SkyTrain’s Daddy – The Krauss Maffei Transurban MAGLEV

First posted by on Sunday, March 4, 2018

A comment from Zwei: Overheard on the radio, the silly claim that SkyTrain is Canadian technology and that we should continue building with it.


The Canada Line uses Korean made ROTEM EMU’s and the Millennium and Expo lines uses the now called Movia Automatic Light Metro system, which uses Linear Induction Motors. The MALM system can trace its ancestry back to the unsuccessful Krauss-Maffei’s Transurban MAGLEV transit system. Krauss Maffei is a German company which once made tanks in World War 2 for the Wehrmacht.

The Ontario Crown Corporation, the Urban Transit Development corporation or UTDC  used dated and unusable German technology (the wrong sort of LIM) from Krauss Maffei and tried to make a rail system out of it.

The only Canadian thing about SkyTrain are the suckers that believe it is Canadian!

Now on to the original story from 2018……………..

OK children, a little history lesson, SkyTrain ancestor, The Krauss Maffei Transurban MAGLEV.

For those who believe that, what we call SkyTrain, is a great Canadian invention, will be sad to hear it is not, not even close; it is a mix and match transit system, using largely discarded 1960′s and 70′s technology.

Krauss-Maffei’s Transurban was a 12-passenger automated guideway transit (AGT) mass transit system based on a MAGLEV guideway. Development started in 1970 as one of the many AGT and PRT projects of the age. Its selection as the basis of the GO-Urban system in Toronto in 1973 made it well known in the industry; it would have been the basis of the first large-area AGT mass transit network in the world.

The suspension used attractive magnetic levitation, lifted on two upside-down T-shaped beams.

Technical problems cropped up during the construction of the test track, and the sudden removal of funding by the West German government led to the project’s cancellation in late 1974.

Given the technical problems including problems turning corners, the Ontario government decided to abandon the MAGLEV concept. Instead, they took the basic train design, linear motor, SEL (Standard Electric Lorenz) control system and other features of the Transurban, and redesigned it to run on conventional steel wheels. The result was the “ICTS” system. Announced in June 1975, the government formed the new Urban Transportation Development Corporation, in partnership with five industrial firms.

Today known as the Innovia Advanced Rapid Transit (ART), ICTS/ALRT/ART is the basis for only seven such systems built in the past 40 years, of which only three are seriously used for urban transit.


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