A new record for train speed was recently set in Japan by the company Central Japan Railway… Twice in the same week, actually.
The new records — set by a Maglev train, of course — broke a record set all the way back in 2003, around 12 years ago.
Here’s the timeline — 12 years ago, the speed record was set at 581 kilometers/hour; about a week ago, a new record was set at 590 kilometers/hour (366.6 milers per hour); and then a couple of days later, this ‘new record’ was eclipsed by a speed of 603 kilometers/hour (374.7 miles per hour).
To be specific here, the Lo Series train, while transporting 49 Central Japan Railway employees, ran 1.8 kilometers in just under 11 seconds (while moving at over 600 km/h), according to Central Japan Railway.
Good PR, right? No doubt, that’s part of the reason for the showing off, as the company is currently seeking new investors.
In what sounds like a typically Japanese sort of comment (to my mind), the head of of the Maglev Test Centre, Yasukazu Endo, stated (to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper): “The ride was comfortable and stable. We would like to continue analyzing data and make use of it in designing the cars and other equipment.”
Those itching to take such a fast train themselves will no doubt have to wait quite awhile, as the first line isn’t set to go into service until all the way in 2027 (a Tokyo-Nagoya line). And that’s assuming no delays. As far as whether or not the technology gets adopted elsewhere? That’s an open question.
Given the costs associated with its use, it probably won’t have a place in many countries facing continuing economic problems. Electric buses, trams, or regular trains, would no doubt be a better option in those cases. Still, it probably would be fun to ride in once of these.