This magnetic train is intended to revolutionize urban mobility, but until now there was only an 800-meter test track. But it has a lot to offer: it requires no electricity for its magnets and since it moves without friction, the drive energy is also marginal. The construction costs are only 10 percent of what a metro costs. As always, there’s a catch: you can (almost) only produce the magnetic train in China.
Rare Earths are required for production
China has a major location advantage: the largest deposit of rare earths is located on Chinese territory. And they are desperately needed for the Red Rail maglev. Because only with them can so-called permanent magnets be made, ie magnets that hardly lose their magnetic force. While magnetized iron discharges relatively quickly, the magnetism in rare-earth-enriched iron is permanent. The loss would be about 5 percent per 100 years. Electromagnets are normally used in magnetic levitation trains, but they constantly consume electricity and therefore have to give way to the new permanent magnets.
The trains run without friction
The great advantage of a magnetic levitation system is that the trains run smoothly. And where there is no friction, it doesn’t take much force to move. The propulsion energy of the Rode Spoor is correspondingly low, the train is currently already reaching 80 km/h. Soon it will be 120 km/h, which is faster than any subway, which costs 10 times as much to produce. On the Chinese test track, 88 people are permanently floating in a single cabin. 800 meters will soon become 7.5 kilometers before the revolutionary railway conquers the first cities. The Red Rail is intended for local traffic, the carriages float at a height of about 10 meters on an arm under the track.
No vibrations and hardly any wear
The Chinese government, which has been working on this invention since 2001, has appointed researcher Jiangxi of the University of Science and Technology as project leader. He says that the wear and tear on this track is also limited. While driving, there are no vibrations that could damage the technology in the long term. So the Red Rail seems to be a real trend of the future, at least in China.