Japan’s New Train Levitates, Travels at 311 MPH

Japan’s reputation around the world for high-speed train service began in 1964 when the country unveiled its first bullet model during the Summer Olympics. But now, the country has upped the ante: Japan has officially debuted its 311 mph bullet maglev train, with the first of passengers testing the lightning fast ride out. 311 mph. Let that sink in for a moment.

The high-speed magnetic levitation – maglev for short – Shinkansen train had been previously piloted between the cities of eastern Uenohara and forest-filled Fuefuki. However, this weekend’s excursion was the first time members of the public were permitted on board, The Independent reported.

At high speeds of 311 mph, the trip stretched across 27 miles for 100 excited passengers, all of whom were thrilled to take a part of the experimental maglev train’s launch.

Trains that operate using magnetic levitation are able to go a lot faster than trains with wheels because there is no friction between the track and the train, as the vehicle “floats” a few millimeters above the distinct rail.

Seemingly, maglev trains travel at an even much faster rate than Japan’s renowned bullet trains, which currently move at about 200 mph. The upgrade in speed cuts the current travel time between the cities by more than half, from 90 to 40 minutes.

Footage of the record-breaking journey documented a constant record of the train’s velocity, and depicted a live display of each passenger car. Within each carriage, people experienced the train’s speed via monitored screens and the passing blur outside their airplane-sized windows.

The Central Japan Railway Company is administering eight full days of testing in December for the new maglev trains on its test track in Yamanashi Prefecture. A total of 2,400 people, who are selected by lottery, will have the chance to experience the high-speed ride. So far, over 100,000 people have applied for the passes.

At completion, the trains will consist of 16 carriages, carrying up to 1,000 passengers at a time, which is bound to be helpful as the Tokaido Shinkansen – the central line in the country – is the world’s busiest rail, carrying 151 million passengers each year.