Japan showcases really, really fast … whoa, WTF was that?!

Maglev train zooms into record books doing 603KPH

For the second time in a week, Japan has smashed speed records, showcasing a really, really fast train outside Tokyo on Tuesday.

The maglev monster managed to hit 603KPH (375MPH) on a test track close to Mount Fuji, beating a record it set just days earlier with a run reaching 581km/h.

The seven-car Lo Series carried 49 employees of Japan Railway, and cleared 1.8KM in under 11 seconds while traveling at top speed. It uses magnets to hover 10cm above the tracks, reducing friction and so making it possible to achieve the extraordinary speeds.

At 375MPH, the train could go from San Francisco to Los Angeles in about an hour – at least five times faster than driving and making it faster than traveling by plane. It is also far ahead of other global efforts, including the UK's attempt at high-speed rail that will top-out at 400KPH or 250MPH – in 2032.

In terms of actual travel, it will be some time before the actual speeds achieved this week translate into real train journeys. The first commercial maglev trains will run between Tokyo and Nagoya in 2027, and will likely run at 500KPH, taking 40 minutes to connect the two cities.

Until then Japanese passengers will have to make do with the existing 320KPH bullet trains that take twice as long.

Those Stateside may also have reason to celebrate: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is due to push the train technology in Washington DC later this month, proposing a high-speed link between America's capital and New York City.

Were that to happen it would reduce current travel time from about four hours to under an hour. ®

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