字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 This video was made possible by CuriosityStream. Watch thousands of high-quality documentaries and get access to my streaming service, Nebula, by using the link in the description. 60 years ago, Japan invented high-speed rail with iconic Bullet Trains that could operate at more than 200km/hr. The Bullet Train transformed Japan, and kick started a revolution in high-speed rail around the world. Now, the Japanese are setting out to do it again. This time by building a new kind of train that will operate at an incredible 500km per hour. The world's fastest train will connect Japan's two largest cities and it will be faster than flying. Covering the 400km distance in just 67 minutes. But this is also one of the most expensive transport projects in history. And an enormous bet on a technology that has yet to prove itself. And some question whether building the world's fastest train really makes sense. Even as the first Bullet Trains began operating 1964, Japanese engineers were already working on a radical new kind of train. With cutting edge rail technologies, Bullet Trains could operate at speeds once thought impossible. And while there was still plenty of room to get them to go even faster, engineers realized that at some point, trains would hit a speed limit. The friction, vibration and noise from conventional steel wheels would simply become too great. To go much faster, they would need a new kind of train. So to eliminate rail friction, engineers would get rid of wheels altogether, and instead use magnetic force to levitate the train inside a guideway Although the solution seemed radical, the idea of magnetically levitating a train had been around since the early 1900's. With the first patents appearing in 1912. But the technologies needed to make such a train actually work, were only beginning to come together in the 1960s. Among early experiments with maglevs, Japan and Germany emerged as leaders. Each investing heavily in unique versions of the technology. By the 1980's, prototype maglevs were making headlines, breaking speed records, and promising to revolutionize railways. But it would be another two decades before the first high-speed maglev would see commercial operation. It wasn't until 2004, with the opening of the Shanghai Transrapid, that maglevs had finally overtaken conventional rail as the fastest trains in the world. On the line connecting Shanghai with it s airport, maglevs based on Germany's technology routinely reach 430 km per hour. But since opening almost 20 years ago, it's still the only high-speed maglev in operation. Because much of the world has since given up on the technology. There were once ambitious plans to build high-speed maglevs around the world with some even predicting that North America alone would see thousands of kilometres constructed by the 2020's. But plans never materialized. The problem is, Maglevs are expensive. Compared to conventional high-speed rail lines, they cost anywhere from 2 to 3 times more to build. And they don't work with existing infrastructure. Unlike high-speed trains, which can make use of the more than a million kilometres of conventional rail lines already in existence, along with stations built out in almost every city. Since 1964, over 50 thousand kilometres of high-speed rail line have been constructed. A number expected to double in the coming decades. That compares to less than 100 km of maglev lines built in the same time period. The world seems to have moved on. But Japan is still forging ahead Japan's massive bet on Maglev technology starts with geography. The world's first intercity maglev line, being built by the Central Japan Railway Company, will connect the country's two largest cities. Just like the first Bullet Trains did in 1964. But today, where it takes two and a half hours for the fastest Bullet Trains to travel between Tokyo and Osaka, the new maglev line will cut that down to just 67 minutes. And it means that three cities with a combined population of more than 18 million people will be brought within commuting distance. Effectively transforming them into a single giant city. A degree of mobility that promises to boost Japan's entire economy. But there are also more pressing reasons to build the new line. The existing Shinkansen line already carries nearly half a million passengers every single day. But with Bullet Trains often spaced just three minutes apart, its reaching its limit. And so is the infrastructure, which is now almost 60 years old. And the existing line also runs through the most earthquake prone regions of Japan. One major earthquake could sever the country's most critical rail link. Causing enormous financial damage. The maglev line will instead take a more direct route between the major cities through a much less seismically active mountain range. And it means over 80 percent of the line will run through tunnels, Some of which will be 25 km long and a kilometer and a half below the surface. The first section is expected to open in 2027 with the remaining connection to Osaka completed a decade later. But when it s all said and done, Japan's high speed intercity maglevs will be the fastest way to travel between japan s major cities. Even faster than flying. Making such eye-watering speeds possible is a technology that's been in development for over 50 years. It s called SCMaglev. The SC stands for Superconducting. To leveltate trains off their guideway, electromagnets are cooled to extreme temperatures in order to take advantage of a phenomenon called superconductivity, which significantly increases magnetic force. The train's electromagnets interact with coils embedded inside a guideway. One set of coils is used to propel the train while the other is for levitation and guidance. The second set of coils is unpowered. It means SCMaglevs must first accelerate on wheels to 150 km/h before they can induce a magnetic field to levitate. But once up to speed, the trains are dynamically stable. Requiring no active systems to keep them stable and centered. The trains are also fully autonomous, controlled not by a driver, but by the track. Meaning collisions are almost impossible. And with 3 separate braking systems, they can also stop faster than conventional trains. This is a train straight out of the future. And it will be the most ambitious implementation of maglev technology. But does it actually make sense to build? For nearly 60 years, Japan has continued to develop their iconic Bullet Trains. Today they're recognized as some of the most advanced, reliable and efficient high trains in the world. Leading some to question whether the switch to maglev, is less a leap forward, and more a misstep. To start, SCMaglevs are smaller than Bullet Trains in almost every dimension. And it means they'll carry fewer passengers Nor will they run as frequently as Bullet Trains. Maglev switches, the mechanism that allows maglevs to switch tracks, are much slower than conventional rail switches. It means maglevs must operate at least ten minutes apart. Compared to just three minutes for Bullet Trains. Smaller trains, running less frequently, means Japan's Maglev will never match the capacity of a conventional Bullet Trains. All the while consuming a lot more energy. Below 300 km/h, the energy consumption of a Bullet Train and maglev aren't that different. But operating at 500 km/h introduces much more air resistance. Made worse by running mostly through tunnels. It means to operate at twice the speed of Bullet Trains, SCMaglevs will consume four times more energy. And the project is already the most expensive in Japan s history, estimated to cost at least 5 and half times more than the original 1964 Bullet Train line. Much of it owing to the amount of tunneling required, but also the cost of building entirely new stations next to or below existing ones Proponents argue that SCMaglev technology can be exported to the rest of the world. The question is, where? The rest of world has already passed up on Germany s Transrapid in favor of conventional high-speed rail. China is the only other country still researching ultra- high speed maglevs, showing off it's own prototype in 2021. But the country also recently renewed its commitment to expand its conventional high-speed rail network by tens of thousands of kilometers by the end of the decade. While there are proposals to implement SCMaglev technology elsewhere, the reality is few places in the world have Japan's combination of wealth, population destiny and appetite for enormously expensive infrastructure projects. Leaving many to question whether Japan's enormously expensive investment into maglev can ever really pay off. When the Japanese were pouring billions into constructing the first Bullet Trains, many ridiculed it as a misguided effort. Railways were viewed as a dead technology, too slow to survive the modern age. But the world's first high speed railway was an enormous success. And other countries soon followed with their own massive investments in high-speed rail. The SCMaglev is Japan s next quantum leap, operating at speeds well beyond the reach of conventional rail. It ll be cleaner, quieter, safer and more comfortable than any train before it. But these benefits will be weighed against enormous development and infrastructure costs. The SCMaglev's story is yet to be written. And it remains to be seen whether the project can herald in a new era in high-speed ground transport, or whether it s destined to join other failed attempts at reinventing railways. If you're wondering how I make my videos, or what software I use, or maybe just a bit more about who I am check out my latest behind the scenes Q&A video on Nebula, where I answer questions submitted by you. And while you're at it, check out my other exclusive Nebula videos. Nebula is where top educational creators like Wendover Productions post exclusive content. Without annoying YouTube ads or sponsor messages. And it's home to a growing library of full feature Originals. But the best part about Nebula is that it's free when you sign up for CuriosityStream. A streaming service with thousands of big budget award-winning documentaries from science to technology to history and nature. If you want to learn more about the future of high-speed ground transportation, check out Ticket to the Future, a fascinating look into more radical concepts like hyperloop. Get an entire year of CuriosityStream and Nebula for less than $15, by going to curiositystream.com/mustard and use the promo code mustard when you sign up.