The world's fastest train – a maglev vehicle operated by the Central Japan Railway Company capable of speeds in excess of 500km/h (~311mph) – is currently undergoing eight days of public testing. Short runs began Saturday, with 100 passengers making the 42.8 km trip from Uenehora to Fuefuki in about five minutes.
Check out a short clip of the test run below. To me, the best thing about this footage is how calm things look aboard the experimental train (as they should, of course). The passengers are thrilled to be riding it (according to the BBC, around a quarter of a million people applied to participate in this week's test runs, with about 1 in 100 odds of landing a ticket), but part of what makes it all so futuristic and fun and weird is the fact that zipping along in a magnet-levitated tube of metal at over 300 miles per hour can still appear, from inside that floating metal tube, kind of humdrum:
The maglev trains are even faster than Japan's famous bullet trains, which currently travel at about 320km/h (200mph). They use magnetic levitation, hence the name, to "float" above the train tracks. This minimises the friction encountered by ordinary trains, and allows them to travel faster. Maglev trains are due to be up and running by 2027. The ones being tested in Yamanashi will eventually run from Tokyo to Nagoya, carrying passengers between the two cities in about 40 minutes. Currently the journey takes an hour longer than that by bullet train.
When these amazing high speed trains officially debut in 2027, they'll already be passé. Progress!