Japan Plans Curvaceous Maglev Train to Connect Osaka and Tokyo by 2045
November 29, 2012 5:23 PM
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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) (
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.
The Series L0 Train [Image Source: Phys.org]
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
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
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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Let's let China and Japan eat the R&D costs...
11/29/2012 7:09:08 PM
$100 million per kilometer? It sounds extremely promising for connecting large cities across the US but at prices anywhere near that point it's just ridiculous. Let's let China and Japan fund the research into making this more affordable and we can reap the benefits in the future.
RE: Let's let China and Japan eat the R&D costs...
11/30/2012 4:47:05 AM
The main reason that it is 100M per km is not the technology itself, but the reason that they only made it 9 km long. If it was 5 km long, it probably would have cost 200M per km.
Also keep in mind that Japan, for the most part, is mountains. There are several regions in the US and China which consists of hundreds of miles of flat country, perfect for a cheap rail system.
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