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New Model Trains In The Future

Aug 13, 2008
The past of the model train is filled with design changes and ideas. From wind up models to spring driven ones there are a world of methods used for locomotion. Steam driven models have been used as well as gasoline driven. The current method of choice for movement is electricity. Many of the past methods mirrored those of their full size kin. This begs the question, will they continue to do so in the future?

In many areas the idea of trains that could run on a Maglev system beginning to become accepted. In Japan in 1962 research of the possibility for actual Maglev travel would be feasible. Maglev testing ran for many years before an actual manned run could be attempted. The goal of a successful test run finally saw its day in September of 1982 and was a two car run.

By 1998 the testing crews were ready to attempt a passing run. Two trains were successfully able to pass each other at speeds of close to 966 km/h. In 1999 the test trains then passed each other at speeds exceeding 1,000 km/h. In January 2001 The Imperial Prince and Princess of Japan were the first ones to experience the very first trial ride. By March of the next year more than thirty thousand people had been on a trial ride of the Maglev technology.

Needless to say, Maglev technology is now here to stay. With top speeds that can surpass anything that rides a normal rail it may soon come a day when Maglev will cause standard rail travel to become obsolete. It may seem like a world away but with rising transportation costs it may come sooner than later. So, what is Maglev and what makes it so important?

Maglev, a derivative of magnetic levitation, is a method where magnetic fields alone provide the sole support for an object. This is achieved through the use of electromagnetic force to overcome the effects of gravity. The force that provides the lift is usually magnetic levitation. There is normally a mechanical support that keeps the system stable while bearing very little load. Another term for this process is know as pseudo-levitation.

This means that trains equipped with Maglev technology are no longer directly dependent on oil as a source of fuel. They still depend on electricity which could be provided by fossil fuels but this is still a greatly reduced amount. If all trains were converted to this type system the initial cost would be great but the potential for savings is greater.

This could possibly mean the demise of the steam driven locomotive. So, what could this mean for model builders? Will the model trains of tomorrow be based on the current designs of the bullet trains and the Japanese Maglev train? It is conceivable that before long the models could actually be functioning on this sort of technology. This can also be a boon for model train collectors. The "old" electric trains will soon become collector's items as well and could soon be fetching high prices just like the cast iron ones that came before.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for model cars, model trains, and model trucks. You will find excellent hobbying and trading resources here for model car tricks and tips, model train concepts, and model truck dioramas.
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