Asia’s Two Biggest Economies Are in The Race To Lead Next-Generation Maglev Trains

by Rashi Shukla
Asia’s Two Biggest Economies Are in The Race To Lead Next-Generation Maglev Trains

Shinkansen, the world’s first bullet train was created in Japan. And now China has jumped in the race for building another high-speed levitating train.

Featured Image Credits: Hermann Luyken, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Both the countries are masters of technology and now they are ready again to demonstrate it. Two of the biggest economies of Asia are now competing to build the world’s first long-distance line which will operate between two or more cities.

Magnetic levitation trains work at a super-fast speed because they use the power of magnets to run through charged tracks that do not have friction. Only a few maglev trains are running which are short-distance trains. But this is soon about to change as Japan and China are competing as to who will be the creator of this super-fast intercity line. On one hand, China has a $15biilion maglev project that is expected to complete by 2035 and will connect Shanghai and Ningbo. And on the other side Japan Railway’s $86 billion projects, which cost way more than China’s because of the tunnel that will go to the mountains of the countryside. It will run from Tokyo to Osaka and will be completed by around 2037. 

According to the experts, if both the countries are able to demonstrate their maglev projects as expected, they will have a strong hand at the export of this next-gen technology. Super-fast train played a crucial role in Japan’s economic growth because for a long time it was the leading supplier of high-speed railway projects globally. But from the last decade, China has been the biggest competitor of Japan by supplying cheaper parts to the global market. Japan lost its bid to China to build the first super-speed rail in Indonesia in 2015. But after many delays, Japan was asked to join back the project.

Shinzo Abe helped Japan Central Railways with a loan of 3 trillion yen in 2016 which moved the project’s compilation date from 2045 to 2037. The maglev train project is still facing many challenges one of them is from the government which is worried about its impact on the environment and can also lead to the delay of the project.

Due to the pandemic, the shares of Japan Central railways have fallen 33% because of the impact on travel by trains. This fiscal year the rail operators are estimating a total loss of 185 billion yen. One of the major export partners that Japan Central Railways is looking after for their magnetic levitation technology is the US. JR Central is also working on a maglev line that will run between Washington DC and New York which will cost around $10billion to connect DC and Baltimore. After its construction, it is expected that it will reduce the travel time to one hour which is currently three.

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