About High Speed Ground Transportation
Two high-speed ground transportation (HSGT) projects are currently underway between Atlanta-Chattanooga-Nashville. The Atlanta to Chattanooga portion of the project is a Tier 1 Environmental Impact study as well as preliminary corridor and station location study. The Chattanooga-Nashville project is a Maglev Feasibility Study and is part of a larger transportation plan to connect Atlanta, Chattanooga, and Nashville with high speed trains. Additional HSGT systems are in planning phases throughout the southeast with a vision to connect with Macon and Savannah to the south and Louisville, Indianapolis, and Chicago to the north in the future.
As we move forward in developing plans for a future regional HSGT network, it is important to examine the technologies capable of carrying out the goals of the plan. Currently, there are two proven technologies capable of meeting or exceeding the HSGT threshold of 150 mph. Conventional steel wheel on rail technology being used in Europe and parts of Asia are capable of 150 mph with several countries having dedicated rail corridors with trains cruising at speeds of 180 to 190 mph. Maglev technology has been in use in China for nearly five years and has proven to be highly successful with cruising speeds of 250 to 270 mph in their route between Shanghai’s new Financial District and International Airport. The on-time reliability record being experienced to date in Shanghai is a remarkable 99.9%. The safety record of the Shanghai operation is outstanding with no personal injuries being recorded due to train operations.
Maglev, short for magnetic levitation, is an advanced passenger and freight transport technology in which electronics and magnetic forces lift, guide, and propel the train over an elevated track, called a guideway. Using all-electric power and state-of-the-art control systems, the need for wheels is eliminated, allowing for contact-free travel, excellent acceleration and braking rates, and cruising speeds from 60 to 100 mph in urban applications and up to 250 to 300 mph for intercity routes. The first true commercial Maglev operation in Shanghai, China has been successfully operating for over four years and has an on time reliability record of 99.98%.
Passengers would be able to travel between Atlanta, Chattanooga and Nashville in record times, with the ability to relax or work in a modern, aircraft-like passenger car. Connecting these locations will provide safe, reliable, clean, and efficient traveling for passengers in and out of the Atlanta, Chattanooga and Nashville metropolitan areas. All passengers will enjoy a technology-savvy environment, as all maglev cars will be equipped with wireless high speed Internet access and will be cellular phone friendly. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, passengers will especially appreciate the schedule reliability and comfort similar to that passengers in Shanghai, China, currently enjoy.
The primary goals for this mode of transportation are safety, reliability, speed, environmental friendliness, and a reduction in traffic congestion. Maglev trains operate with zero emissions. By taking advantage of this new technology, Tennesseans will be responding to the nationwide call for energy independence by reducing our demand for off-shore oil.