Magnetic, floating train can reach 310 mph

Japan has always been a leader in high-speed transport, and its latest prototype is no exception.

Charlie Osborne Contributing Writer
Charlie Osborne is a cybersecurity journalist and photographer who writes for ZDNet and CNET from London. PGP Key: AF40821B.
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The nose of the prototype train. Sankei News Channel video / Screenshot by CNET

Japan continues to set the standards for high-speed transport with its latest prototype, a magnet-powered train designed by Central Japan Railway Co.

A prototype Series Lo train was unveiled at a test facility in Tsuru, Japan, late last week, according to The Daily Yomiuri.

The magnetic, levitating train can reach speeds of 310 mph. Without actually touching any tracks and therefore not subject to friction, the train can reach much higher speeds than standard models. The train's cars can hold up to 24 passengers.

Central Japan Railway Co., also known as JR Tokai, plans to begin five-car test runs by the end of 2013 and expects to launch the new trains between Tokyo and Aichi by 2027. Currently, the fastest bullet train can make the journey between the stations in 90 minutes. The new trains could cut that time to 40 minutes.

The idea for such trains has been around for quite some time, a patent being issued all the way back in 1905. However, as Business Insider notes, there are currently only two commercial services in operation -- both in Japan and only reaching 60 mph.

Meanwhile, Japan is testing another model that can touch 361 mph.