California / Nevada Interstate Maglev Project

So this weekend my buddy Nate and I drove to Las Vegas. When we finally got there we met up with a larger group who had decided (i.e. had the bankroll) to fly.

It's not a bad drive from Los Angeles, really, a little bit over four hours. Saturday was fine - we had tunes and burgers and other such distractions. But Sunday the drive got a bit long - we had listened to most of the good CDs and Burger King pales to In N Out. Oh, yeah, we hadn't gotten much sleep, either.

There really has to be a better way, I was thinking. Then today I read this on the internet:

MAGLEV! My old buddy! See, I did my eighth grade Science Fair project about maglev trains. My experiment failed so hard that had it blown up into smithereens I wouldn't have been surprised. Yet still, with my sharp analytical skills and my precision salesmanship, I still walked away with the Best in Show trophy. Aw yeah ...

Anyway, enough about that super-stylin' thirteen year old Josh. Let's talk about maglev. "What is it?" "How will it work for me?" "Why does it burn when I urinate?" All good questions. Maglev is "an advanced technology in which magnetic forces lift, propel, and guide a vehicle over a guideway."

To me that's a rather lame definition. "Guide a vehicle over a guideway"? Uh, gee, wow ... so that's why they call it a guideway!

Pretty much a maglev train is like a normal train, except there are no wheels touching the track surface, the train "floats" instead of rolling. Science-people, sometimes called "scientists", say that a maglev train is more like a plane than a train. This makes me think of "Planes, Trains and Automobiles". Ahhh, John Candy. "Those AREN'T PILLOWS!!!"

Anyway, for real: the advantage of maglev is that it can achieve very high speed and acceleration/deceleration performance because the vehicles essentially "fly" at very low altitudes - unlike trains or cars, there is no surface contact or "friction" to slow them down.

The only thing I don't really get is that the train is going from Las Vegas to Anaheim. Anaheim!! Yup, the home of the World Champion Angels, as well as Disneyland and ... (shudder) Disney's California Adventure.

I can only assume that, A) Disney paid Las Vegas off or B) Anaheim is a bit closer to San Diego, thus more San Diegans ... er, San Diegers ... San Diegists(?) would use the maglev train.

So, if this actually goes through, all we'd have to do is drive the forty-five minutes to Anaheim, jump on the train, travel at 300 mph for the 269 miles to Vegas, and be done. No more four and a half hour drives, or forty-five minute flights that get delayed or canceled after you wait in traffic at LAX and then all that security. Ugh.

Yup. I see the future, and it's maglev. And flying cars. And food that's in pill form. Fantastic. Check outthis site for more info!

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Last Updated on: November 6, 2002

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