Tokyo trials high-speed magnetic rail

Tokyo trials high-speed magnetic rail :Japan is resuming trial runs for the world’s fastest magnetic-levitation train that will complement the Shinkansen bullet-train network when ready in 2027.

Central Japan Railway plans to begin work on the ¥5.1 trillion ($58 billion) maglev line between Tokyo and Nagoya as early as April. Trial runs resume after the company spent five years building a 24-kilometre extension of a test track. The trains can run at speeds of more than 500km/h.

The maglevs will complete the 286-kilometre journey from Nagoya to Tokyo in as little as 40minutes, down from the current 95 minutes. Maglevs use magnetic power to propel trains that float above the ground, travelling at almost double the 270km/h of current bullet trains between the two cities. To make the line straight enough for that speed, the company has to dig 248 kilometres of tunnels.

Faced with the challenge of tunnelling under Tokyo’s skyscrapers and Japanese Alps, the project is unlikely to be completed on time.

Concerns about high construction costs and uncertain demand have fuelled resistance to plans for high-speed rail in countries including the US and Britain.

But unlike those projects, JR Central’s maglev line won’t depend on government financing. The company says it will use cash flow, the highest of any railway operator in the world, along with loans and bonds to fund the project.

Tokyo trials high-speed magnetic rail

source: Bloomberg

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