A status monitor and diagnostic unit (SMDU) (12) is provided in every car (14,16) of a magnetic levitation (MAGLEV) train (18) or other vehicle, and includes sensors (38,40,42,44,48,52) for monitoring the operational status or condition of the car (14,16). Network status interface units (NSIU) (22) are provided at stations (24) and at other fixed locations (26) through which the train (18) passes. The NSIUs (22) transmit polling signals which cause the SMDUs (12) to transmit data signals representing the operational status of the cars (14,16) to the NSIUs (22) via a spread-spectrum time-division-multiple-access (TDMA) network (30) when the train (18) passes proximate thereto. The NSIUs (22) relay the data signals to a maintenance control center (MCC) (28) via a wide-area-network (WAN) (32). The MCC (28) generates a prognosis of the operating conditions of the cars (14,16) in accordance with the data signals, and schedules maintenance actions based on the prognosis. The MCC (28) also includes a computerized maintenance data base (88) which can be accessed by technicians at remote repair facilities.