"JR officials are touting the Type N700 as the fastest bullet train ever. It will travel between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka stations in two hours and 25 minutes — five minutes less than before. It will barrel between Tokyo and Hakata in four hours and 50 minutes, saving about 10 minutes."
Using the original 1964 trainset between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka, it would take 4 hours to complete the 515 km or 321 mile trip; that's still more than twice as fast as our Amtrak service, with the same average end to end running speed as the NEC Amtrak Acela (80MPH). Amtraks and Metrolinks here average 40 - 45MPH. A similar distance would be LA to San Jose; I was able to drive 4 hours from the SFV to Morgan Hill, which is 300 miles; and that is with the best traffic. We really need better-than-automobile rail here.
Those maglev trains are really nice, but expensive! As the video stated, the cost to build a maglev line between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka using the equipment used on its test line is $100 billion. Another factor of the maglev train is the outside noise pollution when these trains hit top speed... I posted a link to another video to show what it is like to be next to a passing Maglev train. I think it's really good that Japan did extensive testing with engineers to see if Maglev trains will really work for them in the future. Rushing such a project I think would of been a bad mistake. Their finished product is steel wheels on steel rails high speed rail. Hey, aren't we headed in the same direction? Hopefully, our government leaders won't kill HSR in California.
Anyway, here's the video I found on the Japanese Maglev. It is provided Courtesy of Harvard Club of Japan and Central Japan Railway Company hosted on Google Video. It features both interior and exterior shots of the train traveling at 502 km per hour. It's a great ride, but very noisy on the outside.
Well, almost 3 years to the day since the last post in this thread, we seem to have some news that should make all Maglev fans happy. Looks like they plan on building the Tokyo/Osaka line. Those in their teens may live long enough to hop a ride on the first train