Fastest maglev train: Japan breaks Guinness World Records record (VIDEO)
Tokyo, Japan -- A Japan Railway maglev train hit 603 kilometers per hour (374 miles per hour) on an experimental track in Yamanashi; the train spent 10.8 seconds traveling above 600 kilometers per hour, during which it covered 1.8 kilometers (1.1 miles), setting the new world record for the Fastest maglev train,
according to the World Record Academy.
Photo: A Japan Railway maglev train hit 603 kilometers per hour (374 miles per hour) on an experimental track in Yamanashi, setting a new world record. The train spent 10.8 seconds traveling above 600 kilometers per hour, during which it covered 1.8 kilometers (1.1 miles). (enlarge photo)
The Guinness World Records' record for the highest speed attained by a manned superconducting magnetically levitated (maglev) train is 581 km/h (361 mph) by the MLX01, operated by the Central Japan Railway Company and Railway Technical Research Institute, on the Yamanashi Maglev Test Line, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan, on 2 December 2003.
Guinness World Records also recognized the world record for the Fastest maglev train in regular public service, set by the magnetically levitated (maglev) train linking China's Shanghai International Airport and the city's financial district, who reaches a top speed of 431 km/h (267.8 mph) on each 30 km (18 mile) run. That beat the old record of 581 kilometers per hour (361 miles per hour), which was set in 2003 during another Japanese maglev test.
Right now, China operates the world's fastest commercial maglev, which has hit 431 kilometers per hour (268 miles per hour) on a route through Shanghai.
Maglev, or "magnetic levitation," trains rely on magnets to lift and propel train cars, greatly reducing friction compared to traditional steel-on-steel tracked trains.
By contrast, the fastest train in the United States, Amtrak's Acela Express, is only capable of 241 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour), though it usually plods along at half that speed, CNN reports.
Japan Railways plans to build a high-speed route between Tokyo and Nagoya, which is scheduled to begin service in 2027. By car, the trip can take five hours; with a maglev train, that time is reduced to 40 minutes, according to CNN.