Japan has shown a trial run of a Maglev train that hit the speed of over 500 km/hour. The new train uses magnetic levitation (Maglev) transport technology that eliminates the need of wheels, axles, and bearings used in conventional trains.
The magnetic field keeps the train lifted from the surface – allowing it to run at phenomenal speeds without any friction from the tracks.
In the trial run, a BBC News video showed the train carrying 100 smiling passengers.
But even at 500 km/hour, it is not the fastest train because Japan had earlier shown a Maglev train that could run at 581 km/hour in 2003, making it the fastest train in the world.
Japan is planning to build a Maglev line between Tokyo and Osaka to cover a distance of about 500 kms. The project is expected to cost a whopping $100 billion.
Maglev is supposed to be twice as fast as today’s bullet trains. Therefore, the cost of building a Maglev line is almost double than that of a bullet train line.
However, Maglev trains will have many advantages as compared to even air travel. As they use electricity instead of expensive fuel that is used in aircraft, the cost of traveling will be cheaper in Maglev. Plus, they won’t get affected by bad weather conditions.
As high-speed Maglev trains can compete with flights of 800 km/hour, the total journey time in a Maglev will be almost the same as air travel because passengers will save enormous time they usually spend on airports. And, of course, Maglev travel is supposed to be safer than air travel.
You can hope to see commercial Maglev trains in the decade beginning 2021.
Photo courtesy: Wikipedia