Question: How fast can Japan’s “maglev” train travel?
Answer: Over 600km/h – The seven-car ‘magnetic levitation’ train broke a world record with a top speed of 603km/h on its test run
In Britain they are about to start building the first high-speed rail network with trains that will go 250km/h, however in Japan, they have had trains that could go that fast for nearly 50 years.
These high speed trains have been known around the world as the “bullet trains” and the Tokkaido line is by far the busiest in the world. It carries over 150,000,000 passengers a year.
Now, Japan have started building an even faster network that will go over 500km/h. The “maglev” train (magnetic levitation train) is planned to go into operation by 2027 and travel between Tokyo and Nagoya, 286km away. The service is expected to connect the two cities in 40 minutes, that is less than half the present journey time.
After the maglevs test run earlier this year, Yasukazu Endo, the head of the research centre run by Central Japan Railways said “By having the railway track and the train itself ready for actual operation, I think it has just made the whole thing feel even better and safe. We hope this will eventually lead to a stable 500km/h operation in the future.”
The reason for the impressive speed is due to the train not needing wheels. The train levitates above a very powerful magnetic track. The maglev hovers 10cm above the tracks and is propelled by electrically charged magnets.
As well as this allowing it to be able to travel really fast, this also makes the track incredibly expensive to build. The first stage of the track alone is going to cost approximately 5.5 trillion yen (30 billion pounds sterling).
If this magnetic levitation technology is successful, do you think that we as a society will start to use this type of technology a lot more in the future?