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The Fastest Train Ever Built: The SCMaglev

Mustard

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Published on May 27, 2021
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In just a few short years, Japan’s Superconducting Maglev (SCMaglev) will become the world’s fastest train in operation. Traveling at near aircraft-like speeds of 503km per hour, the SCMaglev will eventually link Japan’s population centers of Tokyo and Osaka in just 67 Minutes.

The SCMaglev will operate on the Chuo Shinkansen, a new 438km intercity route connecting Tokyo to Osaka. The line will run right through a mountain range, requiring the vast majority of the route to run in tunnels. However, the Chuo Shinkansen will be more direct than the current Shinkansen high-speed rail route. The first section is expected to open in 2027 with the remaining connection to Osaka completed a decade later in 2037

The SCMaglev will be the world’s first superconducting maglev to enter service. To levitate trains off their guideway, electromagnets are cooled to extreme temperatures in order to take advantage of a phenomenon called superconductivity. The electromagnets on board the train interact with two sets of coils embedded inside a guideway, one to propel the train and the other levitation and guidance. The low electrical resistance in superconducting magnets allows SCMaglevs to consume 30% less energy than other high-speed maglev trains, like Germany’s Transrapid.

The technology behind SCMaglev is nearly 60 years in the making. But the Chuo Shinkansen is also one of the most expensive transport projects in history and an enormous bet on high-speed maglev, a technology that has yet to prove itself. Given the enormous costs and move away from proven high-speed rail technologies, some question whether building the world's fastest train really makes sense.

Further Reading:

End Game for Japan’s Construction State - The Linear (Maglev) Shinkansen and Abenomics: https://apjjf.org/2017/12/Aoki.html

The Chuo Shinkansen Project: High Speed Rail in Japan: https://apjjf.org/2019/22/Andersen.html

Music used in this production (reproduced under license):

Intro Song: “Documentary Progressive”- https://www.pond5.com/royalty-free-music/item/125418048-documentary-progressive-part-1

Song 1: “Okavango Rain” - https://www.pond5.com/royalty-free-music/item/70971023-okavango-rain-alt-atmospheric-world-music-bed-travel-foreign

Song 2: “Documentary New Age” - https://www.pond5.com/royalty-free-music/item/128280929-documentary-new-age-60-sec-part-1

Song 3: “Documentary Suspenseful - The Collapse” - https://www.pond5.com/royalty-free-music/item/151953026-documentary-suspenseful-collapse

Song 4: “Documentary Progressive” - https://www.pond5.com/royalty-free-music/item/125417904-documentary-progressive-30-sec
Song 5: “Funk Jazz Music”- https://audiojungle.net/item/funk-jazz-music/31285319

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