TECH

Japan's Insane 500kph Levitating Train Gets Tested

25/09/2014 11:47 BST | Updated 25/09/2014 11:59 BST

Japan has been pioneering Maglev technology for years, but now the country is about to get its very first fully-operational maglev network.

Developed and built by the Central Japan Railway Company, the maglev train uses a new transportation method called 'L Zero', which combines conventional wheels with magnetic levitation.

How does it work? Well the train will accelerate to 160kph using the wheels and then the maglev system will engage, lifting the train away from the tracks using high-powered magnets. At this point the train will then start to accelerate towards its frankly terrifying 500kph top speed.

maglev

The service will run between Tokyo and Nagoya with plans to have the service fully operational by 2027. For now though the CJRC will be holding press demonstrations and selective public events in order to raise awareness of the new technology.

While maglev is considered to be the best alternative to wheel-based transport, that didn't stop Tesla founder Elon Musk from creating his own 'Hyperloop' transport concept which would use low friction, low pressure tubes in order to carry train cars.

With so little air resistance the trains would theoretically be able to reach speeds of up to 800mph. This is of course all hypothetical and Musk did give the entire network a cost of $6bn.

Currently the fastest train in Japan is the Hayabusa Shinkansen 'bullet train' which has an operating top speed of 320kph.