Japan currently has the fastest train in the world.
Elon Musk may dream of a Hyperloop future where we zip through pneumatic tubes from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 35 minutes. But it’s still just a dream.
Across the Pacific, they’re getting things done.
Japan Rail is rolling out a brand-new train that can hit 311 miles per hour. It’s called the JR Tokai L0 Series Shinkansen, and as it’s magnetically levitated, it hovers above the track for smooth, frictionless travel in any weather.
Slated to begin functional service in 2027, it’s only running a test route between Tokyo and Nagoya for now. The train features an extremely long and angular front car to reduce air resistance. Trains will be up to 16 cars long and can carry up to 1,000 passengers at a time as they shuttle between the two cities. It’s a 200-mile trip by automobile, but this train will complete a run in 40 minutes. Other bullet trains take up to 95 minutes to make the same trip.
For all its technological promise, the train brings a big financial burden to the table – it will cost around $100 billion to build a finished mag-lev line from Tokyo to the ultimate finishing point of Osaka, some 500 miles away.
If everything goes according to plans with time and money, the Japanese will be able to move around their country far more quickly than ever before.
This is the Expo Park West mag-lev train station in Aichi, through the fish-eye lens of Mazukasa Matsomoto.
Here’s the train on the day it was unveiled to the public.
A flashy paint job shows off the L0 name.