Barriers and Paradigms
Throughout history, events have often converged to create entirely new paradigms. Some of those paradigm shifts were entirely predictable, others came as a total surprise. Maglev is one of those “disruptive” technologies that have the power to dramatically alter and improve the way we live and travel.
For wheel/rail manufacturers and companies, the unavoidable wear and tear involved in a wheel/rail system is a very interesting effect from an entrepreneurial viewpoint: it’s an effect that guarantees consistent high turnover, or sales. Infrastructure elements and vehicles must be kept in running order with replacement parts and intensive maintenance, so the higher the driving speed, the higher the abrasion from wheel-rail contact – and also the higher the profits.
It is a truism that vehicle manufacturers achieve higher profits in the rapid-transit sector from maintenance than from the sale of vehicles.
Maglev systems are practically abrasion-free in operation and therefore offer relatively low expenditures for maintenance. They are also especially economical to operate. Companies that base their sales projections on maintenance, repairs and replacement parts sense one of the main advantages of the maglev train system -- low maintenance -- as an economic threat to their business and have been known to block the discussion on the use of maglev trains.
From the viewpoint of an individual company, such a perspective is certainly understandable. However, from a general social and future-oriented viewpoint, such obstructions are economically questionable, if not actually damaging.