They are way cool. But at 100 billion dollars a mile for the initial construction (and probably multiple times that for the really fast vacuum tube models)..
Well, I just don’t think I can afford it.
This Shanghai Maglev Train demonstration line, or Initial Operating Segment (IOS), has been in commercial operations since April 2004 and now operates 115 (up from 110 daily trips in 2010) daily trips that traverse the 30 km (19 mi) between the two stations in just 7 minutes, achieving a top speed of 431 km/h (268 mph), averaging 266 km/h (165 mph).
The Shanghai maglev demonstration line cost US$1.2 billion to build. This total includes infrastructure capital costs such as right-of-way clearing, extensive pile driving, on-site guideway manufacturing, in-situ pier construction every 25 meters, a maintenance facility and vehicle yard, several switches, two stations, operations and control systems, power feed system, cables and inverters, and operational training.
When the SMT in Shanghai begins to extend its line to South Shanghai Train Station, its goal is to limit the cost of future construction to approximately US $18 million per kilometer.
The current segment was $63 million per mile.