is: will the U.S. be a leader in this, or will we continue to fall behind by investing in outdated technologies?


Maglev Systems WILL Be Built

Looking again at this particular corridor (LA/LV) and what can be done now:

I believe DesertXpress technology could be the best option if they could actually be a sustainable project and have real benefit to the economy of all cities from LV to LA, if they could actually address the real problem with congestion from Victorville to LA, if they could fully connect the true destinations and airports. But they just can't.

And yes, you were very clear that you are not bidding on the LA to LV route. I'm just not sure why you felt the need to defend yourself on this point, since I never argued that in the first place.

The Las Vegas Sun article sums up your TubeRail proposal as, "...their plans are largely conceptual and far from the point of carrying passengers."


Which really then leaves Maglev.

And actually ALL presentations at UNLV were professionally produced- unless you are telling me that you and your team are not professionals? The reason I felt the Maglev team was more professional was because they seemed to stay on topic and focused on the details of their own project. This should not take 30 years to learn.

Because of the acceleration and speed capabilities of Maglev, it will compete with the airline industry on corridors such as this one. As far as your method for calculating travel time by including “time for people to actually get on and off… time to find a taxi to get to where you are actually going.”?? Nice! Why don’t we just include the time it takes for them to shower in the morning, get dressed, eat breakfast and pack their bags, too? By the time you are done with it, Maglev will be competing with the bicycle industry instead! No need to comment further on this, people can see through the B.S.

Yes the estimate for $12 billion comes from their 2005 study, which the Maglev guys have been up front about, and I agree that adjustments need to be made to make the numbers current. A portion of their funding will help pay for these updates in their EIS and preliminary engineering that is underway.

However you also need to factor in a significant reduction in construction costs due to research and development. After the opening of the Shanghai Maglev, the German government completed a value engineering program where over $120 million was spent solely on reducing the costs of constructing maglev systems saying it is now cost-competitive with HSR.


I never said we should disregard the Wash/Balt Maglev numbers, just that you need to be more careful how you apply them since you assumed that their very high cost per mile should be applied to the entire LA/LV corridor, which is absurd.

Keep in mind that Wash/Balt has not yet included the cost-reduction in their estimates due to the German research and development. Also keep in mind that they will have UNDERGROUND stations which mean a huge increase in costs (11% of their costs). The stations for the LV/LA proposal (only 1% of their costs) will be above-ground, will most likely get funding from Casino owners and they do not need to build their terminus station because they are connecting to the logical destination, the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center.


The 45M/mile cost for the LV/LA route is an average and will cost more in some areas (urban developed) and less in others (rural, undeveloped). But even when you apply the cost of Wash/Balt to the small portion of LV/LA that is urbanized, it would definitely be less.

Steel-wheel technology is a much more proven technology as it has been developing for 140 years, but it has already reached its peak. Maglev on the other hand, although already a proven technology, is relatively young and has so much room for further development and cost reduction.

This is why China has plans to expand their maglev system, Japan is planning to use maglev with all their future systems, currently maglev is a proposal to be built in Brazil before they host the next World-Cup, transportation experts in Denver have just recently stated their preference for maglev and significant funding has just gone to Pennsylvania and Atlanta for their maglev development.

Whether it happens in this corridor or not and whether you like it or not, Maglev IS going to happen.

So you may feel it's time to move on, but many intelligent, well-educated people in this world see otherwise. Some say the first personal home computer cost around $10,000 and took up an entire room. Maybe you think we should have skipped over that idea, too.


Real Facts AND References

Wow, thanks Pulliam, I do a little research and all of a sudden you think I'm the publisher, engineer and constructor behind the Maglev. Hehe, I appreciate the new job promotions but I'm just a transportation guy that follows the projects when I can. I attended all three presentations at UNLV and Maglev was the most professional and convincing to me.

I travel to CA frequently and so I have a personal interest in what gets built, which is why real facts are important to me. And I am MORE than happy to help you guys out with references to the information.

I can see you are not going to argue that you were making incorrect statements on the speed of maglev, so let's move on to other points.

The Maglev guys have already completed studies of each segment along the corridor as well as a project description covering the entire corridor. The Federal Railroad Administration was the lead agency approving their studies and cost estimates of $45M/mile and it was published in the 2009 Government Accountability Office report. FRA does not have these studies online but go ahead and contact them yourself if you don't believe me.




In your presentation at UNLV, you tried to convince people that the costs of the LA to Las Vegas route would be the same as the Washington-Baltimore Maglev route. C'mon man, it's not even close. That is a highly dense metropolitan area that has more than 7 million people within their 40 mile segment! Plus their stations will have to be underground which means tunneling and is a huge cost increase!


You say a significant portion of the proposed LA/LV route will go through urbanized areas? Are you kidding?? The LA/LV route is 269 miles long and anyone who has made the drive knows that once you get south of St. Rose Parkway in Las Vegas, most of the drive is flat, uneventful desert and only enters dense areas again near Ontario.


The majority of the maglev cost comes from the guideway (almost 60%) and when you have to use elevated guideway or tunneling due to dense metropolitan areas, the costs increase significantly.


I agree that Maglev may cost too much in some corridors and that HSR may be the better option on these, but in the Las Vegas to LA corridor, Maglev is the ONLY option for high-speed travel.

Still the Maglev team faces some challenges in that certain politicians have $25 million and their powerful careers already invested in DesertXpress and therefore are trying to kill the project right when it finally has the chance to become a reality after all these years. THAT's why it hasn't been built yet.


Tube Dude Lost Credibility

Other than fixing the 11 spelling mistakes in the comments made by TubeRail “Car Salesman” Pulliam, here is a free tip on trying to bring new ideas to the public: try using real facts. Once you lose your credibility, it is very difficult to ever get it back, especially from those of us that do our homework and actually work in the transportation industry.

1. Maglev in CA/NV will reach a speed of 310mph (ave of 200mph). The Shanghai Maglev system reaches a speed of 270mph (ave of 155mph). It covers 19 miles in 7min and 20 secs. Anyone who has first level mathematic skills can figure this one out.

On the other hand, TubeRail really does not know how fast it can go because they have NO DEMONSTRATION SYSTEM anywhere (unlike Maglev which has had one for 30 years and has already advanced the vehicle to its 9th version). TubeRail’s wish list is stated on their own website:

“In order to obtain a significant market share by inducing modal shift from automobiles and short haul air routes, the Tubular Rail system must be capable of traveling at speeds in the vicinity of 150 mph”

In other words, Maglev WILL reach 310 mph. TubeRail WOULD LIKE to reach 150mph.

2. The cost of the Maglev (between CA and NV) will be $45M/mile or $12 Billion total. I investigated this claim myself and found that this estimate has been accepted and approved by the Federal Railroad Admin and is published in the Government Accountability Office report.

Tube Rail Pulliam erroneously draws the conclusion that the Maglev system would cost $100M/mile just because this is the price given for a highly dense East Coast maglev project. That’s like saying that building a house on a flat, cleared parcel of land would cost the same as building one on a steep graded, forested mountain.

I welcome new ideas and innovation into our industry, but do so with facts. Unfortunately the engineering and facts of TubeRail Pulliam is about as accurate as his poor spelling and grammar.