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NEWS: Maglev Train system pitched for Orlando

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A new high-tech magnetic levitation transit system could be closer to being built in Orange County. The system would start at Orlando International Airport and connect to Disney World and the Orange County Convention Center. The line will also connect to a SunRail station once it's finished. A private developer wants to build the transit system.


Supportes of the project said they hope the trains will soon be take visitors from the airport to the convention center. Orange County leaders, such as Commissioner Fred Brummer said they like the idea because the project does not require taxpayer money.


The latest proposal is the work of a small Atlanta-based company called American Maglev and its CEO Tony Morris.


Morris said private investors, including a giant Spanish construction firm called Grupo ACS, are ready to foot the $315 million bill. "We think this technology holds great promise," Morris said.


Morris' trains are suspended in the air using powerful magnets, cutting energy use and lessening wear and tear. He has been perfecting the science on his Atlanta test tracks.


"It's met all of our safety reliability and operational requirements, and its ready for prime time," he said.


The train would run about 15 miles along the north shoulder of SR-528 and in the median of Sand Lake Road.


But there's reason to be skeptical of Morris' plan. Eighteen years ago he vowed to build a Maglev train in Volusia County. The project failed after wasting millions in state and federal funds. Morris said the difference this time is private money and technology. "In 1994, we had nothing more than an idea," Morris said.


A ridership study commissioned by American Maglev predicted at least 3.1 million riders by 2014, 4.6 million by 2025 and 6.4 million by 2035.

Edited by jedimaster1227
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If this could help, as Screamscape suggested, the problem with foreign or tourist drivers not knowing how to drive a f*cking car in this city, then I hope it gets built as soon as possible.


LOL - get rid of your speedlimit an then talk again....we drive 65 mph on normal 1-lane-per-direction routes here...


Generally I think its a good idea as the Orlando public transit is just plain horrible. If you wanna get to Disney you can use the Disney busses but from Disney to SeaWorld or Universal you simply need a car.

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This would be AMAZING, but sadly I don't see it ever happening. This country just has something against good public transportation.


This is one of the few areas it could work well too. Once you're on Disney property, you don't need a car; and once at the Convention Center there is the I-Drive Trolley and a ton of hotel shuttles.



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It seems like this is about the third or fourth iteration of a "Central Florida Train" in the past four or five years. I remember one planned concept a few years ago for a high speed rail that could connect Tampa and Orlando and eventually run all the way to South Florida. That project was almost a go, but I think go rejected by the Governor at the last minute and the federal funds were distributed elsewhere. Florida High Speed Rail


This plan seems feasible, and could probably be very successful, but unfortunately I don't see it happening anytime soon.


Maybe Universal secretly plans to extend the Hogwarts Express all the way to MCO and build a new Potter themed terminal.....

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The Shared Ride Vans from Orlando Airport are absolutely diabolical too (cough***Mears***cough). As a foreign tourist, I would like this to happen.


I've used Mears a few times and never found them to be any more "diabolical" than, say, the Super Shuttle or any other airport shuttle service. I do think a train connecting the airport to Disney and the convention center is a great idea; however, I despair of anything so sensible ever coming to pass in the U.S.

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I despair of anything so sensible ever coming to pass in the U.S.


You shouldnt be too pessimistic about this fact - in europe the majority of inner city public transit were built at times when we had totalitarian governments from 1850-1940. Today even small extensions take 10-30 years due to all the lawsuits...


Sometimes I think the vulcan (Star Trek - Spock) rule should apply: "The good of the many outweighs the good of the few"

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Wow! That proposed map just screams “Really?” Why not extend it up to the HolyLand Experience and down to Legoland while we’re at it? No?


Florida Mall … not unless there’s some major investment / casino (not in central FL) / Downtown Disney / CityWalk type deal; bigger than shops & a hotel


Medical City … huge growth area, but it’s close enough to the airport that hybrid vans / busses / shuttles would be more efficient & a better ROI for now versus the investment


SunRail … yeah, just research almost any similar project (non-street car)


The only stops that matter are OCC and WDW for something like this. That would destroy toll revenue, so … yeah … no.

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  • 7 months later...



A privately financed, futuristic train that would link the convention center with Orlando International Airport was tentatively approved Wednesday by Metro Orlando's main planning agency.


"I think this is great. From our standpoint, this is just the start," said Tony Morris, president of American Maglev Technology.


MetroPlan Orlando's go-ahead of the $315 million project came with plenty of caveats, including:


  • Approval from the Florida Department of Transportation that the elevated-track system using unusual technology would work as promised. The two-car train relies on electrified magnets to lift it inches off the track to be propelled on a column of air.
  • Winning agreements from Orlando, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, Orange County, the Orlando Orange County Expressway Authority and FDOT for free use of land each agency owns.
  • An in-depth ridership survey and study of potential economic impacts on rental car companies and transit agencies that pay rent to the airport.
  • How the train might work with the $1.2 billion SunRail commuter train and how fares might be shared.

The board voted 17-0 in favor of Morris' $315 million proposal, with Osceola County Commissioner John Quinones abstaining because he shares office space with one of Morris' associates, attorney Lew Oliver.


Morris previously promised Orange officials that his company would post a demolition bond that could be used to cover the cost of removing the system if it does not work properly.


Morris has been courting Central Florida for more than two years for a 15-mile route that would run from the airport and largely along the BeachLine Expressway. It also would stop at Florida Mall and SunRail. The system also could be expanded in the future to serve Osceola County and the Medical City complex, Morris said.


Officials have been skeptical of Morris because he has yet to build or operate a commercially viable train, although he has a short test track operating in Powder Springs, Ga., outside Atlanta.


But he failed with two attempts to get his maglev train to work in Volusia County during the mid-1990s and at Old Dominion University in Virginia in 2001. He spent an estimated $16 million in federal, state and private money at Old Dominion before the train was sold for scrap.


Morris contends he has fixed the problems that previously plagued his train and pledged he could bring a maglev train to south Orange by 2014. Piquing the interest of local officials is that Morris has formed a partnership with Grupo ACS, one of the largest construction companies in the world. Based in Madrid, ACS officials say they are willing to help finance the project if a deal can be reached in Orange County.


Morris said he would run five trains daily at 10-minute intervals, with a top speed of 50 mph. A one-way ticket from the airport to the convention center would cost $13 and would generate enough income to pay for construction costs, as well as operations and maintenance.


The train would create 60 permanent jobs, Morris said, plus another 600 jobs would be filled during construction.


Harry Barley, who runs MetroPlan, said area leaders should embrace "new and different" approaches to transportation, as long as they protect the region against possible failure.


Barley pointed out that there are no privately financed and operated mass-transit systems in the country. A monorail in Las Vegas built with private backing worked for a few years, but fell into bankruptcy when the economy soured. "Things can go wrong," Barley said.


Morris contends his company is up to the challenge of not only meeting all the requirements local governments have set before him but producing a viable system. "The onus is on us, as it has been," Morris said.

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Yeah, this would make more sense to me if it went from the airport to not only the convention center, but also to Universal (or the I-Drive area in general) and Disney.


Especially in light of the number of overnight visitors who don't rent when they arrive from out of town.

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but from Disney to SeaWorld or Universal you simply need a car.

Point of order, you can get from Sea World to Disney on the #50 bus, runs every 30 mins, 5am till Midnight, 7 days.

The I-ride trolley is bad, and the #8 bus runs rather conveniently every 15 mins on weekdays on International Drive (30 min frequency weekends), and doesn't feel like it stops every 50m....Much faster.

I think the buses in Orlando would be poor a for general use, but for tourists you can do all the parks on them just fine...It's just that not many visitors actually check them out beforehand, and get sucked into using the I-Ride trolley etc etc.

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^Honestly I've tried to check out the local bus system but the website of the transport authority is straight horrible and totally useless - so I've finally given up and rented a car.


For example: The schedule-finder page on the site finds nothing about the buses you just mentioned. I entered "Disnyes Transportation Center" as start and the other parks as finish - and it told me to walk!!!

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I'm skeptical. I have a feeling that most people that fly into Orlando are not going to the convention center. Not sure how it will be financially viable without massaging the numbers.


I would think that this is false. While the resorts are certainly the major draw, the conventions bring in a huge amount of people. The first time I was ever in Orlando, it was a family trip where my dad was going to a convention and brought the whole family to visit Disney while he attended. Plus, you can pretty much get from the convention center to anywhere else on public transit, so the convention center is a good destination.

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  • 6 months later...



Before a new magnetically levitated train can hit the tracks in Orlando, an engineering expert hired by the state says more tests are needed, the Orlando Sentinel reports.


Powder Springs, Ga.-based American Maglev Technology is proposing a $315.2 million, 15-mile overhead rail line from Orlando International Airport to the Orange County Convention Center.


Marc Thompson, the engineering consultant hired by the Florida Department of Transportation and part of the four-person team the state selected to evaluate the train, said it lacks devices to keep the train from swaying from side to side during turns and high winds, and determined he needs more documentation and records before offering an endorsement, the Sentinel reports.


The Maglev rail system would be privately funded by American Maglev President Tony Morris and Spanish firm Groupo ACS, which specializes in infrastructure construction projects worldwide.


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I'm real curious as to how this project is going to come out at just over $300 million. Unless construction (not just land and homes) is really that cheap in Florida, that's absurdly low - the 16-mile light rail line around DC is going to top $2 billion, and the 28-mile heavy rail extension out to Loudoun County is hitting upwards of $7 billion. I just don't see how a totally elevated mag-lev train running straight through a populated city is going to get away with a $300 million price tag.

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