Japan is so excited about its “Super-Maglev” trains that the Japanese government has promised to lend the U.S. about $4 billion to build the world’s first commercial Super-Maglev train between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
If the project is successful, commuters will be able to travel the 37 miles between the two cities in about 15 minutes. The trip currently takes about an hour on a traditional train.
It could also lay the foundation for a 453-mile track linking D.C. with Philadelphia, New York and Boston.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has traveled the world to promote his country’s Maglev technology and pitched the idea to President Barack Obama in February, according to the Telegraph. Since then, interest has grown among states in the Northeast Corridor looking to update rail travel.
The loan will cover half of the estimated cost of installing the Maglev tracks.
Maglev trains hover just above the ground and are propelled by a system of electromagnets. Without the friction caused by wheels, Maglev trains are smoother, quieter, and much faster.
Maglev technology is already used for short routes around the world, but the Japanese Super-Maglev trains promise to be even faster. The L-Zero Super-Maglev train reached speeds of 310 mph in a September test in Japan, making it the world’s fastest train.
Japan plans to start using Super-Maglev trains in 2027, but is hoping that the U.S. will have an operational Maglev system within the next decade to encourage international interest in the technology.