Japans first commercial model of maglev train put on an outdoor test track
Japan’s first commercial model of a magnetically levitated train has been placed. Officials at Central Japan Railway unveiled the L0 model on Monday at its test track in Yamanashi Prefecture, central Japan. The track is being extended to 43 kilometers to enable full-fledged test runs. The 5-car train, towed by a locomotive, ran on the track slowly to check whether the train bottom has proper clearance from devices on the ground. The new train will be the first to be equipped with superconducting electromagnets. These operate free of electrical resistance, which helps to create a powerful magnetic field over coils beside the track. The super strong magnetic field enables the train to levitate at a level higher than conventional maglev trains.
Commercial runs of the maglev train are scheduled to start between Tokyo and Nagoya in 2027. The train will travel at speeds of up to 500 kilometers per hour. The model “L0” was developed from a prototype that underwent test runs for more than 10 years through 2011. The commercial model has a larger cabin with a boxy cross-section to ensure greater passenger comfort — a change from its arch-shaped predecessor. The prototype of the maglev train reached a new world record of 581 kilometers per hour in 2003 during test runs in Yamanashi Prefecture. The record is unbroken. The new maglev system will save travelers one hour and 20 minutes between Tokyo to Osaka. The bullet train takes 2 hours and 25 minutes.