Japan shows 310 mph bullet train prototype

Nov. 29, 2012 at 8:39 PM
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TOKYO, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Japanese transport officials have unveiled the prototype of their new maglev train they say will be capable of speeds up to 310 miles per hour.

The Central Japan Railway Co. has finished the prototype and is ready to begin testing the magnetic levitating train expected to enter service in 2017, Slash Gear reported Thursday.

The latest "bullet train" will first see service on a route between Tokyo and Nagoya, making the 160-mile journey in around 40 minutes.

Japan's current maglev trains can attain speeds of around 150 miles per hour and make the same journey in approximately an hour and a half.

The Central Japan Railway Co. said after the first line opens in 2027 it plans to expand the route to serve Osaka by 2045, at a cost of around $102 billion.

Maglev trains are kept "floating" above the route way by superconducting magnets under the tracks that levitate the train and allow it to travel with much less friction.

That allows much higher speeds and a smoother, quieter ride than conventional trains.

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