Overview of the Yamanashi Maglev Line

The Yamanashi Maglev Line was completed in March 1997 and began conducting tests in April of the same year. Its main features are as follows:

Total length 42.8km
Maximum gradient 40‰(per mile)
Minimum curve radius 8,000m

History of the Yamanashi Maglev Line

This section covers the history of the Yamanashi Maglev Line with photographs.

  • Research on a linear motor propulsion magnetically levitated railway system begins
  • Opening of the Miyazaki Maglev Test Track
  • First Maglev operation in Miyazaki
  • From T to U
  • A decision is made to construct the Yamanashi Maglev Line
  • Running tests end on the Miyazaki Maglev Test Track
  • Completion of the Yamanashi Maglev Line
  • For even a greater leap forward
  • Preliminary running tests for practical technological application
  • Preparations for full-fledged running tests are completed
  • Birth of the Yamanashi Maglev Line
  • A speed of 311mph is attained
  • High-speed passing tests
  • Test operation with extended trainsets
  • A viable ultra-speed mass transport system
  • New experimental vehicles are delivered
  • Manned World speed record of 361mph is attained
  • Establish of the 'all necessary technologies'
  • The 'MLX01' is unveiled to the world
  • Minus 423°F as high temperature
  • Renovation and extension begin
  • Technologies required for the revenue service are fully developed
  • The major specifications of new vehicle are determined
  • Running tests on the priority section end
  • The fully renewed and extended  26.6-mile line is launched
  • A new railway speed world record is set
  • Technological development for the revenue service is completed
  • Series L0 Improved version commences running tests

Evolution of vehicle

Superconducting Maglev's vehicle has evolved to attain a higher level of comprehensive perfection in preparation for practical application.

Vehicle used on the Miyazaki Maglev Test Track

  • Completed in 1972 ML100
  • Completed in 1977 ML-500
  • Completed in 1980 MLU001
  • Completed in 1987 MLU002
  • Completed in 1993 MLU002N

Vehicle used on the Yamanashi Maglev Line

  • Operated from 1996 to 2011 MLX01 (aero-wedge head)
  • Operated from 1996 to 2011 MLX01 (double-cups head)
  • Operated from 2002 to 2009 MLX01-901
  • Operated from 2009 to 2011 MLX01-901A
  • From 2013 Series L0
  • From 2020 Series L0 Improved version

Achievements of running tests

Various running tests have been carried out under a specific scenario of Chuo Shinkansen’s commercial operation.

Running tests in a 12-car configuration are conducted

Series L0 vehicle was operated in a 12-car configuration, the longest trainset for the Series, to test a form closer to that used in commercial operation.

  • Running tests with 12-car trainset Anticipating the use of long trainsets in commercial operation
a maximum distance of 2,525 miles is traveled in a single day

Running resistance and passenger comfort were examined while operating the vehicle through long tunnels. It achieved a daily travel distance of 2,525 miles in April 2015. This exceeds a daily travel distance (per trainset) anticipated when Chuo Shinkansen commences commercial operations.The cumulative travel distance since 1997 comes to 2.04 million miles (equivalent to circumnavigating the Earth 82 times).

  • Travel distance since 1997 2,044,000miles
Manned operation at 375mph

A series of running tests have been carried out to ensure passenger comfort and stability at a high-speed Maglev operation exceeding 311mph in an effort to achieve optimum design for commercial services. This has led to a manned operation at 375mph in April 2015.

This is recognized by the ® GUINNESS WORLDS RECORDS as the Fastest maglev train.

Relative speed of 638mph in a passing test

“High-speed passing tests” began in 1998, letting two trains passing by on adjacent tracks at high speeds, and setting a relative speed record of 638mph in November 2004. These tests have confirmed that two Maglev trains can pass by in opposite directions without any issue.

Future technological development

All technologies required for commercial services have been developed. From now on, JR Central will continue to brush up SCMAGLEV technologies to further reduce construction, operation and maintenance costs through running tests.

Verifying a low-cost and efficient maintenance structure

The principle of "warning sign detection," i.e. to detect signs of fault in advance, helps reduce the cost of maintenance.
For example, bogie acceleration during train operation (vibrations on bogies) is analyzed to identify any warping of the guideway. Since abnormal vibrations could indicate guideway warping, corrective work is carried out before actual fault develops.
This type of information is sent to the General Control Center in real time, accumulated and analyzed to initiate proactive maintenance.
※Similar data is also collected from vehicle on the Tokaido Shinkansen.

  • Warning sign detection
  • General Control Center
  • Maintenance
Verifying long-term durability of high-temperature superconducting magnets

To reduce maintenance workloads and costs, JR Central has adopted a technology for simplifying the structure of superconducting magnets and is verifying durability for application in commercial operation.
Conventional superconducting magnets are cooled by liquid helium or liquid nitrogen. But the need for such cooling can be eliminated by constructing superconducting magnets from different materials. This will also allow simplification of their structure, thus reducing maintenance workloads and costs.

  • Low-temperature superconducting magnet
  • High-temperature superconducting magnet
Pursuing passenger comfort

JR Central is exploring ways to further reduce vibrations and noise to alleviate the ear discomfort that some people feel due to changes in atmospheric pressure. "Ear popping" occurs due to rapid changes in outside pressure when a train drives through a high-gradient section at high speed or travels between stations with significant altitude differences.
Superconducting Maglev's vehicle adjusts air intake and discharge to efficiently alleviate pressure changes and ear discomfort. JR Central will continue to conduct verification tests to enhance passenger comfort.

  • Altitude difference and pressure change (Yamanashi Maglev Line)