Japan's floating train sets new world speed record
A NEW train world speed record has been set after Japan's fastest magnetically levitated train, known as the maglev bullet train, reached a speed of 603 kilometres per hour (374mph) on a test run near Mount Fuji.
The train, which uses electrically charged magnets to levitate its carriages four inches above the tracks, broke its own record on a manned test run carried out on an experimental track, Kyodo News reports.
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The levitation of the train means it can reach such high speeds because it has no contact with the ground and is not slowed by friction.
Last Thursday, the Central Japan Railway company, which operates the train, broke its own speed record in a test run manned by technicians by reaching 590 km/h, which had in turn broken its own 2003 record of 581km/h.
The company is looking to introduce this new high-speed train in 2027 on services connecting the cities of Tokyo and Nagoya. The distance between the two cities is 280km, but would take only 40 minutes on the high-speed maglev - less than half of the current journey on Japan's shinkansen bullet trains.
The journey time could be even faster, but the company has said its service will only reach a top speed of 500 km/h, AFP reports.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be visiting the US later this week where is he expected to drum up interest in the new technology within the American market, specifically for a Washington to New York train link, the Washington Post reports.
In the meantime, the company said it will be submitting its new world speed to be listed in the Guinness World Records.