The Yamanashi Maglev Test Line was constructed to evaluate the technical practicability of the JR-Maglev system. Running tests on the line began in April 1997.
Since then we have conducted so many evaluation tests including speed increase tests, general function tests using two trains and durability tests. On 14th April, 1999, the maglev train MLX01, as a manned train, marked a new world-speed-record of 552 kph.
By the end of 1999 cumulative running distance of the two MLX01 trains exceeded 64,000 km. Test rides were initiated by the Minister of Transport in May 1998, and we have carried more than 6,300 passengers of VIPs and persons who supported the construction of the line.
To have practicability of the JR-Maglev system evaluated by a third party, MOT organized the Technical Evaluation Committee of which members consist of scholars. In March 2000 the Committee will conclude the evaluation based on the past three year test results.
In these three years the evaluation tests had been conducted without any serious accidents, and now we have come to the final stage of them as scheduled. The reasons why the evaluation tests been successfully implemented are as follows:
Prior to the running tests on the YMTL, the key technologies such as super-conducting magnets had been developed at a high level through bench tests, computer simulations, and running tests on the Miyazaki Maglev Test Track. The well considered system design including system safety, reliability and environmental impact also contributed. Furthermore, another factor was cooperative development by both RTRI, which has researched and developed the JR-Maglev system for the past thirty years and JR-Central, which has operated the Tokaido Shinkansen and will be the future operator of the Chuo Shinkansen.
In April 2000 we will enter into the new five year test phase in which a series of long term durability tests as well as various tests for newly developed products or systems to reduce construction costs of the future service line and to improve the system characteristics will be carried out. Through the next test phase we expect to be able to make the system more elaborate.
Through the experience of the operation in the YMTL I believe this new revolutionary transport system must be realized in near future.