JR Tokai unveils a model for the new high-speed maglev train 'L0'

A scale model of the new maglev train L0 by JR Tokai. (Source: Asahi Shimbun)

Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) a few days ago unveiled its model for the new maglev train that will link Tokyo and Nagoya (later Osaka) starting around 2027 on the planned Chuo Shinkansen Line.

Maglev (short for magnetic levitation) is a type of train that levitates in a strong magnetic field and can reach extremely high speeds due to magnetic superconductors.

The manufacturing of the new trains, named “L0″ (L as in “Linear”) will start in March 2011. The 28-meter-long front car will seat 24 passengers, while the other cars will seat 68. The nose of the front car will extend 15 meters in order to aerodynamically reduce noise when passing through tunnels.

The company says the trains will be painted in a white and blue pattern to give a better impression of high speed.

The train will reach a maximum speed of 500 km/h (311 mph), enabling it to transport passengers between Tokyo (Shinagawa Station) and Nagoya in 40 minutes, and Tokyo and Osaka in 1 hour and 7 minutes.  At the present, trains can travel between Tokyo and Osaka in 2 hours and 25 minutes.

The train is planned to run in a tunnel for more than 60% of the entire line, and 40 meters underground for a total of 100 km in the Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka areas.

Trial runs will begin in 2013 in Tsuru, Yamanashi Prefecture.

JR Tokai operates some of the safest bullet trains in the world. Throughout their 44 years of commercial train operations, they have maintained a flawless record of no passenger fatalities or injuries due to accidents such as collision or derailment. In central Japan, they operate 323 high-speed trains per day with an average delay of just 0.6 minutes.

Currently, the most well-known high-speed maglev train in commercial operation is the Shanghai Maglev Train in China, which transports people 30 km between the airport and the city in just 7 minutes and 20 seconds.