In a ground-breaking development that could redefine the future of rail transportation, Nevomo, a leading European deep-tech company, announced on the 5th of September that it has successfully conducted the world’s first-ever tests confirming trains’ ability to levitate on existing railway infrastructure. This achievement paves the way for pre-commercial operating pilots with industry partners and opens doors to passenger trains running at speeds of up to 550 km/h on conventional rail lines.
Nevomo, a company with Polish roots and the developer of the innovative MagRail technology, has achieved what was once considered a visionary concept – the ability to make trains glide above traditional rail tracks, eliminating friction and ushering in a new era of high-speed, eco-friendly rail travel.
During rigorous trials conducted on a specially designed 720-meter section of the Nevomo test track in Nowa Sarzyna, Poland, MagRail vehicles achieved a speed of 135 km/h while demonstrating stable levitation and magnetic guidance on existing rail infrastructure. Notably, these 6-meter-long, 2-ton vehicles began levitating at just over 70 km/h and accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in a mere 11 seconds.
Przemek Ben Paczek, CEO and Co-Founder of Nevomo, emphasized the significance of this achievement, stating, “Today marks a landmark moment in Nevomo’s development. For the first time in railway history, a rail vehicle moved not on the existing tracks, but over them, without friction. It shows that our MagRail technology is not just a vision for the future; it is a tangible solution for today. A solution for a greener, more connected Europe. By leveraging existing infrastructure, we offer a cost-effective and environmentally friendly approach to modernizing rail transport, in line with the European Green Deal’s objectives.”
This breakthrough comes after 3.5 years of intensive research and testing by Nevomo, proving that it is possible to retrofit existing rail infrastructure with linear motor and magnetic levitation devices. This approach combines the reliability of traditional rail systems with the transformative potential of technologies like Maglev and hyperloop.
Sebastian Kaluza, Product Development Director at Nevomo, noted, “The successful tests are the result of the knowledge and hard work of dozens of our engineers and experts. And this is just the beginning. We already collaborate with industry giants, including Rete Ferroviaria Italiana, SNCF, Duisport, and GATX to define various applications for MagRail, and these successful tests are paving the way for pre-commercial operational pilots.”
MagRail promises to revolutionize the rail travel experience by allowing trains to adapt to passenger demand dynamically, much like metro systems for inter-city trips. Wagons equipped with Nevomo’s technology can move independently and adjust the number of carriages per train based on real-time demand, reducing the need for extensive infrastructure modifications or the construction of entirely new rail lines.
The development of Europe’s longest passive magnetic levitation test track, where Nevomo conducted these successful tests, was co-financed by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund under the Intelligent Development Programme. The project is part of the “Fast Track” program of the National Centre for Research and Development.
Nevomo’s ambitious plans for MagRail extend beyond passenger travel. The company intends to further explore various applications of the technology to enhance efficiency and capacity in rail transportation and aims to begin commercializing the first version of MagRail for freight transport in 2024.
To support these efforts, Nevomo has secured €11 million in funding to date, comprising both equity and non-dilutive EU grants. Last year, the European Commission awarded the company an additional €17.5 million, reaffirming the potential and importance of MagRail technology. A Pre-Series A round of €7 million is also in progress, with key investors including EIT InnoEnergy and Hütter Private Equity.
Nevomo’s successful tests represent a remarkable milestone in the evolution of rail transportation, offering a glimpse of a future where trains glide effortlessly at unprecedented speeds on existing rail infrastructure, bringing us closer to greener, more efficient, and high-speed rail travel.