High-speed maglev blazes a green trail

While California and other states continue to grapple with the logistics and cost of high-speed rail, a Czech designer has come up with an idea for the ultimate green high speed rail system. 

The Magellan C, a concept from designer Jan Koutnik that was featured on Coroflot, would combine technology now in use – maglev – with some cutting edge and even futuristic takes on renewable energy.

Maglev, or magnetic levitation, uses magnets to lift and propel the train a few inches above a guideway surface.

Such systems allow for a higher speed with less noise and a smoother ride. One of the highest recorded speeds on a maglev system was in a train in Japan that clocked 361 mph.

Koutnik’s Magellan C is envisioned to travel at about 280 mph. It would be equipped with fuel cells, universal inductrack system of suspensions and solar panels. The idea is for the Magellan to be a high-speed and energy efficient option for low-cost intercity traffic.

The design is reminiscent of a sleek, contemporary monorail. Koutnik, an industrial designer who studied at Brno University of Technology in the Czech Republic, designed the green train with a number of futuristic features including doors that open vertically and multifunctioning lights on both the front and rear of the train.

While there are no trains like the Magellan zipping along tracks now, what with its fuel cells and solar panels, the roof of a tunnel on the high-speed line between Antwerp and Amsterdam is covered in 16,000 solar panels that help power the railway infrastructure (signaling, lighting, heating of railway stations etc.) and also the trains using the Belgian rail network.

* Kristy Hessman, EarthTechling