Operational and cost models for high-speed rail and maglev systems


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Operational and cost models for high-speed rail and maglev systems
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xvi, 372 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Nassar, Fadi Emil
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Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1993.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 245-252).
Statement of Responsibility:
by Fadi Emil Nassar.
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University of Florida
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To my parents,

Emil and Maggie


I would like to extend my deep gratitude to Dr. Fazil

Najafi, my supervisory committee chairman, for his guidance

and encouragement. Without his continuous support this study

would not have been possible. Sincere appreciation goes to Dr.

Paul Thompson, Dr. Ralph Ellis, Dr. Joseph Wattleworth, and

Dr. Sharma Chakravarthy for their suggestions and comments and

for serving on my supervisory committee.

Additionally, I like to thank Mr. Fritz Polifka, managing

director of Transrapid testing facilities in Germany; Mr. Rolf

Hellinger of the German National Railways (DB); Mr. Gabriel

Courbey of the French National Railways (SNCF); Mr. Joseph

Silien, a representative of ABB of Sweden; Mr. John Harrison

of Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas; Mr. Nazih Haddad and

Mr. Jack Heiss of the Florida Department of Transportation;

Mr. Ron Mauri, Mr. Pete Montague and Mr. Jim Milner of the

United States Department of Transportation; and Mr. Robert

Casey of the High Speed Rail/Maglev Association. The technical

assistance provided by these individuals was very valuable.

Finally, much gratitude is owed to my parents, Emil and

Maggie, for their love and support during the entire course of

my study; and to D6rte Sage for adding colors to my life.



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .....................



................................ vii

LIST OF FIGURES ........................

GLOSSARY ...............................

ABSTRACT ...............................


1 INTRODUCTION ......................

General Background ................
Problem Statement .................
Study Objectives ..................
Research Methodology ..............


The Japanese Bullet Train .........
The French TGV ....................
The German ICE ....................
The ABB X-2000 Tilt Train .........
The German Transrapid Maglev System
Japanese HSST Maglev System .......
The Japanese MLU Maglev System ....
The American Maglev Systems .......


Conventional and High-Speed Trains
Maglev and High-Speed Rail ........
EMS and EDS Maglev Technologies ...
Tilt and Nontilt Trains ...........

4 REVIEW OF HSGT LITERATURE .......................

Argonne National Laboratory Maglev Study ........
Carnegie Mellon University Study ................
USDOT Safety Reports ............................





















TRB Safety Reports .............................. 77
TRB Special Report 233 ................. ......... 78
Supertrains Book ................................ 80

5 TRAIN DYNAMICS ................................... 84

Resistive Forces Acting on HSR Trains ........... 85
Resistive Forces Acting on Maglev Trains ........ 90
HSR and Maglev Tractive Power ................... 92
Acceleration on Level Terrain ................... 94
Acceleration on Grades ...... ......... ............. 101
Allowable Speed on Curves ....................... 106
Transitional Spiral Curves ...................... 111
Vertical Curves ................................. 112

6 OPERATIONAL SIMULATION MODEL .................... 116

Classification of Simulation Models ............. 116
Purpose of the Operational Simulation Model ..... 118
Inputs to the Model ............................. 119
Structure of the Model .......................... 121
Collection of Technical Data .................... 133
Model Validation ................................ 142
Study Cases ..................................... 146


Capital Cost of HSR Systems ..................... 168
Operation and Maintenance Costs of HSR Systems .. 190
Capital Cost of Maglev Systems .................. 194
Operation and Maintenance Costs of Maglev Systems. 206
Capital Costs of Implemented HSR Systems ........ 208
Capital Cost Estimates of U.S. Corridor Studies 210
Estimates of Operating and Maintenance Costs .... 217
Development of a Preliminary Cost Database ...... 217


Limitations of the Traditional Method ........... 219
Advantages of a Database Software ............... 220
Proposed vs. Traditional Cost Estimation Methods 224
Structure of the Cost Estimation Method ......... 227


Conclusions ..................................... 237
Recommendations ................................. 243

REFERENCES ........................................... 245


WRITTEN IN FORTRAN ............................ 254

INPUT MENUS WRITTEN IN BASIC .................. 279


SIMULATION MODEL .............................. 297


RAILWAYS (SNCF) ............................... 316

RAILWAYS (DB) ................................. 326


DBASE IV ...................................... 342

VARIOUS STUDIES ............................... 363

K RELATED CORRESPONDENCE .......................... 370

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .................................. 372


Table pacg

4-1 Cost of Vehicle Congestion to the Highway
User ...................................... 67

4-2 Cost of Air Congestion ....................... 67

4-3 Probability Estimates of Undesired Events
in Maglev Operation ......................... 73

4-4 Maglev Risk Assessment Estimates ............. 74

5-1 High-Speed Rail and Maglev Comparison Matrix .. 96

5-2 Relationship Between Lateral Acceleration and
Unbalanced Superelevation for HSR Systems ... 114

5-3 Relationship Between Lateral Acceleration and
Unbalanced Superelevation for Transrapid
Maglev Systems ............................. 115

6-1 Comfort Parameters for Various HSR and maglev
Technologies ............................... 144

6-2 Simulation Results of Cases A Through D ...... 165

7-1 Escalation Cost Factors to January 1993 ...... 169

7-2 Capital Cost of the FHSRC Proposal Submitted
to the State of Florida .................... 172

7-3 Electrification Cost per Mile for Two Tracks
of a High-Speed Rail System ................ 180

7-4 Power Substation Cost per Mile ............... 181

7-5 Signaling Cost per Mile per Single Track ..... 182

7-6 Unit Costs of Railroad and Roadway Bridges
for the X-2000 Tilt Train .................. 186


7-7 Cost Structure of a Maglev Guideway .......... 200

7-8 Maglev Capital Cost Items of the California-
Nevada System .............................. 204

7-9 Cost Estimates of Maglev Infrastructure Based
on Corridor Study Reports .................. 216



Figure paSg

1-1 Proposed European High-Speed Rail Network
for the Year 2015 ........................... 3

1-2 The High-Speed Rail Planned Lines in South
Korea and Taiwan ............................ 4

1-3 Projected Total Aircraft Delay for Major
Airport by 1996 ............................. 7

1-4 Top 50 Air Traffic Routes Under 600 Miles .... 8

2-1 Illustrations of HSR and Maglev Systems ...... 24

2-2 TGV-SE Distribution of 1988 Operating
Revenues .................................... 31

2-3 X-2000 Tilt Body and Self-Steering Trucks .... 38

2-4 Transrapid Support and Guidance Systems ...... 42

2-5 Japanese MLU002 Maglev Vehicle and Guideway .. 47

2-6 Magnetplane Vehicle and Guideway ............. 51

3-1 Attractive EMS and Repulsive EDS Levitation
Modes ...................................... .. 57

4-1 Conceptual Plan for Connecting Hub Airports
With Maglev Systems ........................ 64

5-1 Resistive Forces Acting on Transrapid ........ 93

5-2 Tractive Effort and Total Resistance of TGV .. 97

5-3 Train Acceleration on Level Terrain and
Grades ...................................... 99

5-4 Forces Acting on a Train Travelling on a
Curve ..................................... 102

5-5 Car Body Tilt Angle of a Tilting Train ....... 109

6-1 Sample Route Data Input File ................. 123

6-2 First and Second Input Data Screens of the
Operational Simulation Model ............... 124

6-3 Flowchart of the Operational Simulation Model 125

6-4 Simulation Process Using Deceleration Curves
and the Look-ahead Distance ................ 129

6-5 Backward Safe-Speed Curves ................... 131

6-6 Sample Output of the Operational Simulation
Model ..................................... 134

6-7 Tractive Effort Curve for the TGV-A Trainset .. 136

6-8 Computation of Acceleration Rates from Speed-
Distance and Speed-Time Profiles ........... 139

6-9 Transrapid Energy Consumption Rates vs. Speed
for Four Trainsets ......................... 141

6-10 Noise Emission Levels of Various
Transportation Systems ..................... 143

6-11 Transrapid Run Case A ........................ 148

6-12 TGV Run Case A ............................... 149

6-13 ICE Run Case A ............................... 150

6-14 X-2000 Run Case A ............................ 151

6-15 Transrapid Run Case B ........................ 152

6-16 TGV Run Case B ............................... 153

6-17 ICE Run Case B ............................... 154

6-18 X-2000 Run Case B ............................ 155

6-19 Transrapid Run Case C ...... ................... 156

6-20 TGV Run Case C ............................... 157

6-21 ICE Run Case C ............................... 158

6-22 X-2000 Run Case C ............................

6-23 Transrapid Run Case D ........................

6-24 TGV Run Case D ...............................

6-25 ICE Run Case D ...............................

6-26 X-2000 Run Case D ............................

6-27 All System Runs for Case D ...................

7-1 Cross-Section of TGV Track ...................

7-2 TGV Fasteners and Concrete Block .............

7-3 Embankments and Structures to Reduce TGV
Noise ......................................

7-4 TGV Track Block Sections and Automatic
Braking ....................................

7-5 ICE Track, Elevated Structure and Roadway
Overpass ...................................

7-6 Single and Double-Track Tunnels for TGV ......

7-7 Cost Distribution of the California-Nevada
Maglev Project .............................

7-8 Cross-Section of Transrapid Guideway and
Columns ....................................

7-9 Typical Transrapid Roadway Crossing ..........

7-10 Capital Cost Components of the TGV Atlantic
Line .......................................

7-11 HSR and Maglev Corridor Studies in North
America ....................................

7-12 Capital Cost Components of the Florida TGV
Proposed System ............................

7-13 HSR and Maglev Cost Components for a
Pennsylvania System ........................

8-1 E-R Diagram for a Hypothetical HSR
Construction Project .......................





















8-2 Translating the E-R Diagram into Relations ... 223

8-3 Cost Summary of Main Items per Route Section .. 225

8-4 Overall Structure of the Cost Estimation
Procedure .................................. 228

8-5 Code-Generating Menu for Maglev Capital
Cost Items ................................. 229

8-6 Code System Used to Locate Items ............. 232

8-7 An Illustration of a Code File ............... 234

9-1 Energy Consumption Rates of Various Modes .... 240

9-2 Profiles of the Old and New Paris-Lyon
Rail Lines ................................. 242




Block Section:




Dynamic Brake:

Eddy- Current









Crushed rock that supports the rails and
distribute the train's weight.

Track is divided into sections for signaling

Overhead contact wire and the supporting
structure to supply electric current to

Another word for a train.

A tunneling technique in which the track in
built in a deep cutting, roofed with a
reinforced concrete structure, and then
covered with minimum amount of soil to restore
the landscape.

Braking in which the traction motors are used
as generators and convert kinetic energy into
electric energy. It does not involve friction.

Braking system based on magnetic attraction.
It does not involve friction.

Electrodynamic levitation system for maglev.

Electromagnetic levitation system for maglev.

Federal Aviation Administration.

Florida Department of Transportation.

Federal Railroad Administration.

High-speed ground transportation system.

Intercity Express, a German high-speed rail

Magnetically levitated train.





Rolling Stock






ABB X-2000:

The current collecting device located on the
roof of a train.

French National Railways.

United States Department of Transportation.

The fleet of trains.

A French high-speed rail system.

The transverse part of the track
infrastructure to which the rails are
attached. Also called sleeper.

A train consisting of a fixed formation of
several passenger sections (usually
articulated) and a power car at one or both
ends. It is handled as one unit.

A German EMS maglev system.

The structure housing the axles and
suspensions and upon which rests the car body.
Sometimes referred to as bogie.

A Swedish high-speed rail system with a cab
body tilt mechanism.


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Fadi Emil Nassar

August 1993

Chairman: Dr. Fazil Najafi
Major Department: Civil Engineering

High speed ground transportation (HSGT) has been

recognized by European and Southeast Asian countries as a

necessary component of a balanced transportation policy. The

governments of these countries took the lead in promoting and

funding HSGT systems. In the United States, it was hoped that

the private sector will undertake the development and

financing of HSGT systems. Such hopes, however, did not

materialize because none of the proposed projects was

implemented. Currently, there is a renewed public and private

effort to reexamine the merits of high-speed rail (HSR) and

magnetically levitated (maglev) systems.

Both HSR and maglev systems offer comfortable and safe

ground transportation at high speed. These systems, however,

differ significantly in technology, cost structure, and

operational and cost sensitivity to design changes.

The dissertation objectives are to describe the

characteristics of the various systems operational today,

develop an operational simulation model, study the cost

structure of HSR and maglev projects, and formulate a

simplified cost procedure for quick and efficient preliminary

feasibility analysis of potential corridors.

The operational model simulates the operation of HSGT

systems, taking into consideration systems' performance

characteristics, comfort criteria, and route alignment.

Default performance parameters for 14 systems were obtained

and included in the model. New systems can be added easily.

The simplified cost procedure relies on a database

software. The procedure's overall structure is described and

illustrated with a model written in dBase IV. The model is

interactive. Menus are provided for efficient data input. Cost

estimation is performed in two steps: first, menus are used to

generate a file containing the codes of the project's main

items for each segment of the route; second, the model

interacts with a separate unit cost database and replaces item

codes with corresponding unit costs. Finally, menus allow the

user to generate various types of cost summaries. The cost

model supports programs that can be used to automatically

capture input errors, upgrade unit costs, and perform cost

adjustments to reflect job condition, soil type, location and

other factors.



General Background

High-speed ground transportation (HSGT) systems have been

recognized by European and Southeast Asian countries as an

important component of a balanced transportation policy. The

governments of these countries took the lead in investing

directly or indirectly in the development and/or

implementation of HSGT systems. Japan and France were the

first countries to start the HSGT race, motivated primarily by

energy conservation goals and to reduce their dependency on

imported oil. The technical and commercial success of the

early Japanese and French high-speed lines led to a growing

worldwide interest in this new form of ground transportation.

High-speed rail (HSR) and magnetically levitated trains

(maglev) are the two modal components of HSGT. The HSR is an

advanced conventional steel wheel and steel rail system

engineered for speeds of 240 to 350 km/h (150 to 220 mph).

Three decades of revenue service have established HSR as the

safest and most energy-efficient transportation mode.

Nevertheless, maglev technology is being advanced as an even

safer and more efficient transportation mode. Maglev trains

generate lower noise and vibration levels than HSR systems.


They are also capable of climbing steeper grades and

consequently cause little disruption to the environment.

Maglev systems are the fastest and most technologically

advanced ground transportation mode. They rely on magnetic

forces to support the train above the guideway, providing for

contactless operation that permits speeds of up to 500 km/h

(310 mph). Electromagnetic forces provide levitation,

guidance, propulsion and braking (Johnson et al., 1989).

Nations all around the world are expressing interest in

HSGT systems. The European Community has proposed an ambitious

master plan to link most major West European cities with an

HSGT service. It is estimated that by the year 2015, the

European HSGT network will consist of over 28,800 km (18,000

mi) of routes including 18,880 km (11,800 mi) of new lines or

lines upgraded for speeds of more than 250 km/h (156 mph)

(Vranich, 1991). The proposed European HSR network is

illustrated in Figure 1-1. Japan is continuously upgrading its

rail links and planning new HSR lines. It is also developing

two maglev systems using conventional and superconducting

magnetic technologies. South Korea is designing an HSR system

between Seoul and Pusan. The line is scheduled for completion

in 1998 at a cost exceeding $8.3 billion. Taiwan is planning

a 320 km (200 mi) HSR system between Taipei and Kaohsiung at

a cost estimated between $12 billion and $15 billion (Vranich,

1991). The planned HSR lines in South Korea and Taiwan are

shown in Figure 1-2. Australia is considering an HSGT link





( ::


Figure 1-2: The HSR Planned Lines in South Korea and Taiwan
Source: ICE, 1992.


between Sydney and Melbourne. China has announced a joint

venture with Japanese firms to plan a 280 km (175 mi)

high-speed train connecting Fuzhou with Xiamen by 1997

(Speedlines, April 1993). France and Great Britain will soon

be linked by the Eurotunnel, an all-weather HSR system

operating in a tunnel dug under the English Channel. The

Eurotunnel is the largest, privately funded civil engineering

project in the world. The consortium in charge of the project

includes over ten major international construction companies.

The project management is assumed by Bechtel International

(Bernard, 1992).

In the United States, interest in HSR and maglev systems

is growing as a response to air and highway congestion. The

Department of Transportation (USDOT) predicts a continuous

increase in travel demand, further straining the already

congested highway facilities; and the Federal Aviation

Administration (FAA) estimates an even larger increase in air

travel. According to the American Association of State Highway

and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), surface travel demand

is expected to at least double by the year 2020 (Vranich,

1991). The House of Representative's bill H.R. 1087 (U.S.

House of Representatives, 1991) states that according to

USDOT, over two billion hours are lost annually because of

highway congestion, costing the economy $80 billion. A study

conducted at the Argonne National Laboratory (Johnson et al.,

1989) for the U.S. Department of Commerce states that in 1986,


the cost of all air traffic delays amounted to nearly $5

billion. The H.R. 1087 bill estimates an annual loss of $8

billion due to airport congestion by 1987. The Argonne study

also states that 22 airports are expected to exceed three

million hours of annual passenger delay by 1996. Figure 1-3

shows the projected total aircraft delay at major airports.

The ability to expand highway capacity on congested

corridors has frequently been hampered by high costs and

limited rights-of-way. Proposals to build new airports or

expand existing ones have faced strong community opposition

(TRB, 1991). In corridors where highway and airport expansions

are prohibitively expensive or infeasible, an HSGT link could

provide needed capacity to insure adequate mobility to the

traveling public. One HSR line can carry as many passengers as

six lanes of highway, depending on operation frequency.

Furthermore, HSR and maglev systems are potentially attractive

competitors to air travel for distances between 150 km and 950

km (about 100 mi and 600 mi). They offer travelers the

advantages of frequent departures, comfort, economy, safety

and reliability in all weather conditions. While airports are

built outside urban areas, train stations are usually located

near the center of the city, thus significantly reducing the

overall travel time (i.e., perceived trip time) of short

trips. The Argonne study (Johnson et al., 1989) estimates that

between 38% and 50% of airline trips consist of distances of

less than 960 km (600 mi) such as those shown in Figure 1-4.

Las Vegas

Kansas City
3 Washington, D.C.
Salt Lake City
////// New York (JFK)
///////// New York (LGA)
///////////// Dulles
0/////////////// Detroit
/////////////////A San Francisco
/////////////////A St. Louis
Los Angeles
)// ////Phoenix
/ Newark
Dallas/Ft. Worth

3 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180
Aircraft Delay (x1000 h)

Figure 1-3: Projected Total Aircraft Delay For Major Airports by 1996
Source: Price, 1987





Problem Statement

Although both HSR and maglev systems offer comfortable

and safe ground transportation at high speed, they differ

significantly in performance, cost structure, maintenance

requirements, noise emission and cost sensitivity to design

changes. Maglev systems are typically elevated. HSR systems

operate mostly at grade. As a result, the incremental costs

for bridges, overpasses, and other special structures vary

considerably between these two modes.

Maglev systems are more expensive than HSR systems, but

they are capable of higher speeds and faster acceleration

rates. Traveling at high-speed requires not only fast trains,

but more importantly a track alignment with gentle horizontal

and vertical curves to provide a comfortable ride. Curves

cause lateral and vertical accelerations that reduce passenger

comfort. Furthermore, operation at high-speed requires

compatibility among track, equipment, sensors, communication

and signaling systems (TRB, 1991). Unless track quality, route

alignment, and signaling systems permit extended travel at

maximum speed, the improvement in travel time will be marginal

regardless of the technology used.

Travel time is the most important operational parameter

in a corridor study. It is also a key factor in predicting

ridership. Typically, travel time has been estimated by state

officials in two extreme ways: the first is by conducting a

detailed feasibility analysis, usually by hiring consultants;


the second is by performing some simplistic calculations based

on the travel distance and the train's top speed. Detailed

corridor studies are time consuming and costly. Furthermore,

these completed studies have little value when the considered

HSGT technologies are upgraded, or when changes in route

alignment or station locations are desired. On the other hand,

simplistic calculations based on the system's top speed and

the estimated travel distance can be misleading. The reason is

that the proposed HSGT alignments usually follow interstate

rights-of-way or existing railroad tracks in order to minimize

environmental and social impacts. However, the horizontal and

vertical curves of the interstate system and existing railroad

tracks are designed for relatively low speeds. This can

severely limit the train's allowable speed and significantly

increase travel time beyond what is acceptable to justify the

high capital cost of an HSGT system. Therefore, alignment

improvements are necessary on existing tracks or highway

rights-of-way to accommodate HSGT systems. These improvements,

however, must be carefully selected based on cost and

operational impact analysis.

Preliminary cost estimates of HSR or maglev corridors

have necessitated detailed and costly studies. This is

because the topography and conditions of each corridor are

unique. Past studies have shown a wide cost disparity between

proposed systems, especially for maglev projects (as described

in Chapter 7). There is a need to develop a simplified cost


estimation technique that is not as detailed or costly as a

full corridor studies, but that provides much better cost

estimates than a comparison with the cost per mile of other

projects. The cost estimation method should be based on an

understanding of all the main cost components of an HSR or

maglev system and should be designed to interact with a

separate cost database of main items. The cost database should

be easily maintained and upgraded. Several steps are required

to develop this simplified cost model and the unit cost

database of main items. In Chapter 8, the overall structure of

the model is outlined and a sample program is developed to

illustrate the model.

In summary, the selection of the appropriate HSGT system

and the optimal route alignment requires the evaluation of a

large number of alternate route/system configurations. This

type of analysis is most efficiently performed with the help

of computer-based techniques.

Study Obiectives

The objectives of this study are to examine the

characteristics of existing HSR and maglev systems and to

develop a simplified microcomputer-based analysis technique to

perform fast and low-cost preliminary HSGT corridor

evaluations. As previously mentioned, a preliminary study of

an HSR or maglev corridor requires numerous simulation runs to

select the appropriate HSGT technology and the most effective

route alignment that balances cost and performance. Today's


powerful microcomputers provide the ability to run

sufficiently accurate simulations of train operation for

varying route conditions. Furthermore, the advancement in

microcomputer database software makes it possible to develop

a menu-controlled cost model that allows rapid preliminary

cost estimates of entire projects as well as selective design

changes. The ability to consider numerous design alternatives

requires that both the cost and simulation models be simple to

use, menu controlled, and designed to easily incorporate new

systems and updated cost data.

The development of a simplified computer-based analysis

technique requires the following steps:

Studying train movement dynamics and analyzing the

characteristics of the various HSR and maglev systems

operational today.

Developing an operational simulation model that can

quickly and accurately simulate an HSR or maglev train

movement along any route. The simulation should take into

consideration the performance characteristics of the

system, track alignment, station locations and

constraints such as allowable lateral acceleration and

track superelevation.

Developing the overall structure of a computerized cost

model that interacts with a separate cost database to

produce quick preliminary cost estimates of HSR and

maglev systems.


The objective of the study is not to develop a detailed

unit cost item database of main HSGT construction items. This

is currently not possible in the United States because no HSR

or maglev system has been built in North America, and foreign

experience cannot be easily nor accurately translated. The

objective is instead to develop the overall structure of a

cost estimation procedure and illustrate its operation with a

sample program. In addition, a preliminary cost database was

developed by adapting cost estimates from previous HSR and

maglev corridor studies conducted in North America.

The cost estimation procedure has the advantage of

relying on a database software. Preliminary HSGT cost

estimates have typically used spreadsheet programs (Schmelz,

1989). Spreadsheet programs are easy to use. They have,

however, inherent limitations that can restrict a quick

evaluation and representation of the costs involved in a

project. A spreadsheet program presents a "two-dimensional"

layout of a project's cost items. A database program is

capable of developing a "three-dimensional" view of the

project's cost items by storing cost information of each route

segment in a different record of the file. A database software

offers additional advantages such as the ability to develop

menus for quick interaction and easy input of data, the

capability to incorporate programs written in a host language

to perform specific tasks, and the powerful query capability

possible by creating relational databases.


The main feature of the cost model is its ability to

automatically integrate new and updated cost databases as long

as the coding system is respected. While item costs vary and

a cost database needs to be updated regularly, HSR and maglev

projects generally have a consistent cost structure. The cost

model is based on this cost structure and is developed by

studying the main components of typical HSR and maglev

projects. Future improved unit cost databases of main items

will enable the model to produce more accurate estimates

without modifying its internal structure.

Research Methodoloqy

The study was completed according to the following main


Task 1: Review of HSGT systems (Chapter 2)

The literature was reviewed to study the characteristics

of the various HSR and maglev systems. The review emphasis was

on operational systems or systems certified as operationally

ready. Few academic books on the subject are available. The

information was mainly obtained directly from the French,

German and Swedish HSGT manufacturers; and from reviewing

newsletters, scientific papers, periodicals and USDOT reports.

The most advanced HSR and maglev systems were identified, and

a description of each system is presented.

Task 2: Comparison of HSGT Technologies (Chapter 3)

The information gathered in Task 1 was useful to perform

a systematic comparison of the various HSGT technologies. This


includes a review of the differences between HSR and

conventional rail, a comparison of HSR and maglev systems, an

assessment of the attractive and repulsive maglev

technologies, and an examination of the advantages and

disadvantages of tilt trains. The reasons for the wide cost

disparity between the comparable French TGV (Train a Grande

Vitesse) lines and the German ICE (Intercity Express) lines

are also described.

Task 3: Review of HSGT Literature (Chapter 4)

The literature review pertaining to HSGT technology dealt

primarily with government reports and studies published by the

Transportation Research Board (TRB). The proposals to build

and operate HSGT systems in the U.S. were more focused on

ridership estimates and financial feasibility than on

technical analysis. Therefore, they were not reviewed in this

task. Nevertheless, these proposals were used in task 6 to

analyze the cost structure of HSGT projects and develop a

preliminary cost database.

Some of the studies reviewed are the Argonne National

Laboratory's report sponsored by the U.S. Department of

Commerce; the Carnegie Mellon's study and the TRB Special

Report, both sponsored by USDOT; the various safety reports

produced by USDOT and the Federal Railroad Administration

(FRA); studies performed by the Transportation Research Board

(TRB); transcripts of congressional hearings; and the book

titled Supertrains: Solutions to America's Gridlock written by


Joseph Vranich, the current president of the High Speed

Rail/Maglev Association.

Task 4: Study of Train Dynamics (Chapter 5)

The simulation of an HSGT train operation along a route

is deterministic because it is based on the laws of dynamics.

The performance of an HSR or maglev train is governed by

mechanical limitations and comfort limits. The train operation

depends on the system's acceleration and deceleration rates,

maximum speed, acceleration on grades, and allowable speed on

vertical and horizontal curves. A train acceleration is a

function of its tractive force minus the sum of all resistive

forces. The tractive force is based on the engine's rated

power. Resistive forces are estimated by various mechanical

and aerodynamic formulas developed empirically or through

field tests. Acceleration decreases with speed due to air

resistance, which becomes the dominant resistive force at

higher velocities. Grades reduce acceleration because they add

a new resistive force equal to the component of the weight

vector parallel to the ground.

A train traveling around a curve is subject to a

centrifugal force acting outward. This force can be partially

balanced by track superelevation. Higher speeds or sharper

curves cause an excess lateral force that causes lateral

acceleration and is sometime referred to as unbalanced

superelevation. Similarly, vertical curves cause upward and

downward accelerations. The allowable lateral and vertical


accelerations are governed by passenger comfort criteria and

mechanical constraints.

In addition to curves and grades, the simulation process

takes into consideration station locations and externally

imposed speed restrictions. A train must respond to changes in

route condition several miles before it reaches them. This is

achieved by developing at each route section a deceleration

curve based on comfortable deceleration rates. Deceleration

curves are compared with a route's allowable speeds to

determine the proper time for the train to begin decelerating

so it will not exceed the route's speed limits.

Task 5: Development of the Operational Model (Chapter 6)

The purpose of the operational simulation model is to

simulate the movement of an HSR or maglev system along a route

and compute travel time and operating speed for each section

of the route. The model's inputs consist of route data, system

performance data, and comfort criteria such as banking angles

and allowable lateral accelerations. The model's outputs

include a speed profile and a summary table stored in an ASCII

file that can be imported by most spreadsheet programs to

produce graphical representations of results.

The program is written in FORTRAN because the simulation

process requires extensive computations with floating numbers

and FORTRAN is suitable for this kind of application. The

FORTRAN language, however, does not allow easy interface with

the user and is incapable of generating input menus.


Therefore, menus were created using the BASIC language to

provide a graphical and easy way to input data and capture

input errors. Because the FORTRAN simulation program uses all

the available random access memory (RAM) available to a

personal computer, the interface between the BASIC and FORTRAN

programs is insured through a batch file that causes these

programs to run sequentially.

A good deal of effort was spent on collecting performance

data from the various HSGT manufacturers, located mainly in

Europe. This effort was quite successful. Technical data

describing the newest TGV and Transrapid trains (fully tested

but not in revenue service yet) were obtained, as well as

technical data related to the ABB X-2000 tilt train that

started trial operation between Boston and New York in March

1993 and was tested in Florida in June 1993.

The technical data describing the performance

characteristics of the various technologies were obtained in

several formats. Some HSGT manufacturers provided speed-time

or speed-distance profiles, others provided charts or

equations of the tractive and resistive forces, and some

provided graphs of acceleration vs. speed. Several spreadsheet

programs were developed to translate these various types of

data into the uniform input format acceptable by the model.

The operational simulation model was tested on

hypothetical corridors and the simulated acceleration and

deceleration operations were compared to manufacturers' speed


profiles. A small spreadsheet program was also developed to

verify the model's simulation results. After the model's

results were validated, it was used to simulate the operation

of several HSR and maglev systems along the Orlando-Tampa

corridor. The route alignment data were obtained from the

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).

Task 6: Cost Structure of HSGT Projects (Chapter 7)

The various HSGT corridor studies performed in the U.S.

were reviewed to develop a preliminary cost database of main

items and to study the cost structure of typical HSR and

maglev projects. Some of the corridor studies reviewed are

The Florida TGV proposal (1988)

The Florida HSR Corporation proposal (1990)

The California-Nevada Transrapid study (1990)

The Texas High-Speed Rail study (1989)

The TRB Special Report 233 (1991)

Furthermore, several European corridor studies were

reviewed. These studies, however, were not used to generate

cost data for the U.S. market. It is important to note that

there are great uncertainties related to the cost of HSGT

systems in North America. No HSR or maglev system has been

built, and cost estimates vary greatly among feasibility

studies. In fact, even the same study produced different

estimates months apart. For instance, the Florida High-Speed

Rail Corporation reported in its July 1990 proposal to the

State of Florida an estimated total cost of $3.6 billion


($10.3 million per km or $11.1 million per mile) for a 517-km

(323-mi) HSR system. These draft cost estimates were reduced

to $2.5 billion ($5 million per km or $8.1 million per mile)

a few months later in October 1990, for a slightly revised

system. Similarly, the cost of the Orlando Maglev

Demonstration Project was estimated in 1991 to be about $450

million. In 1992, the estimated cost was raised to $600

million. There are reports today that the newest estimates

have further risen sharply by over 20% compared to the cost

estimates made in 1992.

Both the Orlando Maglev Demonstration Project and the

Texas TGV Project were approved for construction by Florida

and Texas authorities, respectively. Detailed cost estimates

were requested from the two companies in charge of these

projects. Understandably, this effort was not successful due

to the confidentiality surrounding both projects.

Task 7: Cost Estimation Procedure (Chapter 8)

The overall structure of a computerized procedure to

produce quick and efficient preliminary capital cost estimates

of HSGT projects is outlined. The procedure relies on a

database software to compute capital costs. A sample

microcomputer model was developed to illustrate the procedure.

The capital cost section of the sample model was developed

using dBase IV, which is one of the best known and most

feature-rich database software. A spreadsheet software was

used to write programs to estimate operating costs based on


the information provided in Chapter 7. Because most operating

costs can be considered uniformly distributed along the route,

there was no need for a segmental-type analysis and therefore

a database software was not necessary.

The capital cost model is based on a clustering method

and a coding system. Items are grouped into greater project

units. For example, an HSR track consists of rail, ballast,

subballast, ties, and fasteners; maglev electrification

includes power supply, substations, control power, electric

switches, and power feeders. The coding system is a

hierarchical classification method (tree structure), similar

to the method used by libraries for coding books. Each code

has several alphanumerical components. Each component is a

subgroup of the component to its left. Menus allow successive

selections of desired branches until the desired detail level

is reached. There is no limit to the database's level of

detail because the lowest nodes can be broken down still

further, and new menus added, when more detailed information

is available. The code for future, more specific items can be

developed by adding alphanumerical digits to right side of the

"parent" code, without modifying the initial digits that are

used by the model to locate and manipulate items.

The cost model is menu controlled. Layers of menus are

used to select the various components of the system and to

store this information in an efficient way. For example, a

guideway type that runs from section 800 to section 1,300 of


the route will be entered only once. The model will

automatically enter the guideway code for all 500 sections of

the route; and the guideway cost for each section will

subsequently be adjusted by internal programs to reflect the

work condition, soil type, and location of that section.

After all the project's capital items are selected, the

model generates a large file where each record (row)

represents a route segment and each field (column) represents

a cost item of that section. This generated file includes only

the alphanumerical codes of selected items. In the final step,

the model interacts with a cost database and generates a new

file by replacing each code with its corresponding value from

the cost database. The resulting file contains all the cost

items for all route sections. Prewritten commands are used to

produce all types of useful cost summaries.

Task 8: Conclusions and Recommendations (Chapter 9)

The simulation results are presented, as well as a

general comparison of the performance and cost of the various

HSR and maglev systems. Internal programs that can enhance the

operation of the cost model are outlined, and steps needed to

develop and maintain a national unit cost database are

described. Recommendations are formulated that call for the

development of a uniform coding system for the various items

and the need for a structured way to estimate and report item

costs in feasibility studies. A more detailed description of

item costs makes it easier to adjust them to other projects.


This chapter provides a description of the various HSR

and maglev systems. The emphasis is on operational systems and

systems certified as operationally ready. Two of the

technologies considered are illustrated in Figure 2-1.

The Japanese Bullet Train


Japan was the first country to develop a high-speed

train, known as the Bullet Train or Shinkansen, as a way to

improve mobility between its densely populated cities. Japan,

similar to other Asian countries, has a very high population

density, a growing transportation demand, and already

saturated transportation facilities. The Japanese government

subsidized the development of the Bullet Train because it

responded to specific needs such as energy efficiency,

nonpolluting electric power, and high line capacity.

Furthermore, the construction of new HSR lines were seen as an

effective means of developing secondary urban areas for

residential and industrial relocation, thereby relieving the

demographic and industrial growth in major cities (Roth, 1990;

Hagiwara, 1977).

French TGV HSR

German Transrapid Maglev

Figure 2-1: Illustrations of HSR and Maglev Systems
Source: Petersen, 1985.


The first Bullet Train service was initiated in 1964. It

provided a link between Tokyo and Osaka. The top speed of the

first generation of Bullet Trains did not exceed 218 km/h (136

mph). The average speed was much lower because of route

alignment and in order to reduce energy consumption and noise

emission. In later years, lighter and more powerful Bullet

Trains in addition to improved alignment and extensive use of

noise barriers permitted operations at significantly higher

speeds. The travel time on the Tokyo-Osaka line was gradually

reduced from the initial four hours to about two and a half

hours, achieved with the new Super Hikari Bullet Train.


Bullet Trains have a modular structure, which means that

cars can be added or taken off a train. All cars are

self-propelled, and therefore they can be added to a train

without affecting the train's acceleration rates. Bullet

Trains run on conventional standard gauge track of 1.435 m

(56.5 in). Rails are continuously welded to eliminate the

"ticking" sound. The propulsion is based on electric power

supplied through an overhead catenary power distribution

system. The most recent Super Hikari, Series 300 Shinkansen,

is capable of a top speed of 270 km/h (168 mph).


All Bullet Train lines are grade-separated, built on

exclusive right-of-way. Japan's difficult terrain and limited

right-of-way have required the construction of numerous


tunnels and bridges. For instance, the 320-mile line between

Tokyo and Osaka has about 66 tunnels and over 3,100 bridges,

accounting for almost one-third of the distance; and the rail

link to the north island of Hokkaido required the construction

of a $5.6 billion 32-mile Seikan Tunnel and other special



Right after the Tokyo-Osaka Shinkansen line was opened,

it experienced a phenomenal increase in ridership. It is still

operating at a profit. Additional Bullet Train lines serving

less populated cities were gradually added to the rail

network. The operations of some of these newer lines are still

subsidized by the government. Japan has today over 1,300 miles

of high-speed tracks, and more lines are planned. The Bullet

Train lines carry over 125 million passengers annually. They

have a perfect safety record and their on-time arrival rate is

about 99% (Vranich, 1991).

The French TGV


The Paris-Lyon route is France's most important and

heavily travelled corridor. In the early 1960s, the

double-track rail line that served the two cities was near

saturation, but the demand was rising steadily. To provide

additional capacity, the French government decided to

construct an entirely new line, exclusively dedicated to

carrying passengers at high speed. The new line starts on the


outskirts of Paris and Lyon and utilizes existing lines and

stations within the cities. The Paris-Lyon line started

operation in 1981, and the full 439 km (273 mi) segment was

completed in September 1983. The French HSR technology, known

as the TGV (Train a Grande Vitesse), significantly outperforms

the Japanese Bullet Train and remains to date the fastest rail

system in commercial operation. The TGV reached a speed record

of 515 km/h (320 mph) on May 18, 1990.

Construction work on another line to serve the French

Atlantic seaboard from Brest to Hendaye started in 1985. The

TGV Atlantic line became fully operational in 1991. While the

Paris-Lyon line has no tunnels, the TGV Atlantic line has 7.6

km (4.75 mi) of tunnels and 3.5 km of viaducts (Ross, 1990;

Chambron, 1986). Additional lines crossing the French borders

to Belgium, Germany, and Great Britain through the Eurotunnel

are near completion. The TGV North will reduce the 2 hour 25

minute trip between Paris and Brussels to 1 hour 30 minutes,

and the 4 hour 50 minute trip between Paris and Cologne to 2

hours 50 minutes. The travel time from Paris to London will be

reduced by more than half, to about three hours. The rolling

stock for these new lines is based on the TGV-A. The expected

top operational speed will be increased to 320 km/h (200 mph).

The Eurotunnel trainsets, called the Transmanche Super Train

(TMST), will consist of 18 passenger cars constructed with

composite materials. Each TGV-TMST trainset is designed to

carry about 800 passengers.


The first TGV rolling stock developed for the Paris-Lyon

line is known as the TGV-SE (southeast). The TGV-SE operates

at a maximum commercial speed of 270 km/h (168 mph). Each

TGV-SE trainset is composed of 10 units and carries 386

passengers. A new generation of rolling stock known as the TGV

Atlantic or TGV-A was developed for the Atlantic line. The

TGV-A incorporates several technical advances, the most

important being the reliance of synchronous, self-commutating

traction motors. The three-phase synchronous motors are

lighter, more powerful, and more energy efficient than the DC

asynchronous motors used in the TGV-SE. They are also easier

to maintain because they do not contain a commutator, which

requires reprofiling roughly every 300,000 km (187,500 mi) (La

Vie du Rail, 1990). In a synchronous motor, the role of the

rotor and stator are reversed, and the rotor (field coil)

rotates at the same speed as the revolving field generated by

the stator (stationary part or armature). The synchronous

motor can also be used as a fail-safe electric brake by

reversing its operation to function as a generator.

Other improvements in the TGV-A rolling stock include a

more aerodynamic design, two additional passenger sections per

trainset providing a total seating capacity of 485, a novel

air-sprung suspension that provides an inter-car damper

mechanism, a microprocessor-controlled wheel slip prevention

mechanism, a microprocessor-based diagnostic system, an


improved pantograph design to collect current from the

catenary above, improved disk brakes, and fail-safe electric

brakes (eddy-current) that operate independently of the power

supply (Lacote, 1986). Only eight synchronous motors (maximum

power output is 1,100 KW [1475 HP] per motor and 8,800 KW

[11800 HP per trainset) are used in the TGV-A. The older,

smaller-size TGV-SE trainset is powered by 12 asynchronous

motors (maximum power output is 580 KW [778 HP] per motor and

6960 KW [9340 HP] per trainset). The TGV rolling stock has a

nonmodular trainset design. Each trainset is composed of a

fixed set of articulated passenger cars, propelled by one

power car at each end (push-pull operation). A fixed formation

trainset has the advantages of improved aerodynamics, lower

noise and vibration levels, and enhanced riding comfort

(Lacote, 1986). The TGV-SE trainset is composed of 10 units:

an articulated section of eight passengers cars (trailers) and

two power cars. The trainset configuration is described as

1P-8T-lP where "P" stands for power car and "T" for passenger

trailer. The TGV-A has a 10-section, articulated trailer and

two power cars. The trainset configuration is therefore

1P-10T-lP. The TGV-North and TGV-Texas have both a 1P-8T-1P

configuration, and the TGV-TMST designed to cross the

Eurotunnel has a 1P-18T-lP configuration. The TGV-Texas

trainset is based on the TGV-A technology, is capable of

operating at 320 km/h (200 mph), and has 317 passenger seats

(USDOT, 1991c).


The Paris-Lyon TGV line has attracted more ridership than

predicted. It is unanimously considered to be a huge technical

and commercial success as illustrated by the profit margin

shown in Figure 2-2. By 1990, the TGV-SE line had carried over

100 million passengers without any fatal accident. The line

continues to operate at a substantial profit. Revenues from

the TGV-SE line paid back the infrastructure cost in ten years

instead of the originally projected fifteen. All the new TGV

lines are expected to operate at profit, although their rate

of return is expected to be smaller than that of the TGV-SE

line. The TGV rolling stock has earned a reputation of

reliability, dependability, energy-efficiency, and safety. The

French National Railways' master plan calls for the building

of a 2,000-mile network of 14 new TGV lines by 2015 (La Vie du

Rail, 1990).

The German ICE


Ten years after the TGV started operation on the Paris-

Lyon line, the Germans introduced the ICE train (Intercity

Express) in 1991. The first ICE operation was on newly

constructed Stuttgart-Mannheim and Hanover-Wurzburg lines.

These two lines and the Cologne-Frankfurt line (scheduled for

completion in 1996) will provide 800 km (500 mi) of new ICE

track. In addition, the German Federal Railway (DB) is in the

process of upgrading 3,200 km (2000 mi) of existing tracks for










- V

.0 c


ICE standards. The ICE trains operate at a top speed of 250

km/h (156 mph) on new lines and 200 km/h (125 mph) on upgraded



The ICE power car uses advanced three-phase asynchronous

motors designed without wearing parts. The ICE trains are

certified for maximum commercial speeds ranging from 250 km/h

to 300 km/h. The traction and braking systems of the ICE are

largely computer controlled. The train is capable of

regenerative braking that recovers energy during the braking

phase and returns it to the overhead power supply network.

European countries use different power supply environments for

their rail system. The ICE-M is designed to automatically

identify the voltage and frequency being provided by the

overhead wires and transform it to the required voltage.

The ICE passenger cars are manufactured with an aluminum

body shell that provides significant weight saving and reduced

dynamic loading. Aluminum is also employed in the major

components of the power car such as the transformers and the

gears housing. The ICE train has the lowest drag coefficient

of all HSR systems due to a streamlined design, smooth outside

surfaces, and flush-fit windows and doors. It is also quieter

than the TGV or Bullet Train because it is equipped with wheel

noise absorbers and selected components are covered with

noise-absorbing materials. The ICE cars are pressurized and

the inside pressure is regulated by the air conditioning

system (ICE, 1992).

Unlike the fixed formation of a TGV trainset, the ICE has

a modular design which provides the flexibility to adjust the

number of cars in a train to suit the demand. An ICE train has

a power unit on each end and can comprise any number of

passenger cars between 6 and 14. The ability to safely run

trains of various lengths requires sophisticated communication

and signaling systems. This is insured by heavy reliance on

computer chips and optoelectronic (fiber optics) data links.

The ICE is also equipped with a comprehensive computerized

diagnostic system that checks all the equipment throughout the

train. Each microprocessor subsystem possesses a

self-diagnostic capability, and communicates with a central

diagnostic unit that receives, analyses and stores all

relevant reports. Diagnostic reports are displayed on a screen

located in the power unit. Should a malfunction occur, the

diagnostic system identifies the cause and displays it on a

special screen in view of the driver, and simultaneously

recommend an action to be taken (ICE, 1991).

The ICE uses three braking systems designed to improve

passenger comfort and reduce maintenance cost. First, a

regenerative brake is applied, then an eddy-current brake

based on electromagnetic attraction that acts independently of

wheel/rail adhesion is used, and finally, a disk brake is

applied if necessary (Rosen, 1989).


The cost per mile of a new ICE line is two to three times

that of TGV lines. There are many reasons for this cost

disparity, the most important being the following:

The ICE uses slab tracks that allow mixed traffic with

priority freight trains. The TGV tracks are ballasted and

used for exclusive passenger use. The TGV weight is

limited to 17 tonnes per axle (18.7 tons per axle).

The signals and communications on the ICE lines must

accommodate mixed traffic and variable size ICE trains,

while only fixed TGV trainsets having exactly the same

number of cars per trainset operate on TGV lines.

The topography of the ICE lines is more difficult than

that of the TGV lines. Furthermore, because the ICE line

must accommodate freight trains with less powerful

tractive power, grades are limited to 1.25% as opposed to

3.5% for the TGV. As a consequence, the ICE lines

required more extensive earthwork, and numerous tunnels

and engineering structures.

German legal system requires public disclosures and

public hearings before plans for new rail lines can be

approved. This generated 360 lawsuits and 10,700

objections and resulted in years of delay for the ICE

lines. The French legal environment makes it easier to

acquire right-of-way for a new line. If a rail project is

considered by the French government to be "in the


national interest," objections to new lines are legally

unable to delay construction work.


The first ICE line started operation in 1991. It is too

early to develop a detailed assessment of the ICE system. All

indications, however, confirm that the ICE is a technical and

financial success. Ridership the first 100 days were 25%

higher than expected, and public support remains strong. The

reunification of Germany modified early rail expansion plans.

Current plans call for the completion of a new ICE line

between Hanover and Berlin by late 1997. Other new and

upgraded lines for the ICE system are also planned. German

rail experts anticipate a 30% ridership increase in the next

few years (ICE, 1992).

The ABB X-2000 Tilt Train


The X-2000 is a tilt train developed by Asea Brown Boveri

(ABB) and first used in commercial operation by the Swedish

State Railways (SJ). The purpose of developing the X-2000 was

to provide a train that can achieve higher speeds on existing

tracks, thus reducing the travel time without the need to

build a new line or extensively upgrade existing ones. The

X-2000 started operation in 1990, on a line 456 km (284 mi)

long between Stockholm and Gothenburg. The travel time was

reduced from four and a half hours to under three hours. SJ

plans to utilize the X-2000 in other Swedish corridors.


In November 1991, Amtrak signed a deal with ABB and SJ to

bring one spare X-2000 trainset to the Northeast Corridor. In

February 1993, a X-2000 trainset started a daily roundtrip

between New York and Washington; and two months later it began

operating between New Haven and Washington (Pope, 1993).


The X-2000 offers an innovative body tilting mechanism

and suspension system that enable the train to travel around

curves up to 25% faster than a nontilt train. This is possible

because the tilt mechanism partially balances the lateral

acceleration caused by traveling around a curve as explained

later in Chapter 5. Lateral acceleration reduces comfort and

must not exceed the allowable limits set by FRA.

Tilt control can be passive or active. A passive tilt

mechanism is caused directly by the unbalanced lateral forces

acting at the car body center of gravity. The Spanish Talgo

Pendular train is an example of this technology. The X-2000

employs a more complex active tilt mechanism. The advantages

of an active tilt is that the tilt operation can be controlled

and monitored. The tilt of passenger cars is mechanically

actuated and controlled by a microprocessor that activates

sequentially the tilt mechanism of each car to insure a

comfortable transition. A computer located in each car

monitors the tilt operation and performs redundant checks. The

active-tilt technology principles are also used by the

Canadian LRC and the Italian ETR train systems.


The active tilting mechanism on the X-2000 is adjusted to

cancel about 70% of the unbalanced lateral acceleration. It is

disabled at low speeds. The lateral acceleration is measured

by two sensors mounted in the center and lead truck and signal

the microprocessor to activate the tilt in passenger cars. The

power car is not equipped with a tilt mechanism to ensure a

good alignment between the pantograph and the catenary line.

In addition to active tilt, the X-2000 uses a flexible

suspension system that allows axles to move independently of

the rigid truck frame and keeps wheels aligned with the track

as illustrated in Figure 2-3. The flexible suspension reduces

the wheel rail forces and lateral-to-vertical force ratios

while negotiating curves (USDOT, 1991a).

The X-2000 trainset currently being tested in the U.S.

consists of one power car and five or six passenger cars. A

configuration with two power cars can have up to 12

intermediate passenger cars. Each power car carries four AC

asynchronous traction motors, capable of delivering 3200 KW

(4300 HP). The motors are light and designed for low

maintenance. The X-2000 top commercial speed is 240 km/h (150


The coach body is made of a steel frame. Modular

construction is utilized and components are replaced via an

opening in the roof. The floor is made out of wood and is

isolated from the steel frame to reduce noise. Side windows

are multilayer safety glass, designed to minimize the risk of


Cmur at

Coach Body Tilt System of the X-2000 Train

Self-Steering Trucks of the X-2000 Train

Conventional Steering Trucks

Figure 2-3: X-2000 Tilt Body and Self-Steering Trucks
Source: USDOT, 1991a.


injury during derailment. The X-2000 has three braking

systems: a disk brake, a regenerative dynamic brake, and an

electromagnet brake.


The main advantage of the X-2000 is that it can operate

on existing tracks at higher speeds. This can be an

attractive option when right-of-way for new lines or improved

alignment is difficult to obtain or excessively expensive. The

X-2000, however, requires an electrified line to deliver the

required power. Its top speed on tangent sections is over 20%

lower than that of TGV or ICE.


The operation of the X-2000 in Sweden has been

successful. The trial runs on the Northeast corridor have just

began. They have, nonetheless, generated positive reactions

from the public and the media. Amtrak is planning to replace

its Metroliner fleet with 26 high-performance trains. A

decision has not yet been made on the technology, although the

X-2000 seems to be a good candidate. ABB has offered to build

the trains at its plant located in the state of New York.

Transportation officials in Michigan, Illinois, Southern

California and the Pacific Northwest have also expressed

interest in the X-2000 (Pope, 1993).

The German Transrapid Maglev System


Transrapid maglev is a new generation of ground

transportation systems. Although no maglev system has been

implemented in commercial operation anywhere in the world,

Transrapid has extensively been tested on a 31.5 km (20 mi)

single-track guideway built in the German Emsland region near

the Dutch borders.

In 1992, the German government certified the

Transrapid-07 system as operationally ready, and initially

considered implementing the Transrapid technology on a 50 km

(31 mi) line that links the airports of Bonn and Duesseldorf.

The German reunification, however, made the ICE Berlin-Hamburg

line a much higher priority, especially that Berlin replaced

Bonn as the capital of Germany. Other Transrapid feasibility

studies involved the Hamburg-Hannover and the Essen-Bonn

corridors, but no decisions were made in either case.

In the United States, the Transrapid system was proposed

to operate on a line between Las Vegas, Nevada and Anaheim,

California. In 1990, Bechtel submitted a proposal for a

franchise to build and operate the system. The financing of

the project was to be assumed by C. Itoh & Co., a major

Japanese company. The slowdown in California's economy,

however, caused the project to be canceled.

Privately financed Transrapid demonstration projects are

planned in both Orlando, Florida and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


The engineering study phase is at an advanced stage in

Orlando. However, the ability to finance these projects with

private funds remains uncertain due to vast fluctuations in

capital cost estimates.


The development of the Transrapid technology was

sponsored by the German Ministry of Research and Technology.

Leading German industrial companies, the German National

Railways, and Lufthansa airlines participated in this effort.

Transrapid is a maglev train designed for speeds of 400

km/h to 500 km/h (250 mph to 310 mph) and capable of climbing

up to 10% grades. The system requires a completely dedicated

guideway that can be either elevated or near grade. Transrapid

vehicles levitate by attractive electromagnetic suspension

(EMS) and are propelled by linear induction. Transrapid

operation involves no contact between the guideway and the

vehicle; which causes less wear, less maintenance, and less

noise than HSR systems (U.S. House of Representatives, 1990).

Transrapid vehicles levitate by using the forces of

attraction between individually controlled electromagnets

arranged under the floor of the vehicle and ferromagnetic

rails (stator packages) installed under the guideway as

illustrated in Figure 2-4. A redundant electronic control

system insures a constant levitation gap of 8 mm (0.315 in).

Every section of the vehicle is equipped with 15 support

magnets and 13 guidance magnets (Meins and Ruoss, 1979).

3 U

- Coach body
M Secondary spring

( Guiding magnet
@ = Support magnet

Levitation bogies
0 Hinge point

Side View

Support magnet Stator pack with motor windings
Linear generator windings Guidance magnet
Eddy-current brake magnet (through brake) Support skids
T INKREFA sensor (vehicle location) Levitation bogies
Cabin suspension @ Pneumatic spring

Cross Section

Figure 2-4: Transrapid Support and Guidance Systems
Source: Meins and Ruoss, 1989.


Independent suspension is provided for each magnet. A

synchronous long-stator linear motor is used to propel and

brake the train. Thrust is controlled by changing the

intensity and frequency of the three phase current. Changing

the polarity of the electromagnetic field causes the motor to

function as a generator which brakes the vehicle without

physical contact (Ciessow et al., 1989).

All critical components are error tolerant and designed

with a high functional redundancy. Redundant systems are also

used for levitation and guidance (USDOT, 1991b). Operational

safety is enhanced by energizing only the section of the

guideway on which the train is traveling. Derailment is not

possible because the suspension system wraps around the

guideway. Transrapid signal and control systems are fully

automated. In an emergency situation, brakes can be actuated

from the central control unit.

The noise emission of Transrapid is significantly lower

than that of HSR systems. Transrapid consumes 30% less energy

than a high-speed train traveling at the same speed. Energy

consumption, however, rises rapidly at higher speeds because

of air resistance that increases with the square of the speed.

Transrapid vehicles are constructed with sandwich-type

light alloy plates. The vehicle's shell structure is made of

high-strength aluminum framing that provides high structural

stiffness. A glass-fiber plastic shell is used in the top part

of the vehicle noise and the cylindrical part of the coach


body. The side windows consist of two panes individually glued

to the coach body to improve sound and heat insulation. A

Transrapid trainset can consist of 2 to 10 sections. A 2-

section trainset has a capacity of 156 passengers, a

10-section trainset can carry a maximum of 1,060 passengers

(Gaede and Kunz, 1989).


Transrapid guideway can be made of either steel or

reinforced concrete. The guideway consists of sectional beams

of 25 m to 50 m (82 ft to 164 ft) long. Typical elevated

guideways are about 4.5-m (15 ft) high. The supporting

concrete columns tested on the Emsland track have either A or

H shape.

The ability of Transrapid to climb up to 10% grades can

reduce the earthwork cost and the need for tunnels, bridges

and other special structures. On the other hand, the strict

construction tolerance adds significantly to the guideway

cost. For instance, guideway foundations in Florida can be

very expensive in a wetland or unstable-soil environment.

Impacts of temperature variations have also to be accounted

for within the tolerance limits of the guideway design.


The Transrapid system has only been operational on a test

track located in Germany and in international exhibitions.

There are no information available to evaluate the system in

revenue service operations.

Japanese HSST Maglev System

The HSST (High-Speed Surface Transportation) maglev

system is being developed by Japan airlines. HSST vehicles

levitate using attractive electromagnetic suspension (EMS)

similar to Transrapid. However, the propulsion system is

provided in the vehicle by linear induction motors instead of

the guideway, which makes the HSST less suitable for very high


The development of the HSST technology began in 1975. The

first prototype (HSST-1) was tested in 1977. The second

prototype (HSST-2) was introduced in 1978. It has eight seats

and was designed for a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph). The

third prototype (HSST-3) has 48 seats. It was demonstrated at

the World Exhibition in Vancouver. The Vancouver track was

only 450 meter (1477 ft) long which allowed a maximum speed of

40 km/h (25 mph). The latest prototype (HSST-4) is designed

for a top speed of 200 km/h (125 mph) and accommodates 70


The HSST-3 achieved a reliability factor of 99.96% during

operation at an exposition in Japan (Vranich, 1991). The

HSST-4 was demonstrated in 1988 at an exposition near Tokyo.

A proposal to build a HSST system in Las Vegas has been

approved. If built, the HSST will use small and lightweight

vehicles. It will function as a downtown people mover and

operate at a moderate speed.


The HSST is being viewed as a fast short-distance

transportation system suitable for urban environments. It is

primarily marketed as a noiseless, low vibration people mover

system. It can operate on small turning radius and the

system's stations can be integrated with buildings and parking


The Japanese MLU Maglev System

The MLU maglev system is being developed by the Japanese

National Railways (JNR). The research begun in 1962. Ten years

later a prototype was demonstrated on a 480-m (1575-ft) long

test track. A research center and an test track were

subsequently built on the island of Kyushu near Miyazaki. The

test track was converted in 1979 to a U-shape guideway that

contains coils for propulsion and guidance in the sidewalls

and coils for suspension on the horizontal surface.

The MLU vehicles use electrodynamic suspension (EDS) for

levitation. Propulsion is provided by synchronous linear

motors. The vehicle is levitated by repulsive forces between

the magnetic field in the guideway and the superconducting

coils of the same polarity in the vehicle's underside as shown

in Figure 2-5. Superconducting dynamic levitation is

effective only at speeds above 100 km/h (62 mph). At lower

speeds, the vehicle is supported and guided by pneumatic

wheels that retract when the train's speed reaches 160 km/h

(100 mph). The vehicle levitates several inches above the


Ground coil for propulsion
and guidance

Xam for apprat us


Grourd coil for suspension

Ground Coil for Propulsion and Guidance

`' Superconducting Coil

Ground Coil for Suspension

Superconducting Coll


Figure 2-5: Japanese MLU002 Maglev Vehicle and Guideway
Source: Kyotani and Tanaka, 1986.


The MLU001 prototype has a modular structure. A three-car

MLU001 trainset has a mass of 33 tonnes (36.3 tons) and is 29

m (94 ft) long. Each car has eight superconducting coils used

for suspension, guidance and propulsion. The MLU001 with a

three-car configuration reached a speed of 350 km/h (218 mph)

on the Miyazaki test track.

The MLU002 prototype has six superconducting coils per

side. It has a mass of 19 tons, accommodates 44 passengers and

is designed for a top speed of 420 km/h (260 mph) (Johnson et

al., 1989). The MLU002 test runs caused component failures,

and strong electromagnetic fields were measured. This

prototype was damaged by fire in October 1991. The JNR,

however, has decided to build a new prototype, the MLU002N,

and a new 43-km (26.7-mi) long test track (Vranich, 1992; New

Technology Week, 1993). A commercial version of the MLU002 may

have as many as 14 cars per trainset. Nonetheless, it will

take years before all concerns are answered and the commercial

version is approved for revenue service.

The American Maglev Systems

Basic theoretical work on maglev concepts were conducted

at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in the early 1960s. Two

researchers of this laboratory, James Powell and Gordon Danby,

developed and patented the "null-flux" system that is capable

of high lift-to-drag ratio and stiff restoring forces. This

null-flux system consists of placing the vehicle magnets

between two guideway coils. No induced current is generated if


vehicle magnets are centered between the coils. Deviations

from the center position generate opposing currents that act

as a restoring force (Powell and Danby, 1969; Danby et al.,

1974). The maglev systems being developed in Japan have

adapted some of the features described by Powell and Danby. A

group formed by these researchers have recently proposed a

32-km (20-mi) long demonstration maglev system between Kennedy

Space Center and Port Canaveral (Speedlines, April 1993).

In late 1960s, the use of superconducting magnetic

suspension for a rocket operating in an evacuated tunnel was

examined by the Stanford Research Institute and Rockwell.

Subsequently, several technologies for maglev vehicle

levitation were examined by the Stanford Research Institute.

The EDS suspension concept was determined as the most

favorable (Barbee, 1968).

Ford Motor Company became also interested in maglev

technology (Coffey et al., 1969). A study conducted by Ford

concluded that attractive suspension provides a higher

lift-to-drag ratio than repulsive suspension. The attractive

system has a low magnetic drag, but also a low tolerance for

track misalignment (Johnson et al., 1989). A conceptual design

of an EDS maglev system that can carry 80 passengers was

developed, but no further detailed analysis was pursued.

Important theoretical research was conducted at the

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) during the 1970s.

Several patents resulted from this effort. A conceptual maglev


system called the Magnetplane was developed by two MIT

researchers: Henry Kolm and Richard Thornton. The innovative

feature of the Magnetplane is its self-banking ability due to

a 0.3-m (1-ft) air gap and a semicircular guideway design as

shown in Figure 2-6. Magnetplane was demonstrated with a

1/25th-scale model operating on a guideway 120 m (400 ft)

long. In 1975, the federal government terminated funding for

all HSGT research. This action stopped most of the maglev

research being conducted at MIT, Ford, Boeing and other

companies and laboratories. In 1991, as part of the

government's maglev initiative, maglev research was resumed at

MIT and other laboratories. The research focus is related to

system concept definition for vehicles, guideways, suspension

and propulsion.





-.c ~ -' .c







Figure 2-6: Magnetplane Vehicle and Guideway
Source: Johnson et al., 1989.

- ----- I ---


The comparisons presented in this chapter are between

conventional and high-speed trains, High-speed trains and

maglev systems, EMS and EDS maglev levitation technologies,

and tilt and nontilt trains.

Conventional and High-Speed Trains

High-speed rail involves more than fast trains.

Additional technological advances are necessary. The main

characteristics that distinguish HSR from conventional rail

are described in the following paragraphs.

Electric Traction

Diesel engines are heavy and incapable of high

acceleration rates (TRB, 1991). Diesel-electric and

turbine-electric motors that generate electricity on board

also add to train's mass and maintenance cost (they can,

however, be used as a temporary solution until line

electrification is completed.) The most appropriate traction

should draw current from a catenary system instead of

generating electricity on board. Synchronous and asynchronous

three-phase electric motors have the highest power to weight

ratio and are therefore the preferred engines for HSR systems.

The train's low weight is also important for braking

performance and for reducing dynamic loading on the rails.

Integrated Braking systems

High-speed trains are typically equipped with three

braking systems. The first is a regenerative braking feeding

power back to the electric line overhead, the second is an

eddy-current brake based on attractive electromagnetic forces,

the third is a set of disk brakes. The regenerative and

eddy-current brakes are used in most cases because they do not

involve physical contact and therefore reduce wear and

maintenance. Disk brakes are used mainly in emergency cases.

Streamlined Shape

At high speeds air resistance becomes the dominant

resistive force. A streamlined shape and articulated passenger

cars are used to reduce drag and provide a stiff and stable

design. High-speed trains are also equipped with primary and

secondary suspensions to improve the ride quality. The

articulated design of passenger cars further reduces the

vibration of individual train sections. Noise absorbent

material is used in the car body and component design to

reduce interior noise. Passenger cars are usually pressurized

if the route includes tunnels. Amenities such as comfortable

seats, restaurant and conference coaches, large-view windows,

convenient luggage facilities, high-quality service,

convenient and automated reservation system, on-board

telephones, and computer links are provided to attract

business travelers away from airlines.

Safety Features

The impressive safety record of HSR systems in service

operation is due to a number of advanced safety features. Some

of these features are a fail-safe and automatic train control

(ATC) system that continuously monitors train operation and

automatically stops the train if the operator commits an error

or if an obstacle is detected on the track; advanced

signalization controlled by redundant processors and

detectors; automatic block signaling designed to maintain a

safe distance between trains to prevent collisions; and

electronic components with self-diagnose capability that are

programmed to automatically notify the operator and the

control center (via display and warning sound and light) of

defective or malfunctioning parts.

Track Design

Although HSR systems use standard track gauge and are

capable of operating on existing tracks, they can only reach

their maximum speed on new tracks designed for high-speed

operation. As previously stated, the track should be equipped

with overhead catenary and advanced signalization. Track

alignment should be as straight as possible and completely

grade separated. Steeper grades, however, can be allowed

because the powerful electric motors and the stored kinetic

energy (function of speed) permit climbing up to five percent

grades. Conventional diesel-powered trains are generally

limited to one percent grades.

Maglev and High-Speed Rail

The primary advantage of maglev technology is that the

propulsion, suspension, and guidance of the vehicle are

achieved by magnetic forces without physical contact. Traction

derives from electromagnetic forces that are generated without

moving mechanical components. The contactless operation causes

less wear and noise, and lower frictional forces; making the

system suitable for very high speeds (Magnet Schnellbahn,

1991). Other important advantages of the maglev technology are

the lightweight aluminum or composite car body which reduces

weight and improves acceleration and climbing ability (train's

weight is also reduced because the stator wires are located on

the guideway instead of the vehicle); higher banking angles

allowing higher speeds on curves; advanced electronics used in

the guidance, communication, monitoring, braking, and

automated control modes; lower energy consumption than HSR at

comparable speeds; and better distribution of dynamic loading

over the guideway (vehicle weight is distributed over wide

magnets instead of the small contract area between HSR wheels

and rails).

The primary disadvantage of maglev technology is that it

requires a costly and exclusive guideway, and therefore cannot

use existing tracks and existing stations in urban areas.

Providing a new access to urban areas can be very expensive.

While HSR systems can operate on conventional tracks at lower

speeds, maglev passengers are required to transfer to complete


their trip on existing rail lines. This is the main reason why

maglev systems are being proposed primarily to link nearby

airports (Johnson et al., 1989). Another disadvantage of the

maglev technology is that maglev systems have only been

operational on test tracks and in international expositions.

Furthermore, the EDS maglev system is still in the

developmental phase. Because no maglev system has been

implemented in revenue service, the infrastructure cost and

operational expenses cannot be estimated with any reasonable

degree of accuracy. Maglev trial runs on test tracks are

infrequent and at speeds lower than the maximum speed. The

reliability of maglev vehicles and infrastructures in a

full-schedule revenue service remains to be proven (USDOT,


EMS and EDS Maglev Technologies

Maglev vehicles are levitated either by attractive

electromagnetic suspension (EMS) or repulsive electrodynamic

suspension (EMS) as shown in Figure 3-1. The German Transrapid

and the Japanese HSST use the EMS technology. The Japanese

MLU and most of the proposed U.S. maglev systems use the EDS

technology. Transrapid and MLU propulsion is provide by linear

synchronous motors that include field coils in vehicles'

underside and active stator windings on the guideway.

Levitation of EMS vehicles derives from the attractive

forces between conventional electromagnets placed on the lower

portion of the vehicle and a ferromagnetic guideway.






Levitation of an EDS vehicle derives from the repulsive

forces between superconducting magnets placed on the vehicle

and induced electric currents known as eddy currents. Systems

using EMS can levitate at rest. Systems relying on EDS require

a certain speed before induced currents levitate the train.

According to a study sponsored by USDOT (Uher, 1990), the EMS

technology is several years ahead of the superconducting

technology pursued by Japan and the United States.

The EMS systems operate with an air gap of less than a

centimeter (0.4 in) because energy consumption increases with

the square of the gap. The small air gap, however, limits

maximum operational speeds to about 500 km/h (310 mph). The

EDS systems tolerate an air gap ten times larger than EMS

systems, allowing higher speeds and more flexibility in

guideway design.

Another advantage of the EDS technology is its inherent

stability. If the vehicle equilibrium position is disturbed by

high wind or passenger movement, the intensity of the

repulsive magnetic field varies and creates counteracting

forces that tend to restore the vehicle to its initial

position. On the other hand, the EMS technology is inherently

unstable. Disturbances in the equilibrium position tend to

generate forces that accentuate the unbalancing forces.

Therefore, the air gap of EMS systems must be monitored

continuously and continuous adjustments of the magnetic forces

are required (Johnson et al., 1989). The power required to


maintain the air gap is relatively small. Transrapid officials

claim that it is not greater than the power consumed by the

train's air-conditioning system (Heinrich and Kretzchmar,


The lightweight superconducting magnets of the EDS system

are at present cooled by either liquid nitrogen or liquid

helium. The discovery of materials that are superconducting at

room temperature can further reduce the weight of EDS vehicles

by eliminating the need to carry on-board refrigeration.

Further, these superconducting materials will reduce energy

transmission losses for both the EDS and EMS systems.

Superconducting magnets produce an intense magnetic field that

consumes less energy than EMS systems but requires shielding

of passenger compartments. The present U-shape EDS guideway

being tested in Japan is more complex and more expensive than

Transrapid's EMS guideway. The U.S. research focuses on

developing a simpler and less expensive guideway design by

using material such as glass or carbon fiber reinforced

plastic (Phelan and Triantafillou, 1992). This is

theoretically feasible because EDS vehicles are lighter than

EMS vehicles.

Further improvements in superconducting technology and

guideway design are necessary to improve the financial

feasibility of EDS systems. The EMS systems such as Transrapid

or HSST have been approved for revenue operation. These EMS

systems, however, may not be suitable or cost effective in


regions prone to earthquakes or having low cohesive soils

because of small tolerances in the guideway design that must

be insured over the entire life cycle of the project.

Tilt and Nontilt Trains

In corridors where it is not feasible to build new tracks

and straightening the existing alignment is too expensive,

operating a high-speed train may not be cost-effective nor

comfortable due to constant acceleration/deceleration

operations. If track's horizontal curvatures are the major

constraint to higher-speed operation, a tilt train technology

may be appropriate (TRB, 1991; USDOT, 1991a).

The main advantage of tilt trains is that they can travel

up to 25% faster around curves than conventional trains and

still provide the same passenger comfort level (as described

in Chapter 2). Achieving the same level of speed improvement

for nontilt trains may require curve excursions from existing

right-of-way. This often means building expensive civil

engineering structures and acquiring costly land.

On the other hand, tilt trains use self-steering trucks

that align the wheels to the rails on curves thereby improving

the distribution of dynamic loading on the rails.

Self-steering trucks, however, limit the maximum speed

achievable on tangent tracks to a maximum of 250 km/h (155

mph). The TGV and ICE employ a truck design with a stiff

primary suspension to avoid unwanted oscillations at very high

speeds (USDOT, 1991a). Another concern is that active tilt


mechanisms add weight to each passenger car and increase the

trainset's mechanical complexity (Hopkins, 1990). This is the

main reason why some European manufacturers have abandoned

tilt train research after having experimented with few

prototypes. Generally, increased maintenance and reliability

problems should be assessed individually for each tilt train


Self-steering trucks are not applicable to maglev

systems. However, tilt maglev technology may cause aerodynamic

and vehicle stiffness problems, and also add weight and

mechanical complexity. Maglev systems can more easily and very

inexpensively increase the speed on curves by increasing the

banking angle of the supporting system. While the draft U.S.

regulations allow only a maximum track superelevation (i.e.,

banking angle) of 6 degrees for HSR systems, a track

superelevation of up to 30 degrees is being considered for the

U.S. maglev (USDOT, 1992). One degree of vehicle tilt has

similar effect on passenger comfort as one degree of track



This chapter consists primarily of a review of

government-sponsored studies. The reports reviewed include a

study conducted by the Argonne National Laboratory and

sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (1990), a study

conducted at Carnegie Mellon Research Center (1991), several

safety studies performed or commissioned by the USDOT and the

Transportation Research Board, one special report published by

the Transportation Research Board (1991), and a book written

by the current president of the High Speed Rail/Maglev

Association (1991). The literature related to train dynamics

and simulation methods is examined in the following two


Argonne National Laboratory Maclev Study

The Argonne National Laboratory study (Johnson et al.,

1989) was the first major technical evaluation of maglev

systems sponsored by a government agency since the federal

government terminated funding for all HSGT research in 1975.

The report's title is Maglev Vehicles and Superconductor

Technology: Integration of High-Speed Ground Transportation

into the Air Travel System. The study objectives were to

identify the status of maglev research in the United States


and abroad, identify potential markets, evaluate the impacts

of high-temperature superconductors (HTSC) (i.e., room

temperature superconductor), and assess the energy and

economic benefits of maglev systems.

The study concludes that there is a potential domestic

market for the maglev technology. The market, however, is not

cost-effective from one downtown area to another because

acquiring new right-of-way to provide access to urban areas

can be very costly. The report indicates that the major maglev

corridors should link airports and provide a substitute for

flights of under 960 km (600 mi). This would significantly

reduce air traffic congestion as well as noise and air

pollution. A conceptual plan for connecting hub airports with

maglev systems was developed and is shown in Figure 4-1.

It was estimated that maglev implementation can result in

a substantial energy saving because flights of up to 960 km

(600 mi) account for 45% of all energy consumed by commercial

aircraft. A model was develop to estimate energy consumption

by airlines and maglev systems. It was found that maglev

vehicles consume as little as one-third of the energy used by

aircraft over short distances. If 50% of short-haul flights

could be replaced by maglev trips, this could result in a net

saving of about 12% of the total fuel used by aircraft.

The report states that the discovery of room temperature

superconductors can enhance the technical aspect of EDS maglev

systems, reduce maglev vehicle weight by about 10%, and lower











*. 0


/ *
R p
/ g 5
r as


energy and maintenance costs by an equal percentage.

In addition, it was found that the capital costs of

maglev systems are difficult to estimate. The report contains

a reference to cost estimates prepared for the Las Vegas to

southern California route. However, there are today

indications that these estimates are too optimistic. The

Argonne report also indicates that dedicated HSR systems are

expected to cost almost as much as maglev systems, but will

have higher operating costs. Neither of these claims can be

established, and recent cost estimates suggest otherwise

(Buckeye, 1992).

The Argonne National Laboratory is currently conducting

several maglev studies funded primarily by the National Maglev

Initiative Research Program. These studies deal with research

areas such as high-temperature superconductors maglev system,

vehicle/guideway interaction, flexible guideway, preliminary

design for maglev facility, maglev system design

considerations, and maglev potential role in short-haul

airline operations.

Carnegie Mellon University Study

The study conducted by the Carnegie Mellon University

(CMU) (Uher, 1990) was funded by a grant from the USDOT. The

CMU established an HSGT center in January, 1987. The center

initially evaluated a maglev technology developed by Boeing

under contract to the USDOT. Boeing discontinued the maglev

research after the USDOT stopped funding the project.


The CMU review indicated that the Boeing technology was

not suitable for a maglev regional system. Instead, the German

Transrapid technology was viewed as the most advanced maglev

system and the most appropriate for Pittsburgh.

The CMU research team predicted a significant HSGT

market, estimated at over $200 billion. This forecast was

based on two elements: highway congestion and air traffic

congestion. Highway congestion was estimated to increase

vehicle delay from 3 billion hours in 1985 to 12 billion hours

in 2005, and the attendant costs could increase from $12

billion to $46 billion as shown in Table 4-1. The cost of

delay due to air traffic congestion was estimated to increase

from $5 billion in 1986 to $13 billion in 2005 as shown in

Table 4-2. It is important to note that these estimates were

made at a time of rising demand. Recent increases in travel

demand are below these projected estimates.

The main feature of the CMU report is the proposal of a

conceptual 1800 km (1130 mi) regional maglev system for

Pittsburgh. The estimated capital cost was $29.2 billion in

1990 dollars ($26 million per mile). The annual operating

costs were estimated at $295 million (1990 dollars). It was

projected that the regional system could potentially generate

an economic activity of $96 billion during construction and

$885 million during operation.

The first phase of the proposed project would consist of

a demonstration segment linking Pittsburgh airport to the

Table 4-1: Cost of Vehicle Congestion to the Highway User

VEHICLE 1985 2005 Increase
CONGESTION (billion) (billion) (%)
Urban Freeway Congestion 1.6 8.1 406%
Signalized Arterial 1.1 3.8 245%
Congestion (hours)
Total Congestion (hours) 2.7 11.9 341%
Person-Hours (a) 3.2 14.3 347%
Gallons Fuel (b) 0.8 3.6 275%
Congestion Cost (c) $12.2 $46.5 281%

(a) 1.2 persons per vehicle
(b) 0.3 gallons of fuel per vehicle-hour
(c) $3.0/person-hour + $1.0/gal

Source: Uher, 1990.

Table 4-2: Cost of Air Congestion

Source: Uher, 1990; USDOT, 1987.

DEMAND 1986 2005
Enplanements 414 millions 887 millions
Passenger Miles 359 billions 935 billions
Air Operations 29 millions 46 millions
Airports with Chronic
Delay (delay greater 11 airports 41 airports
than 8 min/operation) _
Cost of Delay $5.0 billion $13.3 billion


downtown area at a cost between $300 million and $650 million.

It was expected that the demonstration project will recover

its operating cost but not its capital cost. Plans were

proposed to develop economic activity nodes at maglev

stations. In addition, a manufacturing license would be

negotiated with Transrapid, and components of the maglev

system would be supplied by Pittsburgh-based companies. This

is consistent with one of the main objectives of the proposed

regional maglev system which consists of establishing a maglev

industrial base in Pittsburgh.

USDOT Safety Reports

The growing interest in HSR and maglev systems generated

a need to reexamine existing U.S. safety requirements as well

as the suitability of European and Japanese technologies to

the U.S. market. These advanced HSGT systems employ differing

equipment and operating procedures than conventional rails.

This required an examination of their safety in U.S. operation

and a rethinking of the federal approach to safety design and

regulations in order to avoid impending new technology as a

result of past regulations designed for conventional rails.

A series of safety reports were produced by the Federal

Railroad Administration (FRA), a division of the USDOT, which

is in charge of assuring the safety of rail systems in the

United States as stipulated in the Federal Railroad Safety Act

of 1988. Most of the safety studies were performed by the

USDOT's John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center.

Four HSGT safety reports were published in 1991 under the

series Moving America: New Directions, New Opportunities. The

first report, titled Safety relevant Observations on the

X-2000 Tilting Train (USDOT, 1991a), examined safety issues

related to the Swedish ABB X-2000 tilt train. The second

report, titled Safety of High-Speed Magnetic Levitation

Transportation Systems: Preliminary Safety Review of the

Transrapid System (USDOT, 1991b), addressed the safety of the

German Transrapid maglev system. The third report, titled

Safety Relevant Observations on the TGV High-Speed Train

(USDOT, 1991c), reviewed the safety of the French TGV

high-speed train system. The fourth report, titled Safety

Relevant Observations on the ICE High-Speed Train (USDOT,

1991d), reviewed the safety of the German ICE high-speed train


These FRA safety reports are of a preliminary nature.

They were initiated in response to the various corridor

feasibility studies and franchise applications to build and

operate an HSGT system in the United States. The X-2000 train

was proposed for application in the Northeast Corridor between

New York and Washington, D.C.; and in Florida to provide a

rail service between Miami, Orlando and Tampa. The Transrapid

maglev system was proposed for implementation in Orlando,

Pittsburgh, and between Anaheim and Las Vegas. The TGV system

was proposed for implementation in Florida, Texas, California

and other states. The ICE system was also proposed for


implementation in Texas, however the ICE proposal was not

selected by Texas authorities. The FRA is currently conducting

a more detailed review of these technologies, examining all

the requirements needed for their approval to operate in

revenue service in the United States.

Safety Issues Related to the X-2000 Tilt Train

The safety report related to the X-2000 tilt train

(USDOT, 1991a) presents an overall description of the system;

a preliminary evaluation of the tilt technology; and a review

of the safety features related to the tilting mechanism,

steerable trucks, braking system, and automatic train control.

Compliance with existing FRA regulations were also examined.

This includes compliance with the standards for noise

emission, track safety, marking devices, glazing (windshields

and window glass), locomotive safety, control system, and fire


This preliminary evaluation indicates that the train

operator's console exceeds U.S. industry practices in terms of

ergonomics and cabin noise standards. The noise emitted by the

X-2000 measured at 25 meters (82 ft) at 200 km/h (125 mph) was

no greater than a conventional train at 130 km/h (80 mph). The

brake system was found to operate smoothly and effectively.

The stopping distances for emergency applications were well

within U.S. accepted standards. Some modification of the train

interior were needed to meet flammability standards and

disabled access. These modifications, however, can be


performed without major difficulty. There remained certain

issues for which not enough data was available to complete the

evaluation. The X-2000 manufacturer, however, indicated their

intention to meet FRA safety requirements for any permanent

U.S. application.

Safety Issues Related to the Transrapid Maglev Train

The safety reports related to the Transrapid maglev

system (USDOT, 1991b; FRA, 1992) present a description of the

Transrapid-07 vehicle and infrastructure, a comparison of FRA

and foreign safety standards, and an assessment of potential

maglev safety issues. The maglev technology poses two safety

concerns: first, the technology differs from the steel rail

system and requires new regulations; second, maglev systems

have only been operational on test tracks, and therefore

inadequate information is available to assess their

performance in revenue service throughout the system's life


The FRA developed a maglev safety analysis method known

as the System Safety Concept. It consists of applying

managerial and technical skills to systematically identify

potential hazards early in the system design, and to recommend

design modifications necessary to ensure safety before the

system is actually built. The hazard resolution process was

achieved by identifying hazards, assessing their severity and

probability, and developing corrective measures.


Potential safety issues were identified from operating

experiences, expert opinions, and a generic hazard checklist.

Expert opinions were used to assess the severity and

probability of each identified hazard. A risk assessment

matrix was developed to assist in the decision making process

to determine whether individual hazards can be accepted, or

they should be eliminated or controlled. Table 4-3 presents

the estimated probability of identified hazards, and Table 4-4

shows the risk matrix developed for the Transrapid system.

The FRA initiated a review process of maglev safety

standards and guidelines developed in Germany and other

countries to assist in adapting U.S. railroad regulations to

the maglev system. The structural design standards used for

aircraft bodies were also reviewed for possible relevancy to

maglev vehicle design. It was determined that modification of

existing FRA regulations may be required to accommodate maglev

systems in areas related to emergency braking, window glazing,

signal and train control, power supply, personnel

qualification and operating rules.

More detailed information was needed by FRA to evaluate

fully the ability of the Transrapid system to perform safely

in U.S. applications. A one-year test program of the Florida

Maglev Demonstration Project was viewed as vital for obtaining

adequate data on safety issues such as the dynamic interaction

between vehicles and guideway, operation in very high winds,

soil erosion, guideway oxidation, and extreme thermal

Table 4-3:

Probability Estimates of Undesired Events in
Maglev Operation


EVENT Passenger Leaving/ Accessible Inaccessible
DESCRIPTION Station Arriving Areas Areas
Transfer Station of Guideway of Guideway

Fire/Explosion in
Vehicle D D D D
Fire in Other
Critical Element C C C C
Vehicle Collision
with Object C C C C
Vehicle to
Vehicle Collision D D D D
Vehicle Leaves
Guideway E E E E

Sudden Stop N/A D D D
Does Not
Slow/Stop at N/A D N/A N/A
Stranded on
Guideway N/A D C C
Inability to
Rescue D D D C
Illness/Injury C C C C


Not applicable

Source: USDOT, 1991b

Maglev Risk Assessment Estimates


EVENT Passenger Leaving/ Accessible Inaccessible
DESCRIPTION Station Arriving Areas Areas
Transfer Station ofGuideway of Guideway
Fire/Explosion in IID ID ID ID
Fire in Other
Critical Element IIIC IIIC IIC IC
Vehicle Collision
with Object IIC IIC IC IC
Vehicle to
Vehicle Collision IID IID ID ID
Vehicle Leaves
Guideway IHE IIE IE IE

Sudden Stop N/A IIIC IIC IC
Does Not
Slow/Stop at N/A IID N/A N/A
Stranded on N/A IID IIC IC
Inability to




Not applicable

NOTE: IA, IB, IC, IA, IIB, IIlA = Unacceptable;
ID, IIC, IID, IIIB, IIIC = Unacceptable (management decision required);
IE, IIE, IIID, IIIE, IVA, IVB = Acceptable with review by management;
IVC, IVD, IVE = Acceptable without review

Source: USDOT, 1991b

Table 4-4:


conditions. This information was considered critical towards

approving Transrapid for revenue operation in the United


Safety Issues Related to the TGV Train

On May 28, 1991, the Texas TGV Consortium, headed by the

Morrison Knudsen Corporation, was awarded a 50-year franchise

to design, build, and operate a high-speed rail system in

Texas between the cities of Houston, Austin, Dallas and San

Antonio (referred to as the Texas Triangle). The French TGV

train is the technology selected by the franchisee for

operation in Texas

The FRA undertook this safety study to examine which of

existing regulations may have to be adapted to cover the

unique characteristics of the TGV, and also to identify the

aspects of TGV's design, construction and operation that need

to be changed to meet specific U.S. customer applications.

The report indicates that although the review is

preliminary, the TGV system seems to comply (or comply with

minor modifications) with FRA standards for track safety,

control of locomotive, braking system, air brake equipment,

electrical systems (except the emergency pantograph pole), cab

equipment, signal system, train control system, automatic

block signal system, interlocking, traffic control systems and

automatic train stop system. The Texas TGV trainset will

provide wheelchair accommodation and a handicapped washroom in

compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.


Further measurements were needed to confirm compliance with

noise emission requirements, fire protection guidelines, and

the safety windshield and glazing standards. The Windshield

and glazing safety standards at high speed are not addressed

in FRA's existing regulations. This is important because the

kinetic energy of a collision with an object is greatly

influenced by speed.

The report concludes that the proposed Texas TGV system

presents unique features compared to the customary intercity

passenger train designs found in the United States. The FRA's

existing regulations were not designed for railroad operations

in excess of 176 km/h (110 mph); and do not permit rail

passenger operations at higher speeds (Amtrak operates at

speeds up to 200 km/h (125 mph) on the Northeast Corridor

under a waiver). The Texas TGV rolling stock is capable of 320

km/h (200 mph). Furthermore, the TGV operates as a fixed

trainset with an articulated passenger section consisting of

several cars. Therefore, the on-board microprocessor network,

the speed control system, the signal system, and the braking

system are all designed based on the operation of equivalent

trainsets; and should be taking into consideration in

formulating new safety regulations. The FRA needs also to

develop standard for fault-tolerant systems, and for the

reliability of computer hardware.

TRB Safety Reports

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) published two

circulars dealing with the safety of HSR and maglev systems.

The most recent Circular #387 (TRB, 1992) consists only of

research problem statements. The problem statements were

generated at a special workshop conducted at the request of

FRA. The workshop objective was to assist FRA develop

appropriate safety regulations for HSR and maglev systems.

Approximately 70 research problem statements were identified.

These problem statements are being addressed within the

National Maglev Initiative Research Program. The safety issues

were subdivided into the following four topics:

Maglev guideway and vehicles.

HSR guideway and vehicles.

System design criteria and operation of maglev and HSR.

Issues related to signal, control and power supply.

The TRB Circular #351 (TRB, 1989), titled Safety Factors

Related to Hicrh-Speed Rail Passenger Systems, addresses only

the safety issues of HSR systems. The purpose of this effort

was to review regulations and practices in several European

nations, and to obtain information on the European experience

in operating HSR systems in revenue service.

The report describes the basic differences in railroad

safety regulations between the United States and Europe. The

European approach to railroad safety is based on "designing

safety into the system" by assessing safety requirements for


each corridor, whereas the U.S. approach consists of insuring

safety through regulations. In most European countries, the

national railroad company itself has the primary

responsibility for safety, while the government has

responsibility to oversee and to approve or disapprove the

railroad's actions. Although European governments have

regulatory power, they generally do not exercise it through

detailed regulations as is the case in the United States.

Another important distinction is that local governments in

most European countries have no jurisdiction over the

operation of the national railroad network except through

specific agreements for local service.

The report also presented a description of European

safety considerations as related to HSR systems in areas of

rolling stock, infrastructure, signalization, electrification,

and communication systems. There was, however, no comparisons

made with corresponding FRA regulations.

TRB Special Report 233

The TRB Special Report 233 (TRB, 1991), titled In Pursuit

of Speed: New Options for Intercity Passenger Transport,

provides an impartial evaluation of HSGT systems and their

potential feasibility in the U.S. market. This 179-page

special report was prepared at the request of the USDOT.

Several consultants assisted the TRB committee members in the

preparation of this document. Among the consulting companies

that participated in this effort are the Canadian Institute


for Guided Ground Transport (CIGGT), Parsons Brinckerhoff

Quade and Douglas (PBQD), SYDEC, and Analytic Services. The

report includes a review of costs, ridership, financial

feasibility, and public support of HSGT systems. Most of the

information was based on previous feasibility studies and the

various proposals for HSGT systems. The cost section of the

report was prepared with the assistance of John Harrison of

PBQD. This section and other HSGT studies performed by PBQD

were extensively used in this dissertation's HSGT cost

analysis because they constitute the only completed

theoretical (i.e., not related to any specific corridor)

maglev cost studies commissioned and funded by the USDOT.

The report concludes that the high cost of HSGT systems

and the uncertainty in forecasted demand are the main reasons

that neither public initiative nor private enterprise has

produced an operating system in the United States. The report

also states that it is unlikely that HSGT systems will pay for

themselves under reasonable ridership estimates and farebox

revenues. Therefore, public support will likely be required in

most cases. According to this report, the justification for

public support can be based on a host of secondary benefits

(often referred to as externalities) to nonusers or the

general public. These benefits include congestion relief,

environmental advantages, economic impacts, and greater

control of land use development patterns. The report

indicates, however, that further studies are needed to


evaluate these secondary benefits and devise methods to

estimate them on a site specific basis.

Supertrains Book

The book Supertrains, Solutions to America's

Transportation Gridlock (Vranich, 1991) is written by Joseph

Vranich, the current president of the High Speed Rail/Maglev

Association (HSR/MA). The book was not intended to be a

scientific study. Mr. Vranich is a strong advocate of HSGT

systems, and his involvement with HSR/MA makes him quite

knowledgeable in this area. He was called on numerous

occasions to testify in congress hearings on HSGT-related

topics. His most recent testimony was on August 6, 1992,

before the U.S. Senate's Committee on Commerce, Science, and


The Supertrain book presents a summary of the advantages

of HSR and maglev technologies and a description of the

systems operational in Europe and Japan. Although the book

contains no new technical information, it provides a unique

insight into the working of Congress and the political context

of transportation funding decisions. Government actions can

have a major impact on the implementation of HSGT systems in

the United States. As mentioned is the previous section, very

few HSGT corridor studies indicated that their proposed HSR or

maglev system will be expected to recover its capital cost.

Therefore, some sort of government support will be required in

most cases.


Although legislative actions related to tax-exempt bonds

and highway right-of-way use are important for HSGT systems,

the main legislative maglev issues are related to the level of

funding and whether the appropriated funds should be used to

develop a domestic maglev technology or to implement

"americanized" foreign maglev systems. The author believes

there are justifications for the federal government to

subsidize the construction of HSGT systems. The HSGT systems

are safer, more energy efficient and less polluting than other

modes. The author enumerates all the direct and indirect

subsidies (he referred to them as hidden subsidies) to the

highway system and airline companies. Furthermore, he claims

that airplane manufacturing industries have greatly benefited

from military research programs by adapting the findings to

civilian use.

The legislators who favor investing in the development of

a domestic maglev technology claim that the Japanese MLU

maglev is too expensive and not yet operationally ready, and

the German Transrapid maglev uses conventional electromagnets

and must levitate with small air gaps which limits speed and

increases guideway cost. They propose developing from scratch

a new generation of superconducting maglev technology

specifically suited for the U.S. market.

The legislators who favor americanizing a foreign

technology are more interested in a quick implementation of

the already proposed maglev systems, such as the systems


proposed for Orlando and Pittsburgh. Some of them claim that

investing in developing a U.S. maglev system is mainly

designed to assist aerospace and military industries overcome

military cutbacks. They are skeptical that U.S. industries can

in a short time and cost-effectively develop a substantially

better maglev technology than what is already available. They

don't foresee significant technological breakthroughs and they

believe it will be too expensive to match the billions of

dollars invested by the Germans and Japanese and the 15-year

experience gained by their researchers. They also claim that

americanizing (obtaining a manufacturing license) a foreign

maglev technology, such as the Transrapid, can lead to a

domestic manufacturing maglev industry with almost equal

benefits to the U.S. economy as developing a new system (this

reasoning is also held by the researchers of the Argonne

National Laboratory who proposed the Pittsburgh maglev

regional network using Transrapid technology). The author

remarks that the world manufacturing process is becoming more

integrated. Even Boeing airplanes contain foreign-manufactured

parts. He therefore advises against delaying proposed systems

until a U.S. technology is ready for implementation.

Finally, the author states that maglev vehicles account

for a small percentage of the total cost of a maglev system.

The largest cost components are for guideway, earthwork, and

civil engineering structures. The spin-off from these

investments alone can generate important ramifications for the


local as well as national economy, regardless which maglev

technology is used.


This chapter provides a description of resistive forces

acting on a train, the engine power needed to accelerate a

train on a level terrain and on grades, and the allowable

speed on curves. Most units in this chapter are expressed in

SI units only.

For a train to move forward and accelerate, its motors

must produce a tractive force superior to the sum of all

resistive forces. The acceleration rate is proportional to the

resultant force and limited by the adhesion coefficient

between rail and wheel.

The total resistance is the sum of all resistive forces

acting on a train at a given time or place. Traditionally, it

was measured in pounds per ton of train. The FRA has recently

adopted the metric system, and today total resistance is

measured in SI units (Systeme International) and expressed in

KN (Kilo Newton). The SI unit "tonne" equals 1000 kg and about

1.103 U.S. short tons.

The resistive forces acting on an HSR train are different

from the forces acting on a maglev train because maglev

systems operate without physical contact. At high speed,

however, air resistance becomes the dominant resistive force