Japan showed the first public test of its new ultra-high speed magnetic levitation (maglev) train earlier this week. The press and specially invited public rode aboard the train to experience 500 km/hr speed on a 48.5 km test track. The test was carried out by the Central Japan Railway Company (JR).
Maglev stands for magnetic levitation; these train use powerful electromagnets to float over the guide way to replace the old train tracks. The technology works with a series of magnets to levitate and accelerates trains which helps efficient transit with low maintenance. This new method is being used in a few countries to develop high speed trains.
Japan’s driverless maglev train operates on a high-tech propulsion system known as the “L-Zero” system. The train gains a speed of 160 km/hr at which point maglev system is initiated and the train slowly accelerates to 500 km/hr.
“Hayabusa Shinkansen” is currently the fastest train in Japan which can travel at a speed of 320 km/hr. Maglev train will only be able to take its place when it’s fully operational by 2027. However, Japan plans to offer an official test-rides to wider public in November this year.
The maglev train will run between Tokyo and Nagoya with four stations on the 286-kilometer route between Shinagawa and Nagoya. The first station after Shinagawa will be Sagamihara in Kanagawa Prefecture (also underground), then the next three stops will be above ground in Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture, Iida, Nagano Prefecture and in Nakatsugawa, Gifu Prefecture.
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