Japan produces next generation of train technology
Sevil Erkuş – TOKYO
Japan has been using high-speed train technology for nearly 60 years and is now preparing to switch to airborne Maglev trains, which is seen as the future railway technology.
The Maglev train, which can reach speeds of up to 603 kilometers per hour in tests, does not use conventional wheels to drive on rails. It travels about 10 centimeters up in the air with electromagnetic propulsion.
In the Maglev line, magnetic coils lie on the side walls. These push the integrated magnets of the train, keeping the train in the air. The friction in conventional high-speed trains limit the speed as the wheels travel on the rails. In Maglev, speed increases easily with the disappearance of friction force. Magnetic levitation system keeps the train in balance, preventing it from skidding.
“There is a certain limit they can reach utilizing the wheels and railways since there is friction resistance. But according to the new system, they elevate lifting the train itself utilizing magnetic power. Making use of magnetic power to elevate it and use the same power in order to draw trains forward. This way they can reduce the resistance power so they can let the train move in a very fast speed,” a Japanese official told Hürriyet Daily News.
SCMaglev is the final prototype of the Maglev magnetic levitation train technology and the research and development stage, started in 2014, is completed, Shikama Koji, chief of the International Cooperation Office, International Policy and Project Division Railway Bureau of Japanese Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry said in an interview.
“They have already completed the technology phases, including the operation capacity. They are now talking about phase of acquiring the land for the installment and construction work. JR Central already decided to fund, they have settled budget enough they will carry on the construction work without any monetary assistance,” the official stated.
Operation to commence in 2027
The JR Central plans to commission the first line between Tokyo and Nagoya in 2027. The second line will extend from Nagoya to Osaka by 2037.
Hürriyet Daily News visited the Train Park in Nagoya and experienced the simulation journey of SCMaglev, the latest prototype train of Maglev technology after years of research and development study.
Similar to airplanes, the train starts to move on wheels, and after reaching a certain speed, it takes off and the wheels enter the body of the train. Without a slight vibration, it flies in such a way that we cannot even understand that the train is running. Vibration decreases as the speed of the train increases.
The Japanese official said SCMaglev saw 603 km speed in tests, but the maximum speed would be 500 km during commercial use, emphasizing their priority is safety, not speed.
Japan is the first country in the world that used high speed train technology. Having started in 1964, the Shinkansen line is the world’s busiest high-speed train line.