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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Does MagLev Train Battle Have Historical Implications?

Presented for you today is a very interesting article written by Eric Johnston, a staff writer with the Japan Times Online. It was shown to me by my pal Mike Rogers of Marketing Japan blog fame.

He showed me this tale of Japan's desire - and plan - to construct a Maglev train line between Tokyo and Nagoya (to be completed by 2027) and continuing that same line to Osaka, which will hopefully be completed by 2045. I hope I live long enough to see them both.

A Maglev, (while unfortunately not discussed in the article) is exactly what it sounds like: magnetic levitation. This train will run with the awesome power of magnets, which only sounds weird until you recall that the magnet will push the train up above a rail system so that there is no friction, meaning the train will be able to propel itself along the guide a heck of a lot quicker than a standard shinkansen (bullet train).

It's also supposed to travel 500 kph. See the exciting video below! 

Further background, and grist for thought, is that there is a political battle going on right now between two cities to gain a train stop for the Maglev between the Nagoya-Osaka run. It's a battle between the cities of Nara and Kyoto, to gain the almighty tourist buck.  

Now... way back in the early part of the 8th century, 710 AD, to be exact, Nara was considered the central power, and thus the capital of Japan. 

The Nara of this era was beautiful (and still is, I hear), and it had grown large from its trade with China, being influenced in art, sculptures and culture.

But then the capital was moved to Nagaoka in 784 AD and then again in 794 AD to Kyoto.

Most people who travel to Japan put Kyoto high on the list of places to see, as it has over 1,000 temples... but Nara, despite its stunning architecture, it's not that high up on the list. I know I did not visit it, but my culturally advanced friend Matthew Hall did.

I lived in Japan during the pre-Internet days of 1990-1993, or at least there wasn't any talk of the Internet where I lived, but even I had heard of Kyoto, and knew next to nothing of Nara, except what I read about in a history book or three that I read my first month in the country.

So... what to do you think? I'm just going to put this out there, but this tourism battle battle for the train station, besides the economic implications, also has some historical significance to it.

Here's the Japan Times Maglev story - I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.


And, again - thanks Mike!

1 comment:

  1. That was really fast!
    With the power of magnetism harnessed in it, friction force is negligible thus more acceleration.