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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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By wingless on 12/26/2007 4:00:52 PM , Rating: 2
We need rail so bad here in Houston. The car dealerships and highway contractors have so many lobbyists they put rail plans on the back burner for over 20 years! I hope a company like JR Tokai can step up and come to the aide of the people here in Texas. I love driving but 93 octane is $3.10 which is relatively a lot here. Keep in mind we drive ~50 miles a day around town. Our gas prices tend to be lower than the rest of the country but its offset by the amount we're forced to drive. If any of you have been here you know what I mean.

WE NEED A RAIL SYSTEM IN HOUSTON ASAP! I hope we can hire some Japanese engineers to plan it too.

By darkpaw on 12/26/2007 4:27:41 PM , Rating: 2
Be careful what you wish for, you might end up like Phoenix. Tons of money and they are just working on the first phase of their train to no where. Since the cities weren't designed with rail in mind, it takes tons of money for very, very small lines. I was dumb enough to vote for that project when it was put on the ballot back in 98 (was a stupid teenager then). They still haven't actually finished any of it, and the initial phase goes pretty much no where useful after tearing up the city for years doing construction. I'd really be surprised if they have much in the way of riders when it does open.

When I lived in Phoenix I had a drive commute of 32 miles each way. It took me between 30-60 minutes depending on traffic. I now live in DC and make use of their heavily developed mass-transit system every day. It takes me minimum of 45 minutes to get to work though, which is sad since its only 6 MILES.

Even in DC, which has a very heavy transit/rail bent they can't get any new projects done. The proposed line out to Dulles will cost many factors more then it should for the people that will make use of it. When the gov't tells you the project is far too costly thats really a bad sign.

Personally, I'd love a super high speed rail line like these to someplace out of the main city like Fredricksburg or Richmond. I don't think it'll happen any time soon though, and if it does it'll be way over priced.

By bpurkapi on 12/26/2007 4:41:29 PM , Rating: 2
Rail only works in dense places. Rail almost never works in the west of America because our cities sprawl forever. Japan, Germany are ideal places for rail, not the US. The distance between major cities in Germany is not nearly as great as the distance between american cities. Plus there is little infrastructure for pedestrians to take advantage of. If you take the train you get off and then what? Our public transit also suffers because of sprawl as well. When people talk of trains to nowhere its because Best Buy, Sears and Safeway are the destinations and they all are designed around the car. Rail won't work until our cities are completely redesigned. Im from Portland, OR by the way and we have a large light rail street car system, and it still has its problems even though portland is a bit denser than the average western US city.

By creathir on 12/26/2007 7:48:46 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, rail works fine in suburban type of places. Chicago (the midWEST) has one of the most effective commuter systems in the world. Granted, the trains go to a CBD (central business district) which is quite dense, but the concepts still work. Places like LA, Seattle, San Diego, San Fransisco, and Pheonix all have distinct CBDs. Almost all major cities do.

- Creathir

By afkrotch on 12/27/2007 1:08:38 PM , Rating: 2
The city needs to either be densely packed or the trains needs to be augmented with a bus system also. That or do like in Tokyo and have the train stop every like 10 blocks.

Majority of cities within the Tokyo region feels built around the trains. Everything is located around the train station. All well within walking distance. If not within walking distance, it wasn't a problem as the buses and taxi cabs were usually just outside the station.

S.Korea does the same thing, so does Britain. Just that their public transportation isn't as all encompassing as Japan. That's mainly due to costs. Japan just keeps running them, but have long wait times before it runs. Like the train from Tachikawa to Fussa is pretty empty after 7pm. So the train will sit at Tachikawa station for like an hour before making it's run. It has the long wait to gather as many ppl as possible. I usually would use that break to grab some food in the udon shop, have a smoke, and mill around the AM/PM on the platform. Other times I'd surf the web on my PSP, if I happen to be going to Akiba that day.

By Belard on 12/26/2007 4:56:28 PM , Rating: 2
Here in Dallas, we have an expanding RAIL system that is heavily used. When I need to go into downtown, I pay $3 or so for a round trip (30miles each way), I bypass the slow traffic on the highway (which we can see from the train), pay NO parking ($3~15), not worried about anyone breaking in my car, etc etc... its great.

Wish there were more lines thou.

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