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Maglev

the wheel-less rail system London,

A passenger travels on the world’s first commercial maglev train in Birmingham.
The maglev at Birmingham. GEC Transportation Projects Ltd.

Maglev trains use electromagnetic systems to ‘levitate’ rail carriages above tracks to create a fully friction-less and wheel-less rail system that can travel at unprecedented speeds.

There are currently only two maglev systems in commercial operation – in Japan and China – but maglev technology was originally developed in the UK by English inventor Eric Laithwaite (1921-1997) while working at Imperial College London.

Maglev developed from research Eric Laithwaite was carrying out on the linear induction motor, when he found a way for it to produce lift as well as forward thrust. Following his research a slow-speed, short distance maglev train was built in Birmingham connecting the airport to its nearby railway station. It opened in 1984, becoming the world's first commercial maglev train.

Royal Academy of Engineering

Decade
Type
Engineering, Mathematics,
Region
London
Location
Imperial College London
Key Individuals
Eric Laithwaite,