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Proposed high-speed SCMAGLEV passenger rail line could bring very fast and direct connection from Baltimore, BWI Marshall Airport to D.C. Convention Center area.

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The Maryland Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration has released a new report today that lists details about where the stations for the proposed SCMAGLEV line will be potentially located that will be considered in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS for short), if they will be underground or above ground, and details on construction methods.

If this is given the green light by the federal government and this is constructed, commuters from Baltimore and BWI Marshall Airport would have a very fast trip to the D.C. Convention Center area where the D.C. stop has two concepts that will be considered within the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

Link to this report: http://bwmaglev.info/images/document_library/reports/alternatives_report/SCMAGLEV_Alts_Report_Body-Append-A-B-C_Nov2018.pdf and http://bwmaglev.info/images/document_library/reports/alternatives_report/SCMAGLEV_Alts_Report_Append_D-E-F-G_Nov2018.pdf

Baltimore Station 1 would be located directly under the Baltimore Convention Center with entrances that are near the convention center itself:

CaptureBaltimoreStop1.PNG

Baltimore Station 2 would be above-ground and would directly connect to an existing light rail stop:

CaptureBaltimoreStop2.PNG

The BWI Marshall Airport station would be underground:

CaptureBWIMarshallStop.PNG

And the D.C station would be located very close to the D.C. Convention Center, there are two concepts for the station, both would have the station underground.

D.C. station concept 1:

CaptureDCStop1.PNG

D.C. station concept 2:

CaptureDCStop2.PNG

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Going from convention center to convention center (and the airport of course) would be so AWESOME!  Seems like it'd cut down on traveling headaches and traffic.  Thanks for the info!

 

For some reason, the abbrev. SCMAGLEV reminds me of Smeagle (aka Gollum), from Lord of the Rings.  :)

Edited by EdKitten
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10 minutes ago, EdKitten said:

Going from convention center to convention center (and the airport of course) would be so AWESOME!  Seems like it'd cut down on traveling headaches and traffic.  Thanks for the info!

 

For some reason, the abbrev. SCMAGLEV reminds me of Smeagle (aka Gollum), from Lord of the Rings.  :)

 

I hope this is approved by the federal government and it actually gets under construction.

SCMAGLEV is a Japanese technology, here's a great Baltimore Sun article that is all about the SCMAGLEV train: https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-japan-maglev-20180531-htmlstory.html

The developer of SCMAGLEV tech, JR Central wants to bring this technology to the U.S.:

Quote

Indeed, after 50 years and billions of dollars in Japanese research and development, JR Central says its maglev train is ready for its big rollout — and not just in Japan, where the company has already begun an $80 billion project to extend the mountain test track into a 272-mile commercial line from Tokyo to Osaka by 2037.

For nearly a decade, the company also has been working with a team of well-connected U.S. partners to lay the groundwork for a second maglev line along the Northeast Corridor, perhaps some day to Boston. In its first phase, they say, it could transport travelers from Washington to Baltimore in 15 minutes, and later from Washington to New York in an hour, with stops along the way at BWI Marshall Airport and Philadelphia, among others.

It’s a proposal with the potential to dramatically alter the lives of people up and down the corridor, but particularly those in post-industrial Baltimore, which has lost population for decades and struggles to hold onto an economic base beyond the universities and hospitals that anchor it. Developers and other business interests in the city eye the train as a potential shot in the arm, allowing them to someday pitch their properties as the D.C. suburbs.

 

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SCMAGLEV is in fact the fastest ground transportation system in the entire world and the proposed SCMAGLEV U.S. rail line would operate based upon the standards and procedures developed in Japan: https://northeastmaglev.com/faq/

Quote

Q: What is the Baltimore–Washington SCMAGLEV Project?

A: The SCMAGLEV (superconducting magnetic levitation) Project, is a proposed high-speed rail line between Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, DC, with an intermediate stop at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. Ultimately, the system will be extended to New York City. SCMAGLEV is the most advanced high-speed ground transportation system in the world. Traveling at a speed of 500 km/h (311mph) will enable a 15-minute trip between Washington, DC and Baltimore and a one-hour trip between Washington, DC and New York City.


Q: What is the SCMAGLEV system and how does the SCMAGLEV compare to other high-speed ground transportation systems?

A: The SCMAGLEV is the fastest ground transportation system in the world, having been certified by the Guinness Book of World Records for its speed record of 375 mph set in 2015. Unlike conventional railway systems, the SCMAGLEV accelerates and decelerates not by force generated by a mechanical motor, but through a magnetic force generated between the onboard superconducting magnets and electromagnetic coils in a guideway.


Q: Who will operate the SCMAGLEV?

A: Developer Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail expects that a US operating entity will be created for the purpose of operating the system in the Northeast Corridor. The operating entity will operate the SCMAGLEV based upon the standards and procedures developed by the Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) and those mandated by the FRA. JR Central is a publicly traded, private train operator in Japan, and is the owner and operator of the SCMAGLEV system in Japan. Though JR Central will not operate the SCMAGLEV system in the US, it does provide vital technical advice to help advance the deployment of the SCMAGLEV system in the US. JR Central operates the Tokaido Shinkansen “bullet train” between Tokyo and Osaka, the safest, busiest and most travelled high-speed rail line in the world. This operation carries 150 million people every year, utilizing 100,000 trains with an annual average delay of just 54 seconds per operational train.

 

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The problem with an ultra-expensive rail system with only three stops is economics-related... similar to the problems the Concorde SST faced. The cost of operating the entire rail system will be heaped upon only the riders heading to these three stops - increasing the cost of a one-way ticket and pricing it out of most commuter's range. The cost per rider would be exorbitant. If you say "add more stops", then it becomes less advantageous than other means of transportation as the train spends more time decelerating, stopped, then accelerating from stations rather than cruising along at the hyped maximum speed. It will be similar to what happened to the Concorde - where Britain and France were subsidizing the operational costs of the aircraft throughout the entirety of its existence. The government (Federal, State, and Local) would probably be asked to foot the majority of the operating costs "until the system becomes self-sustaining" which probably never will happen given that there aren't a lot of reasons for tourists to justify the cost to use a SMAGLEV between Baltimore and DC. Even Japan hasn't tried this commercially yet so there's no proof that a SMAGLEV system is economically feasible.

Yes I'm being a "Danny Downer", but I feel our Federal Government is already up to it's ears in debt and projects like these will only bury it deeper in debt. The targeted consumer base is way too small to support reasonable fares without government bailouts. Would it be great if there was a SMAGLEV rail system? Sure! But who's going to be paying to keep it running? The answer is "The overwhelming majority of taxpayers who will never have a need to get between Baltimore and DC in 15 minutes." I don't see taxpayers approving such a boondoggle. Besides, the "15 minutes" quote is misleading unless you assume that the rider just happened to get to the station when an "express" train that skips BWI is getting ready to leave. Otherwise the potential customer will be waiting in the station for the next train, riding the train to BWI where it will stop to drop off/pick up, THEN continue to DC/Baltimore. An actual 15 minute trip will be a rarity in such a system. So if you spend 30 minutes in the rail system for a supposed "15 minute" trip, will the increased fare be really worth it? Again, like the Concorde, the answer will be, "Only for those with money to burn."

Edited by Fadamor
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One of the Washington Post's Transportation writers had an article in today's paper on this project. She didn't seem to address the costs of operation of the system. She only discussed the funding that would be required to build it. The result is a kind of a half-hearted attempt at a news article. I don't know, maybe she didn't want to affect her access to these planners by bringing up too many negatives in her article. D.C.’s Mount Vernon Square eyed for high-speed maglev train station

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What a cowinkydink about the article appearing when we're discussing it!  The article mentioned one of the routes under consideration would affect some residential properties.  I sure hope it doesn't -- 'cause that sounds like they'd plow through some homes.  (Can you imagine losing your home just because they build a road through it?  It's happened before.)

 

A link within the news article takes you to another one that discusses the budgets more.  It reminds me of what you mentioned about the budgets, Fadamor.  I'm really not sure if they're gonna approve this.  Sure am glad I'm not in a government position -- too many major decisions.  :blink:

Edited by EdKitten

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That part of the article was talking about which side of the BW Parkway would be used. West of the  Parkway is residential while east of the parkway is a lot of government land (Ft. Meade, NASA Greenbelt, etc.)

It sounds to me like they (the developers) are trying to get everyone caught up in the "Gee Whiz High Tech!!!" hype, while making no mention of the expected ridership and how the income from riders would compare to the operational costs (management, train staff, maintenance staff, ELECTRICITY, etc.) of the rail system. There's going to have to be a repair facility somewhere along the line to handle routine maintenance and non-routine repair of the trains. Once you build it, the costs to run the building don't cease. Even when there are no repairs/maintenance being performed, you still have to have those staff on the payroll.

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Excellent points!  Sadly, it does seem like it's not gonna be very cost-effective.  Sure hope they figure something out.  It'd be amazing to have such a high speed train available.  One of those article links (I think), mentioned the train including a stop in New York -- maybe it'd be easier to get to those New York anime conventions!

Edited by EdKitten

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If they get all the approvals and there are no delays, it wouldn't be running until 2027. And even then, it won't be cost-effective for you and me.

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I'll believe it when I see it. High-speed rail isn't particularly profitable in the US and the logistics would be a nightmare. 

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the northeast corridor is where it is profitable tho. Boston to DC is where train travel makes sense.


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On 11/25/2018 at 6:07 PM, danielb said:

the northeast corridor is where it is profitable tho. Boston to DC is where train travel makes sense.


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Unfortunately, they aren't planning a huge project like a DC - Boston maglev - at least not initially. Can you imagine the expense involved in getting maglev tunnels through the New York metropolitan area while avoiding the regular rail and subway systems? Amtrak is able to do the Northeast Corridor run because they share track owned by other rail entities (commuter and freight). Maglev would require track ONLY usable by maglev trains. The tens of billions of dollars required to build such a line will never materialize.

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