A number of former United States politicians recently visited Japan to experience what all the fuss was about Japan’s “maglev” – that is, magnetic levitation – high-speed trains was all about, and they were impressed. Japan is trying to sell the high-speed trains to the U.S. which is trying to find solutions to speed up travel times and ease congestion in the crowded northeast corridor between New York and Washington, with a deal sweetener – as Japan is offering to foot part of the construction bill which could reach billions of US dollars.
One of the “test riders” was former New York Governor George E. Pataki, who marveled at the smoothness of the ride. “In the subway I’d need a strap, at least,” Pataki said as the speedometer of the train hit 314 mph. The train system uses a technology called magnetic levitation to cruise at more than twice the 150 mph top speed of Amtrak’s Acela, the fastest train in the United States. If the project pushes through, the estimated journey time between Washington DC and Baltimore would be a scant 15 minutes instead of the regular 1 hour, and the journey between New York and Washington DC a mere 1 hour instead of three.
The Japanese maglev line is set to start construction next year, with the line stretching from Tokyo to Nagoya by 2027, and on to Osaka in the Kansai region by 2045. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has championed the train technology in a speech at the New York stock exchange in September. It now is up to the Northeast Maglev group – the company hoping to bring the technology to the U.S. – to get the capital so that the project can get moving. The Economist reports that the US$50 million raised so far in private capital by The Northeast Maglev group “would not even get the maglev out of downtown DC.”
[via The Verge]