is an extensive network of conventional railroad lines in the United
States that amounts to hundreds of thousands of miles. Much of this
trackage is no longer in use, or completely abandoned. Much of the
remaining track is used only a few times a week.
This unused trackage offers a unique opportunity for rapid implementation
of maglev in the US. Levitated guideways for high speed intercity
maglev vehicles could use this trackage, particularly in the congested
areas surrounding metropolitan centers. This would allow intercity
maglev guideways to enter urban regions without disrupting the existing
infrastructure and inhabitants.
unused railroad trackage can also be used for suburban Maglev systems
that operate at moderate speeds - for example, to a maximum of approximately
Maglev 2000 has patented a new concept for suburban maglev that
can operate directly on existing railroad trackage. This system,
termed MERRI (Maglev Emplacement on RailRoad Infrastructure) allows
maglev vehicles to use the trackage without interfering with, or
requiring the reconstruction of, the existing trackage.
panels containing the MERRI guideway loops are attached to the ends
of the existing wooden railroad ties. The MERRI panels interact
with the magnets on the maglev vehicles, levitating it as it moves
along the track. The panels are located so that they do not interfere
with the rails or the operation of conventional railroad locomotives
and rail cards. Accordingly, the MERRI system could even be put
into place on trackage that was still in operation, but only infrequently.
This is the case for a substantial fraction of the US rail system
that is still in operation.
The cost of converting existing trackage to the M-2000 MERRI System
is projected to be low, only a few million dollars per mile. After
conversion, the line could operate early as a maglev only line,
or as a dual maglev/conventional rail line, depending on traffic
revenues and requirements.
(All railroad map images were produced by modification of images
generated with US
Railroad Map Software)