Funiculars and Cable Haulage
Hover Trains
Modern Trams
Atmospheric Railways

MAGLEV - Track



MAGLEV - postcard

Birding Top 500 Counter


Hover Trains

There have been three hover train systems in the UK, two experimental and one commercial

Experimental MAGLEV

The first operational MAGLEV (MAGnetic LEVitation) train was an experimental system constructed by Eric Laithwaite at BR's Gorton Works using a platelayers trolley as the car. The funding was stopped and Eric Laithwaite moved to tracked Hovercraft which went on to construct the RTV31.

RTV 31

A prototype hover train powered by linear induction motor, but the lift was provided by large fans. The test track at Erith, Cambridgeshire has a few remains still visible. Here the train acheived speeds over 100 mph in 1973 before the government funding was pulled. The train is preserved at Railway World in Peterborough along with a section of track.

Birmingham Airport MAGLEV

The worlds first commercial MAGLEV train was installed at Birmingham airport in 1984 as a shuttle between the railway station and the terminal. The Maglev flew along its 600-metre track at the impressive altitude of fifteen millimetres. It operated for nearly eleven years, but it was unreliable and closed in 1995. It has been replaced by a cable tram. One of the cars is preserved at Railway World in Peterborough. Top speed was 26 mph, propulsion was with linear induction motor, and magnetic lift.

RTV31 - Preserved

RTV31 - Preserved

RTV31 - Old Track

RTV31 - Track Bed

RTV31 - Old Track

RTV31 - Preserved
Back to top

This site is best viewed at 1024x768 or higher screen resolution.
Mark Hows.