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Friday, November 23, 2018

The Toronto Zoo might get a Magnetic Levitation train

The Toronto Zoo, home to myriad famous baby animals, wants to install a fully functional Magnetic Levitation (maglev) train atop what used to be known as the Canadian Domain Ride.

It's exactly as cool as it sounds, trust me.

In a proposal set to go before The Toronto Zoo's Board of Management next Thursday, zoo Chief Operating Officer Robin D. Hale asks for approval to work with a company called Magnovate Transportation Inc. on an ambitious piece of innovation

That project, if successful, would result in the creation of North America's first ever commercial maglev transit system, right here in Toronto—at no cost to the city.

Magnovate simply wants a space to show off its cutting-edge high-speed trains, according to the proposal (plus a cut of the revenue said trains bring in for 15 years).

"The maglev ride proposal is based on innovative modern technology, and would be an opportunity to visit the Rouge Valley in the comfort of an enclosed climate controlled vehicle on a year-round basis," reads the proposal from Hale.

The collaboration "would ultimately result in a maglev Ride on the Zoo site that will not only serve as a prime site for Magnovate to exhibit the technologies, but would also create a new attraction for Zoo visitors," it continues. "This will serve to improve mobility options at the Zoo and would be an opportunity for demonstrating sustainable technologies."

Maglev systems, which power trains by magnetic force as opposed to engines or electricity, are already in place across some parts of Asia.

They're quiet, smooth and incredibly fast (the highest recorded maglev speed to date is 603 km/h on a Japanese railway in 2015.) Plus, there's a ton of research into the concept, which was first patented all the way back in 1905.

Still, maglev has yet to catch on globally due, at least in part, to how expensive these systems and trains are to build.

The fact that much of the Toronto Zoo's old Domain Ride, shut down in 1994, remains in place presents an opportunity, according to Magnovate, which wants to "create a lower-speed maglev system that emulates the high-speed examples in Shanghai, China and Linimo,

From test track to grand opening, the system would take about 36 months to build. It won't be free to ride, however. Magnovate predicts it will cost between $12.00 and $15.00 per customer at launch.

"However, due to the high-quality service and excellent view of the zoo provided by the maglev Ride, it is possible that the revenue could be further enhanced," reads the proposal. 

Let's just see if this thing gets approved before we go raising prices, shall we?

by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO

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