• The Associated Press


The experimental maglev train project in Japan won’t be affected by an accident in Germany that killed 23 people, a company official said Saturday.

Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) completed a maglev test run Saturday with about 100 passengers on an experimental track in Yamanashi Prefecture, according to railway official Katsushi Kawaguchi.

He said there will be no changes to the company’s test plans following Friday’s accident in Germany. The company is planning a special event Nov. 22 to 24, inviting 1,800 people to ride the train at its test center, experiencing a speed of 500 kph.

Japan has experimented with the high-speed maglev line for years, but commercial use has yet to be approved. One of the trains has clocked a record top speed of 581 kph.

The government “is closely watching what German investigators conclude about the cause of the crash,” said Transport Ministry official Michio Igarashi.

Initial indications have been that human error, not the sophisticated technology, was to blame for Friday’s accident in Germany, in which a maglev train smashed into a maintenance car, killing 23 people.

Maglev — short for magnetic levitation — trains use powerful magnets that allow the train to skim along its guideway without touching it, reducing friction and increasing speeds.

Work started on maglev trains about 40 years ago by the now-defunct Japan National Railways.

JR Tokai, one of six railways created in the privatization of the state-run JNR, decided to develop maglev trains in 1987.

Its full-scale maglev train testing began in 1997.

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