(Photo from the Yamanashi MagLev Test Line)
Remember the record test run speeds for Japan's new maglev trainsets? Right answer: 581 km/h (361 mph). Plans to connect Tokyo with Nagoya and Osaka by these new trains that run using magnetic levitation are getting more support in Japan as tests show that it is possible to build the railway in a straight route through the Southern Japanese Alps. Asahi Shimbun is throwing its weight behind the project in an editorial noting that the construction can start within two to three years and the line can open in 2025.
The superconductive maglev train, which holds the world speed record in rail travel at 581 kph, is a product of advanced transportation technology. In the envisioned commercial operation, it will link Tokyo and Nagoya in 40 to 50 minutes, traveling at a maximum speed of 500 kph.
Asahi also asks a number of questions:* Can safety be secured?
* Will the technology really have no negative effect on the health of passengers and residents who live along the route?
* What about the impact on the environment of the Southern Alps?
* And at a time when the population is declining, can the line really be profitable?
I would add a few more doubts to that list - do we really need to travel so much? With video conferences and better planning, many meetings can probably be avoided. As for the safety aspect - what a about the stress that people feel as they are forced to schedule meeting after meeting in different places? As much as I would like to imagine a world with less air travel, is it realistic to think of superfast trains as a substitute, rather than changing our lifestyles?
Written by Martin Frid at greenz.jp