Inteco looks at ‘maglev’ train system
Miranda Torres, who also presides the Iniciativa Tecnológica Centro Oriental Inc. (Inteco), said Thursday that an expert advisory panel formed under Inteco has opened the process of evaluating a magnetic levitation (maglev) system.
Inteco is a high-tech business-development consortium grouping eight municipalities in the island’s east-central region: Caguas, Gurabo, Juncos, Naguabo, Cayey, San Lorenzo, Las Piedras and Humacao.
“A magnetic train is an innovative alternative and generally more economical than a regular rail system,” Miranda Torres said. “Also, its environmental impact would be less than the bus rapid transit (BRT) system proposed by the central government.”
The commonwealth Transportation & Public Works Department (DTOP by its Spanish initials) has put the brakes on a rail extension to Caguas from the Urban Train. It is currently building a BRT lane extending from the last Urban Train station in Bayamón west to Toa Baja.
Still, Miranda Torres has not ruled out a train system, which was championed by his late father, Caguas Mayor William Miranda Marín, who died of cancer last summer midway through his fourth term.
Miranda Torres has said the system could carry some 14,000 passengers per day and cut commute times to San Juan to 20 minutes.
“We want to evaluate all the alternatives and this is one that deserves consideration,” he said.
The advisory panel, which met for the first time this week, includes: Inteco representative Oscar Jiménez; former DTOP Secretary José Izquierdo; Caguas mass transit director María Burgos; engineers Jordy Bofill and Manuel Fernández, from the local firm CMA; and representatives from the Government Development Bank and DTOP.
The panel is looking at a range of issues including technology, costs, operations and potential revenues.
Maglev systems use magnetic levitation from a very large number of magnets for lift and propulsion of transportation that suspends, guides and propels the trains. This method has the potential to be faster, quieter and smoother than wheeled mass transit systems and the power needed for levitation is usually not a particularly large percentage of the overall consumption.