Print 43 comment(s) - last by mmcdonalataocd.. on Dec 28 at 11:11 AM

The company will not see financial benefits from the endeavor until the late 2020s

Central Japan Railway, better known as JR Tokai, recently announced it will fund a major $45 billion magnetic levitation (Maglev) railway system between Tokyo and Chukyo.  Even though the announcement is further commitment to the developing technology by JR Tokai, it caused a 9 percent drop in the company's stock on the Japanese financial market on Tuesday.

Maglev trains will slowly phase out the famous Shinkansen "bullet" trains, while also keeping people from flying a lot of the same distances Maglev routes will cover.  The trains operate above the ground using an electromagnetic pull that accelerates the train's speed by reducing friction between the train and track.

Japan remains dedicated towards a fully functional Maglev rail service in the country by 2025.  Japan, China and Germany are at the forefront of Maglev technology, with Shanghai being the only city that has a fully operational line.  It is likely a second route will be constructed between Nagoya and Osaka, though Tokyo and Nagoya remains the most important goal.
JR Tokai currently owns the the speed record for a Maglev train after a three-car test run in 2003 reached 581 KPH (361 MPH).

As current generations of trains expire, and countries look towards future railway technologies for transportation, some people believe Maglevs will begin to expand to other nations.

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Sounds great
By FITCamaro on 12/26/2007 1:34:20 PM , Rating: 2
Now if only a US company would step up and do something like this here in America. I would ride a commuter train system if it would take me where I wanted to go for work and back. Like when I was living in Orlando, FL and working in Melbourne, FL. A high speed rail system like this would have been great.

RE: Sounds great
By quiksilv3r on 12/26/2007 2:39:14 PM , Rating: 2
Umm, what about LA to the Bay Area?

RE: Sounds great
By Spuke on 12/26/2007 4:51:50 PM , Rating: 2
High speed rail to either would be fantastic and I would use it in a heartbeat.

RE: Sounds great
By FITCamaro on 12/26/2007 6:35:25 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure one could be used there but since I don't live there and never have or will, I didn't mention it.

RE: Sounds great
By theflux on 12/26/2007 7:11:28 PM , Rating: 2
That would be fantastic. There is plenty of land around Interstate 5 for the track to be laid in a straight shot.

The big problem with rail in America is that it doesn't aim to do what Japan's bullet train does, which is to say it doesn't attempt to replace flying. Sure we have Amtrac, but I can drive to a place substantially faster than I could riding the train for about the same price so whats the point. Flying is about the same, but you go so much faster. A bullet train from LA to SF would be a great compromise.

RE: Sounds great
By Jedi2155 on 12/26/2007 8:19:39 PM , Rating: 3
I hate driving, and the attention needed by it. During a train ride, I could read a book, do homework, watch a movie, or do some work on a laptop.

RE: Sounds great
By darkfoon on 12/27/2007 1:29:22 AM , Rating: 2
There is plenty of land around Interstate 5 for the track to be laid in a straight shot.

That land around Interstate 5 is mostly farm land. I do not recommend wasting it on a train.

I've seen a lot of "imminent domain" land acquisitions in my area, and I've seen most of them waste the land and destroy property values while boosting urban sprawl. It's disgusting.

Now, if the train could be built above the center median, then that would be a good use of land. But an expensive engineering nightmare.

RE: Sounds great
By Janooo on 12/27/2007 1:28:43 AM , Rating: 2
Too risky due to earthquakes. East cost is safer for this kind of investment.

RE: Sounds great
By ninjaquick on 12/27/2007 8:37:26 AM , Rating: 3
Japan gets way more earthquakes than the west coast does.

RE: Sounds great
By afkrotch on 12/27/2007 10:47:44 AM , Rating: 2
Lived in Japan for 2 years. They get like 3000 earthquakes a year. Majority of them couldn't move a 1 ounce pebble by 1mm. The only time you feel an earthquake is if you are on the like 8th floor of a building. You can feel the building sway. Course wind does the same thing.

RE: Sounds great
By Ringold on 12/26/2007 3:23:12 PM , Rating: 2

I'm with Avery Brooks, before he got to the software part. Forget the light rail. I'd rather have my flying cars. :P

Sadly, that was about the last time I've seen Brooks on screen. According to imdb, nothing since 2001.. shame, I thought he was good.

RE: Sounds great
By saiga6360 on 12/26/2007 3:43:28 PM , Rating: 2
Better yet, how about flying trains? Galaxy Express anyone? :)

Avery Brooks was alright. Maybe a bit over-the-top sometimes but then again, it is Trek material after all.

RE: Sounds great
By Sebec on 12/27/2007 4:15:59 AM , Rating: 2
RE: Sounds great
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 12/28/2007 11:11:23 AM , Rating: 2
I will go back into the practice of law when flying cars are a reality. Problem with them is the expense of upkeep, the high rate of fuel burn, and strict liability.

If you are in a flying car and there is an accident, then the negligence of one or both parties comes into play, as with a car accident. Simple to manage the liability issues.

The problem with aircraft is, if you are on the ground, and a flying car does damage to you or your property, then the owner of the aircraft is liable, no matter what. No negligence to argue over. Did the vehicle cause damage? If so, how much. Easy cases to win.

This is the same issue with any aircraft, I know, but with flying cars, there would be so many more of them, and the accidents would come fast and furious.

They won't ever be a reality anyway. Do you know how much it costs to buy and properly maintain and fuel a private aircraft? Not to mention the expense of licensing. Yeesh.

Pie in the sky, as it were.

RE: Sounds great
By HrilL on 12/26/2007 4:08:45 PM , Rating: 2
One of the companies I work for who has been mentioned on Daily tech before is working on this as well. They are called Launch Point technologies. I can't really say more about what they are doing since it is not public info.

RE: Sounds great
By Samus on 12/27/2007 12:30:27 AM , Rating: 2
Keep dreaming about the United States ever evolving. When you consider we spend $4000 a second in Iraq, and have been for 4 years, it isn't hard to see why we are THREE generations behind the technology they're talking about.

We don't even have bullet trains here yet. And most of the engines we use are still 30-year old deisel-electric technology.

RE: Sounds great
By rudy on 12/27/2007 6:14:15 AM , Rating: 3
Doubt this has anything to do with it. The real issue is that the US is fundamentally different from most other countries. We invented the cheap automobile and it supplanted trains because it gave us freedom to move unrestricted as we pleased. We could do this and it was advantageous because we have lots of land, this allows us to really use it. This also gives America a flexibility most nations lack. If a new store springs up people can goto it with out a problem. In other countries it needs to be within a certain distance of some center of interest where the public transportation takes you. Playing the Train to bus to taxi game gets old. American's also value their time heavily time spent waiting for public transportation and walking long distances is money lost. I think with the internet and more and more jobs no longer requiring people to goto into work the chances of a train system doing well in this country just keep getting worse. Simply put the US system runs well on the automobile trains are not fast here because they do not need to be, they just hull heavy supplies to factories. We have a ton of land and attempting to put in place a decent train system to connect our major cities is a massive undertaking and would probably cost trillions, and in the end all we would get out of it is less flexibility.

RE: Sounds great
By chick0n on 12/27/2007 12:46:05 AM , Rating: 1
Your dream will never come true.

Hell in NYC we're still using Metrocard. Wow, what a fuxking outdated Piece of shxt. and you have to slide it yourself? wow what a fuxking joke !

They used to have those *metrocard thinggy* in Hong kong like almost 20+ years ago ! and back then you dont need to slide it like a retard in NYC, you put it into the machine. it will auto *insert* it for you and auto *eject* it back to you.

Not to mention they've been using Smart Card device Since 1997, You dont even need to take your *card* or whatever out, just tap your wallet, and go.

US will never catch up in anything. I feel sorry that I live in NYC for so long.

RE: Sounds great
By irev210 on 12/27/2007 8:28:50 AM , Rating: 3
I love how people say "Yes, I would love to take the train, it would be so much better"

You guys make me laugh... you are whining about $3+ a gallon for gas but that lets you go between ~15-50 miles.

I ride the train every day here in Boston. I go about 5 miles and it takes me roughly 30-40 minutes. It costs 4 dollars round trip. The service is horrible, the trains are 20+ years old... the list goes on.

The MBTA subway here also gets a BIG chunk of sales taxes to subsidse the cost. The employees average 28 dollars an hour to drive a train around and retire after 25 years with full benifits and a full pension until they die.

So on top of the 4 dollars for a round trip to go between 0 and ~20 miles you are paying even more in sales taxes to fund the subway/trains.

Be careful what you guys wish for. You whine and whine about how far behind USA is... but you arent the ones on a crowded overpriced train every day either.

Another prime example is taking the train between New York and Boston.

I can take the electric Acela high-speed train for ~200-300 dollars round trip. (~3.5hrs)

I can take the standard Amtrak train for ~120-200 round trip.

I can take Greyhound for 30 dollars round trip.

What makes the most financial sense here? Should they build an ENTIRE new maglev track and charge $500-1000? Is a ~33x increase in price worth a 2x improvment in transit time? To most americans the answer is no.

RE: Sounds great
By chick0n on 12/27/2007 9:57:01 AM , Rating: 1
What a typical moron speech.

Thats why everything, well, almost everything in US is sooooo behind when comparing to the rest of the world.

NYC's system are OVER 100 years old, it just going to cost more and more to just maintain it. why they refuse to build new ones? Cuz they're lazy and Greedy.

sometimes yea if its aint broke dont fix it. but its already WAY overdue. I mean god people. I got myself a car just because I hate the subway system. Why would I want to pay 2.5 for completely GARBAGE service ? In Hong Kong you pay about the same for service thats 100 times better, faster trains, train comes in every minute when busy, 5 if not busy. In Japan is about the same. In France is about the same. in America ... Every 5-10 minutes cuz they're never on time, Station smells like shit, Looks like shit, Metrocard system stupid like shit. Wow, the list goes on.

RE: Sounds great
By afkrotch on 12/27/2007 12:00:33 PM , Rating: 3
The reason many other countries have a very good public transport, is because they make it a pain or make it expensive to have your own vehicle.

England has their road tax and inspections. Can get expensive to keep your car. Their public transport isn't bad. Trains go to majority of the villages and buses inside the cities/towns.

Korea. Didn't own a car there, but public transport was excellent. Trains to majority of the cities/towns and buses to fill the rest. Traffic is terrible, so the train is usually the better option. Taxis also available and relatively inexpensive. Not as cheap as the train or bus though.

Japan has road tax, inspections, and JCI. The older your car, the more expensive it'll get to maintain. Take an expressway and expect your wallet to break. Traffic is horrendous. A 45 km distance can take anywhere from 1 hour to 6 hours to drive, depending on time of day and traffic. Even out in the middle of nowhere, the traffic can get bad. Pray there isn't an accident. Their public transport is extremely good. Trains to every single village around. Buses to move within them. Even if you live in the boondocks, a bus or train will get you there. I'd say that owning a car or using public transport would end up being about the same price. You either put up with the headaches of traffic and parking or put up with the headaches of tons of ppl on public transport and swapping trains/buses.

Germany. Haven't lived here long, but had an inspection. Don't know if there's road tax. If there is, I didn't pay for it. Traffic is pretty light. Autobahns are free to drive. Wish they'd maintain some of them better. Train system is all kinds of terrible. If you live in a small village and have no car, expect to spend a lot of money on a taxi or walk.

Anyways, a good compromise. Get a motorcycle or scooter. Good on gas and easy to park. Why some of the scooters in Japan don't go to the US, I don't know. I'd rock out a 400cc scooter with a 5.1 stereo, hydralics, and ground effects. ;)

RE: Sounds great
By irev210 on 12/27/2007 5:47:57 PM , Rating: 2
Why do they refuse to build new maglev trains in NYC? Because it is expensive. New York actually operates a pretty tight ship, especially relative to other US and Global transit systems.

NYC tunnels may be 100 years old, but tracks, signals, switching systems and trains are constantly being upgraded.

You marvel about Hong Kong and the rest of the world but just look at ridership statistics below. New York City moves almost twice as many people every year vs hong kong. Hong Kong also gets extremely crowded during rush hour just as New York does (and yes, I've been to Tokyo, Hong Kong, London, San Fran, DC, NYC and reside in Boston... I know my subways).

Annual Subway Ridership
1. Tokyo 2.863 billion
2. Moscow 2.603 billion
3. New York City 1.499 billion
4. Seoul 1.466 billion
5. Mexico City 1.441 billion
6. Paris 1.373 billion
7. London 971 million
8. Osaka 880 million
9. Hong Kong 867 million
10. St. Petersburg 810 million

You say "in other countries you pay the same" but that isnt true. What you pay at the fare box isnt all you are paying. These trains and subways are subsided by governments so they can operate.

The bottom line to this discussion as noted by other posters is that the US is

A) Bigger than most other countries. From an infrastructure standpoint, it doesnt make it very cost effective. We see exceptions in densely populated areas such as Boston, NYC, Metro DC and Bay Area.

B) Have an excellent highway infrastructure

C) It is just cheaper to drive

From a pure economical position, you cant really argue that mass transit in the USA is really the best way to spend dollars, reduce pollution or reduce dependence on foreign oil.

Average weekday ridership on the New York Subway system
2007 operating budget $10.36 billion
Average weekday ridership 8,272,117

For comparison here is shanghai-
People using the Shanghai subway system daily - 2.500.000 - 3.000.000

For an average of over 8 million a day... that 100 year old system sure does a lot better at moving people compared to Shanghai, the ONLY city in the world that has deployed maglev commercially. After all, Shanghai has over 20M residents vs New York has less than half that, around 8.5M. While that doesnt count the surrounding area of either city, you get my point that New York does one heck of a job moving people around relative to even the most "advanced" transit systems (being maglev). Besides, maglev in China was deployed as a showcase of Chinese prosperity and growth, not so much economic practicality.

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