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Old January 22nd, 2011, 03:21 AM   #201
clyde the puffy cat
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Hi everyone, first postin the thread, really interesting info here! One of these days I"ll have to get out of my country (Australia) and get to Japan to see a first class rail system.

On Chinese High Speed Rail thread, it shows one of the companies looking at doing
some R&D on partial vacuume trains, but with 70% of the Tokyo-Nagoya line already going to be in tunnels, maybe if the above ground sections were fully enclosed in tubes
it might be possible to have a partial vacuum maglev -1200kph anyone!
And once the kinks were worked out, go full vacuum, top speed 4-5000 kph.
Probably never happen, but it's ok to dream isn't it!
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Old January 22nd, 2011, 07:11 PM   #202
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2co2co View Post
It's already on the drawing board. Shinkansen started operating at 200km/h and now at 320km/h (not quite now, but coming next March). The speed record remained at 581km/h just because the test track was too short. We would see 600km/h+ once the test track extension is complete.
Actually, JR just set a new top speed record of 587 kph in October, 2010. Although this was an unmanned vehicle, the progression indicates a top speed in excess of 600 kph right around the opening of the test track extension for commercial use in 2020 (seven years before the Tokyo-Nagoya link opens).
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Old January 22nd, 2011, 07:56 PM   #203
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Wahoo c'est superbe le maglev japonais !
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Old January 31st, 2011, 06:59 AM   #204
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 環境省は、建設が検討されている中央新幹線構想について、意見を公表した。
 中央新幹線については、国土交通省の交通政策審議会 陸上交通分科会 鉄道部会 中央新幹線小委員会において、同省が策定した「公共事業の構想段階における計画策定プロセスガイドライン」に準じて進められており、甲府市附近~名古屋市附近間においては南アルプスルートと伊那谷ルートの2ルートが比較検討されている。平成22年12月15日に中間とりまとめが公表され、12月16日~1月14日の間に中間とりまとめについてパブリックコメントが募集された。今後、パブリックコメントの結果も踏まえ、交通政策審議会の答申がとりまとめられる。
 中央新幹線小委員会においては、国土交通省が策定した「公共事業の構想段階における計画策定プロセスガイドライン」の趣旨を踏まえ、同ガイドラインで示されているパブリック・インボルブメント(PI※)手法を取り入れながら検討が進められているが、同ガイドラインは環境省が取りまとめた「戦略的環境アセスメント導入ガイドライン」に基づく戦略的環境アセスメントを含むものとなっていることから、環境省は、これらのガイドラインに基づき、中央新幹線小委員会中間とりまとめに対して環境の保全の見地から意見を提出したもの。
 今回の意見では、整備計画決定前における計画段階の環境配慮の実施については、伊那谷ルート、南アルプスルートの2案について、環境調査が実施されていることから、当該環境調査に基づき、環境影響の予測・評価の実施及び中央新幹線のルートで、環境調査が行われていない区域においても、環境についての調査・予測・評価の実施を求めている。
 整備計画決定後における計画段階の環境配慮の実施については、今後、トンネルの位置等具体的な事業内容を含むルート案を設定し、具体的な環境影響を検討することが、環境影響の回避・低減の上から有効であることを指摘。事業者が決定された段階においては、事業者が具体的なルートを絞り込んでいく計画段階からの環境配慮を求めている。

※パブリック・インボルブメント:計画策定の過程をオープンにし、国民・生活者の意見、意思調査などの参画の機会を確保する方式。

【環境省】
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Old January 31st, 2011, 02:39 PM   #205
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So now we got English, French and Japanese.

This thread is becoming very legible... :P
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 02:18 AM   #206
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Ja das ist wirklich erstaunlich!
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 09:21 PM   #207
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University professor proposes Aerotrain as more efficient alternative to maglev
http://business.nikkeibp.co.jp/artic...110126/218156/

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By Yamada Kumi

Maximum speed is 500 kph. Research and development is underway on the Aerotrain, a new type of transportation that goes head-to-head in speed with JR Central’s magnetic levitation (maglev) linear motor car—which boasts the world speed record of 581 kph—while consuming about one-ninth the energy.

1,500 km—albatrosses can travel this distance airborne on a single meal. If humans were to travel that distance on foot, even assuming a speed of 5 kph, the journey would take 300 hours—in other words, close to two weeks straight walking without rest. But why do albatrosses have such good “fuel efficiency”? One of the reasons is a natural phenomenon known as the “ground effect.”

The ground effect refers to a phenomenon observed when traveling with wings at a height just above ground level in which air squeezed between the ground surface and wings generate a powerful aerodynamic lift.

Squeezing air between the ground surface and wings
Research and development is underway on the Aerotrain, a new type of transportation that permits high-speed travel at 500 kph by putting this ground effect to practical application. The motive power for the Aerotrain comes only from natural energy sources such as solar and wind power. The R&D effort is being undertaken by Professor Kohama Yasuaki of Tōhoku University’s Future Science and Technology Joint Research Center, the New Industry Creation Hatchery Center (NICHE).

The third-generation prototype of the Aerotrain under development at Tōhoku University.


Airplanes use aerodynamic lift to rise. When the front of the wings cuts into the wind, air pressure is higher underneath the wings than above the wings. As a result, the wings are pushed upwards by the air underneath, causing the plane to rise. This upward force is aerodynamic lift.

But what if we don’t increase the plane’s elevation? As air will accumulate between the ground surface and the wings, the air pressure underneath the wings will increase, in turn increasing the upward force. This is the ground effect.

As the ground effect weakens as we increase our separation from the ground surface, airplanes rise to a certain elevation, only beginning to descend when the ground effect disappears. As long as we continue moving forward, however, the air trapped between the ground surface and wings will serve as a cushion, and we will never fall to the surface. The elevation from the surface will reach a certain equilibrium depending on the travel speed. In other words, it’s possible to continue in flight at a height just above ground level.

The Aerotrain is equipped with four wings on its body, and is designed to run levitated inside a trench-shaped exclusive guideway that surrounds the vehicle with walls on three sides.

The wings are L-shaped, with the tail of the “L” called the safety wing. The ground effect occurs at a total of eight locations, between the wings and the ground surface and between the safety wings and the guideway walls. The ground effect generated between the safety wings and the guideway walls serves to prevent the train from colliding with the walls.

The force to propel the train is gained by the rotation of two propellers affixed to either side of the train body. The motive power for the propellers uses solar cells installed on the sides of the guideway. Currently, the energy is stored in batteries and loaded onto the train, but in the future, the plan is to convert to a pantograph-based system allowing for a constant supply of electrical power.

Vehicles operating on the ground surface such as automobiles and railways, on the other hand, witness increased air resistance when attempting to increase speed. Normally, air resistance increases with the square of speed. Traveling at twice the speed generates four times as much air resistance, while three times the speed generates nine times as much air resistance.

The reason the Aerotrain can travel at high speeds while consuming very little energy is because the ground effect also has the effect of reducing air resistance.

In reality, there has been past development of vehicles that use the ground effect. However, the focus of these efforts has been on military-purpose “wing-in-ground-effect (WIG) vehicles” that stay elevated through ground effect interactions with water surfaces; there were no examples of the technology for general use, running on the ground. In the past, there have been several incidents of the craft being struck by waves on the surface of the water and sinking, so the vehicles are no longer being produced.

In fact, it was the WIG vehicles the first alerted Professor Kohama, who had been researching air resistance on airplanes and other vehicles, to the ground effect. When he studied overseas in Germany for two years starting in 1986, he became interested in the field when a colleague of his was working on a model test of WIG vehicles.

Professor Kohama recounts the events: “I thought, ‘Wow, this is amazing!’ Even after returning to Japan, I couldn’t get the ground effect out of my head.”

After returning home to Japan, Professor Kohama would immediately have a hand in a project that would provide the impetus to begin research and development of the Aerotrain: development of the Shinkansen’s first-generation Nozomi.

The Shinkansen opened in 1964. Looking back and comparing the end cars of past Shinkansen trains from the first-generation 0 series Hikari trains to the latest N700 series, one can observe the shape becoming more and more streamlined. This transition is the result of efforts to reduce air resistance. In particular, the first-generation Nozomi, which in one fell swoop boosted the 220 kph maximum speed that had persisted since the opening of the line to 270 kph, has an undeniable presence. And the mastermind who developed the shape of the nose on those trains was none other than Professor Kohama.

“Unfortunately, however, the resulting reduction in air resistance through improvements to the shape of the train’s nose were like drops in the bucket. As long as the train runs close to the ground, substantial reductions in air resistance wouldn’t be possible, no matter how much you try and redesign the train’s nose,” confides Professor Kohama.

Air resistance beneath the Shinkansen floor becomes an obstacle
In the past, discussion of air resistance on railways was focused solely on the train’s nose. In reality, however, there was an even larger source of air resistance—the air resistance generated between the Shinkansen floor and the trackbed.

There is limited separation between the trackbed and the floor of the train, and both the train’s underbelly and the trackbed are uneven. As a result, turbulence is generated that becomes a substantial source of air resistance. However, improving these sections of the train is difficult, not to mention that that Shinkansen trains are 16 cars and 400 meters in total length.

“In other words, there is naturally a limit to reducing air resistance on trains, and we came to the conclusion that the N700 series’ 270 kph was the end of the line when considering the balance of speeding up service and limiting energy consumption,” recounts Professor Kohama.

But if that’s the case, then what about the maglev, which has been in research and development and is targeted for an opening in 2027? Professor Kohama also has a less than optimistic view of the maglev.

“From the perspective of energy consumption, the maglev has very poor energy efficiency, consuming three times as much energy as the Shinkansen. And I can’t say it’s a very environmentally-friendly mode of transport,” says Professor Kohama.

One of the reasons is that use of a superconducting maglev means that only about one percent of the electrical power used can be converted into propulsive power. In addition, even though the maglev travels at over 500 kph, there is limited space between the train and the walls on all three sides, resulting in substantial air resistance.

So when faced with the question of whether or not there were any options left for ground-based transportation systems that maintain and ensure both high speed and energy efficiency, what crossed Professor Kohama’s mind was the ground effect.

“Let’s a make a vehicle like the Shinkansen, with wings like a plane, that makes use of the ground effect and can operate levitated at high speed just above the surface of the ground.” In 1986, Professor Kohama took his first steps to realize this dream in parallel with the project to develop the Nozomi.

The first 10 years or so were focused on theoretical calculations. But between 1997 and 1998, significant progress was made.

First, an investigative committee regarding the Aerotrain was established with support from the former Ministry of Transport. The government gave its certification that the technology could operate consuming one-third the energy of the Shinkansen and one-ninth the energy of the maglev when running at 500 kph. With this, Professor Kohama gained confidence in his work.

Next, with the relocation of the maglev test track formerly in Hyūga City, Miyazaki Prefecture to Yamanashi Prefecture, the Railway Technical Research Institute (RTRI) began searching for candidates to reuse the former site of the experimental track in Hyūga City. As it was the perfect facility for test runs of the Aerotrain, the timing couldn’t have been better. Professor Kohama immediately filed an application and was able to lease the facilities for free.

Professor Kohama quickly built the prototype Aerotrain unit to test the theoretical research he had amassed over the years, and in 1999, he became the first in the world to prove that the ground effect could be used for stable, levitated running above the ground surface.

Running in an underground tunnel between Haneda and Narita!?
The second prototype unit proved the possibility of propulsion using electrical power generated through solar panels, showing the technology’s ability to run with limited energy consumption.

And now, with the support of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), Professor Kohama is performing multiple experiments using a 3.3 m wide, 8.5 m long third-generation prototype with capacity for two passengers. According to a proposal by the National Institute for Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), the body of the vehicle was changed to a composition using magnesium alloy, which has fire resistance qualities. This is a new material that allows an approx. 60 percent reduction in weight compared to aluminium alloys with equivalent strength.

In tests using the third-generation prototype, NEDO has given Professor Kohama some “homework”: “When transporting one person at 200 kph, reduce the needed energy to move one kilometer to 35,000 kcal or less.” Professor Kohama is confident: “I expect we’ll meet the target.”

If this goes well, Professor Kohama could enter into research to put the technology to practical use starting next fiscal year. The ultimate plan is to develop a three-car train for 360 passengers, completing a roundtrip at 500 kph and 12-minute headways over a 500 km distance using 45 MW of generated electricity. Professor Kohama believes he can develop the technology for practical use by 2025.

Rendering of final three-car Aerotrain, with capacity for 360 passengers. The plan calls for operating the train at 500 kph over a 500 km distance at 12-minute headways, using 45 MW of generated electricity.


“To that effect, we will now need more support and cooperation, as well as understanding, from the industry,” says Professor Kohama.

But in order to introduce the Aerotrain, a guideway must be constructed. A high-speed railway in the Shinkansen has already been constructed in Japan, and it isn’t very realistic to convert the Shinkansen to Aerotrain technology. As a result, Professor Kohama instead has his eyes on an underground tunnel connecting Haneda Airport and Narita Airport. If realized, it will be possible to move between Haneda and Narita in about 10 minutes. Of course, he also has future plans to actively market the technology to emerging nations, where there is a demand for new transportation technologies.

Japan’s strategy of “sparkling new”
Japan is faced with several key issues, including the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, an aging population, and declining ridership demand. As a result, a feeling of despair has struck all across Japan, making it difficult to craft a vision for a future society filled with hope. But these are also issues that all countries across the globe are facing, and in this respect, we could call Japan a “nation at the forefront” in dealing with these issues.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for Japan,” says Komiyama Hiroshi, Mitsubishi Research Institute chairman and University of Tōkyō president emeritus. Japan will now purse the cutting edge and the “emerging new” of technologies that will lead the world. Green, smart, silver… Japan has many outstanding technologies at its disposal to realize a sustainable society. We should take full advantage of them, and build a bright and brilliant future.
As the article says, this has been under development for many years now. There have been occasional stories about this here and there over that time, but I figured I would put this latest article up, which has some news about the third-generation prototype.
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Old February 10th, 2011, 06:14 PM   #208
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Rail's cash-flow king stakes $62 billion on Tōkyō maglev train
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-0...lev-train.html

Quote:
Central Japan Railway Co., whose high-speed trains carried more passengers than the world’s largest airline last year, is staking 5.1 trillion yen ($62 billion) on building the world’s fastest train.

The company plans to fund the project, at a cost almost eight times the $8 billion President Barack Obama is giving to U.S. high-speed and conventional rail projects, with cash, loans and bonds, said Kinya Tani, a spokesman for the Nagoya, Japan- based company. JR Central will issue 5-year, 10-year and 20-year bonds in equal amounts, according to the company.

JR Central is using the greatest free cash flow of any listed rail operator to finance a magnetic-levitation train that will travel between Tokyo and Nagoya, Japan’s fourth-largest city, at a speed of 500 kilometers per hour (311 miles per hour) when the line is completed in 2027. The 290-kilometer link, about the distance from New York to Baltimore, will later be extended to Osaka, the nation’s third-largest city.

“It’s like launching a rocket into space,” said Masayuki Kubota, who oversees the equivalent of $2.1 billion in Tokyo at Daiwa SB Investments Ltd. “The first time is very expensive and risky, but once it’s successful, it can become a big business.”

JR Central’s free cash flow, or money from operations minus capital spending, was $2.86 billion for the 12 months ended December. That compares with $1.6 billion at Union Pacific Corp., the largest U.S. railroad by sales, and $1.4 billion at CSX Corp., the second-largest publicly traded U.S. railroad, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Floating Trains
Japan’s busiest high-speed train operator carried 138 million passengers on its bullet trains last fiscal year, compared with 100 million passengers at United Continental Holdings Inc., the world’s biggest airline, formed by the merger of United and Continental airlines.

Maglev lines use magnetic power to propel trains that float above the track. JR Central is running maglev trains on an 18- kilometer test track west of Tokyo and is extending that line to 42 kilometers, later to be part of the full Tokyo-Nagoya line.

Once opened, the line will provide an alternative to the high-speed train link between Tokyo and Osaka that opened in 1964, when the country hosted the Summer Olympics. Japan’s high- speed rail network now extends over 2,000 kilometers, stretching from Aomori in the north to Kagoshima in the south.

‘Big Economic Impact’
The maglev will make the trip to Nagoya from Tokyo in as little as 40 minutes, compared with as little as 95 minutes now. JR Central’s fastest current train travels at a maximum speed of 270 kilometers per hour between Tokyo and Osaka.

“By providing a rapid transportation service between key cities, it will have a big economic impact,” said Yasuhiro Matsumoto, an analyst in Tokyo at Shinsei Securities Co. “What matters is whether they will be able to afford it.”

The train operator’s free cash flow has exceeded 160 billion yen, or $2 billion, for each of the past 10 years.

The company fell 0.1 percent to 717,000 yen at the 3 p.m. close on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. It has advanced 8 percent in the past year, compared with a 6.9 percent gain in the Nikkei 225 Stock Average.

JR Central, rated Aa2 by Moody’s Investors Service, the same as the Japanese government, predicts it may pay 3 percent interest on bonds as Japanese interest rates increase over the life of the project. The company sold 20-year bonds with a 1.797 percent coupon in October.

The train operator had 3.1 trillion yen in interest-bearing debt at the end of March and has said it plans to ensure total debt doesn’t exceed 5 trillion yen. The company’s debt peaked at 5.5 trillion yen in fiscal 1991.

Shrinking Population
Japan’s aging population is shrinking from a peak of 127.8 million in 2004, raising concerns about the need for a second high-speed line linking Tokyo and Nagoya.

“The question is, do you really need that train?” said Edwin Merner, president of Atlantis Investment Research Corp. in Tokyo, which manages about $3 billion in assets. “If your population is going to shrink and you’re going to have fewer users, why would you build a new line?”

JR Central predicts a maglev service will help persuade people to fly less. Japan’s bullet trains already carry more domestic passengers each year than All Nippon Airways Co., Japan Airlines Corp. and all other Japanese carriers combined.

High-speed train passengers totaled 289 million last fiscal year, compared with 84 million flyers in 2009, according to the most recent figures from Japan’s transport ministry.

High-speed trains remain a tough sell in the U.S. even with federal money, said Jeff Straebler, a fixed-income strategist at RBS Securities Inc. in Stamford, Connecticut. New governors in Wisconsin and Ohio canceled high-speed rail projects and returned $1.2 billion to the U.S. Department of Transportation amid worries the lines may lose money.

Washington-Baltimore Line
JR Central is also targeting a maglev link between Washington and Baltimore. A line may cost $5.8 billion and cut the 40-mile journey to 18 minutes, and could be extended to New York and Boston, according to a Maryland Department of Transportation-backed group promoting the project.

“There are not that many places where high-speed rail makes sense,” Straebler said. “The most obvious is the Washington, D.C.-to-Boston corridor.”

Amtrak, which is supported by U.S. taxpayers, runs the Acela Express, the only high-speed train in the U.S., between Washington and Boston. The route had 3.2 million passengers in the year ended September 2010, according to the rail operator.

The Washington-based company lost $1.3 billion in that period and has lost at least $1 billion a year for 10 years. In comparison, JR Central has made at least $500 million annually for the past 10 years and had net income of 92 billion yen in the year ended March 31.

“They have a cash-cow business,” said Mana Nakazora, chief credit analyst at BNP Paribas Securities Japan Ltd. in Tokyo. “Their cash flow should be sufficient to pay for the project.”
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Old April 19th, 2011, 08:31 AM   #209
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No changes to Chūō Shinkansen in light of earthquake
http://www.nikkei.com/tech/ecology/a...E2E3E2E3E7EAEA

Quote:
On April 14, 2011, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s (MLIT) Chūō Shinkansen Subcommittee (Chairman: Tōkyō University professor Ieda Hitoshi), responsible for deliberating the plan to construct the Chūō Shinkansen maglev, discussed earthquake measures in light of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Subcommittee members agreed in principle that there was no need for modifications to the plan. Based on the discussions on April 14 the subcommittee is scheduled to publish the final recommended plan on April 21.

At the meeting, representatives from Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) expressed their thoughts: “The financial impacts of the Great East Japan Earthquake are only temporary, and there is no impediment to our ability to completely fund and complete construction of the Chūō Shinkansen (maglev) on our own.” The railway emphasized, “Every day we come face-to-face with earthquakes in central Japan. From the perspective of risk avoidance, the need to bring the plan to reality quickly has increased.”

Compared to last year, ridership on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen was down to approx. 70 percent from when the earthquake struck to the end of March, and down to approx. 80 percent starting in April. “In regards to the unexpected decline in revenue during the plan, we will adapt by modifying the pace of construction,” explained JR Central.

In regards to the seismic design of structures, the railway said, “The Tōhoku Shinkansen did not receive any major damage to civil structures as a result of the Great East Japan Earthquake. The reinforcement works conducted according to the revised seismic standards developed following the Great Hanshin / Awaji (Kōbe) Earthquake proved effective.” In addition, the railway also determined that no special reinforcement was needed for the Tōkaidō Shinkansen, which has already been seismically reinforced according to the same standards. In regards to the Chūō Shinkansen, which is envisioned to be constructed using the same standards, the railway expressed its belief that no additional investment is necessary.

Questions followed one after another from subcommittee members concerning JR Central’s earthquake measures. In regards to a question about the railway’s response following train stoppages on the Chūō Shinkansen maglev inside deep-level tunnels and an inability to restore electrical power, JR Central explained, “First, we would stop the trains and conduct safety checks. At that time, if we can confirm that electricity can be supplied and the structures are safe, we will resume operations and bring trains to the nearest stations.”

In addition, in regards to measures during the outage, the railway remarked, “If the outage lasts for only a few hours, having passengers wait inside the trains is the most realistic. If power is down for a longer period of time, such as during this earthquake, we will need to have passengers evacuate the train. The railway explained the evacuation plan: the space beneath the tracks inside the shield tunnels would be used as escape routes, and vertical shafts constructed every 5 to 10 km would be used as emergency exits.

In regards to the effect of the constrained power supply after the incident at Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, the railway responded, “That issue is separate from the topic of constructing future infrastructure. Our current assumption is that, under normal conditions, we would receive a sufficient supply of electrical power from a large number of transformer stations. In regards to the future supply of electrical power, we believe electrical power companies and the national government will consider those issues.”

In regards to the impact of tsunami on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen, which runs through coastal zones, JR Central responded, “Tsunami measures for Shinkansen and zairaisen (conventional lines) are based on hazard maps produced by local jurisdictions. The maps show that tsunami waves would not reach areas where the Tōkaidō Shinkansen passes. We have made preparations as appropriate based on the forecasts.”

A comparison of Shinkansen damage in the Great East Japan Earthquake, Great Hanshin / Awaji Earthquake, and the Chūetsu Earthquake (Niigata Prefecture). Excerpted from documents from the Chūō Shinkansen Subcommittee. (Source: MLIT)


Earthquake probability map for the Tōkai (Central Japan) region and the expected alignment of the Chūō Shinkansen maglev. Excerpted from documents from the Chūō Shinkansen Subcommittee. (Source: MLIT)
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Old April 19th, 2011, 08:31 AM   #210
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Maglev emergency stopping time would be similar to existing Shinkansen
http://www.nikkei.com/news/category/...08122009000000

Quote:
In regards to the Chūō Shinkansen maglev targeted to open between the National Capital Region (Greater Tōkyō) and the Chūbu region in 2027, on April 14 JR Central revealed that the design of the system would allow for trains to come to a complete stop in about 90 seconds when conducting an emergency stop from a top speed of 500 kph after detecting the preliminary tremors of a large earthquake. Braking systems with about twice the braking power of the 270 kph Tōkaidō Shinkansen would activate, bringing the train to a complete stop in about the same time as the Shinkansen.

While the gravitational acceleration experienced by passengers during an emergency stop is larger than for Shinkansen, the railway says, “It’s at a level where we can ensure passenger safety even without seatbelts.”
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Old April 21st, 2011, 05:55 AM   #211
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Similar article: No change in plan for Maglev, construction will go ahead in FY2014
http://www.nikkei.com/news/headline/...E39C9CE2E2E2E2
リニア耐震、追加措置は求めず 14年度着工へ
大震災受け国交省小委、午後に答申案
2011/4/21 11:34
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Old April 26th, 2011, 09:42 AM   #212
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http://bnvn05.269g.net/article/15921257.html

Construction of the test track in Fuefuki city, Yamanashi





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Old April 26th, 2011, 07:16 PM   #213
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 06:23 AM   #214
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Maglev gains backing as risk hedge
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/business/T110425002529.htm

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The construction of the Chuo Shinkansen maglev line has gained greater importance as a way to reduce the risk of rail travel between Tokyo and Osaka being halted if a disaster was to damage the current main artery, the Tokaido Shinkansen line, a transport ministry panel has said.

A final report released by a subcommittee of the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry's Council for Transport Policy favors Central Japan Railway Co.'s Chuo Shinkansen plan to build a maglev train line along the shortest route between Tokyo and Osaka.

With the report's release, the plan took a first step toward launching construction by the end of fiscal 2014.

However, the number of passengers on the conventional Tokaido Shinkansen line has dropped sharply following last month's Great East Japan Earthquake, which caused a major blow to JR Tokai's main profit-generating pillar.

Fresh concern has been raised over how the company can secure the massive amount of funding needed to construct the maglev line.

The report pointed out, "Having two main arteries [the Tokaido Shinkansen and maglev lines] has gained increased importance as a hedge against risk."

The report supports JR Tokai's opinion that constructing a "bypass" is needed to avoid a situation in which travel is immobilized between big cities in case a disaster such as a major Tokai earthquake damaging of the Tokaido Shinkansen line.

The report did not direct JR Tokai to take additional quakeproofing measures, concluding that the maglev line's design possesses sufficient quake resistance, on a par with the Tohoku Shinkansen line.

As the maglev train would operate in inland areas, the company would not need to take anti-tsunami design measures. The Great East Japan Earthquake did not inflict devastating damage on the Tohoku Shinkansen line, which proved its earthquake-resistant design and reinforcement measures were robust, said subcommittee Chairman Hitoshi Ieda.

Construction of a Tokyo-to-Nagoya maglev line in accordance with JR Tokai's planned 2027 opening date is expected to cost 5.43 trillion yen. A Tokyo-to-Osaka extension, set for a 2045 opening, would cost an estimated 9.03 trillion yen.

JR Tokai plans to build the maglev line using its own money, except for intermediate stations to be constructed between Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka.

However, there are many difficult engineering challenges that could increase construction costs, such as tunneling a direct route through the Southern Japanese Alps.

Since the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, the number of passengers on the Tokaido Shinkansen has decreased. The number remained unchanged in April, a 20 percent decline from the same month the previous year.

"The [quake's] business impact is temporary," an JR Tokai official said. But if the slump in demand is prolonged, JR Tokai's financial assumptions on which it has based the entire maglev line project could be ruined.

Who will pay for constructing the intermediate stations is certain to become another focal point. JR Tokai plans to construct the maglev line stations one by one in each prefecture. However, local governments resent JR Tokai's plan to have them assume all the station construction costs.

If JR Tokai partially shoulders the intermediate station construction costs, budgets will increase and might force the company to postpone the opening of the line.
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 06:23 AM   #215
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Japan's new maglev: two-hour train trips between Sydney and Melbourne?
http://www.ausbt.com.au/japan-s-new-...-and-melbourne

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Travel times within Japan will be slashed once a new maglev train system between Tokyo and Osaka is built -- and the company building it hopes to export the 500 km/h next generation train elsewhere.

The Japanese government has instructed railway company JR Tokai to confirm its proposed maglev route before construction is approved to start in 2014. The initial plan is to link Tokyo with Nagoya, halfway to Osaka, before completing the network.

Japan has four of the world's busiest air passenger routes, so it can justify the immense expense of developing and constructing the world's first long-distance maglev train -- which levitates on magnets rather than rolling along rails.

The travel time over the 438 km between Tokyo and Osaka will be nearly halved, with the current two hour journey cut by 51 minutes to a speedy 67 minutes.

Australia is an obvious destination for an exported maglev: the Sydney to Melbourne route is the world's fourth-busiest air route. At a distance of just under 1000 km, a maglev could make the trip between central Sydney and Melbourne in two hours.

Taking the train is currently a twelve-hour slog: nice for tourists, but impractical for business travellers. But a two-hour journey between Sydney and Melbourne is just thirty minutes more than the timetabled flight duration between the two airports. And that doesn't count the time taken to get to the airports at either end.

High-speed rail has already taken huge bites out of European air travel, with few business travellers choosing the plane over the Eurostar train between London and Paris or Brussels, with its champagne breakfasts in business class and centre-to-centre convenience.

Similarly, Spain's AVE train between Madrid and Barcelona has cut the number of flights between the two cities, while the United States is currently in political negotiations for high-speed rail to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco in California.
Australian perspective on maglev
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 06:26 AM   #216
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JR Central agrees to improvements to Shinagawa Station as part of maglev
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/life/news/1...9080018-n1.htm

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In regards to the terminal for the maglev Chūō Shinkansen, which JR Central is hoping to open between Tōkyō and Nagoya in 2027, at a May 20 press conference Tōkyō Prefecture governor Ishihara Shintarō remarked, “I acknowledged the plan to have the terminal at Shinagawa Station.” JR Central representatives announced to the Tōkyō Metropolitan Government in the summer of last year their plans to have Shinagawa Station as the terminal, and with approval from both sides, Shinagawa Station is now the definite terminal for the maglev.

On May 12, a subcommittee of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s (MLIT) Transport Policy Council compiled a report that identified the Southern Alps route, connecting Tōkyō and Nagoya in a straight line, as “appropriate.” In regards to station locations, the report said that there would be “ample mutual communication through coordination with regions along the proposed route.”

Governor Ishihara explained the choice of Shinagawa Station: “The Metropolitan Government had been working on its investigations, but Shinagawa Station has excellent connections to Haneda Airport, and the construction can be completed quickly… It’s clear that we would be able to immediately take advantage of the benefits of the investment in constructing the maglev.” The governor also revealed, “In addition to making improvements to Shinagawa Station to make transfers to Haneda Airport more convenient, JR Central has also promised to cooperate with basic infrastructure improvements in the area surrounding the station.”

Afterwards, in regards to the opening of the line to Ōsaka targeted for 2045, Governor Ishihara pointed out the merits of the full opening of the maglev: “If Ōsaka and Tōkyō can be connected in about an hour, our three largest metropolitan areas (including Nagoya) will effectively become one metropolis and Japan’s international competitiveness will improve dramatically.” The governor also urged for the acceleration of construction of the Nagoya – Ōsaka section: “If we don’t hurry to connect to Ōsaka, just like with the Shinkansen we will see the ‘straw phenomenon’, with people, things, and information accumulating in Tōkyō. There is no need for Tōkyō to grow any larger.”
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 06:27 AM   #217
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Maglev testing

Recent tests on the Yamanashi test track in Tsuru City:


Source: hatiouhage on YouTube
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 02:17 AM   #218
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It makes sense that this train is so streamlined. Can someone tell me why the German maglev seems much less streamlined compared to this one?
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 07:12 AM   #219
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apart from the obvious differences between the German and the Japanese train, what are the technical characteristics of each?
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 07:33 AM   #220
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Excavation of 20 km Southern Alps tunnel would include third shaft in Shizuoka
http://www.shinmai.co.jp/news/201105...0012000022.htm

Quote:
On May 18, it was revealed that plans are underway to excavate the long tunnel (approx. 20 km long) through the Southern Alps—part of the maglev Chūō Shinkansen, which JR Central is hoping to break ground on in FY2014—from not only the two tunnel ends in Nagano and Yamanashi Prefectures, but also the vicinity of the tunnel’s midpoint inside Shizuoka Prefecture. Inclined shafts for construction would be built, with excavation proceeding from the midpoint of the maglev tunnel towards both the Nagano and Yamanashi ends. The plan is aimed at compressing the construction timeline in preparation for the 2027 opening of the Tōkyō – Nagoya section of the line, based on local soil conditions which would require the most complex excavation technologies.

On May 18, JR Central submitted a document to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) agreeing to the MLIT minister’s selection of the railway as the operator and executor of the Chūō Shinkansen. Next week, the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism is also expected to approve the maglev plan, which calls for the Route C alignment through the Southern Alps. The railway hopes to begin excavation of the inclined shafts after securing cooperation from representatives from local governments such as Shizuoka Prefecture, and has already begun coordination in preparation for the environmental assessments.

The northernmost parts of Shizuoka City—the source of the Ōi River—cuts a wedge into the southern parts of the Southern Alps, forming a valley surrounded by mountains in the Southern Alps range. This particular area, approx. 24,000 ha in area, is home to forests owned by Tokushū Tōkai Paper (HQ: Tōkyō; formerly, Tōkai Pulp), and forest roads used to pick-up and drop-off mountain hikers extend deep into the mountains. Dump trucks can reach as far as Niken-Goya (elevation 1500 m), a hiking lodge operated by a subsidiary of Tokushū Tōkai Paper.

According to JR Central, the timeline to construct the super-long tunnel is about 10 years. As the longest tunnel in Japan, it will pass approx. 1,400 m below the surface of the ground at its deepest point. In addition to weak soil conditions, strategies to deal with the soil pressure inside the excavation area also require special engineering. It’s believed that the maglev tunnel will pass underneath the area between Mt. Shiomi (3,047 m in height) and Mt. Arakawa (3,131 m in height).

On the environmental side, the tunnel alignment is expected to result in less impacts to the natural environment on the ground surface than a surface alignment. However, construction of inclined shafts will require the building special facilities and construction access roads around the surface-level end of the shaft. It’s also expected that endangered animal and plant species inhabit the surrounding area, which will likely become a topic of debate in the assessment process from the perspective of environmental preservation.

JR has already completed horizontal borings at the western base of the Southern Alps in Ōshika Village, Shimo-Ina District and the eastern base of the Southern Alps in Hayakawa Town, Yamanashi Prefecture as part of a geotechnical survey. It’s believed that the ends of the maglev tunnel will be located around these areas.

On 2011.05.20, the MLIT named JR Central as the operator and executor of the maglev Chūō Shinkansen. TBS news report:

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