Following the success of the Shinkansen or the Bullet Train as it is commonly called, the Central Japan Railway Co. on Monday conducted the first test ride of its new ultra-high speed magnetic levitation (Maglev) train over in Tsuru, Yamanashi Prefecture. About 200 members of the public and press were invited to take the test ride.
Maglev trains are non-contact, electric-powered trains that operate without wheels, bearings or axles. Instead of running on traditional rails, these trains hover above the ground causing less friction.The driverless Maglev train incorporates a high-tech propulsion system called “L-Zero” system. At first, the train itself picks up speed to that of 160 km/hour. Upon reaching that speed, the train initiates the maglev system before it slowly accelerates to the slightly scary 500km/hour.
The Maglev station had the looks of an airport boarding gate. Twenty-six seconds after its departure from the station, the train reached 100kph, in the next 24 seconds, the train began levitating above the tracks and accelerated.
Overall, the journey was smooth, with only minor bumps. The train features rows of two seats on both sides of the aisle but lacked the seatbelts.
A display suspended from the ceiling showed the current speed. As soon as the train reached the speed of 400 kph, a noise similar to that in an airplane was heard. The monitor soon showed 500 kph and the lights on the tunnel walls became dull. The entire test ride was completed in just 25 minutes.
As for now, the fastest train in Japan is the Hayabusa Shinkasen which has the potential of traveling at 320 Kph.
You’ll be able to get your Maglev Train fix beginning in 2027 and is said to operate its high-speed route between Tokyo and Nagoya.
The company will open the test ride for the public for eight days from November through December. The passengers have to pay 4,320 yen for two seats.