Magnetic-Levitation (MagLev) rail provides a virtually frictionless way to transport people and goods at high speeds of 300 mph (480 km/h) or more. MagLev trains can be fast, but they are still trains – they must stop and start often, and stations might be far from passengers’ homes or businesses. As such, MagLev trains offer little advantage over conventional steel-wheels-on-steel-rails systems.
Let’s separate “railroad” from “train” and have individual vehicles that use computer-automated technology to go non-stop from the starting to the destination depots. Each vehicle might transport one passenger, or a small group; or one load of freight, such as the daily delivery to a supermarket.
This would require a fast, probably non-mechanical way of switching vehicles from one rail to another, something that most MagLev systems cannot do because part of the vehicle is wrapped around underneath the rail, or else the guideway is a trough. In the Danby-Powell second-generation MagLev system, however, the vehicle has some parts to the side of the rail, but not underneath, so electromagnetic switching is possible, using “virtual rails”. MagLev vehicles could travel in “convoys” to reduce air resistance.
A hexagrammoid grid, as shown in the illustration, can make possible low-G-force switching from rail to rail, even at 300 mph.
The “RoboTrail” MagLev network can initially be built to handle freight. A tractor-trailer flatbed rig could carry the cargo container for a few miles from the source (factory or warehouse) to a depot, where it is deposited on the MagLev network. After traveling at high speed to another depot, another rig could carry the cargo container for a few miles to the final destination.
How can we do something similar for passengers? In the “LeviCar” system, there will be modular passenger cars, with a car body for passengers and luggage, and a separable road chassis with the motors, power storage, and wheels. The car body is mounted on the chassis for driving around town. After driving to a MagLev depot, the body will be removed and mounted on a MagLev “bogie”, then travel at high speed to another depot, where it will be remounted an another road chassis. Passengers get the speed of air travel without all the hassles, with seamless, flexible travel.
If chassis are leased to the consumer, the lease price could also include the cost of basic maintenance, and servicing the chassis is as simple as exchanging the ‘old’ chassis for a ‘new’ one. The ‘old’ one will be repaired, and given to another customer. If you can’t bring the car into the repair shop, a service truck can swap the chassis in your driveway, the side of a road, or wherever you happen to be.
There was been a lot of talk about transportation tubes, such as Hyperloop and ET3. LeviCar could offer seamless transfers from “conventional” MagLev to such tubes, making it even faster, while keeping the same flexibility.
Further information is available at www.LeviCar.com/, while details about the hexagrammoid grid can be found at www.hexOgrid.com/.