Steam Corner 20
Our thanks go to Mr. I. Fyvie, The Watercress Line, Mr. T. Knowles, Mr.S. Smalley, The North Norfolk Rly., Severn Valley Rly., Mr.Chris Adams and countless others for their assistance in this production.
Hello again, and welcome back to Steam Corner, our alternative view of the railway world. This time out, I'd like to take you on an adventure into the present and future of railway transport as we know it, and have included U.R.L.'s of various websites for you to take a look at. These will help to explain the cutting edge technology being employed to create a new Rapid Transport system, which appears to be highly successful abroad.
For nearly two hundred years, the principles of railway infrastructure have changed very little; perhaps more so in England than anywhere else - a distinct lack of investment and development being the normal attitude. This has left the doors open for the Japanese and Koreans to shine and excel in this practice, who have produced some startling results with the Maglef system.
For those who don't know, the Maglev system uses the principle of little magnetic poles which will repel each other through an ingenious track and stock device. When this is employed, the train rises off the track, which gives the benefit of zero frictive loss. Not only does this give the prospects of much higher speeds, but also faster acceleration and fuel efficiency, along with an ultra smooth ride for passengers. Forward propulsion is provided for by the same means, giving a smooth but extremely rapid acceleration from a standing start.
URL - http://www.o-keating.com/hsr/maglev.htm
Speeds of up to 506 kph have been attained by the Japanese train; a far cry from the 116 mph. of Gresley A4 fame. Indeed, with the costs of fuels spiralling constantly upwards, the Maglev system seems to be the only sensible way forward! Time alone will tell if another method of transportation shall prove itself to be more efficient, or if this is the pinnacle of rapid transport systems as we know them. It is of interest, however, that the classic Gresley streamlining profile seems to be the natural choice of design for the "stock".
Gresley_A4.jpg Streamlining profile.
Of this much we can be certain: the future of railways is liable to introduce yet more innovative ideas and designs. The products of such may not be recognizable in the eyes of yesteryear's great engineers of the railway system as we know it, but shall owe a great deal to the prowess, determination, and ingenuity of those men. The same men that devised a network of transport over 200 years ago using sheer manpower alone, and will remain a testament to their endeavours.
It is thus that traditional trackwork shall become a thing of the past. For better or worse, technology makes it's advances, and our surroundings change with it. Personally, I'd far prefer a more relaxed approach, combined with the familiarity of wheels crossing rail joints! Wherever the preservationists run their railways, that is the place I'll be found.......
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