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University studies MagLev system shipping

University studies MagLev system shipping

   The Center for Commercial Deployment of Transportation Technologies, a federally sponsored department at California State University, Long Beach, has launched a study on a MagLev shuttle system for freight in Southern California.

   The MagLev (magnetic levitation) system, similar to a passenger system recently opened in Shanghai, China, would use a series of powerful magnets to allow freight cars to float above specially designed tracks. The system would be powered by electricity and would thus cut down significantly on diesel emissions from container movement out of the ports.

   The system should be thought of as a conveyor belt for containers rather than as a train, said Ken James, from CSULB's college of engineering, at a conference in Long Beach.

   Initially, James' study will look at using a MagLev system to shuttle containers from marine terminals to intermodal container facilities a few miles from the ports, a system that could conceivably do away with truck drayage to such facilities.

   If that project was successful, James said, the MagLev system could be expanded to a loop around the region, stretching north and east of Los Angeles County, where distribution centers are increasingly being built.