Japan, ever at the forefront of technological developments, has just sent a new magnetic levitation train along at speeds of over 500km/h which is about 310mph.
The Central Japan Railway Company is currently running eight days of testing for the maglev Shinkansen train on a test track in Yamanashi Prefecture. This is a 27 mile route between Uenohara and Fuefuki. The final route will run from Toyko to Nagoya and bring the current journey time of one hour and twenty minutes down to just forty minutes. The final route is expected to be ready for use by 2027.
The reason these train routes take so long to construct is the use of maglev tracks. These magnetically levitate the train above the metal rail meaning there is no friction like on normal trains, resulting in these super speeds. But obviously at these speeds there are strict safety rules that need to be checked and double checked. That and the fact the track has to be built from scratch in order for the trains to run.
There is currently a maglev train in China that runs at 268mph, the Shanghai Maglev Train.
While a 310mph train sounds fast there are hopes for even greater speeds if Vactrains are ever created. These maglevs trains would run in a vacuum tube, with the air sucked out, so there is no force to slow the train. This could theoretically mean speeds of up to 2,500mph – this would mean London to New York could be done in just 40 minutes.