Bharat Heavy Electronics Limited (BHEL), a state-run engineering company, recently announced its ties with SwissRapide AG to carry magnetic levitation trains commonly known as Maglev trains to India. BHEL has reportedly entered into a Memorandum of Understanding ( MoU) with SwissRapide AG for the Maglev Train projects in India in order to extend its footprint in the urban transport market.
The MoU was signed by BHEL GM & Head (Transportation Business Group), SV Srinivasan and the President and CEO of SwissRapide AG, Niklaus H Koenig, according to a recent PTI report. In the background of the 'Make in India' and 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' initiatives by the Prime Minister, the MoU was signed.
For those who are not aware, the Maglev Monorail is a transport device that suspends, directs and propels vehicles from a large number of lift and propulsion magnets using magnetic levitation. This Maglev machine does not have any pedals, axles, transmissions or overhead wires. It doesn‘t roll, it hovers. In this transport mode, the wheels and rails of the conventional railway are replaced with non-contact, electromagnetic assistance, guidance and propulsion systems.
The Maglev Monorail's non-contact assistance and guidance system operates according to the electromagnetic levitation theory. Maglev trains can travel at speeds of 600-800 Kmph. The trains are capable of running around 10 cm over the ground because of the magnetic levitation technology. This technology is quicker, quieter and easier than any other mass transit wheeled vehicle.
Founded by British engineer Eric Laithwaite as early as the 1940's, Maglev tech has so far struggled to gain popularity as a mainstream transport technology. Just a few Maglev trains in the world are currently in service. In Japan, a local community in Aichi Prefecture, near Nagoya, is served by the Linimo line, which uses electromagnetic levitation technologies.
On a test track near Mount Fuji, Japan is currently constructing a new maglev line, the Chuo Shinkansen, which broke speed records by moving at 603kmph. In China, a new mid-to-low speed maglev named Line S1 is being installed in Beijing and is expected to start operating soon.