State-run engineering firm Bharat Heavy Electronics Limited (BHEL) recently announced its tie-up with SwissRapide AG to bring magnetic levitation trains commonly called Maglev trains to India. With an aim to expand its footprint in the urban transportation sector, BHEL has reportedly entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SwissRapide AG for Maglev Train projects in India.
As per a recent PTI report, The MoU was signed by BHEL GM & Head (Transportation Business Group), SV Srinivasan and SwissRapide AG President and CEO Niklaus H Koenig. The MoU has been signed in the backdrop of the Prime Minister’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ initiatives.
How Maglev trains work:
For those who are not aware, Maglev Monorail is a system of transportation that suspends, guides and propels vehicles using magnetic levitation from a large number of magnets for lift and propulsion. This Maglev system has no wheels, axles, transmissions, and overhead wires. It doesn‘t roll, it hovers. The wheels and rails of the conventional railway are replaced by non-contact, electromagnetic support, guidance, and propulsion systems in this transport mode.
The non-contact support and guidance system of the Maglev Monorail functions according to the principle of electromagnetic levitation. Maglev trains are capable of running at a speed of 600-800 Kmph. Because of magnetic levitation technology, the trains are capable of running about 10 cm above the ground. This technology is faster, quieter and smoother than any other wheeled mass transit system.
As per the agency report, this project will enable BHEL to bring the latest, world-class technology transportation to India as it will enable the PSU to manufacture state-of-the-art Maglev trains indigenously. The MoU sets out the foundation to cooperate and explore mutually beneficial business opportunities, and to utilise both the companies’ inherent skills capabilities, knowledge and assets, with respect to the scope of Maglev train projects in the country.
SwissRapide AG, founded in 2008, is a Swiss company which specialises in planning, financing, construction and operation of sustainable, ultra-speed Maglev rail systems, designed to meet the growing demand for mobility in cities, regions and countries around the world.
Maglev tech around the world:
Developed as early as the 1940s by British engineer Eric Laithwaite, Maglev tech has so far not gained traction as a mainstream transportation technology. Currently, only few Maglev trains are operational in the world. In Japan, the Linimo line, which uses electromagnetic levitation technology, serves a local community in the Aichi Prefecture, near Nagoya. In Shanghai, China, a maglev train runs from Pudong International airport to the outskirts of the city.
Japan is currently building a new maglev line, the Chuo Shinkansen, which broke speed records by travelling at 603kmph on a test track near Mount Fuji. In China, a new middle-to-low speed maglev called Line S1 is under construction in Beijing and is expected to begin operating soon.