Annotated Bibliography|The New York Times “Magnetic Trains”

Danby, Gordon. Powell, James. “Magnetic Trains Offer Environmental Benefits.”

The New York Times. 26 Dec. 1990, Accessed Nov. 30 2016


This text comes in a “letter to the editor” type of format as Dr. Gordon Danby and Dr. James Powell responded to a previously published article titled “Doubts About Magnetic Train Mount.” Inventors of the superconducting magnetically levitating trains, Danby and Powell wanted to put some of the doubts to rest and clarify other skewed points made within the first article. The primary arguments throughout this piece were that the implementation of magnetically levitating (maglev) trains would be the best option for updates in to the United States’ outdated railway system, even besting high-speed trains. Danby and Powell point out that maglev passengers use quite a bit less energy per passenger mile, the standard unit of energy used for railways, than high-speed rail passengers due to the fact that maglev trains weigh much less than high-speed trains (HST). Correcting a false statement written by the Youngs, the authors of “Doubts About Magnetic Train Mounts,” Danby and Powell clarify that maglev trains can carry freight. And since maglev trains do not come in contact with the tracks, there is no mechanical friction allowing not only maglev freight rails but as well as passenger rails to last longer than HST railways. Compared to traditional American modes of transportation, like planes or automobiles, the maglev systems outperform traditional modes in terms of how environmentally-friendly their energy sources are. Instead of using oil fuel maglev trains are powered by “electricity from clean coal, hydro, solar or nuclear power” (Danby and Powell).

With this text and it supports one of the driving points of my thesis: increasing the usage of railway transportation, especially passenger transport. The United States is in dire need of a quicker, updated railway system to accommodate the desires of the convenience-driven American society. Newer models of trail transport offer the features that Americans demand and are environmentally friendlier than the abandoned, demonized modes. Questions that arise from this text are: What would be the proposed budget for the modernization of railway transport if the United States only installed maglev railways? Is there a way to convert/reuse materials from the other tracks? Or would the whole entire American railway system need a complete overhaul?




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