Print 45 comment(s) - last by DeepBlue1975.. on Dec 3 at 5:52 PM

Train will speed along at 311 mph, will carry 900+ passengers

Maglev trains represent a perplexing puzzle to civil engineers.  While the price of entry can be much higher than traditional rail based trains, maglevs -- trains held aloft by powerful electro magnets -- experience no friction, meaning they cost far less to maintain.

But the high construction costs have meant that only two commercial maglevs are currently in existence.  Now the home nation of one of those two high-tech rail systems -- Japan -- is dreaming of a far more ambitious maglev line connecting Tokyo and Osaka with trains travelling safely at 311 mph.

Japan's current maglev system is only 8.9 kilometers (5.9 miles) long, and is located in Aichi, near the city of Nagoya.  Dubbed "Linimo", the line operates at a "lowly" cruising speed of 62 mph.  The line has struggled with losses in recent years and cost over $100M USD per km to construct.

But those struggles have not swayed Central Japan Railway Comp. (JR Tokai) (TYO:9022), which plans to deploy the sleek Series L0 prototype in 2027.  The front car will stretch ninety-two feet, with over half of that length devoted to an aerodynamic nose cone.  It will haul 14 carriages, each with 68 passengers in rows of four seats, with the exception of the last carriage, which seats only 24 (for a total of 908 passengers).

The first engineering mockups of the train were unveilled earlier this month.

Series L0 train
The Series L0 Train [Image Source:]

The train is planned to initially travel between the Shinagawa Station in central Tokyo to Nagoya, cities separated by roughly 218 miles on Japan's eastern coast.  Today the trip would take four hours by car or 90 minutes on the fastest rail-based bullet trains, but travelling at a blistering 311 mph, the next-generation maglev rail is expect to deliver passengers there in just 40 minutes.

JR Tokia plans to eventually extend the system to connect to Osaka by 2045.  Lead developer Yasukazu Endo comments, "Through the test runs, we will make final checks to ensure that commercial services are comfortable."

Long a leader in high-speed rail, Japan has recently seen fierce competition from its rival, China.  China currently owns the only other active commercial maglev system in the world, a line in Shanghai.  China is moving aggressively forward with its high speed rail expansion plans, despite the embarassing setback of having to scale back its line speeds from record paces due to allegations of contractor corruption leading to shoddy construction.

The U.S. is currently pondering a maglev system of its own, but such plans remain in their early infancy, with few large commercial backers.


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By GulWestfale on 11/29/2012 6:44:42 PM , Rating: 5
yet another reason to visit japan!

RE: niiiice!
By hubb1e on 11/29/12, Rating: -1
RE: niiiice!
By ClownPuncher on 11/29/2012 7:49:52 PM , Rating: 4
Cars can't go as fast as airplanes either, but is sure is damn fun to have 500hp under the hood, isn't it? Being on land traveling that fast is a hugely different feeling than being up in the air.

RE: niiiice!
By DeepBlue1975 on 12/3/2012 5:52:41 PM , Rating: 2
Which is no feeling at all, unless you are flying on a jet fighter and doing nearly supersonic runs at barely more than sea level.

RE: niiiice!
By Stuka on 11/29/2012 7:53:16 PM , Rating: 4
310mph 10ft off the ground is a lot more impressive than 580mph at 30,000ft off the ground... when looking out the window.

RE: niiiice!
By Bad-Karma on 11/30/2012 1:07:37 PM , Rating: 2
Go low level at mach. After that just about anything less will feel sedate by comparison. If you want a bit more then ratchet it up then go high mach with nap-of-the-earth...if you can take it.

I got to do it quite a bit when active duty (EF-111/F4G/F16B,D/F15E/B-1). Shoot, even NoE at full throttle on a buff is a hell of a sensation. But you no longer have to be in the service, there are lots of places selling rides now, just pick your favorite airframe. I guarantee you that after that fast cars (or trains) just don't compare......

Of course a sled driver would read this and laugh at me.....

RE: niiiice!
By ClownPuncher on 11/30/2012 3:05:35 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure people are going to be commuting to work in a F15E.

RE: niiiice!
By Bad-Karma on 12/1/2012 8:35:36 PM , Rating: 2

I'm not sure people are going to be commuting to work in a F15E.

I used to....

But seriously, from someone who enjoys train, I've taken every opportunity to ride as many of the bullet trains as possible when I travel. While I experience the novelty of the ride, you'll notice that the regular riders could care less about the sensation. The high speed is simply commonplace to them.

Think about it, when was the last time you zipped down the interstate at 70MPH and thought the speed was remarkable. Yet at some point in your life 70Mph was exhilarating.

RE: niiiice!
By bigboxes on 11/30/2012 12:20:30 AM , Rating: 5
You mean after arriving a couple of hours early for the pre-screen and then the taxiing on runway. That fun?

RE: niiiice!
By Solandri on 11/30/2012 5:15:29 AM , Rating: 5
I'm gonna go out on a really small limb and predict that if high-speed trains become a big thing, they're going to end up with the same pre-screening security checks that air travel has.

Crashes start to become unsurvivable above about 70 mph. If you hit a solid object at those speeds, the deceleration forces are enough to rip apart the blood vessels and connective tissue inside your body. So a bomb on a regular train means a bunch of people get injured and a few killed. A bomb on a high-speed train means nearly everyone dies, just like a plane crash.

RE: niiiice!
By dgingerich on 11/30/12, Rating: -1
RE: niiiice!
By Orchunter on 11/30/2012 10:45:46 AM , Rating: 4
Who said terrorists are only interested in taking down buildings. Just because they did that one time does not mean that they are interested in doing that all the time. Take a look at what happened in India "2006 Mumbai train bombings" ( see wiki ). Terrorists just want to create as much chaos and destruction as possible. Lets not forget that.

RE: niiiice!
By ClownPuncher on 11/30/2012 1:03:27 PM , Rating: 2
It's also very uncommon. Cars are much more dangerous, statistically.

RE: niiiice!
By Devilboy1313 on 11/30/2012 10:29:12 PM , Rating: 3
Cars are not dangerous at all, idiots who somehow got a driver's license and drive cars are the dangerous ones.

RE: niiiice!
By MechanicalTechie on 11/29/2012 8:02:46 PM , Rating: 2
Japan is an awesome country.. specially for tech-heads.. they can turn an ordinary vending machine into a nose bleeders wet dream :)

RE: niiiice!
By Schadenfroh on 11/29/2012 10:45:11 PM , Rating: 3
Not to mention, deploy vending machines that sell used panties :-o

RE: niiiice!
By Connoisseur on 11/29/12, Rating: -1
RE: niiiice!
By MechanicalTechie on 11/30/2012 12:13:51 AM , Rating: 2
When visiting another country you always have crap to contend with.. you just have to look past it.

RE: niiiice!
By Connoisseur on 11/30/2012 9:35:29 AM , Rating: 2
I'm more commenting on the previous poster who thinks there are panty vending machines on every block like a Pepsi dispenser. A lot of people have a very skewed view of Japan. Mostly from anime shows or internet videos of game shows.

RE: niiiice!
By Bad-Karma on 11/30/2012 12:46:20 PM , Rating: 2
Actually it is not to far from the truth. I was stationed there for two years. My wife and I decided to live away from the base among the local citizens. We managed to travel the country quite extensively.

It is not uncommon to wonder into an average neighborhood and see houses with one or more vending machines parked out near the street. Some homes had upward of 7+! To keep up sales, neighbors will have vastly different vended products along the street. Just about anything you could want can be had from those machines.

Last time I was passing through there I saw a machine vending miniature square watermelons. I even saw a fried chicken vending machine, must have missed the used panty one(s)......thankfully.

RE: niiiice!
By Zoomer on 12/1/2012 10:47:16 AM , Rating: 2
His point was that these machines don't sell used panties. They sell hot/cold drinks, soda, food, etc. Hardly anything to get riled up about.

RE: niiiice!
By Bad-Karma on 12/1/2012 8:27:45 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, bet they are there and are still not uncommon.....

RE: niiiice!
By dgingerich on 11/30/2012 11:25:11 AM , Rating: 2
you took all the magic away... :(

Just kidding. After all, they are just people, just like any other place. They have the same problems we all do. It sounds like Tokyo is about the same as New York, in the overall experience. Neat to know.

As much as I am fascinated by their old culture, I can't stand their food. So, I'm not going to be going there any time soon.

RE: niiiice!
By Jeffk464 on 11/30/2012 11:48:26 AM , Rating: 2
Really you don't like terriaki chicken or tempura? Never heard of anyone not liking those. I get the dislike of the raw fish thing though.

RE: niiiice!
By ClownPuncher on 11/30/2012 1:28:04 PM , Rating: 2
They have a few more types of food than sushi and tempura.

RE: niiiice!
By tng on 12/2/2012 3:52:36 PM , Rating: 2
Best terriaki chicken I had was off of a hibachi in a sidewalk in Nagoya. Looked completely unsanitary, but was fantastic.

Can't say I ever liked raw fish until I had it in Japan, where it again was fantastic.

RE: niiiice!
By Wurum on 11/30/2012 4:01:33 PM , Rating: 2
Admittedly, I don't know much about this, but I doubt they have the same race relation problems we have here in the US. Isn't Japan very anti immigration?

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