Japan’s dabbling with the Maglev train took a dramatic turn after 3 decades of research hitting the 600-km (373 miles per hour) mark on Tuesday, bringing cheers to Japan to showcase its new technology for sale in global market, including India.
The seven-car Maglev or magnetic levitation train clocked 603 km for 11 seconds, compared to 590 km record set last week and 581 km in 2003. The Maglev hovers 10 centimetres above the tracks and is moved by electrically charged magnets.
Those who land in Narita Airport of Tokyo are familiar with it, but the research into the Meglev technology began as early as 1962 in Japan makings trials begin from 60-km to current 600-km. “The faster the train runs, the more stable it becomes… I think the quality of the train ride has improved,” Yasukazu Endo, head of the Maglev test centre in Tokyo.
JR Central is now planning to start a train service between Tokyo and Nagoya in the central Japan by 2027, covering a distance of 286 km in 40 minutes, running at a speed of 500 Kmph, relegating 50-year-old Bullet Train to other emerging nations like India.
Going by the rate of 600-km speed, by 2045 the Meglev trains will connect Tokyo and Osaka in just one hour and seven minutes, reaching the aeroplane speed.
But the prohibitive cost of building 286-km stretch with a cost of $100 billion is forcing Japan to sell the technology overseas. To begin with, Japan is showcasing the technology to the US during PM Shintaro Abe’s upcoming visit to pitch for a Meglev train link between New York and Washington.
With US President Barack Obama’s multi-billion-dollar national high-speed rail project on anvil, the Meglev train will compete for it and Japan is offering no licensing fees in the US for the train.