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Asahi: Prototype of high-speed maglev train shown to public

TSURU, Yamanashi Prefecture--The public got a rare chance to view a linked up prototype of the super-fast maglev "floating" train on its test track here June 3.

Operator Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Central) says the magnetically levitated train is set to enter commercial operation between Tokyo and Nagoya in 2027.

The sleek L0 series maglev train, called "Linear motor car" in Japan, will eventually service the entire Chuo Shinkansen Line that links Tokyo with Osaka through Nagano Prefecture and Nagoya.

It will bypass the Tokaido Shinkansen Line, slashing the travel time between the two cities from two and a half hours to one hour and seven minutes.

The train was designed to operate at 500 kph.

It was only last November that the first car of the train was operated in public view for the first time. On June 3, the first five cars were hooked up on the test track.

The first car is 28 meters long, of which 15 meters constitutes a streamlined “nose” to reduce air resistance at high speed. Each of the subsequent cars is 24.3 meters long. The cars are more box-like in structure than current Shinkansen models to create more interior space.

JR Central, based in Nagoya, is gearing up for full-fledged tests from September.

The maglev train has four seats in a row, one less than Shinkansen models. The first car has a total of 24 seats while each of the subsequent cars has 68.

On June 3, a five-car L0 series maglev train was pulled on the test track by a special maintenance vehicle.

"This is the first step toward commercial operations," said Yasukazu Endo, director of the Yamanashi linear test center. "Everything is being done to gear up for a full-fledged test."

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