America's Lost Maglev Mo-Jo
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From the Captain:
Can you believe that it has been over 115 years since America started working on the magnetic levitating train?
No seriously, the first patent for a Maglev was issued in 1905 by the US Patent office (US11271602A) for magnetic propulsion of a standard train. This was followed in the next several years by many more patents, including the mayor of Cleveland (Mayor Tom L. Johnson) who filed the first patent for the wheel less train.
Of course, the irony is these patents would eventually inspire Walt Disney for the monorail at Disneyland…but that is a different story.
The Maglev would keep developing in America through the 1960s. However, then America lost its Maglev Mo-Jo.
First it was Germany who took on the research and development, and even built some working prototypes through the 1970s and 80s. Then it was Japan and China that took the lead and have remained leaders today. They are now operating or building trains that go 300-375 mph. Meanwhile, America has nothing. We totally lost our high speed mo-jo.
Of course there is hope. Ironically, roller coasters in the US have successfully adapted linear magnetic technology (which is the core of maglev) for propulsion and braking. Meanwhile the Hyperloop is bringing visions of magnetically levitated pods crisscrossing America. However, then there is The North East Maglev project, which is planning to bring Japan’s SC Maglev technology back to where it all started…America.
Did you know that Walt Disney was into high speed trains? Well, not trains but monorails? Actually as part of the original Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow (EPCOT), the Monorail was envisioned by Walt Disney to be the future of high speed passenger transportation. Of course, EPCOT was never to become an actual city that Walt envisioned, but the monorail was launched in 1959 as part of both Disneyland's Futureworld and was an actual guest transportation system. Then in 1971 the Monorail went on to become also an icon of the Magic Kingdom and Epcot Center when the Florida parks opened.
In fact, the monorail has become such an icon that the monorail's Spanish boarding announcement:
"Por favor manténgase alejado de las puertas...Please stand clear of the doors"
has become the phrase that every cult Disney fan will
quote as part of their initiation.