On most days, the fastest trains in the United States top out at around 110 miles per hour or so. And that’s on a single line—the Amtrak Acela, which runs between Boston and DC. Its officially-stated top speed is 150 mph, but on average, it runs closer to 80 mph. Japan plans on building a train that will more than triple those speeds.
Its newly proposed Maglev prototype, the Series L0, will regularly run at speeds of 311 mph (500 km), as it links two of the nation’s most densely populated hubs. It will look something like this.
Asahi reports that “JR Tokai aims to run the train between Tokyo and Nagoya on the JR Chuo Shinkansen Line, a route currently served by Japan’s high-speed bullet trains. The service will be expanded to Osaka by 2045.”
The plan makes sense—Japan already operates some of the speediest rail lines, as well as some of the most crowded. More hyperspeed trains between Tokyo and Osaka would be a welcome boon, so as to avoid rush hours that look like this.
Now, Maglev trains are expensive and difficult to build, but there are plenty of working examples Japan can look to. Germany, for instance, currently operates the world’s second-fastest train, a maglev that tops out at 279 mph. If JR Tokai builds the L0 according to projections; it may become not just the fastest maglev train, but the fastest passenger train period. China’s CRH380A bullet train currently hits 302 mph.
That is the future of overland travel—crumbling, congesting highways sure as hell are not.