Fast answers about maglev train

Fast answers about maglev train :Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) unveiled its L0 series high-speed magnetic levitation train in June at its Yamanashi Maglev Test Center in Tsuru, Yamanashi Prefecture.

Trial runs of the “maglev” train are planned to start in September. It will run on the Chuo Shinkansen Line linking cities in eastern and western Japan.

Staff Writer Kosuke So attempts to shed some light on the cutting-edge train in the following question-and-answer format.

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Question: What is the difference between maglev trains and existing Shinkansen bullet trains?

Answer: The maglev train uses magnetic attraction and repellence between electric coils embedded in the rails and superconducting magnets embedded in the train cars to lift them about 10 centimeters above the track while running. Its maximum speed is 500 kph, about 1.6 times faster than that of the world’s fastest “Hayabusa” E5 bullet train of the Tohoku Shinkansen Line. Because all operations of the maglev train will be computerized, drivers are unnecessary. It will be the first time for JR Tokai, a private company, to cover the entire construction cost of a railway line. The construction expense is currently estimated at nine trillion yen ($90 billion).

Q: Where will the maglev train operate?

A: It will run almost straight from Tokyo to Osaka via Nagoya. It will take 40 minutes from Tokyo to Nagoya, while a trip to Osaka from Tokyo will require 67 minutes. The maglev train is set to enter commercial operation first between Tokyo and Nagoya in 2027–a large part of the route has already been decided. While the service is planned to be expanded to Osaka by 2045, the prefectural governments of Mie and Nara, which will host maglev train stations, are requesting that JR Tokai start operations simultaneously in the two sections. Some people have also demanded that JR Tokai alter the planned route and use another one that runs through Kyoto Station.

Q: How many people can it accommodate?

A: According to JR Tokai’s calculation, the maglev train, which will consist of up to 16 cars, can carry a maximum of 1,000 people at one time. The planned fare of the maglev train from Tokyo to Osaka is about 1,000 yen higher than that of the Tokaido Shinkansen Line’s “Nozomi” super express train.

Q: What is JR Tokai doing now?

A: It is currently conducting environmental impact assessments in Tokyo and other six prefectures, where the rail operator plans to start service first, to investigate geological features, groundwater and the necessity of noise control. JR Tokai will reveal the findings of the assessments and show the detailed route and exact locations of stations in autumn. It plans to begin construction in 2014.

Q: It must be exciting!

A: It will certainly make transportation more convenient. But 90 percent of the railway line between Tokyo and Nagoya will run underground or in tunnels of mountainous areas, so passengers will not be able to enjoy the landscape from windows, an aspect of train travel that many people will probably miss. It will take an estimated 10 years to dig through the mountains in the Southern Japan Alps and build tunnels. The tunnel construction also poses technical challenges. In addition, some people are concerned the planned construction may cause severe environmental damage.

Fast answers about maglev train

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