Last updated: 05:37 PM ET, Sun April 19 2015

Japanese Maglev Train Breaks Speed Record

Car Rental & Rail | Michael Isenbek | April 19, 2015

Japanese Maglev Train Breaks Speed Record

Photo courtesy of the Associated Press

A Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Central) maglev train running on a test course located in the central Japanese Yamanashi prefecture broke a speed record for trains, topping out at 366 mph, Jun Hongo of The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) announced.

The train surpassed the previous record of 361 mph, set by the company in 2003. This most recent milestone, set on Thursday, might be broken this upcoming Tuesday, when the train may go beyond 600 kph (373 mph).

These high speeds are possible because there is no physical contact between train and track. The WSJ cited JR Central literature, using the term “contactless transportation system,” with basic mechanism using a “magnetic charge to lift and move the train cars above a guideway.”

The run was intended to test the cars, which held 29 technicians. This maglev train will run on a recently-approved line linking Tokyo and Nagoya, due to be completed in 2027. Set to be the world’s fastest train line — one way is 40 minutes of travel time, less than half the duration of today’s time — passengers won’t be getting quite the record-breaking experience of the technicians, as the maximum speed is a planned 313 mph.

According to the WSJ, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said he would like to bring maglev technology to the U.S. and link Washington and New York with a high speed train, helping the project along with Japan’s financial assistance.

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