Faster than This Speeding Train, Superman?
On December 2, 2003, a magnetically levitated train developed by
the Central Japan Railway Company set a world speed record of 581 km/h
(361 mi/h). The train is planned to run a normal 500 km route between
Tokyo and Osaka in one hour. Liquid-helium-cooled superconducting electromagnets
are sequentially repelled and attracted by conductive coils in the track's
sidewalls for propulsion. To minimize friction, the entire train is
magnetically levitated above and between the rails. For comparison,
the famed American P-40 Warhawk and British Spitfire of WWII had about
the same top speed in level flight.