Japan tests world's fastest train

Summary:When Japan's maglev train line is complete 64 million people will be in commuting distance of each other.

Japan is continuing tests on a magnetic levitation (maglev) train that will eventually move riders from Tokyo to Nagoya at 310 miles per hour. Here's a sense for what that feels like:


While its highest operating speed is 310 miles per hour, it's currently the world's fastest train with a maximum speed of 361 miles per hour.

Work on this maglev line will begin in April, Bloomberg reports, but it won't be ready until at least 2027 (we'll probably have driverless cars before this ultra-fast train ) because of the tunneling required below Tokyo and through the Japanese Alps.

But when it's completed it will turn a 95-minute, 178-mile journey into a 40-minute trip. And by 2045 the line will be extended to Osaka, Why is that significant? 64 million people will be in commuting distance of each other -- supercommuting at its finest.

But the train isn't the only impressive part of this project. Bloomberg reports some other fascinating stats on the company behind it, Central Japan Railway Company.

Unlike high-speed rail projects in the U.K. and U.S., the new $51 billion maglev line won't need any government financing. How? The company, which had a free cash flow of $2.95 billion last fiscal year, will rely on its profits along with loans and bonds for funding. That's a feat you're able to accomplish when you carry more passengers than any airline in the world.

Read more: Bloomberg

Photo: Flickr/yui.kubo

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Topics: Innovation


Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter.

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