The First Maglev Of The World Reaches 311MPH
The Central Japan Railway Co (JR Tokai) successfully completed another test run of its new ultra-high speed magnetic levitation (maglev) rail line last week, reaching a top speed of 311 MPH (approximately 500 KPH), outstripping the fastest Shinkansen train in operation, the Hayabusa, which tops out at 199 MPH (about 320 KPH).
The test track is setup near Tsuru Yamanashi with the length of 26.6 miles. The ambitious new line is set to connect Tokyo and Nagoya by 2027 in a trip that could be as short as 40 minutes. The train accelerates to 62 MPH in just 26 seconds and begins levitating above the tracks moments later as it reaches 311 MPH in just 90 seconds. Despite the new record speeds, participants have said the ride was smooth, although when the train approached 250 MPH it produced a sound similar to what is experienced on an airplane. JR Tokai said they have planned to reduce the noises experienced both inside and outside the train at high speed by installing a sound hood over a portion of the guide-way.
The maglev train is expected to be operational by 2027 despite its extreme costs and many engineering challenges. An estimation of the construction cost is about 9 trillion yen ($82 billion). Moreover, because of the direct route chosen by the rail company, 86 percent of the line will be enclosed in tunnels, with some stations in Shinagawa and Nagoya reaching 40 meters underground, meaning that the estimated cost could surge after construction begins. Additionally, Reijiro Hashiyama at Chiba University of Commerce argues that the project is inherently risky in a country due to experiencing a rapid decline in population while airlines are increasing budget services. And if the project were to fail financially, Japanese taxpayers would likely be expected to foot the bill.
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