Central Japan Railway plans to begin work on the 5.1 trillion yen ($51 billion) maglev line between Tokyo and Nagoya as early as April. Trial runs resumed on Thursday after the company spent five years building a 24-kilometre extension of a test track. The trains can run at speeds of up to 581 kilometres per hour.
The maglevs will whisk passengers to Nagoya, a city of 2.3 million people, from Tokyo in as little as 40 minutes for the 286-kilometre journey, from as short as 95 minutes now, according to JR Central. Faced with the challenge of tunneling under Tokyo's skyscrapers and Japanese Alps, the project is unlikely to be completed on time even as Japan's population is projected to shrink.
The maglev set to resume trial runs is the fastest train in the world, with a record speed of 581 km/h.
The new line may benefit from projections showing that even as Japan's total population declines, Tokyo's will continue to grow as more people move to the capital. The number of people living in Tokyo prefecture is predicted to increase to 13.4 million by 2020 from 13.2 million in 2010.
The greater Tokyo region's population exceeds 35 million, making it the world's largest metropolis. With a planned extension from Nagoya to Osaka by 2045, the maglev line would put 64 million people within commuting distance of each other.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald