Home Technology Japanese Maglev bullet train breaks 12-year speed record

Japanese Maglev bullet train breaks 12-year speed record

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The “Maglev” bullet train owned by Central Japan Railway Co. (JR
Central) has set a new world record on Thursday by hitting a top speed of
590 kilometers per hour on a
test run through the Yamanashi prefecture in central Japan.
It also break previous speed record of 580 k/h (361 mph), which has been standing since December 2003,
and a spokesperson for JR Central says they expect to beat the record
again tomorrow, when a second test run could hit speeds of 600 k/h.
The train can achieve such ridiculous speeds because rather than running
directly on tracks, which causes a whole lot of friction, it’s
suspended above the rails using very powerful magnetic levitation –
“Maglev” is an abbreviation of “magnetic levitation”. 
The magnetic levitation bullet train was carrying 29 technicians
during the test run, but passengers who travel on the line when it opens
in 2027 won’t experience quite the same speeds. When it officially opens for business, the train is expected to operate at a maximum speed of 505Kph. The Japanese government gave the construction of the train line the go ahead in October 2014. 
Compared to the speeds we get elsewhere in the world. As Fiona
MacDonald reported for us late last year, “Australia is stuck with
trains that generally max out at a comparative crawl of around 160 km/h,
and in the US, the top speed of rail transport is around 240 km/h.”

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In
fact, the Japanese public have already experienced speeds of over 500
km/h, when an earlier model of the bullet train took 100 lucky
passengers on the ride of a lifetime, which actually looked incredibly smooth.
Once completed,
it will connect Tokyo and Nagoya in around 40 minutes; less than half
the time it takes current shinkansen bullet trains. By comparison, the UK’s proposed “high speed” HS2 train line will travel at a maximum of 362Kph, and there are ongoing calls to make the controversial train travel even slower.
Meanwhile, China is working on something even more outlandish,
announcing last year that it’s developing a maglev train inside a
near-vacuum space that, in theory, could travel 2,900 km/h – three times faster than a plane – due to the lack of air resistance.

Source: Wired UK, Sciencealert

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