While the Indian government is still mulling inducting bullet trains in the nation's transport system, Japan is busy redefining the way people travel. Known for its prowess in high-speed rail travel, the country set a world record with its state-of-the-art Maglev train recently.
The record saw the Maglev - short for magnetic levitation - cross the 600Km/h mark on a test-run in Yamanashi Prefecture just outside of Tokyo. This comes just days after it broke its previous 12-year-old record of 581km/h by going 590km/h.
The train had 49 Central Japan Railway employees for passengers who are said to be quite happy with the ride quality as it zipped past the 600Km/h mark and managed to stay at that speed for nearly 11 seconds. One must not that the Maglev is different from Japan's Shinkansen bullet train service; the Maglev is not only faster, but it also doesn't exactly travel on the track.
The Maglev hovers 10cm above the tracks, and is propelled by electrically charged magnets; the train starts off running on wheels until they're going fast enough for the magnets to kick in and create the lift. The power needed for levitation is typically not a large percentage of its overall energy consumption, thus making it a very practical option.
However, infrastructure costs will run in the billions. Hence, Japan intends to try and sell its high-speed technology overseas to help rake in some cash. Commercial operation of the Maglev service in Japan will begin by 2027.
How it works:
Japan's Maglev train uses an electrodynamic suspension (EDS) system that is based on the repelling force of magnets. It uses super-cooled, superconducting electromagnets, which can conduct electricity even after the power supply has been cut off.
However, this means the train must first roll on wheels till it attains lift-off speed of about 100Km/h. Japanese engineers say the wheels will come in handy in case of power failure and the consequent system shutdown.
1. Estimated construction cost for Tokyo to Nagoya stretch: $100 Billion
2. 80% of the Tokyo - Nagoya stretch expected to go through tunnels
3. Japan's bullet trains currently take 88 minutes to cover the 286Km-long stretch between Tokyo and Nagoya. Maglev will take 40 minutes
4. Less than a week back Maglev recorded a top-speed of 590Km/h, and broke its own 2003 record of 581Km/h
5. The fastest production car in the world - Hennessey Venom GT - can reach a top-speed of 435.31Km/h
6. Unofficial top-speed achieved by the BAR-Honda Formula 1 team with their 2005 car - 413Km/h
7. The fastest land animal - Cheetah - can attain a top-speed of 120Km/h
8. Theoretically, Maglev can circumnavigate Earth in just under 67 hours
9. Maglev trains don't use engines like the ones found in conventional trains