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Japan's Chuo Shinkansen train

Fastest Train in the World to Launch in 2027

The Japanese Linear Chuo Shinkansen will be the fastest train in the world when phase one of the new line opens in 2027

Japan has introduced the Chuo Shinkansen over the Tokaido Shinkansen Bypass. The Chuo Shinkansen is a new rail line set to guide the fastest train in the world. It will cover the 400 kilometres between Tokyo and Osaka at a top speed of 505 kilometres per hour. Japan is already well known for the Shinkansen train system but is going to take the lead in terms of high-speed commuter transportation as the train uses Maglev (magnetic levitation) technology to run the high-speed ‘bullet’ train. 

The transition from standard high-speed train to superconducting magnetic trains (developed by the Central Japan Railway Company and the Railway Technical Research Institute) requires innovative technology. The trains use magnetic repulsion to levitate the train up and to propel it forward. 

The Shinkansen Project & Timetable

The Chuo Shinkansen project is being overseen by the Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central). The total cost for the project will come in at 5.52tn yen ($52b). 

Japan’s Chuo Shinkansen train viewed from a train window

In the first phase, the Chuo Shinkansen will connect Shinagawa Station in Tokyo with the Nagoya JR Station. The fast train on this route will cut travel time between the two cities by 50% compared to the Tokaido Shinkansen line, coming in at a 40-minute trip. The route will include 6 stations: Shinagawa, Nagoya, Kanagawa, Yamanashi, Nagano, and Gifo station. The train itself will be 16-carriages long and be able to shuttle 1,000 passengers at a time. 

 train station on Japan’s Tokaido Shinkansen line

Later phases of the project will see the line extend 27 minutes in travel time and another 153 kilometres to reach Osaka. 

Passengers will be able to purchase tickets for the new line (phase one) in 2027. The service has made significant progress, and while it will be 30 years of technology refinement by the time that the tickets are available for purchase, the development and construction do take considerable time. Japan’s high-speed rail lines have also had zero fatal accidents, and the Maglev trains aim to continue this. The construction of quality high-speed trains, both in terms of efficiency and safety, takes time. 

A train conductor at Japan’s Tokaido Shinkansen line

Tomoaki Seki, a manager at the Central Japan Railway Company, explains, “We are refining our technology and verifying ways to reduce costs in operation, maintenance and construction… There are people who wanted to have the maglev service as early as possible, but the construction takes time.”

Importance of high-speed trains for Japan 

Not only do high-speed trains have positive effects on Japans economy but this project also shows the transformation of Japan’s dedication to sustainable mobility.

Competition for transportation efficiency also reflects on Japan’s efforts as a world leader. Historically Japan has always been a leader in high-speed trains, but recently a new player has come into the picture: China. Currently, the Maglev trains already operating in Shanghai, China run at speeds of 431-500 kilometres per hour. The newest Maglev construction completed in Qingdao reaches 600 kilometres per hour. 

The Maglev trains introduced in Japan will keep the country positioned as a leader in modern mobility. 

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