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June 23, 2021

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Japan’s $100 Billion World’s Fastest Train

6 min read
Japan’s world record breaking Maglev L0 passenger train has been under testing since it was unveiled to the press in November of 2012, achieving speeds of 374 miles per hour. The technically advanced train is eventually intended to run on the Chuo Shinkansen line, a route between Japanese capital Tokyo and the substantial provincial city of Osaka. The first phase will run about two thirds of the way, to Nagoya, by around 2027, with the remaining Osaka stretch coming into play in roughly 2045, nearly 100 years after Japan first looked at Maglev technology.

trains can feel quite old-fashioned in a lot of ways with long-distance travel very much the preserve of the plane in modern culture a long-distance train as a mode of public transport can be seen as quirky rather than the go-to option japan though is determined to change

Trains can feel quite old-fashioned, in a lot of ways. With long-distance travel very much the preserve of the plane in modern culture, a long-distance train as a mode of public transport can be seen as quirky, rather than the go-to option. Japan, though, is determined to change that. Let us tell you how. Japan’s world record-breaking Maglev L0 passenger train has been under testing since it was unveiled to the press in November of 2012, achieving speeds of 374 miles per hour.

The technically advanced train is eventually intended to run on the Chuo Shinkansen line, a route between Japanese capital Tokyo and the substantial provincial city of Osaka. The first phase will run about two-thirds of the way, to Nagoya, by around 2027, with the remaining Osaka stretch coming into play in roughly 2045, nearly 100 years after Japan first looked at Maglev technology.

that let us tell you how japan’s world record-breaking maglev l-zero passenger train has been under testing since it was unveiled to the press in november of 2012 achieving speeds of 374 miles per hour

the technically advanced train is eventually intended to run on the troushing kansan line a route between japanese capital tokyo and the substantial provincial city of osaka the first phase will run about two-thirds of the way to nagoya by around 2027 with the remaining osaka stretch coming into play in roughly 2045 nearly 100 years after japan first looked at maglev technology

the 47 billion construction of the face to nagoya 85 of which will run in tunnels will enable the run from the capital to the provincial city a distance of around 185 miles to happen in just 40 minutes when the route to osaka more like 250 miles opens it will blast to the capital in just one hour and seven minutes a massive time saving once you factor in airport check-ins and city centre train station locations the total cost to osaka is expected to be 100 billion or so dollars maglevs of course combine a number of different technologies to achieve their breathtaking speeds the key one perhaps is the concept alluded to in the name magnetic levitation the system uses only a single moving part the train itself the japanese system is called the sc maglev maglevs use a system of superconducting magnets to push the train away from its track typically a u-shaped guideway and hold it in position

this has a key benefit the train doesn’t actually sit on anything but hovers are very small distance above the track and so the main source of friction that would otherwise slow the train is eliminated a second magnet system is used to propel the train with the alignment of poles on

the magnets used to simultaneously push the train away using repelling forces on the one hand and pull it forward using attracting ones on the other when the system is cooled to a low temperature it’s particularly efficient and while it can be expensive to set up the lack of moving parts means it’s actually cheaper and more reliable to run and the lack of friction produces that speed there are other benefits to maglev systems too including a smooth ride created by the total lack of contact with the path the train is following it’s also impossible for a maglev train on a track to catch up with another train

as the track controls the speed which as a result is the same for every train travelling on it that means there’s no risk at all of collisions at least between trains that said there are a lot of requirements to have the world’s fastest train or indeed any maglev train

but not enough to stop china and south korea also running the same system which is already functional in shanghai and between seoul and south korea’s southern coastline one such requirement to run the system is the specific track layout for the maglev which cannot share with more conventional trains making it a costly setup additionally

the sheer speed of the train means it needs minimal and relatively slight curves which can also be a limiting factor depending on the location in practice issues around putting in the tunnels have been a major delaying factor in japan alongside environmental protests especially around the tunnel’s impact on the water levels in local rivers

the financial consequences of the corona virus pandemic have also impacted on the project’s finances which rely to some degree on passengers using the conventional rail system and may delay the launch still the project is plowing on and had planned to offer tokyo olympic trial rides before the international audience was curtailed by the coronavirus the maglev l0 the specific train being trialled in japan by the jl central japanese railway company has built the technology to the highest level seen globally so far that’s what’s helped push the speed out to 374 miles per hour in testing

the top speed is unlikely to be hit in commercial journeys which are expected to top out at closer to 300 miles an hour but could yet go up still further in experimental conditions it’s already possible for tourists to experience the train by booking onto a sort after preview rid on the yamanashi maglev test line the 26 mile circuit on which the train brok that speed record pulling no less than seven coaches at the time the train has also been able to travel 2500 miles in a single day in testing

the most recent model of the japanese maglev is rather literally called the improved maglev l0 and was launched in may of 2020 it makes some improvements to the power system of the original with power now able to be provided through the track and also develops the aerodynamics of the front car as well as adding an on-board generator

if the power is cut the train will simply glide to a stop the aerodynamic improvements are said to be important to the speed of the train

but also to the noise it makes cutting through its surround so quickly making the train feel more comfortable in an everyday commercial environment while this latest model is unlikely to be the final one designer motowaki tarai has told the media that the latest version achieves 80 to 90 percent of the train’s ultimate design goals and like the earlier version consists of a 12-car set for now the actual trial train consists of a combination of the two different models running some new and some older carriages

once in practical use the trains will cut the current travel time between tokyo and osaka of around two and a half hours by trainby more than fifty percent it’s fair to say the media were impressed when they were given a chance to glance at the technology on the test track which has hosted over two million test miles so far

in a little under three minutes it reached 310 miles per hour its top commercial operating speed said reporter kaisuke umida who experienced the test run in the newest version in basically remained stable he also described the experience of that startling speed as like a movie warp scene there may soon be maglevs on the way to the us too with a proposed northeastern corridor route between washington dc and baltimore

ultimately intended to incorporate new york under discussion the talks are said to be ongoing on whether construction can begin having stalled under the trump administration due to a lack of support virgin hyperloop and elon musk’s boring company are making use of similar technology too that said functioning maglevs remain a relative rarity around the world

but they’re an efficient and relatively environmentally friendly way of providing middle distance transport at exceptionally high speed especially once you account for those airport check-in times japan’s development isn’t quite online yet as a functional piece of transportation but when it is it will be market leading does this kind of transport

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