Itís currently the worldís longest and fastest stretch of maglev train, reaching speeds as high as 310 mph in a demonstration last week. But Japanís L-Zero only lives on 15 miles of test track, and weíre still more than a decade away from completion.
After five years of trials, plus some starts and stops, Central Japan Railway Co. is finally starting construction on a maglev line between Nagoya and Tokyo, a 177-mile trip that will be cut from 95 minutes on todayís high-speed trains to just 40 minutes with maglev by 2027. To put that kind of speed in perspective, Amtrakís Acela takes about 3 hours and 40 minutes to go about 210 miles. A trip from Boston to New York on maglev would take under an hour.
By 2045, JR Central hopes to extend the line to Osaka, which will cut the number of passengers on the frequent flights between the two cities. When built, the maglev will join an airport line in Shanghai and a low-speed train in Nagoya, among other rail systems that use magnets to float rail cars above a track to reduce friction and increase stability.