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Transportation Japan

Maglev Train Exceeds 600km/h For World Record 189

nojayuk writes: An experimental Japanese magnetic levitation train has reached a speed of 603 km/h, breaking the world speed record the same train set last week of 590 km/h. "Central Japan Railway (JR Central), which owns the trains, wants to introduce the service between Tokyo and the central city of Nagoya by 2027. The 280km journey would take only about 40 minutes, less than half the current time. However, passengers will not get to experience the maglev's record-breaking speeds because the company said its trains will operate at a maximum of 505km/h. In comparison, the fastest operating speed of a Japanese shinkansen, or "bullet train" is is 320km/h. ... Construction costs are estimated at nearly $100bn (£67bn) just for the stretch to Nagoya, with more than 80% of the route expected to go through costly tunnels, AFP news agency reports."
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Maglev Train Exceeds 600km/h For World Record

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 21, 2015 @03:32PM (#49522355)

    Obviously their real goal was to exceed 1 megafurlong per fornight (598.7 km/h).

  • 80% through tunnels? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rich0 ( 548339 ) on Tuesday April 21, 2015 @03:33PM (#49522369) Homepage

    If you're putting 80% through tunnels, I'd wonder if it would almost make sense to make it 100% tunnels and have it in a vacuum. You could reach absurd speeds with such a design, though only if your stops are sufficiently distant (you would want a hub/spoke model).

    • by jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday April 21, 2015 @03:43PM (#49522453) Homepage Journal
      Then every car (and the tunnel itself!) needs to be a pressure vessel and you need oxygen masks if there is a leak. Plus you have to turn every station into an airlock. Depressurizing the tunnel is a lot of extra work.

      It might be easier (although not much more sane) to have two large ventilation systems for the tunnel. One working at high negative pressure (near vacuum), and the other working at a high positive pressure. The vents would be shutters that could be opened and closed rapidly, so you're always pulling air from the front of the train and introducing it behind the train. Basically you would always have a strong tail wind, reducing the heating effects of compressing that much air. The energy required to move the air would be substantial though, and it might not make sense. The high speed shutter system would be relatively complex too, and making it reliable would be a challenge.
      • The vents would be shutters that could be opened and closed rapidly, so you're always pulling air from the front of the train and introducing it behind the train.

        And then you just do away with the train [theinfosphere.org].

        • by jandrese ( 485 )
          My guess is that going pure pneumatic is probably inefficient and more difficult to build. A hybrid system probably make more sense, if for no other reason than you don't have to maintain an airtight seal around the car for an entire 1000km journey. Electric motors are pretty reliable and relatively inexpensive.
      • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

        Then every car (and the tunnel itself!) needs to be a pressure vessel and you need oxygen masks if there is a leak. Plus you have to turn every station into an airlock. Depressurizing the tunnel is a lot of extra work.

        It would certainly need to be a pressure vessel. If there were a leak you could use supplemental oxygen or you could just repressurize the tunnel. Agree that the stations would need locks.

    • I'd wonder if it would almost make sense to make it 100% tunnels and have it in a vacuum.

      Probably tripling the cost.
      • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

        I'd wonder if it would almost make sense to make it 100% tunnels and have it in a vacuum.

        Probably tripling the cost.

        Agree that it would only make sense over large distances. I could see it for a NYC-LAX maglev, maybe with a stop in the midwest somewhere. Maybe have the stops at airports for easy connection.

        Accellerating at 1G you could probably make the NYC-LAX trip in 30-60 minutes.

        • Accellerating at 1G you could probably make the NYC-LAX trip in 30-60 minutes.

          More like 15.

          Of course, you might have a bit of a bumpy landing as you leapt for the platform from the speeding train, which would at that point be closing on 9km/s. So, yeah, 30 minutes if you wanted to walk off at the other end.

          • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

            Accellerating at 1G you could probably make the NYC-LAX trip in 30-60 minutes.

            More like 15.

            Of course, you might have a bit of a bumpy landing as you leapt for the platform from the speeding train, which would at that point be closing on 9km/s. So, yeah, 30 minutes if you wanted to walk off at the other end.

            You'll want to factor in a bit more time for everybody to reverse their chairs or whatever so that they're not thrown out of the seat when you switch to deceleration. :) But yes, it has been a while since I ran the numbers bit it is somewhere around 30min, which is pretty impressive. It wouldn't even require all that much energy to make the trip.

    • The vacuum idea might be a bit overkill but the tunnels do introduce interesting problems - the shockwave when entering the next tunnel and the column of air the train has to push in front of itself while inside.

    • Switzerland recently considered this [wikipedia.org]. They abandoned the idea because costs were too high. (Of course Zurich-Bern is a much smaller travel market than Tokyo-Nagoya.)

  • About the distance from New York City to Baltimore. Or Seattle, WA to Portland OR.
    $100bn, just to get there a leeeetle bit faster.
    • By contrast, Amtrak is spending $117 billion to upgrade the Northeast Corridor to get to a mere 350km/h.
    • by JanneM ( 7445 )

      For the Osaka-Tokyo route, the Shinkansen made the difference between an overnight business trip or return the same day. That made it insanely popular. With the new train, you can not just make a set of meetings; you can do a full days work and still get back the same day (even more so for Nagoya of course).

      Many people here get stationed at offices in other cities for months or years, and leave their families behind. They effectively do a weekly commute, and come home only on weekends. For a lot of people t

  • The speedometer in the video seems to climb steadily to 603 then immediately stop, rather than flattening out as I'd expect. At a very rough guess it was undergoing acceleration of about 0.5m/s^2, which then dropped seemingly instantaneously to 0. Would that be a noticeable jolt?

    Is there a reason they targetted 603km/h? Maybe they were going for 600km/h and someone was slow to ease off the magnets...

    • Would that be a noticeable jolt?

      No, jolts are caused by acceleration - either positive or negative. If the train was to cut power and naturally decelerate then it would be noticed due to the significant friction at that speed. But simply leveling off the speed would not induce any noticeable jolts.

      For the mandatory car analogy - it would be less noticeable then when you remove your foot from the accelerator pedal when driving at low speed (and accelerating at 0.5 m/s).

  • by bluegutang ( 2814641 ) on Tuesday April 21, 2015 @04:34PM (#49522953)

    on a trip to Italy, from Rome to Naples (same distance as DC to Philadelphia). It took 1:10 from city center to city center, at a top speed of 295km/h. Amtrak's best trip over the same distance takes 1:40 and costs literally 4-8 times as much. There was no security theater - you could arrive two minutes before departure and run onto the platform and make the train. The seats were comfortable and roomy, and there was free wifi and charging stations at every seat.

    I really don't see how anyone could choose driving/flight over this for short-to-medium range intercity trips. Unfortunately it looks like the US will never get a real high speed rail system, because the Republicans think all trains are an evil communist plot, while the Democrats insist on sending every infrastructure project to 10 years of environmental review dependency hell. Meanwhile every other developed country continues to overtake us in quality of life.

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Tuesday April 21, 2015 @04:42PM (#49523019) Homepage Journal

      The real issue is that they do not really seem to want them to really work.
      For example the Florida High Speed rail project that Florida "rightly" refused to build was nothing but welfare for Disney. The "first leg" was the Orlando Airport to Disney!
      Now they are trying to build one that goes from Miami to Orlando but the people in three counties that are not getting stops are protesting it. This train would run on existing tracks so it should not cost an Arm and a leg but NIMBY is in full force.
      BTW I do live in one of those bypassed counties and while I would like for them to add stops I can see why they might not want to at first since the counties have a lower population than ones with stops.
      If they really want them to work they should pick real routes like Dallas Houston, LA SF, and yes Miami Orlando.

      • There is always an alternative approach, which is to have express and stopping all stations trains. Build the stations. The cost of an additional slab and building is relatively low in the total cost then have expresses stop at the majors and skip the smaller stations.

        • by Pembers ( 250842 )

          True, but then you have to worry about an express service getting stuck behind a local one if the local one is running late or has broken down. You could have the tracks fan out at the smaller stations, so the local service switches to a track that's next to a platform, while the express stays on a track that passes straight through. It doesn't help if the local train hasn't reached one of those stations yet, but at least means the express doesn't get held up for the whole of the route.

          Or you build two sets

          • Building the extra track is by far the more sensible option. It is also far less than double the cost. You already have all the machinery in place and people working on the design and build. The actual physical track cost is relatively small (compared to the total build cost). It would however still increase the cost, particularly of tunnels as they tend to be round so a small increase in size is multiplied massively.

            Breakdowns will screw the entire system anyway. Whether or not it is a local or express

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 21, 2015 @04:42PM (#49523029)

      you could arrive two minutes before departure

      Risk of paradoxes seems unnecessarily high.

    • on a trip to Italy, from Rome to Naples (same distance as DC to Philadelphia).... There was no security theater - you could arrive two minutes before departure and run onto the platform and make the train. The seats were comfortable and roomy, and there was free wifi and charging stations at every seat.

      As of the last time I rode Amtrak (a few years ago), there was no security theater, the coach class seat were more comfortable and more roomy than any airline first class seat I've ever ridden in, and there was a 120 VAC outlet for each seat. Supposedly, Amtrak has expanded its free WiFi offerings to more trains. Unfortunately, the TSA has "promised" to expand its operations into train and bus stations. I am quite sure this will soon affect - if not already - at least 2 of the stations I would be likely to

  • I have been a train traveler for more than three decades. I have used extensively four networks - (one of the biggest) Indian Railway, Amtrak, Japan Rail and China Railway.

    I feel the marginal improvement of 40 minutes via a new maglev line for 280KM costing $100 billion is sort of a boondoggle project...and may be a vanity project. The Shinkansen aka Bullet trains are already a costly mode of transportation, tickets frequently costing as much as a regular flight ticket. For the 40 minutes of saving in tr
  • by forged ( 206127 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2015 @02:58AM (#49525813) Homepage Journal
    - Has been operating on conventional rail (cost $ vs. $$$ for maglev) since 1981.
    - Is holding the world record of 574,8 km/h on conventioanl rail since 2007.
    - Is linking all major cities in France and some abroad (Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, UK).
    - Has commercial speeds of 280km/h for the oldest ones, to 320km/h for the current generation.
    - Costs a fraction of the price of the maglev.

    But, YMMV. And by all means go Japan !

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