PHOTO CAPTION: Japan Maglev trains pass on test track.

Japan's MagLev Train Sets New Speed Record

Central Japan Railway Company engineers continue to perfect their magnetic levitation train technology, hitting a new top speed of 590 km/h.

Published: 21-Apr-2015

Japan's 'bullet trains' are renown for being fast, really fast, 300 km/h (186 mph) fast. But its new MagLev, short of magnetic levitation, prototype trains make them look like tortoises compared to the hare. This week on a test track in the Yamanashi prefecture, south and west of Tokyo, one of Central Japan Railway's MagLev test trains broke a long standing record by hitting a top speed of 590 km/h (366 mph). Engineers think it can do 600 km/h.

MagLev has been development for several decades, with most of the research and track tests taking place in Germany and Japan. To date, Japan is the only nation to commit to construction of a full-scale system, which will take several decades to build. The line that will link Tokyo with Osaka has to be tunneled through multiple mountains since it needs to be as straight and level as possible. Speeds will be 'limited' to 505 km/h. Travel time between Tokyo and Nagoya will be only 40 minutes. When complete sometime around the middle of the century, it will cut in half the current bullet train travel time between Tokyo and Osaka.

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