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Japanese Maglev train sets new world speed record

Japan’s bullet train has set another speed record on the new magnetic levitation track - commonly referred to as Maglev - hitting 374 miles per hour.

It is an incredible speed for a train, much faster than anything currently available in the Western world.

Japan has always been a pioneer when it comes to trains and Maglev appears to be the newest way to reach extraordinary speeds, using a new type of magnetic trail where the train does not touch the track, relieving it of friction the train that would otherwise be incurred.

The Maglev track is being tested in the Yamanashi Prefecture, on a 1.1 mile stretch. It is not expected to run at this speed when it becomes commercially available in Japan, with rules stating it cannot go more than 305 miles per hour when it launches in 2027.

The first expansion will be a track from Tokyo to Nagoya. The trip would take 100 minutes using a normal train, and around five hours in a car, but using the Maglev station it should only take 40 minutes.

Japan is moving further than upgrading its own infrastructure, with reports the government is in talks with the US to upgrade routes from New York, Baltimore and Washington DC.

Even though Maglev is impressive, there is another form of train-like transport previewed by Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, named the Hyperloop. It is a large cylinder that carries passengers inside, capable of potentially hitting 750 mph.

The Hyperloop is a lot less refined though, since there is no actual track to test speeds, efficiency and other factors. A company in the US is petitioning to build a track in Nevada, that would be the showroom for governments and states to acquire its own Hyperloop track.

With all of these train systems coming into play within the next 10 to 15 years, there is a worry that planes will start becoming irrelevant for short distance travel, especially in the EU where transport is already well connected to all major cities.

If someone can hop on a Maglev or Hyperloop train and get to a city in around the same time, why would anyone need to board a more expensive plane, especially when boarding a train is a lot less of a hassle.