I was in the neighborhood of the old Cafe Express in Pasadena, CA and there was this new place called Cafe Bizarre. It looked like a normal cafe, but when you went in, there was a little theater in the back. I thought that was really cool, so I was very excited when I saw that they had a train set for sale. It was a neat little model of a maglev train and I bought it and brought it home. I started making a model of it and that was really cool, so I decided to make a more detailed one. I was very happy with the results.

Maglev trains, also known as magnetic levitation or magnetic levitation train, are a new type of a train that uses a rail system which uses magnets to levitate the vehicle. This type of train has very fast speed and very high speed and it is not necessary to much for the magnetic process to be stopped to use the train. The hybrid trains are using the magnetic levitation system to travel to their destination.

While maglev trains are not currently a reality, that is not to say that one day, they won’t be. But creating a model of one is a fun way to experience how the trains move. Maglev tracks are created by sandwiching a magnetic material between two steel rails to create a metal track. Maglev trains run on the inner rail and hover above the outer rail, so there is no friction between the two to make the train move.

Maglev trains rose to prominence in the 1980s as a futuristic take on a traditional method of transportation. Maglev trains are considerably faster, quieter, and greener than traditional trains that run on electricity or fuel.

If you’re as intrigued as we are with them, this is the post for you!

We’ll go over the concepts underlying maglev trains in this post, as well as a step-by-step guide on how to build a maglev train model at home!

What is a maglev train, and how does it work? 

Maglev trains, also known as magnetic levitation trains, are a kind of train.

Electromagnetic attraction or repulsion is used to keep this floating train afloat. Because the vehicle does not make touch with the ground, we call it floating.

Robert Goddard, an American professor and inventor, and Emile Bachelet, a French-born American engineer, were the first to think about maglev trains.

Maglev trains were first used commercially in 1984 and have been popular ever since. 

Maglev trains are a very safe form of transportation that can carry people and goods in the same way that a regular steam or electric locomotive does, but with a few key differences: the trains decrease friction considerably since they never contact the rails. As a result, maglev trains may travel at a faster rate than conventional trains.

They can move twice as fast as conventional trains, reaching speeds of around 310 miles per hour (500 km/h). The vehicle is very eco-friendly because to its absence of direct emissions, noise, and visual pollution.

Maglev trains, on the other hand, have yet to overcome air resistance.

The trains struggle to produce power on their own due to air resistance. As a consequence, they are not as environmentally beneficial as you would assume. 

What are the basic concepts behind maglev trains? 

Electromagnetic suspension (EMS) and electrodynamic suspension (EDS) are the two concepts used by maglev trains (EDS).

To raise the train, the EMS concept utilizes the force of attraction between the magnets on the train’s bottom and sides, as well as on the guideway. Electromagnets assist lift the train in Transrapid, a variant of EMS.

The trains are kept levitating by magnets on the bottom of the guideway and the iron rails of the guideway, which are approximately 1.3 cm or 0.5 inch above the magnets on the ground.

While EDS devices work on the same concept as EMS, the magnets on the side, bottom, and guideway resist them rather than attract them.

The magnets employed are capable of generating energy even when the power is turned off.

They’re superconducting and supercooled. The trains will float higher at 1-10 cm or 0.4-3.9 inches above the ground as the magnet repels the charge.

EDS trains also take longer to take off than EMS trains. As a result, they have wheels that must be deployed at speeds below 100 km/62 miles per hour, which has both advantages and disadvantages.

How do you simulate a maglev train? 

Now that you have a better understanding of what maglev trains are and how they operate, you can begin constructing your own model maglev train.

It’s really very simple to make model maglev trains. All you have to do now is follow the steps below!

To build a model maglev train, you’ll need the following items.

  • A 2 by 1 foot piece of cardboard or balsa wood 
  • 2 by 4 inch block of wood 
  • 14 rectangular magnets, each measuring 2 by 1 inch 
  • a utility knife, a scissor, or a saw 
  • Glue 

Modeling instructions for a maglev train 

  • To begin, build a straight piece of track out of balsa wood or cardboard. A piece of 2 by 1 foot should sufficient.
  • Using a pair of scissors, a saw, or a utility knife, cut the balsa wood or cardboard. The track should be two feet long and three inches wide.
  • Make the track’s walls out of leftover balsa wood or cardboard. Cut four one-and-a-half inch broad strips of balsa wood to run down the track. Cutting strips that are 2 feet by 3 inches height will be required for cardboard walls.
  • Assemble the balsa wood walls by gluing them together. To make cardboard, just fold the strips in half.
  • On the track, space the walls 2 12 and 2 14 inches apart.
  • To keep the walls in place, use adhesive. Make sure the walls are perpendicular to the track or at least 90 degrees from it, so the train has something to hold on to. You’re essentially simply putting up barriers for your train to pumb into for this DIY experiment, similar to the tiny gates you may activate to keep your ball on the bowling alley.
  • 12 magnets should be glued in a row along the middle of the track. Make sure that the poles of all the magnets face the same way before you glue them in place. If one of the magnets has the south side facing up and the north side down, the rest of the magnets should also be facing up! This is a very crucial phase!
  • Allow the magnets to cure overnight on the track.
  • Take a block of wood and attach two magnets to it. The upward-pointing poles on the block should match the upward-pointing poles on the track. If the south side of the railway is pointing upward, the south side of the block of wood should be facing outward. The north side, on the other hand, is bonded to the wood.
  • Allow the magnets to cure overnight on the block.
  • In the track, place the block. Your train will be the wood block. You may also attach the magnets to the bottom of an old model train that you no longer use if you have one at home.
  • The train should be levitating over the magnets on the track, guided by the rails.
  • To get the train to travel towards the end of the track, push it.

Building your own maglev train is a fun project that you can include into a science lesson to educate youngsters about magnetics. You can certainly use an old model train body instead of a piece of wood as the train for a more authentic look.


For as long as he can remember, Peter has been constructing model trains. This site is a creative avenue for him to go further into various sizes and elements of the model train community and hobby. He is an ardent lover of HO and O scale.

Maglev trains are fast and efficient, but they’ve got one big problem: magnetic levitation doesn’t work in humid air. That’s why the new Shanghai Maglev Train, set to open in 2020, will use “advanced” air conditioning systems to keep the air on the train dry.. Read more about maglev train kit and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you make a working model of a maglev train?

I am not sure what you mean by working model.

What materials are used to make a maglev train?

The materials used to make a maglev train are steel, copper, and aluminum.

How much does it take to build a maglev train?

It takes around $6.5 billion to build a maglev train.

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • how to make a maglev train model at home
  • how to make a maglev train for science fair
  • how to build a maglev train with electromagnets
  • how to make a maglev train move
  • how to make a maglev train
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