Maglev train to hit 500 km/h, could go from Toronto to Montreal in one hour

Scott Sutherland
November 28, 2012

Building upon the success of Japan's Shinkansen, the 'Bullet Train', the Central Japan Railway is again ushering the world into the future with plans to build a new train which will use 'magnetic levitation' — or mag-lev — technology. This new train will float over the tracks as it whisks travelers along to their destination at speeds of over 500 km/h!

The system, called Electro-Dynamic Suspension (EDS), which is made up of cooled superconducting electromagnets, uses magnetic attraction and repulsion to not only keep the train aloft, but also propel it along the tracks. It also puts the principle of 'electro-magnetic induction' to work, which produces an electric current when two magnetic fields move in relation to one another, so that as the train moves along, it actually helps to produce the magnetic fields that make the system work.

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For everyone who has to make the trip between Toronto and Montreal (conveniently about 500 km apart), just think about that. If Canada invested in this kind of technology, you could make that trip in roughly the same time as it takes for an average commute by car into either city, and since you'd be sharing the trip with 999 other passengers and the train would simply draw electricity from the same power grid that services southern Ontario and southern Quebec, a ticket on for that train would probably be a lot less expensive than what a commuter flight would cost you.

How about an hour and a half between Vancouver and Calgary as you speed through the mountains? That's longer than a commuter flight, but likely easier and cheaper.

Technology like this could shrink the country. Reach anywhere in your province within the hour, or the next province over in an hour. Cross the country, express, from Vancouver to Halifax in roughly nine hours. How many more of us would travel regularly, and see more of this great country of ours, if it was that easy to do it? And it's clean, too. It runs off of whatever electricity source you have, so if you run off clean energy (solar, wind, hydro), this transportation is just as clean.

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Japan plans on having their mag-lev line — which will run between Tokyo and Nagoya — completed by 2027, with plans to expand the line to Osaka by 2045. I think that we should get to work on this kind of technology as well. We have a lot more distance to cover in this country, and if we went with the newer Inductrack technology, we wouldn't even need to power the entire track system — once the train left the station, it would be both levitated and propelled along solely through the magnetic fields it induced in the track as it moved.