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Future Trains (MegaStructures - National Geographic)

This documentary tells the engineering behind Maglev trains, a system that suspends, guides and propels trains, using magnetic levitation from a very large number of magnets for lift and propulsion. This method has the potential to be faster, quieter and smoother than wheeled mass transit systems. The power needed for levitation is usually not a particularly large percentage of the overall consumption; most of the power used is needed to overcome air drag, as with any other high speed train.

Transrapid is a German high-speed monorail train using magnetic levitation. Based on a patent from 1934, planning of the Transrapid system started in 1969. The test facility for the system in Emsland, Germany was completed in 1987. Nevertheless, the only Transrapid maglev currently in commercial operation is a Transrapid line in Shanghai, linking Pudong International Airport with the outskirts of the city.7.5 min. The documentary gives us an inside look of how this ultra-modern train network was completed with high precision despite numerous challenges. The Transrapid line here offers a flawless joyride for thousands of people, and the stage looks to be set for the technology's more widespread use.

That, until the 2006 Lathen maglev train accident occurred on 22 September 2006. A Transrapid magnetic levitation  train collided with a maintenance vehicle near Lathen, Germany, killing 23 people. This was the first ever fatal accident on a maglev train. The Maglev train is still a marvellous engineering feat, the
future of maglev train network expansion inside and outside of China have taken a setback due to this accident.

About the documentary series MegaStructures by National Geographic
Megastructures are all around us; skyscrapers in big cities, subway trains years ahead of their time. Get an inside look at the planning and engineering behind creating some of the greatest buildings and machines ever made. ‘MegaStructures’ takes you inside the superstructures and all the inner workings that muscle together to make the structures function as a whole.
Watch other episodes of MegaStructures here

Watch the full documentary here


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