Japan’s world famous train maglev recently broke the world record for fastest train—previously held by itself. The train topped out at 600 kilometres per hour, or 373 mph. One of the most fascinating appeals to the maglev train, aside from its speed, is the fact that its purely magnetic.
Natsuko Fukue of the AFP explained, “The maglev hovers 10 centimetres (four inches) above the tracks and is propelled by electrically charged magnets.” The maglev train is unique in speed, magnetics and engines. Specifically, the maglev “do not have an engine — at least not the kind of engine used to pull typical train cars along steel tracks,” reports Kevin Bonsor of How Stuff Works.
With that in mind, the rails of the maglev used for testing are relatively short, only going as far as 286 kilometers. Yet, production, which began in the 60s, has surpassed the 100 billion dollar mark in costs. How will they make up for the costs? By selling it, of course. Maglev trains reportedly has interest in bringing their state-of-the-art super train to the United States.
Germany also has a maglev-type train they’re developing, but reports indicate it hasn’t surpassed 300 mph just yet, as Japan’s train has. But the 300-mile mark isn’t a negative thing. As Bonsor puts it, “At 310 mph, you could travel from Paris to Rome in just over two hours.” Who would resist that trip? Of course, there’s a long way to go before the people are ready for this type of technology, both physically and mentally. For one, it’s a scary concept, to go that fast. That’s why the production teams aren’t rushing.
Japan has been working on this project 1962 and only now have they reached the reported great feats. The tests and record-breaking demonstrations have primarily acted as beneficial to the would-be passengers. While hundreds of people showed up to view the train surpass the astronomical speeds, the more testing, the safer it’ll be.
That said, the maglev team is hoping to literally launch the production of the train for civilian passengers at early as 2027. The head of the Japanese-based project, Yasukazu Endo reported, “The faster the train runs, the more stable it becomes — I think the quality of the train ride has improved,” which explains why they’ve been pushing to go faster and faster. The way the magnetic forces are designed, there is much stability in much speed. However it plays out, one thing is for sure: When the maglev trains open for business, you won’t be able to stop the rush of travelers ready for take off.