I’ve been admiring the Japanese and their technological achievements since forever. They have some of the fastest trains on earth, and it looks like they’re on their way to build a faster one by 2027.
Stretching along 178 miles between Tokyo and Nagoya, the future train will run at approximately 310 miles per hour.
As if the 95 minutes trip between these two cities was too long, replacing the current 167 mph electric trains with a magnetic levitation version (still electric vehicles, though) would shorten the time to about 40 minutes (improperly said “about,” because if trains have a delay bigger than 1 or 2 minutes in Japan over one year, that’s a serious offense and the Transport Ministry could resign).
The project is estimated to cost about $64 billion and includes an extension to the high-speed magnetic levitation line to Osaka by the end of 2045 (long term plans).
The U.S. is not a complete stranger to Japan’s project, since the Obama administration wants to invest $53 billion in high-speed railways and trains during the next six years. Japan has already started exporting the technology to third parties in the U.S.
As a student of the Polytechnic University of Timisoara, Romania, I remember that there were remains of some test tracks built specifically for a diploma project that involved magnetic levitation vehicles some 30 years ago. All of the graduate students involved had afterwards been selected and left for France, Japan and so on.
To see what I’m talking about, take a look at this picture, from Panoramio (at the bottom, just above the fence, is the track). The location is 45°44’46.00″ N / 21°13’45.25″ E.