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Abu Dhabi- Mecca Maglev Railway Line

Abdalla Zamzam (Mechanical Engineering) Menatalla Shehab EL Din (Electrical Engineering) Yara Mattar (Civil Engineering) Francelia Moras (Computer Science)
The growth of Hajj for the last years has lead to a significant increase in the number of UAE pilgrims, the reason behind which the Hajj companies in the UAE have raised their charges in the last three years (Khaleej Times, 2007, p.15). Maglev transportation was first established in Shanghai, China, in 2002 as a fast means of transportation (The National, 2006, p.7). This problem gave us the incentive to design a maglev railway system from Abu Dhabi to Mecca. The railway line would have three stations: Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and finally Mecca.

Electro-Magnetic Suspension (EMS) or ElectroDynamic Suspension (EDS)?

Electro-Dynamic Suspension (EDS) (Figure 2): Uses superconducting magnets, which is superior to electromagnets in terms of the strength of the magnetic field produced. No restriction on air gap, therefore no need for a complex air gap control system as is the case for EMS (Figure 1). Less affected by variation of load, in comparison with EMS. Works by magnetic repulsion. Needs wheels for start and stop, which makes it safer in case of power failure. Superconducting magnets need a helium refrigerator.

Automation & Ticketing System

In the Automatic Train Operation (ATO) system we have decided to use the Driverless Train Operation (DTO). DTO - The train operation is fully automated from the Main Control Room (see Fig. 6) but a driver is still present on the train to avoid any unforeseen technical accidents. Automatic Train Control (ATC) - Route setting and train regulation are performed. ATO and ATC systems work hand in hand to ensure that time schedules for train journeys are met and time is not lost. An online reservation system allows passengers to book seats in advance or they may simply buy single-ride tickets from vending machines that can be used for one single journey. These tickets are magnetic swipe cards that hold data (time of issue, location, expiration date etc.) on them. Once a ticket is checked in through the turnstile that has a magnetic reading head (see Fig. 5), the vending machine stores the data and database on the server is updated with this information.

Figure_1 Electromagnetic Suspension (EMS)

Figure_2 Electrodynamic Suspension (EDS)

Figure_3 Top: Island platform Bottom: DirectAttachment Method

Figure_4 The nose shape with a protruding lower lip. The air that hits the upper end of the front of the train provides down force that resists the lift force. Figure_5 (top-right) Turnstiles with magnetic reading head Figure_6 (right) Control Room for Driverless Train Operation (DTO)

Advantages/Disadvantages of Maglev Systems

Advantages: Maglev trains reach high speeds (580 km/h). Public transport is more environmentally friendly and cheaper. Deceleration in Maglev trains will yield nearly no energy loss. Building a Maglev train is even more cost effective compared to conventional trains. Maintenance of Maglev trains costs less than conventional trains. Disadvantages: The inductrack method will produce drag forces, so getting the train running and propelling it in the beginning will be inconvenient. If the train uses wheels before levitating, there will be more energy loss than in the inductrack method.

Train Route Design

The train will start from its first station at Abu Dhabi city in the United Arab Emirates and it will stop at one station in Al Riyadh city in Saudi Arabia and then it will go and stop in its final destination in Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The railway platform is a part of the pathway. There are three forms of platforms: Bay platform, Side platform, and Island Platform (see Figure 3). The guide way of the maglev train is made up of a structure equivalent to the structure of the conventional guide way and ground coils that are similar to the ground coils of the conventional motor. It is a dynamic and important element of Maglev. There are many methods that civil engineers use to build the guide way and to install the ground coils inside the guide way walls for propulsion. Here are three of the most common used methods in the field: Beam Method, Panel Method, and Direct-Attachment Method

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