Video: Hitching a Ride on Powder Springs' Levitating Train
American Maglev built its magnetic test track near downtown five years ago, and the company hopes to soon expand the mass transit option to everyday use in Cobb.
In 2006, the Marietta-based company built its roughly 2,000-foot-long test track in the woods near downtown Powder Springs. The magnetic system pushes the car about 1 centimeter off the track. Current speeds climb near 40 mph but could exceed 100 mph on a longer track.
It is the only passenger-carrying, maglev—or magnetic levitation—vehicle in North America. Once in the air, the train encounters minimal friction, allowing a single person to set it in motion with a strong push.
The track gives supporters and potential investors the chance to watch the technology in action. Morris explained how it would be harder to gain backing without a train that people could see, touch, and ride in.
With a pricetag of $500 million, the 21.5-mile KSU-Perimeter Mall track would run along Interstates 75 and 285 and would be finished by 2015.
The estimated cost for the maglev system presents a large potentional savings when compared to the Cumberland-to-Midtown light rail that was proposed in the TSPLOST list but was removed from the list in October. That 12.8-mile line was projected to cost about $1.2 billion, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.
One continued cost-saver for the maglev is the lack of a driver in the cars, Morris said.
There would be nine stops on the maglev line, including the Big Chicken, Delk Road, the Town Center, and Cumberland/Galleria areas. Free parking would be available at each, with lots to be built privately by American Maglev and its partners.
In fact, the complete project would see private financing—that is if revenues keep pace with estimates.
Morris projects the system would carry about 40,000 to 50,000 people a day. At a cost of $4 for each one-way ride, the break-even point sits at about 34,000 daily trips.
If revenues fall short of estimates, communities served by the system would be asked to help make up the difference.
Morris spoke about the project at Commissioner Bob Ott's town hall meeting in November and plans to hold more forums in 2012.