The Future of Polish RailwaysDecember 30, 2019
On October 22, 2019, in Warsaw, a demonstration of magrail technology presented by Hyperloop Poland took place.
A short clip from this event:
Hyper Poland is a Polish startup founded by engineers associated with the Warsaw University of Technology. The company presented a prototype of their machine, made in a 1:5 scale. During the demonstration, the ride of a magrail vehicle on a 48-metre test track was shown. The maximum speed during the presentation was about 50 km/h, acceleration 6 m/s2 and deceleration 15 m/s2. On conventional rail routes it would be able to accelerate to 300 km/h and on High Speed Rail routes it could even reach 415 km/h. In order for those pods to cruise on existing tracks special overlays with a linear motor would have to be installed. However, it would not be an obstacle for traditional trains because they could travel along the tracks simultaneously. It proves that the magrail system can be fully integrated with existing rail infrastructure which is a great asset to the project.
Engineers from the Polish startup are already making plans on how to make the pods even faster. If they were to reach more than 415 km/h, the right conditions would have to be provided. It means closing the infrastructure so that the air resistance can be reduced.
The project is based on the phenomenon of magnetic levitation, in which the train rises above the track. That means that there is no resistance that occurs with wheels in a traditional railway. The prototype is designed to have wheels. It uses them to accelerate and to brake. Most of the time wheels are not being used though. It is due to levitation that occurs when the pod reaches cruising speed. The great speeds can be reached not only because of magnetic levitation but also linear motor, special tilting mechanism and both relatively low height and weight.
When it comes to implementation costs, these are estimated to be even 60-70% lower compared to the construction of new sections of the High Speed Rail. At the same time, the costs of infrastructure maintenance would drop by at least 25%.
Construction of Hyper Poland’s prototype made it possible for the company to successfully test the following subsystems:
- levitation and propulsion (checking compliance of levitation parameters and the linear motor with numerical models),
- electromagnetic compatibility tests (motor overload tests, dynamic tests)
- electronics (communication tests, sensor operation tests)
- mechanics (vehicle structure and track integrity tests).
Obtained results will contribute to creating the full-size system more efficiently. The company wants to have the infrastructure completed in full scale at the beginning of 2021. It is being built in Żmigród as a part of a Railway Institute based in Warsaw. The tests should then be completed in 2022 and after that the certification process will begin. The construction of a test track of 500 metres will be possible, in a great part, thanks to a grant of PLN 16.5 million, obtained from the National Center for Research and Development. However, this is not enough for the entire project. Therefore, Hyper Poland announced a crowdfunding campaign. The Polish company is also a beneficiary of the global Microsoft for Startups program designed to support startups as they build and scale their firms. The group received $120,000.
When asked about competition, one of the representatives answered: “European companies that are involved in implementation of the hyperloop technology on our continent work closely together. There are very good relations between rivals because we do realize that we have to work together on projects as huge as this one. United we stand.”