Trains are one of the icons of the Industrial Revolution and a testament to human innovation. In our current world trains seem like an older technology that hasn’t seen significant improvement in a few decades at least.
Japan has been the leader in pushing trains to their limits over the past half century since their creation of the “bullet train” in 1964. This was the first high-speed rail train, clocking in at 124 mph.
Japan is still topping the charts with their L0 Series Maglev train setting the current speed record at 374 mph. Maglev trains are incredibly interesting. Instead of using engines and fossil fuels, they rely on magnetic field to propel the train at speeds that were previously impossible. The main reason these trains are so fast is because friction is completely eliminated. That’s right… the trains are levitating ever so slightly as they race at speeds approaching 400 mph.
China looks to be on track to surpass Japan as the world leader in trains. They already have the longest highspeed railway network, and have a handful of maglev trains topping 300 mph. With their heavy focus and investment on infrastructure in the coming years it is believed to be a given that they will soon surpass Japan as the country with the worlds fastest train.
Not only will it be interesting to see how this race shapes up over the next decade, it will also be good news for everyone when these trains start to be implemented for long distance travel.