First Magrail test proves non-friction operations possible

Nevomo carried out the first test on its MagRail technology in Poland. The test was conducted on existing railway infrastructure with railway vehicles reaching a speed of 135 km/h. Through levitation and magnetic guidance, the vehicles were able to run through the railway without any friction, and this could provide a sneak peek into the future of the European railway network.

The test was operated in Nowa Sarzyna in Poland. According to Nevomo, the 6-metre-long railway vehicle weighing two tons “went from 0 to 100 km/h in 11 seconds” on a track that stretches more than 700 metres long. “For the first time in railway history, a rail vehicle moved not on the existing tracks, but over them, without friction”, commented Przemek Ben Paczek, CEO and Co-Founder of Nevomo.

Given further investments, passenger trains could operate at 550 km/h in the future. However, this will not apply to rail freight where “120 to 160 km/h is enough for the next decade”, according to what Stefan Kirch, CBDO at Nevomo, told in a previous interview. The MagRail technology has attracted much attention, at least from the EU, where a faster freight forwarding solution utilising the existing infrastructure is provided.

Using existing infrastructure

One of the differences between Nevomo and other Maglev systems is that this technology can be applied to the existing railway infrastructure. Nevomo’s plan could, therefore, reduce construction time and costs significantly. Kirch explained that the implementation of Nevomo’s MagRail technology can be divided into an active and a passive part. The active part entails equipping the rail track with Nevomo components, which can be mounted on top of the sleepers. The passive part requires retrofitting rolling stock to make it compatible with the new system.

Some big names in the European rail world have adored the advantage of this no-infrastructure-change-needed technology. For example, Nevomo signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the French state railways SNCF in March this year, in which the companies will evaluate the benefits of MagRail within the French railway network to increase the efficiency and capacity of freight and passenger transport.

Various funding

Currently, Nevomo has raised eleven million euros for the development of MagRail technology and related testing. EU grants and equity have split the bill on an equal basis. Additionally, the company obtained 17.5 million euros last year, again via grant and equity composition. EIT Innoenergy, supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), has also invested in Nevomo. EIT is an independent body of the European Union intended to strengthen Europe’s innovation ability.