Japan's New Maglev Train Is So Fast It Could Render Air Travel Useless

Whoa! This train could give air travel a run for its money.

The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 is widely believed to be the world's fastest car, but even it can't hold a candle to a new line of maglev trains that Japan recently tested.

The Asian country's new maglev Shinkansen train reached the record-breaking speed of 501 km/h (311 mph) during its experimental trip from Uenohara to Fuefuki on Saturday.

For comparisons, Bugatti Veyron's world record top speed is 407.12 km/h (252.97 mph), while China's famous Shanghai Maglev Train – which is the world's fastest train in regular commercial service – can reach a max speed of 431 km/h (268 mph).

This means that when the Japanese maglev train becomes fully operational in commercial sense, it would shatter the previous world record and become the fastest train.

Maglev trains are much faster and different from conventional high-speed rail because they use magnets to create both lift and propulsion for the vehicle. They operate without wheels and actually float on the track.

While still a lot slower than airplanes, maglev trains cost less time than air travel, thanks to its limited hassle of check-in, security, boarding, etc.

A video of the maglev train's inaugural 27-mile trip is up on the BBC. Considering Japan's long history with bullet trains, one would think that it would be no big deal for the 100 locals who got to travel on the test trip. But even their faces lit up as the train touched the 500 km/h landmark.

Check out the travel footage in the video above.

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