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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

Maryland applies for FRA funds for Maglev train study


While on a trade mission to Japan, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced last week that state officials have applied for $27.8 million in Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) funds to study the potential for a Maglev train system to be built between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore.

The grant-application announcement came during the same week that Hogan and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed on a memorandum of cooperation between the state and Japan on areas including high-speed rail, specifically superconducting magnetic levitation (SCMaglev) technology, according to a press release issued by Hogan's office.

The memorandum was signed after Hogan joined executives from the Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Central) and the Baltimore-Washington Rapid Rail LLC (BWRR) to ride the 27-mile Yamanashi Maglev Line outside of Tokyo. The FRA application supports ongoing efforts by the private sector to bring SC Maglev trains to the Northeast United States.

The grant application, filed by the state's Department of Transportation and the Maryland Economic Development Corp., comes with the understanding that the Japanese government "will be a source of significant financial backing for the project, along with private sector support," the Hogan press release stated.

"Exploring this new Maglev technology between Baltimore and Washington represents a huge transportation and economic development opportunity for Maryland," said Hogan.

Japan's SCMaglev high-speed rail line uses magnetic forces to accelerate trains smoothly and rapidly to speeds of more than 300 miles per hour while levitating inches off the ground. The JR Central train recently broke a high-speed rail speed record when it traveled 375 mph.

The privately sponsored BWRR's SCMaglev project is proposing a 15-minute train ride between Baltimore and downtown Washington, D.C., with an interim stop at the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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