The future of rail transportation, at least in Japan, is a levitating train capable of reaching speeds in excess of 300 miles per hour.
The most recent trial of the fastest maglev train in the world, the L-Zero, on a 26-mile test track in Japan, demonstrated its ability to double the speed that current “bullet trains” can achieve.
The L-Zero, which uses magnetic levitation technology to float just above the tracks, thereby reducing friction and increasing potential speeds, is the latest in a series of designs aimed to be put into use between Tokyo and Nagoya by 2027. The 286 km distance between those cities could be crossed in just 40 minutes with the maglev track.
The train, which does have wheels for use at speeds less than 93 mph, rises off of the track and levitates above it during high speed travel.
“The first car is 28 meters long, 15 meters of which is taken up by a distinctive, tapered “nose.” Because there is no driver, there is no windshield as there are on conventional bullet trains. Instead, a remotely located computer controls the train’s operation. A camera on the nose of the first car senses hazards that could lead to an accident, such as an animal running across the track.”
Central Japan Railway Co. expects to begin work on the maglev line between Tokyo and Nagoya as early as next April, which will include the digging of 248 km of tunnels in order to make the track straight enough to travel on at high speeds.
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