Polish rail technology start-up Nevomo this week unveiled its MagRail Booster retrofit technology at the Trako International Railway Fair in Gdansk.
It says it lets railway vehicles magnetically levitate on old railway lines using electromagnetic propulsion with a linear motor.
The technology offers faster acceleration, cruising speeds up to 550km/h, and quick deceleration on Europe’s existing tracks, the company says, claiming it could replace regional air travel.
It adds that each wagon can move independently without a locomotive.
Retrofitted freight wagons could operate without the locomotive in full trainsets or as individual units, and can autonomously connect and disconnect with other wagons, it said.
Following trials at its test track in Nowa Sarzyna, the company said freight trains would be able to travel at 160km/h.
“By seamlessly upgrading existing railway infrastructure, our technology ensures a transformational approach to rail transport development,” said Kacper Koniarski, Nevomo co-founder.
In May, Nevomo teamed up with railcar lessor GATX Rail Europe for development and testing.
Nevomo is in talks with French rail operator SNCF, Italy’s RFI, and GATX to use the technology on their networks for passengers and freight.
It said the first commercial deployments of MagRail Booster technology are planned for 2024 starting with freight applications in industrial facilities or harbours.
Nevomo co-founder Stefan Kirch said: “With the urgent need to tackle climate change and the demand for increased rail infrastructure capacity, MagRail Booster is a cornerstone in the renaissance of rail in Europe.”