How Maglev Trains Achieve a speed of 600kph ?

Maglev Trains

Maglev is actually an abbreviation given for the words Magnetic Levitated. Maglev train is a form of transportation that propels using the concept of the electromagnetic field created by electrified coils. Maglev trains float roughly about 10 mm to 12 mm above the tracks and it is pulled by the magnetic switches and propelled by a linear induction motor.

Image Source- Google | Image By- yuyuyaya76

Its operation was officially launched in the year 1984 in England. Initially, it is able to run at a speed of 42 km/h and by the year 2020, it achieved a maximum speed of 600 km/h. It has slowly become the favorite mode of transportation for most of the countries due to its advantages as compared to conventional trains that move on a steel wheel railway.

There are certainly a number of advantages of using Maglev trains. First of all, it provides better speed as compared to conventional trains. Although higher speed can be achieved by conventional trains but it is not economically justifiable. Maglev train is more economical since it uses a magnetic field and doesn’t need a huge engine capacity.

Another major advantage is low maintenance activities. Since there are no wheels on the train and not many moving parts, the maintenance activities can be minimized. The train is floating while moving and there will be no friction and this can definitely increase the energy efficiency.

In addition, the train operates with lesser noise. This is mainly because there are no wheels moving on the railway. The only main noise disturbance is the air drag for those who sit near to the window.

Other than that, it can move faster at an elevated place or on a slope. Using the normal conventional train, the speed will drop down to at least half when moving at a gradient.

This type of trains will soon be replacing the conventional wheel trains due to efficiency and advantages. It will be another good alternative for those who want to travel at a distance other than the airplane.

How does a Magnetic Levitation Train work? Instead of running on electricity or diesel, it runs on powerful magnets. Magnets move these trains at high speed. The magnet creates a powerful magnetic field and this field moves the train forward. Instead of riding on the rails, the train is levitated i.e., it rides on a cushion of air. Britain made the first Magnetic Levitation train. Shanghai, China, has a big Magnetic Levitation train system.

The actual definition of Levitation means the process of rising or being raised in the air. Science defines Levitation as “the equilibrium of a body without solid or liquid contact with the ground”; Levitation can be achieved using electric or magnetic forces.

The discovery of High-Temperature Superconductors is one of the most important and fascinating events in Science and Engineering. This ignited public imagination about Levitated Motion. The Japanese demonstrated a Magnetic Levitation Train at a phenomenal speed of 600km/Hr., how this was possible?

The fascinating quality of superconducting levitation is to achieve a relative velocity of 100-200m/sec. among moving bodies with no contact, no wear, no need for fluid or gas intervention and no need for active controls.

The salient features of superconducting materials that are relevant to Levitation are:-

  1. Zero Resistance to steady current flow.
  2. Exclusions of magnetic flux lines at low fields
  3. Flux trapping or spinning at higher magnetic fields.

Zero resistance is crucial in creating large magnetic fields in multiple turn coil magnets and is essential to the induction of supercurrents in passive bulk levitation magnetic bearings.

Complete or partial flux exclusion is necessary for repulsive levitation bearings.

Flux pinning or trapping is important for producing materials bulk levitation phenomenon that creates suspension forces.

Magnetic Levitation requires two necessary sub-systems:-

  1. A primary system for generating the magnetic field.
  2. A system for shaping or trapping the magnetic field.

For electric-magnetic levitation, electric currents in a wire-wound coil produce the primary field, while the Ferrite-magnetic coil holder and the ferrite-magnetic base creates a means of shaping the magnetic field.

Levitation technology is a vast and complicated subject. I have only tried to create some interest to the readers so that they will try to know further about this wonderful subject. By reading this article, If anyone is interested to know further, he is welcome to contact this technical writer to get further information.


Harish Danu is an Engineer and a passionate Blogger. When not blogging, he's out in the garden teaching himself about permaculture and self-sustainability. Likes burger and beer.

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