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City personnel recommend magnetic levitatåg to Toronto Zoo


Joshua Freeman,

Published Tuesday 27 November 2018 20:17 EST

Last updated Tuesday 27 November 2018 20:25 EST

It's not really a monorail, but visitors to the Toronto Zoo could once again have the opportunity to try a new age transport system that would whisper them around the occupied zoo.

The city staff recommends that the Toronto Zoo Board approve a fully functional magnetic levitation (Maglev) train to be built in the zoo.

With an estimated $ 25 million price tag, the train would be fully built and paid by Magnovate Transportation Inc., a consortium of companies approaching the zoo with an unwanted proposal to build the train.

Magnetic levitation technology uses magnetic forces to float a vehicle on a trackpad, reducing friction and enabling rapid acceleration and high speeds. According to Magnovate, technology also uses less power than other technologies because it loses almost no energy to track friction.

The company is interested in showing a lower speed magnetic levitation system that emulates high speed maglevt trains already in operation in Shanghai, China and Linimo, Japan.

The Maglev train would replace the Domain Ride monorail that operated in the zoo between 1976 and 1994 and would partly be built on infrastructure left from that time.

"Magnovate cooperation with the board would ultimately result in a Maglev Ride on the zoo website that will not only serve as a premier place for Magnovate to show the technology but would also create a new attraction for zoo visitors to ride the first commercial maglev transit system in North America, says the staff report. "This will serve to improve the mobility of the zoo and would be an opportunity to demonstrate sustainable technology."

The attached climate-controlled vehicle would work all year round.

The suggestion from Magnovate says that Toronto Zoo would be the perfect place to showcase the technology.

"The existing infrastructure at the zoo would be an ideal place to start building the world's first commercial Magline system," said the proposal. "It is well adapted to Magline technology from a structural perspective and eliminates the huge cost of building infrastructure from the outset for our development program."

The company has traced its train as "a breakthrough evolution of maglev (magnetic levitation) propulsion."

"It is a quiet, frictionless and highly energy efficient propulsion unit that can run without using carbon-based fuels. Solar panels mounted on stations and other parts of the infrastructure can deliver a lot of the system's daily power requirements," said the company's proposal.

If the Toronto Zoo Board gives the idea a nick at its meeting next week, Magnovate will start collecting money to build the project, hoping to showcase the technology of a North American audience.

The zoo would be the first commercial Maglev train in North America. Magovate hopes to commercialize the technology and expand its use to public transport.

According to the proposal, Magnovate would keep and run the rides for 15 years and hand it over to the zoo, although it continues to maintain the system and equipment under a service agreement.

Magnovate and the Board would divide 50/50 net sales after operating and financing costs. The staff report refers to a price point between $ 12 and $ 18 for a ride.

About 28 percent of the visitors in the zoo took a tour of the monorail during their time. Magnovate has built its potential revenues to catch between 15 percent and 35 percent of the zoo's annual 1.2 million visitors.

The project is estimated to take three years to complete when funding and approvals are in place.

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