Friday, October 29, 2010

Before the Maglev there was the Aérotrain

Although conventional steel wheel on rail technology considerably reduces friction compared with rubber tyres on roads, people have long felt that by removing friction completely, the energy efficiency would be even better. After huge amounts of investment, notably in Germany, the magnetic levitation or Maglev train has seen some commercial realisations in recent years.

Inspired by the hovercraft principle, the Aérotrain was developed in France from 1965 to 1977 with lead engineer Jean Bertin.

Although it reached an advanced stage, the project was abandoned in 1977 due to lack of funding, the death of Jean Bertin two years earlier, and the adoption of the Train à Grande Vitesse or TGV by the French government as the best high-speed ground transport solution.

This booklet was intended as an introduction for children to the project.

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