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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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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