Japan's maglev: the world's fastest bullet train

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Erome - Imagine traveling through the Japanese countryside at high speed. Your vehicle's wheels don't even touch the ground. In fact, you are floating! This dream experience will soon become a reality thanks to Japan's famous Maglev bullet train , the fastest train in the world.

Japan is already famous for its Shinkansen train system, which has been operating since 1964. However, the current fastest trains in the world will have to step down from the top podium when Maglev trains become available in a few years.

How Maglev Trains Work SC Maglev

trains , or superconducting magnetic trains, were developed by the Central Japan Railway Company and the Railway Technical Research Institute in the early 1970s. Maglev trains operate on the principle of magnetic repulsion between the cars and the rails. The word Maglev is actually a combination of the words “magnet” and “levitation”. Magnetic levitation, or train fluctuation, is achieved through the use of an electrodynamic suspension system, or EDS.

The tracks, or guides, contain two sets of metal coils connected crosswise and wound in an “eight” pattern to form an electromagnet. There are superconducting electromagnets called bogies on the train. When stopping, the train rests on rubber wheels. To start moving, the train moves slowly over these wheels, allowing the magnets under the train to interact with the magnets on the tracks. Once the train reaches 150 kilometers per hour (93 miles per hour), the magnetic force is strong enough to lift the train 100 millimeters (4 inches) off the ground, eliminating friction to allow higher speeds

The same magnetic force that lifts the train also moves the train forward and keeps it centered on the tracks. This is the same technology used by Tesla's Hyperloop, which makes travel smooth and trains very safe.

Maglev maximum speed

What is the maximum speed of a Maglev train? In April 2015, a manned Maglev superconducting train broke two previous land speed records for rail vehicles. The train was traveling at a speed of 603 kilometers per hour or 375 miles per hour. Much faster than the Maglev trains already operating in Shanghai, China, and South Korea, which travel at speeds of 268 to 311 miles per hour and 68 miles per hour respectively.

The Maglev train also broke the Shinkansen's previous world speed record in testing at the Miyazaki test track. Most Shinkansen trains operate at speeds of around 500 kilometers per hour (200 to 275 miles per hour). As new technologies are developed and established, future trains may reach higher speeds.

Japan Maglev train route

In 2009 the Maglev system was approved and entered the construction phase. The Chuo Shinkansen line plans to connect Tokyo and Nagoya in 2027. The journey is expected to take just forty minutes, faster than a flight between the two cities or the 1.5 hour journey on the current Tokaido line, available with a Japan Rail Pass. The proposed route will include stops at Shinagawa, Sagamihara, Kofu, Iida, and Nakatsugawa stations.

Eighty percent of the 286 kilometers (177 miles) Maglev Train will be underground, passing through urban areas and mountains. The project is expected to cost the equivalent of $55 billion.

When completed, the train will contain sixteen carriages capable of accommodating a thousand passengers. Currently, the public has been invited to participate in Maglev tests. Tourists can visit the SC Maglev Parkway in Nagoya or the Yamanashi Prefectural Maglev Exhibition Center near the city of Otsuki to learn more and see evidence of Maglev.

Shinkansen Chuo Chuo Shinkansen (or Tokaido Shinkansen Bypass) is a new railway line that will connect Tokyo and Nagoya. It is being built in stages and will use the most advanced Maglev technology (magnetic levitation).



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