Technic of Transrapid

No mechanics

Maglev Train : Bullet Train = Compact Disc : Vinyl Disc (Principle of Markus Kraffczyk)
The Transrapid is the first basic innovation in train technology since the first railroads. The magnetically levitated train (shortly maglev) has no wheels, axes, transmission and direction. It doesn't drive, it floats. Instead of wheel+track at railroad a touch available electromagnetic carry, lead and propulsion system enter the TR. Wearfree electronics instead of a conventional mechanics.

Levitation system

Carrying magnets regulated electronically which are installed along the complete vehicle on the two pages consult the vehicle from below to the ferromagnetic stator laminations in the guideway. The leading magnets form it of the lane at the side. Electronics guarantees that the distance (1.00 cm) always remains the same. The TR needs no more energy than its air conditioner on board for floating.
Originally the levitation system was supplied by batteries with energy in the vehicle and was therefore independent of the drive. So the vehicle could float in the standstill for 60 minutes without being supplied with energy of the outside. Under the drive the board batteries can be charged by linear generators again. Since the frequent loading up cycles affect the life time of the batteries strongly, the vehicle in the stop area was temporarly got energy for levitation over pantographs. The pantographs were, however, also required in the surroundings of the hold range at speeds below 90 kph. A contactless board energy feeding was, however, developed for the floating system in the context of the Further Development Program for Transrapid meanwhile.


He is installed in the guideway and works like a normal electromotor whose stator is cut open and "stretched" below the guideway. Current produces a magnetic walking field in the flex windings by which the vehicle is pulled along touch freely. Its carrying magnets work as excitation part (rotor). The speed can be regulated by changes of the frequency of the three-phase current directly. One works the force direction of the walking field changes, the engine becomes the dynamo which contactless brakes the vehicle. One can use the braking energy again and as electrical energy back food.


The TR floats on a double lane guideway. This one can be led to flat ground or on slim feet elevated and consists of individual up to 61 m long carriers made of steel or concrete. The elevated guideway presents a minimal ground sealing. Since ground sealing is held responsible increasingly for inundations, the elevation represents an high water protection which is at the same time active and passive. Moreover, elevated guideways offer a greatest measure in accuracy as compared with dangerous interventions in the train traffic. The TR changes the lane about steel supple: You consist of a continuous steel girder which is bent elastically with the help of an electromechanical servo drive.
The 80 m long side is used for the track switching mainly in the stations and can be driven on with 100 kph. 200 m long quick driving sides are provided for track switchings at higher speed (200 kph). On the Transrapid Test Facility Emsland (TVE) at Lathen this has only a length of 170 m. All switches can be driven at straight ahead position with maximum speed.


A vehicle consists everybody of at least 2 sections – with average about 90 seats. Depending on need (volume of traffic) trains can be arranged with up to 10 sections (2 bow and 8 middle sections). The TR, however, cannot transport only passengers but also goods. In the quick freight transport special goods sections are used (per 15 tons of additional load which also can be combined with person sections). Since the propulsion is in the guideway and has an effect on every individual section, neither vehicle length nor the weight affect the acceleration. A new bow structure is able to reduce the kinetic energy of an impact at obstacles (stones up to 50 kg / tip over trees) to an uncritical measure on the guideway. If two carrying systems should be cancelled, the vehicle almost glides nonabrasive on the guideway until it comes for standing.

Operation control technique

The operation control technique consists of repeatedly available, (i.e. redundant) components and steers the operation of the vehicles. It controls the vehicle movements, the position of the side and all other functions. The driving operations have got possible fully automatically in Shanghai since spring 2004.
The locating of the vehicles on the linear path is made by a locating system on the side of the vehicle which includes place markers encoded digitally at the road.
A directional radio data transmission with 38 GHz of frequency and a data transfer rate from about 4 MBit/sec and available at speeds serve for the communications between the road and the control post, the operation center, to 500 kph.

Transrapid Test Facility

Since 1984 the Transrapid Test Facility Emsland (TVE) is available for system tests and is an indispensable component of the Further Development Program for Transrapid (WEP) established by the Federal Government. There the vehicles became TR 06 (1984-1989, road performance approx. 64,600 km), TR 07 (1989 - 1999, road performance 588,000 km) were tested. The TR 08 as a test series vehicle is in operation since 1999. From April 2007 on, the TR 09 will be tested there as an airport shuttle vehicle. Over 200,000 people from this and foreign countries have till now taken part at test drives with speeds up to 420 kph. Furthermore one can obtain a summary of the history of the development and the trial mode in the field of inspection of the pilot plant. The operation of the TVE seems assured from today's view until the turn of the year 2007/2008. The prototypes engaged in the context of the WEP which then still must be tested get ready first according to a present planning, though. The continuance of the pilot plant must therefore be locked longer from the view the GFM-eV, too.
The Transrapid 07 floated under operating conditions with 450 kph on June 17th, 1993 and set up a speed record for person occupied magnet vehicles with that. The interpretation of the TVE with sub-works for the electrical energy feeding doesn't permit any higher speeds, however, there. The Transrapid could give proof of its function ability also at higher speeds only in Shanghai. The Transrapid 08 reached 501 kph in Shanghai on November 12th, 2003 and set up a speed record for magnet vehicles operated commercially with that.
The railroad Federal Office assigned the admittance to the Transrapid after a test marathon on the TVE for self-guiding mode in Germany in the middle of May 2005. It is the first high speed train which received this admittance. These driving conditions were removed by the customer already 13 months earlier in Shanghai.

More infomations are available on the official home pages of Trans­rapid Inter­na­tional and IABG.
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Source: Informations from Transrapid International |

© by GFM-ev