Magnetically levitated (MAGLEV) trains are considered as a future application of HTS development. To understand why, we must look briefly at the history of the railroads. The development of trains and rails began in the early 1800s. The modern conventional train is no faster (~110 mph) than those of the late 1890s. So conventional trains have reached the end phase of their development.
France, Germany, and Japan have developed “high-speed” or “bullet” trains capable of speeds of 150-180 mph. This improvement in speed is based upon improved rails and controls. However, this technology has also reached the end phase of its development. One limiting factor for these trains is the expensive and time-consuming maintenance of the rails. So it is the mechanical friction between train wheels and metal tracks that limit this technology. This leads us to the development of the magnetically levitated (no friction) trains.
Read more from: http://www.lanl.gov/orgs/mpa/stc/train.shtml
The Chuo Shikansen MAGLEV Project from JR Tokai – JR Central
While its fastest bullet trains can cut the transit time from Tokyo to Osaka from about 6 hours by car to about 2 hours and 20 minutes by bullet train, JR Tokai is dreaming of a next generation maglev system that could go even faster, completing the 500+ kilometer (310+ mile) journey in under an hour.
The Chuo Shinkansen Maglev, a $90B USD Project: a superconducting magnetically levitated (SCMaglev) train design (a type of electrodynamic suspension Maglev), which travels along a U-shaped track at speeds of up 505 km/hr (311 mph).
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Want to see what it feels like in such a train (at 500 km/h)?
Check the following demo video: