MagneRail™ is an innovative transportation concept based on the idea of retrofitting conventional steel-wheel rail lines with linear synchronous motors, most likely mounted to the railroad ties between the rails. By creating moving magnetic fields within the linear motors, rail cars could be propelled “passively” by mounting permanent magnets to the undercarriages of the vehicles. The force created by the track-mounted linear motor would react against the permanent magnets, forcing the vehicles to move in the direction of the moving magnetic field. In an early MagneRail™ concept, pictured above, existing locomotives would be retrofitted with permanent magnets, enabling them to pull rail cars on linear motor rail segments without using their diesel engines. More recent MagneRail™ concepts feature a specially-designed magnetic “power car” that would not use engines or any active onboard propulsion. Such a lightweight, rolling rail chassis equipped with permanent magnets would be optimized to operate on track equipped with linear motors, and would cost a fraction as much to build and operate as a conventional locomotive.
GA has entered into a Teaming Agreement with Innovative Transportation Systems Corp. (ITSC), a San Diego transportation project management firm, to develop and market MagneRail™ systems customized for a variety of applications, including:
- Goods movement – MagneRail™ power cars could tow cargo containers between ports and intermodal container transfer facilities.
- Commuter rail – MagneRail™ technology could be used to magnetically propel commuter trains and other light rail systems, either by retrofitting existing rail cars with magnets or by developing new passenger vehicles designed specifically to operate on linear motor rail segments using permanent magnets.
- Street cars – By embedding rails and the linear motors between the rails in flat pavement, street-cars using either steel wheels on rail or rubber tires could be propelled using MagneRail™ technology.