Perhaps the most asked question about conventional rail is why hasn't it changed and improved over the years? Yes, suspension and propulsion technology have improved. Aerodynamics have improved (e.g. Japanese Shinkansen, French TGV), track construction and maintenance have improved. However, other than Maglev (Magnetic Levitation), the basic physics haven't changed very much (until now). The gauge is STILL 4'8.5" (1435mm) (from 1829 England). Flanged steel wheels still ride on steel rails. On the leading edge of change is what we consider a hybrid technology- one that can be used for conventional local mass transit systems as well as intercity high speed systems.
The Colorado Intermountain Fixed Guideway Authority was the state entity responsible for planning an I-70 fixed guideway system. CIFGA was established for the high-speed fixed guideway project which was first planned to connect Denver International Airport with Denver Metro, and in later phases were to run along interstate highway I-70 to the foothill and mountain communities, terminating at Eagle County Airport. CIFGA developed a performance specification for the I-70 corridor which addressed the challenging physical attributes of the corridor - the steep grades, tight curves, 100 mph crosswinds, heavy snowfall, icy conditions, frequent blizzards, and need to protect the pristine alpine environment. In early 1999, CIFGA requested technology proposals from known suppliers. Seven responses were received. Following an extensive technical review of the proposals, CIFGA selected steel-wheeled inverted-T monorail. Technologies that were rejected included noncontact maglev systems and conventional trains. Colorado voters turned down a ballot measure that would have funded a full-scale test track.
/ back to Technical Home Page