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Lockheed Martin Takes Maglev Ride With Transrapid

File photo of a Japanese Maglev train. Photo by Toru Yamanaka Copyright AFP 2000
Gaitherburg - October 11, 2000
Lockheed Martin and Transrapid International-USA (TRI) have teamed to apply magnetic levitation (maglev) technology to high-speed ground transportation in the U.S.

The two companies have signed an agreement to pursue maglev opportunities, including a project to build a federally supported, high-speed maglev line in a heavily traveled U.S. corridor.

Maglev technology is seen as a safe and efficient high-speed transportation option, especially suited to rapidly move passengers in heavily traveled inter-city corridors, and expected to provide relief from traffic congestion in densely populated areas.

TRI's maglev system, under development for more than 20 years, operates on a 20-mile test track in Germany. The Transrapid technology, now in its eighth generation design, has safely carried more than 250,000 people at the test facility. It has been named as the technology of choice by six of the seven jurisdictions vying for a U.S. government grant to build a maglev system.

Lockheed Martin Mission Systems will supplement Trio's technology to ensure the "Americanization" of the technology, certification to U.S. standards, and satisfaction of project performance goals. Maglev high-speed travel will require a sophisticated command, control and communication system, an area of Mission Systems expertise.

The Federal Railroad Administration has given grants to seven states and authorities to help fund engineering and environmental studies to determine the feasibility of deploying a maglev project. The seven contenders have submitted bids for $950 million in federal funds in a national competition to build and deploy a single maglev project. Design and construction phase of the selected project should begin in 2002, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation schedule.

According to DoT, these are the seven Maglev Deployment Program corridor projects under consideration:

  • A 40-mile long project that would link downtown Baltimore and the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. airport with the nation's capital. Future connections include Philadelphia, New York City and Boston, to the North, and Richmond, Va., Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C., to the South;

  • The first 40 miles of a 110-mile project linking Atlanta to Chattanooga, Tenn;

  • A 42-mile project linking Las Vegas to Primm, Nev., with future developments to Oakland, Calif.;

  • A 45-mile project linking Pittsburgh Airport to Pittsburgh and its eastern suburbs. Future plans include routes to Harrisburg, Penn., and Philadelphia;

  • A 75-mile system connecting Los Angeles International Airport to Union Station, to downtown Los Angeles and then to Ontario Airport, and into Riverside County;

  • A 40-mile project linking New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal to the airport and across Lake Pontchartrain to the Northern suburbs;

  • A 20-mile project in Florida linking Port Canaveral to the Kennedy Space Center and Titusville Space Coast Regional Airport.

In signing the teaming agreements, Terry Drabant, President of Lockheed Martin Mission Systems said, "We clearly believe that now is the time to apply this innovative maglev technology to solve growing problems associated with traffic congestion. As a nation, we have to be creative in how we will move more people and goods in the future with less environmental impact. The U.S. government has made the right decision to address this issue now, and is to be applauded for having made the funds necessary to begin applying this technology to solving U.S. transportation needs. We're excited to be on the leading edge of this important improvement to the American transportation future."

Chris Brady, President of Transrapid International-USA, added, "With medium to long inter-city corridors, the U.S. is the ideal market for the super speed Transrapid technology -- in that 40-to-300 mile niche between the local, short distance commute by auto and transit, and long distance air travel. We are pleased to be working with Lockheed Martin to bring the benefits of the Transrapid maglev technology to the U.S."

The agreement also calls for Lockheed Martin and TRI-USA to jointly market the maglev transportation system for application in markets across the U.S.

Transrapid International-USA is a subsidiary of Transrapid International GmBH & Co. KG (TRI), Berlin, Germany, a joint venture of Adtrans, Siemans and ThyssenKrupp.

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