Piloted maglev breaks world speed record

A magnetically levitated linear motor car set a world record speed for a manned maglev Oct. 3, reaching 451 kph at a test center in Yamanashi Prefecture, officials of Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) said.The top speed of the three-car MLX01 surpassed the previous record of 450 kph reached in June 1993 by Transrapid, a similarly operated maglev in Germany, the officials said. On Sept. 12, the MLX01 attained a speed of 421 kph on the 18.4-km track built between Tsuru and Otsuki, both in Yamanashi Prefecture.The maglev, which uses superconducting technology, was developed by JR Tokai and the Railway Technical Research Institute, a JR subsidiary. When the superconducting magnets on the vehicles pass through levitation and guidance coils on the ground, a current flows and produces an electrodynamic levitating force that propels the vehicles.Researchers hope the train will reach a velocity of 550 kph by next spring, which would surpass the 1979 world record of 517 kph registered by an unmanned vehicle at a test facility in Miyazaki Prefecture.