Japan’s JR Central Railway Company just unveiled a prototype of its new floating maglev train, which is capable of traveling at speeds over 310mph! Due to go into service in 2027, the train will be first implemented on a route between Tokyo and Nagoya, where it will cover the 160 mile distance in around 40 minutes—cutting the current travel time by more than half. The Central Japan Railway Company (JR Tokai) plans to expand the route to serve Osaka by 2045 at a total cost of around $102 billion.
The magnetic levitation system will be the latest technological leap for Japan’s high-speed rail system. In the 1960s the nation’s bullet trains set a precedent for next generation mass transit, and still serve the Tokyo to Nagoya line. The new maglev trains, by virtue of their electromagnetic motion, promise to provide not only a radically faster service, but also a smoother and quieter ride.
Physorg reports that the prototype train, the Series L0 maglev, features a “92-foot-long [front car], of which 49 feet form an aerodynamic nose section.” Designed to pull 15 passenger cars, the maglev train will be able to carry up to 1,000 commuters.
In 2004 operation began on the first commercial maglev train lines in Shanghai, China with top speeds of around 260mph—though it has been reported in recent years that China is testing faster trains, that might be capable of reaching 373mph. To date the fastest maglev trains have tested at 361mph.