Japanese government to fund a maglev train line between DC and Baltimore

East News Transportation
The JR Maglev train, used on the experimental Yamanashi railway that US state and federal officials rode in trip to Japan last spring (Courtesy t-mizo / Flickr)

The JR Maglev train, used on the experimental Yamanashi Maglev Test Track that US officials rode on trip to test the technology in Japan last spring (Courtesy t-mizo / Flickr)

You can do a lot in fifteen minutes: cook some surf-and-turf, blast through paperwork, star in a mediocre crime drama, or travel 40 miles between major East Coast cities. Well, not yet. Given the excruciatingly slow pace of infrastructure modernization in the U.S., there will be a wait on that last one, probably for decades.

Yet, the U.S. is taking small steps towards twenty-first century transportation. Last week, the U.S. Transportation Department granted $27.8 million in Federal Railroad Administration funds to the Maryland Department of Transportation and the Maryland Economic Development Corporation to conduct feasibility studies for a maglev train line that will run between DC and Baltimore

Bullet train (Shinkansen (新幹線, "new trunk line") - travelling between Tokyo and Osaka at approx. 240 km/kr - 19 April 2015

As the above video illustrates, Maglev trains move very, very fast, reaching speeds up to 375 miles per hour. If built, the DC-Baltimore maglev train would be a 40 mile demonstration project to determine how to best bring maglev trains to the United States. Overall, the track will cost an estimated $10 billion to build.

Japanese transportation companies and the Japanese government are keen on spreading their products and expertise to the United States, a potentially lucrative market. This spring, Governor Larry Hogan and Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn rode on the Yamanashi Maglev Test Track. The Japanese government has committed $5 billion to the project, and the train operator, the Central Japan Railway Company, will not levy licensing fees for the technology. Stateside, The Northeast Maglev, a private investment group, will also contribute to the project.

For those who can’t delay gratification, ferroequinologists the world over love to share their love for ultrafast trains.

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