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Models of Japan's high-speed trains

We envy any nation that's packed with high-speed bullet trains traversing its land. Period.

Them crazy cats in Japan have some of the trickest trains in the world and with its government approving two additional Maglev train lines – one connecting Tokyo to Nagoya and the other linking Osaka to Tokyo – jealousy has truly sunk in. Again.

Less resistance means more speed and that's the principle behind Maglev train lines. In fact, Japan's just-approved Maglev train will be able to hit a blistering top speed of 313 miles per hour. Yeah, the train system and its required tunnels will cost upwards of 9 trillion yen ($112 billion U.S. at the current exchange rate), but it's worth it considering that the blazing bullet train will complete the 317-mile trip from Tokyo to Osaka in a tick or two over 60 minutes.

Don't buy a ticket for these trains just yet, though, as this is a long-term plan.The first line – the one linking Tokyo to Nagoya – will be finished by 2027 and the second by 2045. Construction on both lines is already well underway, but the network of tunnels will take ages to complete.

[Source: Inhabitat | Image: foolish adler – C.C. License 2.0]


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  • 29 Comments
      Nick
      • 4 Years Ago
      Great news, but any project said to be completed by 2027 and 2045 has a long way to go and is all but certain. New politicians could pull the plug on the high cost.
        sirvixisvexed
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Nick
        Space programs have a shorter time frame! Will japan have gone to mars by then?
      • 4 Years Ago
      This may seem silly- Hey Autoblog editors- why not show a picture of the actual Maglev instead of the Shinkansen and other normal high speed rail lines?
      David Peilow
      • 4 Years Ago
      Eric - It's not two lines, it's a single line being built in two phases. They have the go ahead for phase one. It's being privately financed by the private railway company so politicians shouldn't have reason to pull the plug.
      q3a7vodk4
      • 4 Years Ago
      I wouldn't envy them. Look at their transportation costs and how inconvenient it is to get around that country. For example. Tokyo to Kyoto is around 230miles. By train it takes 3 hours and 20 minutes and costs $180. By car it takes 7h and costs $140 in TOLLS + gas which is also more expensive than in the states. By bus it takes 8-9h and costs about $100-140. By plane it takes 2-4hrs and costs $150+. Whereas here in the states I can do almost any 230mile trip I want for half a tank of gas in the same amount of time as their "bullet" train.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @q3a7vodk4
        Funny. The last time I was in Japan I found the public transportation, especially the trains and subways a very efficient and innexpensive way to get around. As long as you get on the right color train or subway.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @q3a7vodk4
        Your math does not add up. 3h 20m is 200 minutes, covering 230 miles means 115 mph average. Good luck averaging 115 mph in a car going from one mega-city to another. You will not even average 20 mph until well outside either city, due to traffic lights and of course actual traffic.
          • 4 Years Ago
          Whoops, my math does not add up. Sorry, don't know what's wrong with me. But you still could not come close to doing that from one huge city to another. For example San Diego to LA is 115 miles, exactly half of 230, and it takes 3-4 hours unless you do it in the middle of the night (then it's 2 hours).
        Brody
        • 4 Years Ago
        @q3a7vodk4
        q3a7vodk4, in the states your taxes pay for the roads and you dont even know it.
          q3a7vodk4
          • 4 Years Ago
          @Brody
          I'm not sure what you are trying to say. Japanese income tax is 5% lower than American income tax. That's good for sure, however road building and repair are a very TINY fraction of the US budget. Do you see road building anywhere on here? http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/7a/U.S._Federal_Spending_-_FY_2007.png I'm just saying, for the 230mile trip you pay $180 to do by train in japan, I can do for $30 in my car with much more convenience because I can be on my own schedule and stop where I want along the way and I have a vehicle to get me around town at both ends. Obviously I wouldn't even try to do the trip in japan by car since after the $140 in tolls you'd be over $200 with gas and I don't enjoy taking 10 hours to do a 3hr drive. Cheap and japan are two words that don't go together. Apparently so are driving and japan.
          super390
          • 4 Years Ago
          @Brody
          "road building and repair are a very TINY fraction of the US budget." I guess that's why America's roads are falling apart. How expensive will it be to travel after that process goes all the way?
        Chris M
        • 4 Years Ago
        @q3a7vodk4
        I must point out that not all their passenger trains are high speed "bullet" trains, in fact their conventional speed train lines outnumber the high speed lines. That 3h20m time you mention for the train from Tokyo to Kyoto would be a conventional passenger train at an average speed 69 mph, a "bullet" train would take half that time.
      GR
      • 4 Years Ago
      If only something like this was available in the US...
      Roy_H
      • 4 Years Ago
      They already have a superb high speed train service, and many air flights. Obviously the high traffic makes this plan worthwhile. Trains can carry more people than planes but most importantly can provide down-town to down-town service. When you figure in the travel time to the airport, the train service will be quicker and more convenient.
      sirvixisvexed
      • 4 Years Ago
      They deleted my comment that said "The picture is of a model train on a tabletop"
      Smurf
      • 4 Years Ago
      A 300 mph train could replace a lot of regional airline flights in this country, especially in the West and Southwest, where the distance between cities is so great. Unfortunately we can only dream about such things in this country......
      • 4 Years Ago
      Great, so Japan is breaking ground on MagLev trains and we can't even get work to start on a decent high speed rail train system here in the states. And don't mention the Accela, the joke on that is: its almost, if not MORE expensive to take that train, than to fly and it can only utilize its speed in a select few areas of track on the east coast. I will be surprised if I even get to see the one they're talking about building in California in my lifetime (and im under 35!)
        sirvixisvexed
        • 4 Years Ago
        so go into the rail business with your life and figure out how to make it profitable. Nobody does them here because the amount of money required to pay a bunch of people to build it never gets recouped with ticket prices.
      diffrunt
      • 4 Years Ago
      In 1952 , I rode their 1st high speed , welded rail train from Atami to Tokyo. Quite an experience , specially the girls that liked to talk with us peons dressed in USAF blue.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 4 Years Ago
      UFOs don't run on rails. ultimately I think the air is better. the idiots at the 'security' check is not really the plane's fault. you can go faster in the air, there is space for more routes. there is no rail cost. sleek planes with ballistic parachutes for safety. I don't believe in rail for any significant distance
        letstakeawalk
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Rail lines can have terminals in the city you want to be in, rather than having to be placed on the outskirts of town and requiring an intermediate form of transport to get you to your final destination. Rail also has a much better ability to maintain a precise schedule; weather delays are exceedingly rare. I would think a European would be the first to acknowledge an obvious benefit of rail.
          Marco Polo
          • 4 Years Ago
          @letstakeawalk
          Yes, a fortunate accident of history has left rail terminals in hugely advantageous positions. The problem with high speed rail competing with Airlines is that diverting passengers from the Airlines most popular, (and profitable ) routes, Airline with no longer be able to operate less profitable routes, to the detriment of those more remote areas serviced by airlines, leaving only road services.
        sirvixisvexed
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Quite the statement mentioning the UFO's Dan! But for that matter though, we should all be working on gravity wave / gravity field / gravity distortion generation, and making matter massless.
        Nick
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Dan Wrong! I can show up at a train station 5 min before departure and arrive at my destination 200 miles away while you'd still be waiting for your flight at the airport. There is nothing better than fast trains for destinations up to 300 miles. none.
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        plus rails through mountains are costly and rails on oceans are tricky.
        Peter
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Very humorous Dan. Hugely non green, but humorous none the less
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