Tokyo Maglev Bullet Trains

August 9th, 2010By Category: Travel

As part of a plan to fully open a new maglev shinkansen line on the Tokyo – Nagoya – Osaka line, JR Central has chosen Shinagawa to be the starting point for a new service which intends to rival a similar service currently operating in Asia’s other economic super-hub, Shanghai.

The station for the maglev service will be built underground, with the company considering plans that include digging a 1 kilometer-long tunnel dozens of meters below ground.

Yosemite / Wikimedia

With construction costs of around 5.1 trillion yen, the new line will enable passengers to travel between Tokyo and Nagoya in about 40 minutes, significantly faster than the roughly 100 minutes it currently takes by shinkansen bullet train.

The company is also considering redesigning Nagoya Station to enable passengers to get to the shinkansen platform in about 10 minutes if the maglev service is suspended, and could apply the same idea to Shinagawa Station.

As the name suggests, maglev trains hover on powerful magnetic fields above a single track. The lack of friction means they can reach extremely high speeds.

As Digital World Tokyo reports, astonishingly, the Japanese technology has been in the pipeline since the 1960s, with a major publically viewable 20km test track to the west of Tokyo since 1997.

The top speed reached at the test facility in Yamanashi is 581kph (361mph). As the tech blog points out, if that’s hard to picture, imagine a commercial jet aircraft flying past at full throttle at ground level – that’s in the same ballpark.

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