Japan's maglev train breaks world speed record again

A magnetic levitation train in Japan reached a record breaking 603kmh (375mph) in a test run near Mount Fuji on Tuesday, smashing its own world speed record.

The maglev train, which is the fastest passenger train in the world, beat the 590kmh it had set last week in another test in central Japan’s Yamanashi prefecture. Central Japan Railway (JR Central) said it had surpassed its previous record of 581kmh set 12 years ago.

Japan’s high-speed rails services are one of the most advanced in the world, with hundreds of trains running each day with minimal delays. Maglev trains use electrically charged magnets to lift and move carriages – it hovers 10cm above the tracks – reducing friction and allowing higher speeds.

JR Central wants to develop a future route between Tokyo and the central city of Nagoya by 2027, a distance of 286km, with the journey time expected to be slashed in half, down to 40 minutes.

However, passengers will not get to experience quite the same speeds because the company said its trains will operate at a maximum speed of 505kmh. By comparison, the UK’s proposed HS2 rail network will travel at a maximum speed of 362kmh.

Construction is estimated at nearly £67bn ($100bn) AFP news agency reported, with more than 80 per cent of the route expected to go through costly tunnels. However, the government is looking to sell the bullet train systems overseas in a bid to strengthen the Japanese economy partly through infrastructure exports.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is due in the US this weekend, where he is expected to convince officials to let Japan contribute to the construction of a potential new line that would connect New York to Washington DC.

Maglev train speed record infographic

Japanese maglev train infographic  

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