Japan has long been known as a leader in the world of high-speed rail. And in 2027, the nation will be unveiling its latest crown jewel: the Maglev L0 (that's a zero at the end). When it starts service, the L0 will officially be the world's fastest train in service.
The Maglev L0 will run between Tokyo and Nagoya at speeds reaching 311 mph — fast enough to cut a 4.5 hour drive down to a mere 40 minutes. That's pretty dang fast. The current high-speed train servicing the popular commuter corridor takes about 90 minutes to complete the same one-way commute.
This is not the first prototype L0 train to come into existence. The previous model was retired in 2011 after a series of successful tests, including a world speed record of 361 mph. The new model, however, features better cabin space and will also be testing on a longer stretch of track — still under construction.
To the outsider, Japan's progress seems slow. The recent test of the brand new L0 train was simply a low-speed operation to test for proper clearances on the magnetic "tracks" above which the L0 hovers. But maybe this sort of caution is in order when you consider that, once fully operational, the L0 will be hurling passengers, 1,000 at a time, across the countryside at speeds well in excess of even the swiftest NASCAR champs.