Watch 100 Japanese test the 311 mph train that could come to Baltimore - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Nov. 25, 2014 10:00 am

Watch 100 Japanese test the 311 mph train that could come to Baltimore

The 310 mph commuter trains are being tested in Japan. U.S. backers want to build a line between Baltimore and D.C. with $5 billion and public support.
A maglev train at a test track in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan, in 2005.

A maglev train at a test track in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan, in 2005.

(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

No matter what the roadblocks might be in America, Japan is moving full speed ahead with testing on the super-fast maglev train that it hopes to bring to the U.S. northeast.

According to BBC News, 100 Japanese citizens were selected by lottery to ride the 27-mile test-run between Uenohara and Fuefuk. The Central Japan Railway Company is running the tests over eight days.

The maglev trains, which rely on superconductor magnetic levitation technology that allows them to literally float above the track, clocked in at 500 km/h, or 311 mph.

The BBC captured how happy this made people:

The Japanese government wants to leave commuters here with the same kinds of smiles. In September, they offered up $5 billion for future construction of maglev between D.C. and Baltimore. The train could make the notoriously traffic-snarled trip between the two cities in 15 minutes.

Northeast Maglev, a company that backs the train and has an advisory board made up of ex-governors from mid-Atlantic states, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and other heavyweights, would need at least $5 billion more dollars and more public will to get the project afloat in the U.S. for the Baltimore-D.C. line alone. Once the train technology is proven, backers envision expansion of the line further up the I-95 corridor to New York City. At Maglev speeds, the D.C.-NYC trip would be less than an hour. The current Acela option takes nearly three hours.

But it’s definitely getting attention. CEO Wayne Rogers did a round of boosting in late October that put the idea in front of the influential (and deep-pocketed) readers of the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and New York Times. And the smiling citizens in Japan are keeping the conversation going.

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As Wonkblog’s Emily Badger wrote of the BBC clip this week, “That scene is both a testament to Japan’s commitment to high-speed rail, and a reminder of how far the U.S. lags.”

People: Kevin Plank
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