Setting a New Speed Record on the Yamanashi Maglev Test Line

Fuminao OKUMURA, Dr. Eng.
General Manager,
Planning Div., Maglev System Development Dept.

    The technical development of the maglev system has been in the second phase since fiscal 2000. We are currently tackling three challenges pointed out by the Maglev System Practical Technology Evaluation Committee (hereinafter referred to as the "Evaluation Committee") of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport: "verification of reliability and durability," "cost cutting technologies" and "enhanced aerodynamic characteristics of vehicles." The cumulative operation distance exceeded 300,000 kilometers and the number of test ride passengers surpassed 60,000. We are making steady progress finding solutions to the problems. In April 2003, the Evaluation Committee stated that steady progress could be seen in achievement of the pre-defined target on technical development for fiscal 2004 and in establishment of fundamental technologies for practical application of the maglev system.

    Last year, we worked on verification of safety, reliability and durability for optimal equipment design for a future commercial line. We also began speed improvement tests in mid-November and set a new speed record of 581 km/h in a test on December 2. This new record was much higher than the previous record of 552 km/h in April 1999, and affirm the high reliability of the superconducting maglev system. On that day, we achieved the same maximum speed twice under a clear sky.
    The development of the maglev system has been financially supported by the Japanese government.