A Japanese maglev bullet train owned by the Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) made history last week by hitting a top speed of 590 k/h (366 mph) on a test run through the Yamanashi prefecture in central Japan. This beats the previous speed record of 580 k/h (361 mph), which has been standing since December 2003, and a spokesperson for JR Central says they expect to beat the record again tomorrow, when a second test run could hit speeds of 600 k/h.
The train can achieve such ridiculous speeds because rather than running directly on tracks, which causes a whole lot of friction, it’s suspended above the rails using very powerful magnetic levitation – “Maglev” is an abbreviation of “magnetic levitation”.
Right now, the tracks run between Uenohara and Fuefuki – two cities west of Tokyo – but JR Central plans to expand this to connect Tokyo with Nagoya in the country’s centre by 2027. That’s when they say the public will be able to ride in this new, super-speedy model, but it’ll likely be limited to 500 km/h. Via Japan’s maglev bullet train breaks 12-year speed record.