New Japan train to hit 500 km/h

A Japanese rail company has revealed plans to run a train that could hit more than 500 kilometres an hour, which would make it the fastest train in the world.

The Central Japan Railway said its new magnetic levitation train, called a maglev train, should be operational by 2027.

A maglev train “floats” over tracks using electromagnetic fields and not wheels.

The 16-carriage train will accommodate 1,000 passengers and run between Tokyo’s central Shinagawa station to Nagoya – a trip that now takes about 90 minutes but will be cut down to 40 minutes with the faster train. Plans are to extend the line to Osaka by 2045.

The first car will measure 28 metres in length, with 15 metres devoted to its sleek, aerodynamic nose.

Japan has always been at the forefront of high-speed trains, having created the bullet train system in 1964 that still stands as the best high-speed transit system in the world.

The rail company plans to expand its maglev network across Japan, which would make it the first country to establish a maglev mass transit system.

Five carriages have already been built and the company will soon start testing the system.

"Through the test runs, we'll make final checks to ensure comfortable rides in the commercial services," Yasukazu Endo, head of the company’s maglev experiment centre, told the Yomiuri newspaper.

Currently, there is one maglev system and it operates in Shanghai, connecting the airport to the centre, 32 kilometres away. Its top speed is 430 km/h, making it the fastest train in the world.

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