Central Japan Railway Co (JR Tokai) on Monday conducted the first public test of its new ultra-high speed magnetic levitation (maglev) train in Tsuru, Yamanashi Prefecture.
Specially invited members of the public and press were able to walk through newly designed ticket gates, and ride aboard the train as it briefly rocketed along the 42.8-kilometer test track at a speed of 500 km/hour, NTV reported.
The driverless maglev train utilizes a high-tech propulsion system called the “L-Zero” system that first brings the train to a speed of 160 km/hour. Upon reaching 160 km/hour, the train initiates the maglev system and slowly accelerates to 500 km/hour, JR Tokai said.
The current fastest train in Japan is the Hayabusa shinkansen which travels at 320 kph. JR plans on offering official test-rides to the broader public in November.
The maglev train, which will run between Tokyo and Nagoya, is expected to be operational by 2027. JR Tokai said there will be four stations on the 286-kilometer route between Shinagawa and Nagoya. The Shinagawa and Nagoya stations will be about 40 meters underground, Sankei Shimbun reported. The first station after Shinagawa will be Sagamihara in Kanagawa Prefecture (also underground). The next three stops will be above ground in Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture, Iida, Nagano Prefecture and in Nakatsugawa, Gifu Prefecture.