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Japan's L-Zero Maglev Train Reaches 310 mph In Trials

timothy posted about a year ago | from the zippy-is-right dept.

Transportation 174

coolnumbr12 writes with this excerpt from IBTimes: "Japan's magnetic-levitation train is still more than decade away from completion, but the L-Zero recently proved that it really is the world's fastest train. On a 15-mile stretch of test track, the L-Zero reached speeds of 310 miles per hour. After the successful trials, Central Japan Railway Co. is going ahead with a 5.1 trillion yen ($52 billion) plan to build a 177-mile maglev line between Tokyo and Nagoya. CJR says the trip will take just 40 minutes on the L-Zero." There are other fast trains in the world, but the L-Zero edges out the others on this list.

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The sabot train (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44785775)

...an obvious nickname?

Re:The sabot train (3, Funny)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year ago | (#44785921)

Like the shoe? As in, "If someone throws his shoe on the rails, we'll have a nasty case of sabotage?"

Re:The sabot train (2)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#44786757)

I'm holding out for the F-Zero train...

Re:The sabot train (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44788153)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIe4AvKLSa4 [youtube.com]

..in case anyone else saw this and felt like nostalgiaging

Hate to hit (2, Funny)

Brad1138 (590148) | about a year ago | (#44785791)

A cow at that speed...

Re:Hate to hit (4, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | about a year ago | (#44785793)

It would be an udder catastrophe

Re:Hate to hit (4, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44785827)

Hoove GOT to be cudding me.

Re:Hate to hit (3, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | about a year ago | (#44786737)

Well, you wouldn't be on the moooooove anymore.

Re:Hate to hit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44786995)

NooooOOOOooope

Re:Hate to hit (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44785831)

Now observe people milking the pun as long as it holds together.

Re:Hate to hit (1)

Dan Askme (2895283) | about a year ago | (#44785983)

I leather believed it would last this long.

Re:Hate to hit (1)

Angeret (1134311) | about a year ago | (#44786993)

Hey, don't have a cow, man!

Re:Hate to hit (0)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year ago | (#44785927)

And the woman who backed into it?

Disaster.

Re:Hate to hit (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#44785865)

But it would be awesome to see (assuming the train and passengers are ok).

Re:Hate to hit (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44785905)

But it would be awesome to see (assuming the train and passengers are ok).

Have you ever been hit by a fast attack cow clocking 500 kph? Why do you assume the train would be OK after that? (Unless it's an armored train - if it were, that and the designation L-Zero would certainly give goosebumps to at least some WW II vets!)

Re:Hate to hit (1)

mortonda (5175) | about a year ago | (#44786069)

A cow at that speed...

... had better moooove.

NipAttack is better name (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44785801)

Because that's what they do you know.

A me too case? (3, Interesting)

Ateocinico (32734) | about a year ago | (#44785893)

If every kilometer of it's tracks is about as costly as the German's maglev, what is the economic justification? China balked at the cost of a Shanghai-Beijing maglev line and built a wheeled system instead. And nobody has built a maglev after the Shanghai's airport to city center line.

Re:A me too case? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44785959)

At 310mph it would be able to out run Godzilla's atomic breath. There's your justification.

Re:A me too case? (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44786191)

Why does everything have to make a profit?
Can nothing be done for national pride or to push forward the cutting edge?

Re:A me too case? (4, Insightful)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#44786705)

Why a profit at all anyway? Shouldn't everything done by the governments be done at break-even costs?

Re:A me too case? (3, Insightful)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#44788029)

fair enough. but what's the economic justification for the train to make sure the gov't breaks even? how do you make sure you don't build a billion dollar white elephant?

Re:A me too case? (0)

bitt3n (941736) | about a year ago | (#44786975)

Why does everything have to make a profit? Can nothing be done for national pride or to push forward the cutting edge?

Well said! Here's a hammer. Go build a MagLev train whilst I sit in this chaise longue waving a tiny American flag at you.

Re:A me too case? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44787037)

According to many classical economic theories, if something is not profitable, then the net benefit to society is negative. If something is profitable it proves that it is providing value to the extent that people, in the aggregate, voluntarily give up their wealth to use it, and when weighed against the wealth consumed in providing it, the added value "wins out". Thus, it was worth consuming the resources needed to bring said service/product to market.

On the other hand, if something is uprofitable but done for "national pride", it means essentially, that wealth was stolen from the citizens/serfs/slaves at gunpoint and used to lengthen the political penis of the ruling government. A long and glorious tradition: see for example the great pyramids. Is "pushing forward the cutting edge" and "bolstering national pride" worth the human suffering? I personally think that it's never appropriate to steal from people, and it's never worth it, but that's just another way of saying I'm not fit to rule.

Re:A me too case? (3, Insightful)

simtel (798974) | about a year ago | (#44787493)

Don't assume that the only profit to be made is via the act itself - NASA's space program ended up giving birth to a lot of technology that is widely used in society these days, but could not have been measured in a pre-estimate of the profitability of the space program.

Re:A me too case? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44787853)

If something is profitable it proves that it is providing value to the extent that people, in the aggregate, voluntarily give up their wealth to use it, and when weighed against the wealth consumed in providing it, the added value "wins out".

There are plenty of things that end up being a net benefit, as measured in dollars, that are either not monetizable, would run into problems due to most people not having perfect knowledge of the options they chose from in the market, or are rejected due to various ideologies. An over priced maglev might not fall into such a category, but in many cases, transportation works do. City buses provide a lot of benefit to those that don't ride the bus, by lowering congestion and unemployment among other things. But it can be difficult to collect money from people not riding for lowering traffic, and many others object out of principle of it being more important that others do not benefit from their money than they get a net benefit. So there are cases when it is a net benefit to run city buses at a slight loss and to subsidize them.

Re:A me too case? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44787727)

Can nothing be done for national pride

Wow, how about your taxes go to that, and mine go to something more useful. National pride is cool and all until I have to pay for it myself.

Re:A me too case? (4, Insightful)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about a year ago | (#44786789)

Well, let's see.

Assuming the train travels between Tokyo and Nagoya, a distance of 177 miles according to the summary, and travels at 310 MPH that comes up with 34 minutes from Tokyo to Nagoya. What the heck, we'll make it 45 minutes, what with acceleration and deceleration and all.

Tokyo is one of the most densely populated areas in Japan and is pretty high up there in world rankings. Areas of high population density, of course, tend to be expensive places to live. Sure, you can have a place outside Tokyo for much cheaper but then you spend your life in traffic or on a train--not an attractive prospect.

Imagine if I could live in Nagoya and work in Tokyo and not have to spend hours a day commuting or living in a tube during the week and only being home on the weekends. Imagine that an employer might be more interested in hiring me as I could work "cheaper" since my living expenses could be far less in Nagoya. I remember reading how New York City's economy improved by creating infrastructure (i.e., bridges, trains) allowing people who lived in Brooklyn to conveniently get to New York City.

Also, Nagoya has a pretty big airport that is arguably under-utilized. Making it more convenient to access from Tokyo may improve that situation.

Re:A me too case? (0)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year ago | (#44787069)

Or you could eliminate a lot of airports and air travel, which is horribly inefficient and environmentally unfriendly. Maybe not in Japan, but imagine going from New York to LA by train in 8 hours or so, and having the comforts of a train rather than the cramped confines of a plane.

Re:A me too case? (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | about a year ago | (#44787413)

Part of the reason trains are relatively uncramped is because travel takes longer. It's not because the companies that run them are just nicer. You can't smash people in like sardines if they're going to be traveling for days. If you could travel by train at airplane speeds, you'd get airplane type seating because that will maximize the number of people that can fit in the cars and the profit. If someone invented a ship that could travel from NYC to London in 6 hours, do you think everyone would still get their own stateroom?

Re:A me too case? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44787705)

LA to Sydney, 18h. is as cramped as any other flight I've been. Being longer didn't make it less cramped.

Re:A me too case? (2)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about a year ago | (#44787881)

That depends.

One difference between rail and airline is that it isn't that much more expensive to attach another car to the train. So if I'm traveling from New York to Los Angeles with 100 complete strangers, they can have two cars. If I'm traveling with 200 complete strangers, they can attach another two cars. At some point, they'll probably need another locomotive and that would probably make a difference. But it's pretty flexible.

Conversely, there are only 400 seats traveling from New York to Los Angeles by air. They can't really add or remove seats from the airplane.

Re:A me too case? (1)

CurunirAran (2811035) | about a year ago | (#44787921)

Not necessarily. In India, while trains are slower, they are also much cheaper than taking airplanes. Yet most trains consist of coaches only having bunks for sleeping (along with tables and such). And this is in a country that's packed to the brim with people.

I don't see why fast trains wouldn't work in the USA.

Re:A me too case? (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year ago | (#44788193)

Except that light rail you ride on for 20 minutes is also relatively uncramped, except at rush hour. And a 3 hr ride from say Baltimore to NYC is also quite comfortable. They can afford the extra room on rail because they don't need to spend anywhere near as much extra fuel to move it.

Also, in many countries rail is nationalized, so they aren't after every last penny like private airlines.

Re:A me too case? (1)

Time_Ngler (564671) | about a year ago | (#44787145)

A trip from Tokyo to Nagoya costs 10,600 yen currently (around $106 USD), so if the price will be similar, it's going to be $212 daily commute, which is kind of expensive:

http://www.hyperdia.com/en/cgi/en/search.html?dep_node=TOKYO&arv_node=NAGOYA&via_node01=&via_node02=&via_node03=&year=2013&month=09&day=08&hour=10&minute=28&search_type=0&search_way=&transtime=undefined&sort=0&max_route=5&ship=off&lmlimit=null&search_target=route&facility=reserved&sum_target=7 [hyperdia.com]

It also currently takes 101 minutes, so besides a daily commute, whats the point of shaving a little more than an hour off your trip?

Re:A me too case? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44787477)

1) JR Central offers monthly passes for Shinkansen commuters that gives you unlimited monthly rides on short-haul Shinkansen (e.g. Tokyo-Atsumi) for about the cost of 10 round trips. Assuming that gets applied to longer hauls like Tokyo-Nagoya (currently it doesn't), we're looking at $2120 per month. Pretty reasonable considering what you get, but still not what I would look for when I'm trying to cut costs.

2) Shaving one hour off of the travel time is a serious matter when you're provisioning time out of 8 hour workdays.

I travel between Tokyo and Nagoya several times a month on business. Right now, if I want to be in my client's Nagoya office first thing in the afternoon, I have to be at Tokyo station around 10:30, which means leaving my Tokyo office at 10:00--hardly worth the trouble of coming in in the morning. If the travel time is halved, I can now leave office at 11:00, which would give me time to get some real work done in Tokyo. So yes, this is important.

Of course, if you are a tourist, then an extra hour is not a big deal. But the Shinkansen's main target is business travel, not leisure.

Re:A me too case? (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | about a year ago | (#44788117)

There are people who pay that here for a daily commute between London and my home town (100 or so miles down the line). It's painful, but people do it. Admittedly these would be well paid contractor types, but there are enough of them around these days; enough to fill a few commuter trains each day, anyway.

why not in the USA or Russia (1)

someone1234 (830754) | about a year ago | (#44785945)

It is weird i don't see any USA or Russian trains, they both got a vast country and a knack of looking for grandour.
How come that much smaller countries like Taiwan got faster trains, heh.

Re:why not in the USA or Russia (2)

couchslug (175151) | about a year ago | (#44785975)

Simple. Concentrated ridership and dense urban areas.

Re:why not in the USA or Russia (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44786325)

Simple. Concentrated ridership and dense urban areas.

So, Taiwan is essentially...the little yellow ridinghood?

Re:why not in the USA or Russia (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#44786957)

It is weird i don't see any USA or Russian trains

Simple. Concentrated ridership and dense urban areas.

Like San Diego to LA to San Francisco?

Re:why not in the USA or Russia (1)

faedle (114018) | about a year ago | (#44787237)

Right. Isn't California actually trying to do something like this? So, your point is?

Re:why not in the USA or Russia (1)

sydneyfong (410107) | about a year ago | (#44787991)

Yeah right. I'll come back to see whether it's half finished in twenty years.

Re:why not in the USA or Russia (1)

ah.clem (147626) | about a year ago | (#44785995)

Not absolutely certain, but I imagine it has something to do with the trucking, auto manufacturing and petroleum industries in the US. Just a guess.

Re:why not in the USA or Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44786101)

There was inter-urban rail across most of the country in mid 20th century. People tend to forget that.

Re:why not in the USA or Russia (3, Insightful)

mill3d (1647417) | about a year ago | (#44786329)

This documentary should shed some light on this issue:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taken_for_a_Ride

It's available for free on youtube here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ob2bYUtxlxs [youtube.com]

Re:why not in the USA or Russia (1)

wrackspurt (3028771) | about a year ago | (#44786035)

Not in Canada either. The Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal corridor would seem a natural for high speed rail travel. The rest of the country has too much space between dense urban areas. Having said that a train trip through the Rocky mountains is stunning. I've done it about half a dozen times and would do it again with next to no reason other than the scenery. Train food sucks though. I've never had great food on trains. Not even in Japan.

Re:why not in the USA or Russia (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44786201)

No worse than airplanes and some trains actually have decent bars. Just try ordering a cocktail with more than two ingredients in the cattle class of an airplane.

Re:why not in the USA or Russia (1)

wrackspurt (3028771) | about a year ago | (#44786273)

some trains actually have decent bars.

Yea, I gotta say bar cars are great. People seem less guarded and more willing to strike up a conversation.

Re:why not in the USA or Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44786531)

From what I have seen, most people who ride trains choose to take them for the leisure and dialog aspects. A self selected bunch of people willing to talk since there isn't much else to do, and after watching the countryside flow by for hours on end, a few minutes conversation is nice too.

Re:why not in the USA or Russia (3, Insightful)

myowntrueself (607117) | about a year ago | (#44787115)

It is weird i don't see any USA or Russian trains, they both got a vast country and a knack of looking for grandour.
How come that much smaller countries like Taiwan got faster trains, heh.

The Russian train system is very heavily used. People 'commute' on the trans-siberian.

A trans-siberian mag-lev would be awesome. The existing tracks are so fucked up its a very bumpy ride. The passenger and freight service shares the same tracks and those freight cars are the size of houses (Russian gauge is wider than the rest of the world, the freight cars are fucking HUGE) and visibly bend the tracks as they roll along... needless to say the rails don't bend back to straightness.

HSR good for only 50 place in the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44787743)

High speed rail is only economical for passenger travel, and not freight. Freight is a large consumer of ground transportation. Air freight, by mass, is about 0.1% of ground freight. The French tried HSR freight. It wasn't attractive enough. On speed, high speed rail is only 3 times faster than car, and there is still the last mile problem.

So, high speed rail is in the uncomfortable in between of road, and airplane. I personally think travel between 2 cities by air has to be in the top 50 in the world, to justify a high speed rail line.

Energy consumption goes up quickly with speed. That kills off the energy efficiency advantage of rail over air. Airplanes cheat by going high in the atmosphere, where air density is a 1/3, or 1/4 of sea level. If you are going slower, cheaper, old fashioned steel rail works. So, I have trouble seeing the use of tubeless maglev.

kph, do you speak it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44785947)

That tells me nothing more than "pretty fast". You're on the internet, use the fucking metric system.

Re:kph, do you speak it? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44786219)

Multiply by 1.6. You are on the internet third grade math should not be unknown to you.

Re:kph, do you speak it? (2)

WillKemp (1338605) | about a year ago | (#44787265)

Yep, if you really must use obsolete units, post a translation alongside - e.g., "310mph (500km/h)". You're writing for nerds, not your confused grandparents!

Re:kph, do you speak it? (1)

YoungManKlaus (2773165) | about a year ago | (#44788367)

huuuuuge +1, SI UNITS!!!

TFA from Wired (5, Informative)

nojayuk (567177) | about a year ago | (#44785961)

TFA is a cut-n-paste from a badly-written and poorly-researched Wired article some staffer wrote to fill in a blank space on the website last week.

The Japanese maglev trains (there are two parallel tracks) have been running consistently at 500km/h (310 mph in old money) for over a decade and more in testing. Its actual record speed is 580km/h (about 360mph). In addition the test track is 40km long, not 26km as stated in the article; it was extended a few years back. Etc., etc.

Re:TFA from Wired (1)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year ago | (#44786011)

Can you provide a better link? I'm curious what safety measures are in place, considering the recent disaster in Spain [telegraph.co.uk] .

Re:TFA from Wired (2)

nojayuk (567177) | about a year ago | (#44786109)

Safety -- like the shinkansen the proposed Tokyo-Nagoya maglev will run on separated track, no crossings or other traffic allowed on the same route. There are barrier walls and fencing along all of the track to keep cows, people and Gojira from getting in the way.

The recent Spanish high-speed train "accident" was a disaster waiting to happen when you study it, there is no way a high-speed railway line should have had an 80kph-limit curve like that anywhere along its length. The Japanese maglev will be basically as straight as they can make it with a lot of tunneling and raised viaducts like the existing shinkansen routes but even more so as the maglev will start operation with a 50% speed increase over the steel-wheel-on-steel-rail shinkansen (there are somewhat sketchy plans to eventually run maglev trains at 700km/h and more once the technology improves).

Re:TFA from Wired (2)

xaxa (988988) | about a year ago | (#44786475)

The recent Spanish high-speed train "accident" was a disaster waiting to happen when you study it, there is no way a high-speed railway line should have had an 80kph-limit curve like that anywhere along its length.

No, that's no problem. The problem was not installing/using a suitable signalling system, which is present on high-speed lines in most other countries.

(I don't make a habit of remembering the speed limits of curves, but IIRC the speed limit through the Channel Tunnel is 100km/h.)

Re:TFA from Wired (1)

Jeremi (14640) | about a year ago | (#44787629)

No, that's no problem. The problem was not installing/using a suitable signalling system, which is present on high-speed lines in most other countries.

It seems to me that it would have been (and still is) possible to include a GPS receiver, a maximum-train-speeds database, and a speed-limiter on each train as a fallback. With that, as long as the GPS was working, even the dumbest/craziest engineer would not be able to make the train go faster than its maximum specified speed at any given location.

Thanks! (1)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year ago | (#44786513)

I appreciate all the responses, they are well informed and made me smarter :) I was too lazy to research myself and appreciate the additional insight. Your comments are the main reason I keep coming back to slashdot and participating in discussions.

Re:TFA from Wired (2)

myowntrueself (607117) | about a year ago | (#44787167)

Safety -- like the shinkansen the proposed Tokyo-Nagoya maglev will run on separated track, no crossings or other traffic allowed on the same route. There are barrier walls and fencing along all of the track to keep cows, people and Gojira from getting in the way.

The recent Spanish high-speed train "accident" was a disaster waiting to happen when you study it, there is no way a high-speed railway line should have had an 80kph-limit curve like that anywhere along its length. The Japanese maglev will be basically as straight as they can make it with a lot of tunneling and raised viaducts like the existing shinkansen routes but even more so as the maglev will start operation with a 50% speed increase over the steel-wheel-on-steel-rail shinkansen (there are somewhat sketchy plans to eventually run maglev trains at 700km/h and more once the technology improves).

80kph curve pshaw! He was doing 190kph and he NEARLY made it!

They should get him test driving these maglev trains, the guys clearly an ace.

Re:TFA from Wired (5, Informative)

Zyrill (700263) | about a year ago | (#44786115)

I'm sorry to have to say that, but that is a very ignorant and claptrap post. Maglev trains by design cannot be derailed. Even the non-superconducting Transrapid by Siemens (Germany) that commutes between Shanghai Airport and Downtown cannot leave his tracks instead of catastrophic failure of the whole track. That's because the tracks are shaped like this c-× so the magnets push the "c"-shaped guides away from the "-"-shaped track in every direction. The worst that can happen is that the "c" hits the track in which case the train simply brakes because of friction. In the case of the L0, consider this picture: http://static4.businessinsider.com/image/51b73df36bb3f78825000002-2238-1678-400-/japan-maglev-train-may-2010.jpg [businessinsider.com] Yes, the track is almost straight. No, there are no sharp curves as in Spain, else it couldn't go that fast. For a more informed article with some tech specs, check here: http://www.dailytech.com/Japanese+Maglev+Train+Begins+Full+Speed+Testing+at+310+mph/article33281.htm [dailytech.com] Please don't ask questions just for the sake of asking something. A very academic thing to do, but trust me, everybody hates the frustrated postdocs who do this.

Re:TFA from Wired (1)

Zyrill (700263) | about a year ago | (#44786151)

:s/instead of catastrophic failure of the whole track/unless a catastrophic failure of the whole track occurs

Re:TFA from Wired (1)

Arkh89 (2870391) | about a year ago | (#44786083)

So 6Km/h more than the record for a conventional train...
What about power?

Re: TFA from Wired (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44786149)

WTF???????? Not even ! The world record is 574.8kmh (357.16mph) detained by the French TGV, and that was like 6 years ago.

Re:TFA from Wired (5, Interesting)

nojayuk (567177) | about a year ago | (#44786167)

The French TGV steel-wheel record holder was a heavily-modified racecar version of their regular 300km/h trainsets, running higher voltages and damaging track and overhead as it reached its peak speed (pictures of the TGV trainset setting the record show a cloud of track ballast being sucked up behind it). The maglev record was taken by a regular test carset with some modifications and did not damage the track which is regularly operated at 500km/h plus anyway. The maglev holds another speed record TGV and other trains can't even get close to, the passing speed record of 1026km/h when they ran two maglevs past each other on adjacent tracks at over 500km/h.

Re:TFA from Wired (1)

Arkh89 (2870391) | about a year ago | (#44786797)

Yes, having a magnetic levitation train, I would expect it to be more gentle on the rails...
But my question, was what's the difference in energy and power between these trains going at (about) the same speed, to see how not having any friction helps the power consumption...

Re:TFA from Wired (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#44787471)

you need energy to levitate the (quite heavy) train, as opposed to gravity for wheels... dont expect much.

Re:TFA from Wired (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about a year ago | (#44787675)

Only to make up for electrical losses. work is force applied over a distance, and the trains are all traveling almost perpendicular to the force needed to support the train against gravity.

Re:TFA from Wired (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#44788261)

Sorry for my ignorance, but how could the perpendicular nature of train acceleration vector impact the energy needed to create a magnetic field required to levitate a couple hundred tons?

Re:TFA from Wired (1)

romiz (757548) | about a year ago | (#44787935)

As far as I know, there was no damage to the TGV track after either the 512 km/h test or the 575 km/h test, the 'ballast cloud' you describe is only dust. Do you have a reliable source for your claim ?

Earthquakes? (4, Interesting)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#44785977)

What are they using to protect the track against earthquakes? I'd hate to be speeding along at those speeds and have the track shift/vanish from under me.. or even the "mag" suddenly cut out for that matter.

Re:Earthquakes? (3, Funny)

Anachragnome (1008495) | about a year ago | (#44787241)

"... or even the "mag" suddenly cut out for that matter."

Don't worry--we've worked diligently to address this issue by placing plutonium-core, self-contained electric cells every 500 meters along the track. Each section is self powered.

I hope that alleviates your concerns regarding a steady supply of safe, reliable power. I appreciate this opportunity to answer all your questions.

Bob, Senior Design Administrator
TEPCO

Re:Earthquakes? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44787251)

same thing as they do right now with the bullet trains
the train comes to a screaming emergency slowdown and halt

Re:Earthquakes? (4, Informative)

Ichijo (607641) | about a year ago | (#44787895)

Remote seismic sensors can detect earthquakes (which move at a little over the speed of sound) and transmit a signal to the trains (at the speed of light) which then immediately brake to a stop before the seismic wave hits.

Re:Earthquakes? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44787953)

Most Mag-Lev designs are such that as long as the train is moving above some minimal speed (usually above a couple 10s of mph) it will levitate without power. That is inherent in the magnetics design, so it is kind of fool proof as long as the track and train are physically intact. Without power, the train would coast until it slowed down to a relatively slow speed, and then come to a stop on a set of back up wheels for just such a case when a train is sitting some place without power.

Will it outrun the tentacles? (3, Funny)

sandbagger (654585) | about a year ago | (#44786001)

Just curious.

As an aside, this is truly amazing technology. In case you're interested, look up how the acceleration and braking is controlled for a smooth ride. It's ethernet all the way down the trains for very small on the fly adjustments for ride smoothness.

.. they should've gone with Hyperloop (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44786021)

They should've asked Elon Musk to design a Hyperloop transport system for them. It would've saved them billions.

World speed record ? Lol, the French have it since (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44786179)

357.2 mph good job the French: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TGV_world_speed_record

Pls correct article bad sources there

Re:World speed record ? Lol, the French have it si (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44786869)

TGV holds the world record for wheeled trains, but even their 2007 record speed was a few kph slower than the record attempt of the maglev mentioned here in 2003.

For non-Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44786247)

It's ~498km/h.

Not long after, China will steal the design. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | about a year ago | (#44786283)

Given China's history of theft, it won't be long until we see a design that is a knock-off of the Japanese design with some other bits thrown in.

Re:Not long after, China will steal the design. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44786403)

They learnt from the best at stealing others designs - the USA!

Re:Not long after, China will steal the design. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44787147)

Given that Japan itself was the butt of cheap copycat jokes into the 1980's (even today really), it might not be a worst possible industrial protocol.
But seriously who doesn't copy successful designs of others to some extent.

What a difference westernization makes. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | about a year ago | (#44787201)

The problem with that is that Japan improved itself and makes higher quality electronics as well as high-quality golfcarts that can be licensed for road use.

China on the other hand, relies on its status of being a supplier of easily-controlled labor and regularly steals designs (another monorail) or even entire companies (such as the military-backed-and-run Huawei - who stole Nortel - as well as a government-run company-in-name-only Lenovo - which stole IBM PCD by deception)

Re:What a difference westernization makes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44787425)

Well that didn't take long for the bitter sociopath to comes out.

There isn't any fantasy exclusivity in making high quality products.
China makes some of the highest quality goods in the world if only you can temporarily suppress your acute antipathy towards the Chinese and look with something other than rage filled eyes.

I don't know, you feel a "monorail" is something you feel others have no rights to for some psychopathical reasons?

You also seem to have some issues with standard business practices.
Did Google "steal" Motorola? Or Microsoft "steal" Nokia?

"reached speeds of 310 miles per hour" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44786359)

Is that faster than Superman?

YOU FAIL IT! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44786631)

Re:YOU FAIL IT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44787507)

You should start a kickstarter campaign for a huge dildo. I am sure many will be glad to send you some money so yo can spend more time ripping yous ass appart and leaving us all discuss like adults.

Energy efficiency? (4, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | about a year ago | (#44786649)

While the speed is all well and good, I have to wonder how much more energy this consumes than the current technology(or perhaps it's more efficient?) With the proliferation of mobile internet technology, I don't really see a whole lot of advantage in shaving off a few minutes on my travel time if it makes the ticket much more expensive(due to increased energy costs). I can get almost as much work/play done on the train as I can on the ground...

Also, from TFA:
Despite the falling national population, Tokyo continues to grow. Japan is hoping that the L-Zero maglev train will persuade millions of people to fly and drive less.

People would take the train more and fly/drive less if JR weren't stupidly inflexible about ticket prices. Unlike planes(and high speed trains in places like Europe for that matter), there is basically 0 flexibility in their prices. Going during prime hours costs the same as going early in the morning or on weekends etc. The reason people fly instead of taking the trains is simple, the trains are often times more expensive. It's already faster to take the train in most cases(esp. if you are going from Tokyo to Nagoya), but since the train is often times 2x as expensive as flying, even when the train is almost empty, I'm willing to put up with the extra time required to fly. So maybe instead of pouring massive amounts of money into faster trains, they should maybe think about hiring a couple of good logisticians who can actually work out a pricing system that actually takes advantage of these newfangled devices called "computers" to dynamically adjust prices to make JR more money AND give better customer satisfaction...... Meh, knowing JR, that's just a pipe dream. Bring on the maglevs!

Re: Energy efficiency? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44787353)

Rubbish. I live in Japan and I regularly purchase discount shinkansen tickets. Just like with planes, if you just roll up to the terminal and buy your ticket then, you will pay full price. what did you expect?

Re: Energy efficiency? (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44787409)

I would expect to pay more if I rode during peak times than when the train was almost empty.

Re: Energy efficiency? (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about a year ago | (#44787457)

Um, the "discounts" you get are hardly really discounts at all, 4000 yen tops, aren't aren't really all that flexible(you have to buy 5 days in advance, have to have them mailed to you etc). Compare this to what they have in Germany, which is a real logistics system that does a pretty good job of maximizing the number of riders on the ICE trains. JRs price system is still incredibly inflexible, even if you can jump through a few hoops to save a couple thousand yen.

After Fukushima, Japan's culture needs a rethink. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44787131)

The Japanese do things differently than the western nations do.

And some of those differences can result in tragedy because
respect for "elders" or "superiors" is given precedence over
whether things have really been done properly or not.

At least if they fuck up a high speed train the rest of the world
won't be as likely to suffer the consequences as in the case of
Fukushima, where the sheer idiocy of building a nuclear power
plant so close to the coast which is known to be subject to severe
flooding boggles the mind of anyone with any common sense.

-

Re:After Fukushima, Japan's culture needs a rethin (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#44787381)

When was the last time the Fukushima site was hit by flooding of that level?

Re:After Fukushima, Japan's culture needs a rethin (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#44788303)

http://carnegieendowment.org/files/fukushima.pdf [carnegieendowment.org] on page 11-12 should give some background on heights and the site ie they knew and still built the site lower down.

Video (2)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | about a year ago | (#44787193)

What's a news item like this without video?

Here is one: L0 going 500 km/h [youtu.be]
(views from inside the train earlier in the video)

500 kph!!! (1)

YoungManKlaus (2773165) | about a year ago | (#44788361)

Only the US-Tards use MPH and the rest of the world is confused.

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