Maglev Research Programmes

Note: The list does not include Hyperloop research programmes.

1. Japan
  • Railway Technical Research Institute (RTRI): This institute, affiliated with the Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central), is at the forefront of developing the SC Maglev system for the Chuo Shinkansen project, aiming to connect Tokyo and Osaka. The RTRI's research encompasses superconducting magnets, track design, and vehicle dynamics to enhance the safety, efficiency, and performance of Maglev technology.

  • Yamanashi Maglev Test Line: As a critical component of Japan's Maglev development efforts, this facility is where the SC Maglev technology undergoes rigorous testing, achieving world-record speeds and demonstrating the technology's potential for commercial application.

2. China
  • China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC): Leading the charge in China's Maglev development, CRRC is focused on creating Maglev trains that can reach speeds up to 600 km/h. Their research includes advancements in both low- and high-temperature superconducting Maglev technologies, aiming at cost reduction and improved operational efficiency.

  • Southwest Jiaotong University: This university is recognized for its significant contributions to Maglev research, particularly in high-temperature superconducting Maglev technology. It has developed experimental test tracks to address the challenges of levitation and propulsion systems.

3. United States
  • National Maglev Initiative (NMI): Though not as prominent currently, the NMI once represented a concerted effort by the U.S. to evaluate the viability of Maglev technology across technological, economic, and environmental dimensions.

  • Old Dominion University (ODU): ODU's research initiatives focus on urban transit applications of Maglev technology, exploring how it can be integrated with existing transportation infrastructures to alleviate urban congestion and improve mobility.

4. South Korea
  • Korea Institute of Machinery & Materials (KIMM): Involved in the development of the Incheon Airport Maglev, KIMM's research targets the core technologies essential for Maglev systems, such as levitation, guidance, and propulsion, to enhance their efficiency and applicability in urban settings.
5. Russia
  • St. Petersburg State Transport University (PSTU): PSTU is recognized for its comprehensive approach to transportation engineering and technology research, including railways, urban transit systems, and innovative technologies like Maglev. The university's involvement in Maglev research signifies Russia's broader interest in alternative and advanced transportation solutions.

  • Russian Research and Development Institute of Railway Engineering (VNIIZhT): Engaged in Maglev research with a focus on applications for both freight and passenger transport, VNIIZhT aims to leverage Russia's extensive rail expertise to advance Maglev technology, exploring its potential benefits and implementation challenges.
  • In Russia, Maglev research has been part of a broader initiative to explore and develop advanced transportation technologies. Moscow, as a leading center for scientific research and higher education, hosts several institutions engaged in Maglev-related studies. These efforts are aimed at enhancing the technology's efficiency, safety, and economic viability. While specific programs can vary in focus and scope, key contributions come from institutions such as the National Research University – Higher School of Economics (HSE), Moscow State University (MSU), and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT).
6. Switzerland
  • SwissRapide AG: Switzerland is exploring Maglev technology through concepts and proposals rather than physical test facilities. SwissRapide AG is involved in promoting linear motor technology for ultra-high-speed Maglev trains in Switzerland. Although not a research institute in the traditional sense, it represents an initiative aimed at examining the feasibility of implementing Maglev systems to enhance the Swiss public transportation network, focusing on connecting major cities with high-speed corridors.

7. Germany
  • Technical University of Munich (TUM): While the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has been involved in a wide range of transportation and electromobility research, its direct involvement in Maglev technology research, specifically, has been more historical in nature, linked to the broader engineering and technological studies that contribute to advancements in high-speed transportation systems. TUM's contributions to transportation engineering have indeed encompassed areas relevant to Maglev, including electrical engineering, physics, and materials science, which are crucial for the development of Maglev technology.
  • Emsland Test Facility: The centerpiece of Germany's Maglev research was the Transrapid system, supported by a test facility located in Emsland. This facility was operational for several decades, serving as a testbed for the Transrapid Maglev technology developed by Siemens and ThyssenKrupp. Here, extensive trials on Maglev technology were conducted, leading to significant advancements in high-speed magnetic levitation trains. The Transrapid system showcased the potential of Maglev technology for high-speed rail travel, achieving speeds over 500 km/h during testing phases.Although the Emsland test track has been decommissioned, the legacy of the Transrapid project continues to influence Maglev research and development globally. Germany's contributions through the Transrapid system have provided valuable insights into the capabilities and challenges of implementing Maglev technology on a commercial scale.

These institutions and their research programs represent the global effort to advance Maglev technology, tackling the technical hurdles and exploring the practical applications of this futuristic mode of transportation. Through their work, these entities contribute significantly to the development of Maglev systems, aiming to revolutionize how we envision high-speed travel by offering faster, cleaner, and more efficient transportation solutions.