Magnetism to me has always had a magical feel to it. Between pointing our compasses always north and pulling metals, it always seemed like something out of a fantasy book. There is, however, one thing magnetism can do that seems even more magical — levitation, a phenomenon wherein the object appears to defy gravity and just float in the air. Today, magnetic levitation may be the key to changing the railway industry, with Nevomo at the helm.
Trains come in varying speeds and sizes. The fastest ones though, to date, take advantage of Maglev. This technology relies on magnets placed both on the undercarriage of the train and on the specialized rails, creating active levitation.
Maglev trains are very fast due to the lack of friction and eco-friendliness but at a high cost to implement and maintain. Only Japan, South Korea, and China use them today. For the rest of the world, we had to settle for the less fast and not eco-friendly trains to cut costs. This is where Nevomo’s MagRail technology enters.
Nevomo’s MagRail aims to bring the innovations of ultra high-speed trains without discarding the old rails. Inspired by Elon Musk’s Hyperloop concept and integrable to it, the technology simply is an upgrade to existing infrastructure.
Testing the train
Nevomo was successfully able to perform the world’s first train levitation with MagRail over existing infrastructure. This demonstration, done in the startup’s home country of Poland, is of significant value to the field of rail transportation. It showed the technology comes with all the advantages of Maglev. This includes being zero-emission and ultra-fast, with a potential speed of over 550 km/h.
Apart from that, it did not entail building new infrastructure for it, meaning it’s a significant reduction in costs, unlike the MagLev. The company promises a world where trains directly challenge air transport, with customers able to go on one-day trips within the entire EU.
Nevomo CEO and co-founder Przemek Ben Paczek commented that “MagRail technology is not just a vision for the future; it is a tangible solution for today.” However, Prof. Dr. Dirk Rompf, coming with an extensive industry background of overseeing high-speed projects, noted that the industry is resistant to innovation and it will be a hurdle to homologate especially cross-borders. But with the benefits this technology can bring, we can only wait for MagRail to be commercialized in 2024.