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Linear switched reluctance motors (LSRMs) for the primary propulsion of a ship elevator is proposed and investigated for the first time in this paper. To achieve the stated objective, a new type of LSRM is proposed with twin stators and a translator between them with no back iron in the translator. The proposed configuration of the LSRM is designed, simulated, analyzed, compared with traditional LSRMs, and verified by experimental measurements. The number of LSRM propulsion subsystems required is studied with a view to minimize their weights and an optimization study for that purpose is developed. Unique placement of the LSRM propulsion systems on the elevator is presented. The propulsion force is generated using one phase or multiphase excitation. To reduce propulsion force pulsations, a major requirement in elevators, controlled multiphase excitation using one of the known force distribution functions (FDF) is an acceptable solution. In this paper, it is proved that the currently available FDFs are able to reduce the force pulsations but are not able to meet the peak force command for the system. Consequently, the velocity and position control do not meet even the elementary performance requirements any more. A new FDF is proposed in this paper and presented to overcome the problem caused by a conventional FDF. The control system with the proposed FDF is derived and integrated into velocity and position controllers. Extensive dynamic simulation and experimental verification of the proposed LSRM with the novel FDF is proved to give superior performance in this paper. Such high performance capable of meeting vertical elevator applications is demonstrated.