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Magnetic levitation train to operate in July

May 15,2014
Korea’s first magnetic levitation train is test driven yesterday at Incheon International Airport. [NEWSIS]
The first locally developed magnetic levitation train, also known as a maglev train, received technical certification from the government yesterday before it begins operation in July.

It is the world’s second commercialized maglev train, followed by the first one in Nagoya, Japan.

The maglev train was co-developed by the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials and Hyundai Rotem, the local manufacturer of the bullet train KTX-Sancheon, as part of an inter-ministerial research and development project.

The two companies test drove the train for the first time yesterday at Incheon International Airport, where its course begins. When its operation begins, the train will carry passengers about six kilometers (3.7 miles) across Yeongjong Island from the airport to Yongyu Station, in the southwestern part of the island. The test drives will continue for two months.

“Railways are an eco-friendly means of transportation, and next-generation transportation such as maglev trains in particular are receiving more attention than ever in many countries with road-centered traffic systems,” said Im Yong-taek, president of the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials at a press conference yesterday. “We will put forth effort to generate visible achievements as soon as possible by actively discussing with other countries that are highly interested in our trains for their cities.”

Han Kyu-hwan, vice president and CEO of Hyundai Rotem, said the company is hoping to build a train for Daejeon’s subway line No. 2, which is expected to open in 2020, and is also looking to export a train to St. Petersburg, Russia.

Maglev trains run above ground on elevated bridges with steel rail tracks that the cars are connected to by huge magnets attached beneath each train. The trains minimize long-term maintenance and personnel costs, which usually account for 80 percent of train-management costs, because they have no wheels, axles or bearings.

BY KIM JI-YOON [kim@joongang.co.kr]






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