Despite the coronavirus crisis, Japan has revealed that it will test a new prototype train on its ambitious magnetic levitation line.
Elsewhere, however, the Maglev concept shows little sign of take-off. Since it was launched in time for the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, the Shinkansen has remained a source of national pride in Japan. The story of the bullet train is also a story of progress. When, over half a century ago, it first connected Tokyo to Osaka, it had a speed of 210 km/h; today trains speed up to 320 km/h, carrying over a million passengers a day.
But as the Shinkansen has become a kind of institution, and emblem of the country's technological spirit, the next chapter of high-speed train travel in Japan has proved much more difficult to write. While Japan already has a rail network based on magnetic levitation, the Linimo Line in Aichi Prefecture, near the city of Nagoya, is considerably overshadowed by the Chinese commercial service Maglev, which runs between Shanghai and Pudong International Airport at 268 miles per hour (the Linimo goes 62 miles per hour).
More than 17 years have passed since the Shanghai Transrapid started operating, yet it remains the fastest electric train in the world. Tokyo, which began exploring the merits of technology in the late 1960s, is eager to steal a gear from its long-time rival and unveil an even more ambitious Maglev system. Japan is betting heavily on the Chuo Shinkansen Maglev line, which will cover the 178-mile distance between Tokyo and Nagoya at a speed of 500km/h, reducing travel time to just 40 minutes. The Japanese network, scheduled to open commercially in 2027, is based on superconducting magnets capable of levitating the train up to 10 cm with minimum friction.
Gesa Industry follows with extreme attention the race to technological evolution, welcoming and studying every innovation in order to be able to provide its customers with an offer that is always avant-garde and in step with the times in the field of train interiors.