We in India are still exploring the option of a Bullet train, that too one train, connecting two cities. On the other hand, the pioneer of bullet trains, Japan is thinking far ahead – floating trains. If bullet train brought to mind the picture of a blue and white train speeding with the Mount Fuji as the backdrop, floating trains will redefine train travelling.
The same company which first brought in the bullet train is now developing a floating train, known as Maglev, which will cut the journey time between Osaka and Tokyo to little more than an hour—less than half the current time via bullet train. It will be the fastest bullet train in the world with a speed approximately twice that of current Shinkansen at 500 km/h. As explained by Wall Street Journal, this will not come cheap. It carries a price tag of $90 billion, could be the world's most expensive railway line to date. It will work on magnetic levitation, or maglev, which lifts the cars several inches off a concrete track and whisks them along at more than 500 kilometers, or about 310 miles, per hour—nearly 200 kilometers per hour more than the fastest bullet train, or Shinkansen.
How this works? The magnetic levitation is a physical phenomenon that is generated by two electromagnets. The interaction between the magnets creates a magnetic force that compensates the gravity and allows levitation. The magnets are placed on the train and along the chosen path. The action of the magnets will push the train up and ensure the existence of a gap between the "rail" and train. The train is off the track. Not touching the rail, the train avoids any loss of speed due to friction between the rail and the wheels.
Construction has already started and if it succeeds, it could become one of the biggest exports for Japan. Prime Minister Abe had spoken about this to USA, planting the seed for a floating train between Washington DC and New-York, all in one-hour!
This will take a long time to come - the first section, from Tokyo to Nagoya, will be completed by 2027, which is seven years after the Olympics in 2020. Phase two, connecting Nagoya to Osaka, will happen only by 2045. Wonder whether the Japanese will have enough population to use the trains by then…..