Magnovate - Maglev for the Toronto Zoo - Part II Engineering

Magnovate Maglev

This is our second part in a series of the Magnovate Company Maglev that has been approved to be put into the Toronto Zoo. The implementation of the Maglev at the Zoo will show to the world the potential of this technology.We will focus on the engineering benefits of the Maglev.

Maglev Engineering

Magline’s patented powertrain technology uses magnetic levitation (or maglev); a system of magnets to suspend and propel vehicles along a guideway. Maglev trains in Germany and Japan safely operated at speeds near 500 kph for decades, but are too expensive and lack high-speed switching capability. These existing systems long ago proved the enormous performance benefits of replacing conventional wheels-on- axles with frictionless maglev drives

Levitation eliminates the pounding of steel wheels on tracks as well as friction and rolling resistance and enables high speeds and unparalleled energy efficiency with minimal wear. Maglev vehicles cost less to build and make much less noise both inside and outside and have low maintenance costs. Versatile ground transport at substantially high speeds creates new opportunities for travel between distant cities, not mere incremental improvements as with HSR. Data from two different maglev systems with over a decade of daily passenger operations proves the engineering benefits of maglev. 

The engineering benefits are:

High Speed: Since lift, guidance, and propulsion occur without physical contact, speeds over 500 km/hr per hour are well within the technological limits. Magnetic drag is small at high speeds, and only aerodynamic drag consumes appreciable energy. Limiting the top speed of maglev is a cost trade-off decision, not a physical or engineering limit.

High frequency service: Maglev has the potential for high frequency of service and the ability to serve central business districts, airports, and other metropolitan area nodes.

Faster trips
: Maglev offers superior acceleration rates and curving performance to high-speed rail, both of which serve to lower trip times. Door-to-door trip time is even lower than air travel for trips under 500 kms due to better access to maglev's smaller stations and to the taxi and idling time inherent in air travel. Maglev is competitive with nonstop flights for trips up to 800 kms.

Low energy consumption: The basic physics of magnetic lift and electrical propulsion provide high energy efficiency. Maglev can offer trip times competitive with air travel for a small fraction of the energy consumption. Even with the electrical conversion efficiencies typical of modern power plants factored in, maglev consumes only 25-50% the energy per seat-mile of a 737-300 for a 125 to 620 mile trip.

Low operating costs: Maglev's low energy consumption, low maintenance needs, and fully automated operation (in ATN configuration) combine to offer a potential for very low operating costs. In addition, while maglev's guideways require substantial initial investment, they offer enormous capacity. Operators could set low incremental ticket prices that would, nevertheless, exceed incremental costs. That could lead to very large traffic volumes, amortizing the original capital investment and making the economic performance of the system attractive in the long term.

High reliability: Maglev is less susceptible to congestion and weather conditions than air or highway.

Dedicated guideways,
excellent sensing and control features, and redundant braking enable vehicles to operate safely under more extreme conditions. Fog, rain, heavy snow, and high winds pose fewer safety concerns. Non-contact propulsion and braking render maglev less susceptible to the restrictions snow, ice, and rain place on other transportation systems.

No friction:
High-speed rail in Europe and Japan, and air travel in general, have outstanding safety records. However, both technologies require extensive maintenance (inspections and adjustments) to achieve such safety. Maglev propulsions is free from vehicle on track friction, so it avoids the financial burden of a speed/maintenance penalty which conventional HSR is subject to. Guideway maintenance for maglev systems is practically non-existent, regardless of speed, representing a huge benefit to inter- city lines.

Excellent System Control: Dedicated, powered guideways provide maglev with decisive control advantages over air and highway travel. A fully automated system with precise sensing and positioning control is possible. Such control capability, coupled with redundant braking modes, enables the use of very short vehicle headways.

High capacity: Maglev can transport 65,000 passengers per hour at a cost of $25 million per kilometer. An equivalent air capacity would be 60 Boeing 767's per hour departing in each direction at 1-minute intervals. Such a rate would tax even the most efficient airports. Comparable highway traffic would require 5 lanes per direction.

Safety: Design features make maglev vehicles inherently safe. Maglev offers exceptional derailment protection. Large-gap maglev systems, in particular, are much more tolerant of guideway displacements than high-speed rail. Elevated guideways help avoid accidents and automobile traffic while conserving land and integrity of farms.

Lightweight elevated guideways: Stations require little space to accommodate narrow maglev vehicles. Elevated guideways have small footprints and can be located along existing rail and highway rights-of-way, bringing maglev vehicles directly into inner-city terminals. With such access/egress advantages, maglev offers much lower access times and better intermodal connections than air travel.

Low noise: Maglev eliminates wheel-rail and pantograph-catenary contact, the major noise sources of high-speed rail at low speeds. Their absence allows higher speed and/or smaller buffer areas than other modes along noise-limited routes such as urban areas. At high speeds maglev produces half the noise as high-speed rail, providing benefits along rural route sections.

Freight transport:
Maglev offers the potential for fast, fully automated freight transport, with goods arriving within seconds of their scheduled time – perfect for "just-in-time" manufacturing.

For more information on Magnovate go to their website.

Magnovate - Maglev technology for the World

Magnovate Transportation

Magnovate Transportation Inc. was founded in 2013 to commercialize Magline, a patented magnetic levitation (maglev) technology, a green, quiet, and cost-efficient power system.

Magnovate founder is Edmonton entrepreneur Dan Corns.

Over the next 5 years Magnovate plans to execute a series of strategically timed projects for early adopters of this new technology. The Company proposes to progress over a period of years from building slow-speed systems ranging from $30-$200 million CAD to high-speed rail projects costing billions.

Magnovate is the lynchpin of a consortium that includes several multi-billion dollar international industrial leaders, Magna, Stantec, All-Trade Industrial Contractors, and Plenary Group who are assisting Magnovate with project delivery, marketing, financing, and global expansion.

The Consortium has contracted with the Toronto Zoo to build an elevated system at that facility as its first demonstration project. Magnovate will continue to pursue automated people mover (APM) opportunities especially where clients seeking contracts already own the rights-of-way. 

Marketing efforts will focus first on niche segments, primarily APMs and internal circulation systems for major activity centers (MACCS), then airport and other remote parking links, and commuter rail systems. In 3 to 5 years, the Company intends to compete for major rail contracts, shifting focus to the competitive advantages of its unique mix of high-speed capability, fast-switching capability, and lightweight guideway infrastructure and rolling stock.

We will look at the Magnovate in detail in several articles by utilizing company supplied information.

Competitive Advantages

Owing to the advantages of maglev suspension and drivetrains over conventional steel-on-steel and to Magline’s advancements over conventional maglev, Magnovate offers a range of competitive advantages. Chief among these are the following:

Magline replaces heavy trains pulled by locomotives with high capacity platoons of individual light weight vehicles that can run on light weight guideways and bridges
  • Light weight vehicles and infrastructure cost 80% less to build
  • Narrow transit corridors require 90% less land, dramatically reducing ROW costs

Magline replaces steel-on-steel pounding and fast wearing components with frictionless drives
  • Nearly eliminates mechanical wear because it has only a tiny fraction of the moving parts
  • 80% less to maintain
  • Enables condition-based, scheduled maintenance instead of fast-response failure repairs

Electric power translates into flexible fuel capability
  • Operators can power Magline with their choice of fossil fuels
  • Or switch to renewable resources such as solar, wind, and hydro
  • Consume 30% less energy

Magline passenger and freight vehicles move quietly
  • Protects farmlands with livestock and wild places under preservation restrictions
  • Planners can integrate Magline without compromising property values and livability

Fast magnetic switches eliminate expensive and slow mechanical switching
  • Facilitates high-throughput express service
  • On-demand service
  • Vastly improved routing flexibility

High speed operations improve convenience and attract more riders
  • Require far less rolling stock to achieve the same passenger throughput
  • Or significantly higher throughput capacity with the same number of vehicles
  • Shorter waiting times either way

Magline Technology

Magline is an on-demand mobility platform that abandons the railroad paradigm in favor of a networked packet switching model. The technology uses four different technology features to address various ground transit problems. The four are:

1. Maglev: For 40 years maglev trains have proven the feasibility of frictionless transport at near aircraft speeds on invisible magnetic waves.

2. Large Levitations Gaps: The large levitation gaps generated by Magnovate’s patented levitation system provide generous guideway settling tolerances which reduces infrastructure cost by eliminating the need for heavy precision guideways.

3. Instant Track Switching: Magline has the only passive and purely magnetic switching capability for maglev. This vastly expands the potential for building maglev “networks,” not just lines.

4. Automated Controls: Magline eliminates trains and instead quickly deploys automated single vehicles on demand. Automation increases performance and safety while greatly reducing operating cost. Without the need to carry operators or run “in train” (physically coupled cars), vehicles can be shrunk to a fraction of the size and weight of railroad vehicles with lower manufacturing cost per seat.

Taken together, combinations of these features transform maglev from a novelty propulsion system to a practical on-demand transportation platform. Magnovate deploys these proprietary improvements to unlock maglev’s original promise of speed, energy efficiency and route flexibility and it does so at greatly reduced infrastructure cost relative to traditional high speed rail and conventional maglev.

Magline Networks

Magline networks consist of computer controlled driverless vehicles of various sizes and configurations typically operated along an elevated guideway. Unlike conventional transit systems that operate as a line or loop, Magline networks connect multiple destinations over a larger service area via multiple paths (not necessarily in line).

Conventional trains stop at each station along their set route, according to a fixed schedule. People must wait for them. Stops delay everyone on the train, even those not using that station, and delay the trains behind them. As shown below, Magline networks have off-line stations (on short parallel guideways) so that vehicles with no disembarking passengers can bypass stations without stopping.

Each vehicle travels point-to-point in response to passenger demand (ticket purchase) and network loads, eliminating irrelevant stops along the way, with generally no fixed timetable. Magline vehicles thus wait for people. Computers optimize each vehicle’s routing to align with demand, eliminating heavy “trains.” Individual cars are much lighter and consequently the support infrastructure is also lighter, less expensive and faster to construct.

Multimodal Services 

Remembering the 2007 Alstom SNCF High Speed Rail Speed Record

Remembering the 2007 Alstom/ SNCF French TGV train world record speed of 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph), achieved on 3 April 2007 on the then new LGV Est.

Understanding the Alstom - Bombardier Deal from A Canadian Prospective

As I drove by the abandoned Rona home improvement store in my community, I wondered if the sale of Bombardier to Alstom would result in substantial job losses in Canada. In 2016, the American hardware giant Lowe’s bought Quebec-based Rona Inc. The result was the closing of 34 stores. 

In 2017, the transportation giants France based multinational Alstom and Germany based multinational Siemens AG wanted to merge to fight off the growing threat of the national Chinese rail company, China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC). Bombardier was also trying to merge with Siemens AG. Siemens AG picked Alstom to merge their train divisions with. European competition authorities nixed the idea.

Now France-based multinational Alstom has come to an agreement to buy the half-a-century-old train division of Bombardier Transportation for US $6.7 billion.

According to the Montreal Gazette newspaper, the deal will see the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec become Alstom’s biggest shareholder by converting its minority Bombardier Transportation holding onto shares of the acquirer and making an additional investment of 700 million euros ($1 billion). As a result, the Caisse will own about 18 percent of Alstom and control two board seats. But what does the proposed sale really mean to the average Canadian citizen?


Despite what the chief executive officer Alain Bellemare of Bombardier states about the company turning around, it is in a free fall. 

The company's long-term debt in 2018 was $9 billion (US).

When the Alstom/Bombardier merger is approved the company will only sell business jets. Here is a partial list of the liquidation of Bombardier assets: 

- C Series jet sold to Airbus SE

- Toronto’s Downsview facility sold

- Turboprop passenger plane line sold to Viking Air

- Wing-making factory in Belfast sold to the US aerospace manufacturer Spirit Aerosystems

- CRJ regional-jet program to Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

- Aerostructures business to Spirit AeroSystems for US$591 million

- Flight Training Centre sold to CAE Inc.


Montreal Economic Institute has estimated that Bombardier has received nearly $4 billion in public money from the federal and provincial governments. Plus, Bombardier received another $11 billion in Export Development Canada (EDC) loans to help its customers buy their planes and rail cars. More recent handouts were:

2015 -$1.3 billion from Quebec provincial government

2016  $54 million to a Bombardier led consortium

2017 - $372 million from the federal government

Pro High Speed Rail Candidate Glen Murray Enters Green Party Race

Glen Murray
Glen Murray National Green Party Leader Candidate

Good news in the race to replace Elizabeth May as national leader of the Green Party of Canada. Glen Murray former Winnipeg Mayor and Ontario MPP Glen Murray has entered the race to replace her. In this introductory comments entering into the race he once again talked about his passion for high speed rail to be built in Canada.

Supporters of high speed rail in Canada will remember in 2014 then Ontario Transportation Minister Glen Murray was part of  the then Liberal government that promoted the Toronto-Kitchener-London high-speed rail line.

Let us hope that Glen can win the leadership race for the Greens and restore a national voice for high speed trains in Canada.