Monday, 17 January 2011

Technology: Maglev Trains (Updated on 2011-01-20)

JR Yamanote line's train
Image from Piano & Forte

Trains~~~! Trains, Trains, Trains~! Who likes trains here? Hands up! Well, I'm not a big fan of trains, but I always welcome high-tech trains like the ones in Japan. Remember that I wrote Travelling and Living: Locky's Trip to Tokyo (Part 3 -- Trains) ? That definitely gave me some great impressions. The LCD displays of stations,
LCD Display of stations
Image from Locky's English Playground
of weather,
LCD Display of stations
Image from Locky's English Playground
pole-less compartments,
Tokyo Metro
Image from Wikimedia Commons
phone-free quietness even when there is a lot of people,
and the deluxe trains,
 Tokyo, Shinagawa, Ginza -- Inside JR
Image from Samantha Chiang
... are all the things better than the MTR in Hong Kong.

How about Chinese trains? Here's a video to practise your listening skills and learn something about the trains in China.

The high speed train you saw from the video, called CRH380A, "is the first high-speed train developed using Chinese homegrown technologies"[1] and "is designed to operate at a cruise speed of 350 km/h and a maximum of 380 km/h in commercial service. The original 8-car trainset has recorded a top speed of 416.6 km/h during trial run  and the longer 16-car trainset has recorded a top speed of 486.1 km/h".[1]

JR-Maglev EDS suspension is due to the magnetic fields induced either side of the vehicle by the passage of the vehicles superconducting magnets.
Image from Wikipedia
But it is NOT a Maglev train, short form for magnetic levitation, which means that the train is actually floated by electromagnets. (The picture about roughly explains how suspension / floating can be achieved.)

Maglev trains are even faster and can travel up to over 500km/h!!! [2] If you want to try riding on it, the best place to go is Shanghai, where the Shanghai Maglev Train runs from Longyang Road station in Pudong to Pudong International Airport.[3]

Next time if I happen to visit Japan again, or China if chances come, I would want to try out these awesome trains!I guess the Shinkansen sounds more likely for me in the short run. (Reminds me of the TopGear Nissan GT-R vs Bullet Train challenge!)

Updates: And the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region is planning to build a high-speed railway from Nanning to Singapore!!!!!  Amazing!

Travelling and Living: Locky's Trip to Tokyo (Part 3 -- Trains)  @ Locky's English Playground

China Goes Green @ ABC News Video

High Speed Rail @ Wikipedia