Maglev sets a speed record of 581 kph

Kyodo

A magnetically levitated train set a new world speed record Tuesday during a manned test on an experimental track in Yamanashi Prefecture.

The three-car maglev train reached a top speed of 581 kph with technicians on board, according to the train’s operators, Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) and the government-affiliated Railway Technical Research Institute.

The train set previous speed records Nov. 19, when it reached 579 kph on an unmanned run, and 570 kph with technicians on board.

The test runs, conducted at the test track that straddles the cities of Tsuru and Otsuki, were intended to examine the maglev train’s stability and durability.

The maglev train has been attaining higher speeds with each successive test. Engineers earlier said they hoped to attain a maximum speed of 580 kph in early December.

JR Tokai said it has no plans for a test run at speeds greater than 580 kph. The train is supposed to run at around 500 kph when it goes into operation.

The maximum speed for a maglev train is considered to be around 580 kph due to limits in electrical facilities for the train, the engineers said.