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Japan unveils 310 mph floating train

Posting in Technology

Japan has always been a leader in high-speed rail transportation. Since the 1960s, Japan has run the Shinkansen bullet train network which now consists of nearly 1,500 miles of rail lines.

Japan is continuing to lead the way in high-speed rail innovation with Central Japan Railway's unveiling of a prototype for a maglev train with a top speed of 310 miles per hour, The Daily Yomiuri reports.

Magnetic levitation trains are propelled forward with magnetic force without touching tracks, making the frictionless trains fast and efficient. Japan has previously tested a maglev train at 361 mph.

It will be awhile before the trains leave the test track and are used commercially, but when they are finally put to use they will cut travel times significantly. The trains are expected to be used starting in 2027, connecting Tokyo with Nagoya. The already fast bullet trains currently make it a 90 minute trip. With the maglev trains the trip could take as little as 40 minutes. The Telegraph reports:

"Through the test runs, we will make final checks to ensure that commercial services are comfortable," Yasukazu Endo, the head of the development centre, told local media.

The aim is to extend the line to Osaka by 2045 and the cost of the new lines has been put at Y8.44 trillion (£64 billion). [...]

Japan will be the first nation to build a large-scale maglev route and hopes to be able to export the technology once it has been perfected.

Meanwhile, in the United States, 110 mph trains are a big deal.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

— By on November 26, 2012, 6:37 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure