In Japan the prototype of a new high speed train was successfully demonstrated on Wednesday (22 March).
In Japan the prototype of a new high speed train was successfully demonstrated on Wednesday (22 March). The train, or more correctly, the High Speed Surface Transport (HSST), is capable of travelling at speeds up to 190 miles an hour (300 kms ph.). The vehicle moves suspended in the air on a magnetic cushion above metal rails. The train was developed by Japan Airlines after Widespread public protests against the vibration and noise problems created by conventional engines.
SYNOPSIS: The near-silent motors and the magnetic aircushion were designed by the airline's engineers in a five-year development programme. West German engineers first designed a train which floats above metal tracks.
Japan Airlines undertook the project after demonstrators blocked the Government's attempts to build a conventional express line between Tokyo and Japan's new international airport at Narita, 40 miles south-east of the capital. Now their tests are complete, engineers say that 25 yards (23 metres) from the track, it will not be possible to hear the train pass. The new system will also be cheaper to operate than conventional railways.
The prototype bears little resemblance to the final train design, but its technicians say that the test run -- at 190 miles an hour -- will also be possible with a full load of passengers. The importance of the demonstration was to stress its safety at speed.
To exaggerate this, extra rocket engines were added.
The train itself is nearing final construction. When it is put into operation, it is expected to carry 250 passengers the 40 miles from the airport in just 14 minutes.