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Company develops innovative magnetic train that can operate with existing infrastructure: 'An easily usable technology'

"We have demonstrated that our vehicle can levitate on an existing track."

"We have demonstrated that our vehicle can levitate on an existing track."

Photo Credit: IronLev

Italy's IronLev has developed a magnetic train that works on existing tracks. It's part of a fascinating breakthrough in the magnetic levitation rail world that could reduce costs, noise, and air pollution. 

A video clip of the tech in action, part of a recent test, shows a trapezoid-shaped, one-ton vehicle moving on a railway in the countryside. The test covered about 1.2 miles outside of Venice, hitting 43 mph, according to Reuters. 

It works by utilizing the physics of magnetism to provide lift, push, and pull. The secret is a cushion of air created between the vehicle and the track, allowing it to travel smoothly and quietly. Reuters noted that friction and, as a result, maintenance costs are reduced as part of the easy glide.

"Some of our competitors have carried out tests on specific tracks built to accommodate a magnetic levitation vehicle. We have demonstrated that our vehicle can levitate on an existing track," IronLev chairperson Adriano Girotto said. "You can imagine that this makes it an easily usable technology."

Hydrogen, electric, and other forms of maglev tech are in development, or in use, around the world. A Shanghai maglev can hit 187 mph as it takes people to a nearby airport on a specially designed rail.

IronLev's ability to integrate existing infrastructure greatly reduces rollout costs. The company's website notes that its invention could also be used in architecture, industrial settings, and even elevators. 

Moving people and freight by rail is one of the cleaner options in the toolbox to reshape our transportation system, especially when the locomotives are not burning fossil fuels. The Association of American Railroads reports that freight rail contributes 0.5% to the United States' total air pollution and 1.7% of the nation's transportation-related dirty air specifically. Magnets have the power to eliminate the harmful exhaust altogether. 

If IronLev's innovation levitates outside of Italy, your local train could become even more smoother, quieter, and healthier. That's big news for public transit in smoggy urban centers. 

By using public transportation even a quarter of the time, you can save hundreds of dollars a year in fuel costs, and prevent around 2,000 pounds of air pollution from hitting the atmosphere annually. The better air quality can result in improved health, as pollution is linked to stroke, dementia, and other ailments.  

For IronLev's part, the tech is already in use moving elevators, as well as loads in industrial work areas, all per Reuters. Next up, the company plans to make a 20-ton trolley that can go 124 mph.

It's just the beginning of an ambitious journey for the company, at least according to its hype video. 

"Nothing will ever be the same," a narrator boasts in the clip.

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