The JR-Maglev, ( リニアーカー )  is a maglev system developed by the Japan Railway Technical Research Institute JRTRI (an association of the Japan Railway Group). JR-Maglev MLX01 (X means ''experimental'') is one of the latest designs of a series of Maglev trains in development in Japan since the 1970s. Japan has built a demonstration line in the Yamanashi prefecture as part of the planned new Chuo (Maglev) Shinkansen line. 

The Chūō Maglev Shinkansen (中央新幹線) is a proposed maglev line connecting Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka, Japan, a culmination of the maglev development since the 1970's, a government funded project initiated by Japan Airlines and the former JNR. JR Central now operates the facilities and research. The trainsets themselves are popularly known in Japan as "linear car" (リニアーカー), though there have been many technical variations. In April of 2007, JR Central President Masayuki Matsumoto disclosed that JR Central would aim to begin commercial maglev service between Tokyo and Nagoya in the year 2025. 

Maglev trains being tested on the Yamanashi Maglev Test Line are composed of a maximum of 5 cars. On December 2, 2003, a three-car train set (JR-Maglev MLX01) attained a maximum speed of 581 km/h (361 mph) in a manned vehicle run.  The MLX 01 was slightly faster than any wheeled trains (the current TGV speed record (2007)is 574.8 km/h). The Japanese Maglev Trains technically are able to reach much higher speeds, the current world record of 581 km/h is a comparatively low speed for a HST maglev train - due to the relatively short track that is currently available. With the extension of the track, a significantly higher world record comes into reach. 

The Japanese maglev trains make use of modern superconducting magnets which allow for a larger gap, and repulsive-type Electro-Dynamic Suspension (EDS). 
The "Superconducting Maglev Shinkansen", developed by the Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, are currently the fastest trains in the world, achieving a record speed of 581 km/h on December 2, 2003. 

When the total line goes into operation, the maglev system is expected to run through nine prefectures.  Those prefectural governments, which include Tokyo and Osaka, jointly established a group to promote construction of the new line.


Aspects of Technology

Magnetic levitation trains make use of a levitation system, a guide system, and a driving system. 


The JR-Maglev levitation train uses an Electro-dynamic Suspension (EDS) system. Moving magnetic fields create a reactive force in a conductor because of the magnetic field effect.  This force holds up the train. The maglev-trains have superconducting magnetic coils, and the guide ways contain levitation coils. 

When the trains run at high speed, levitation coils on the guide way produce reactive forces in response to the approach of the superconducting magnetic coils onboard the trains. 

EDS has the advantage of larger gaps than EMS, but EDS needs support wheels which are employed in low speed running, because EDS can't produce a large levitation force at low(er) speeds (150km/h or less in JR-Maglev). However, once the train reaches a certain speed, the wheels will actually retract so that the train is floating. 

One reason why the Japanese make use of the EDS system is the wider air gap. The Japanese concern is that in a case of an earthquake the magnets of a Transrapid-like System could touch the stator, because the EMS-airgap is only 1 cm and must be constantly controlled. The Japanese system instead has an airgap of about 10 cm and is "self-stable". 


Levitation coils which are located on the guideway generate guiding and stabilizing forces. 

The guideway has estimated constructin costs of 30 to 50 million Euros per km. 


JR-Maglev is driven by a Linear Synchronous Motor (LSM) System. This system is needed to supply power to the coils at the guide way. 




  • 1962 - Initial technology research was started.

  • 1977 - Miyazaki Prefecture began applying the technology to rail transport.

  • 1979 - Experimental ML500 train reached a speed of 517 km/h (with no passengers).

  • 1987 - Reached a speed of 400.8 km/h with passengers.

  • 1997 - The experiment run was started at Yamanachi tracks (MLX01) on April. In December, it reached a speed of 531 km/h with passengers.

  • 2003 - Reached a speed of 581 km/h with passengers.

  • 2004 - Number of passengers for Maglev trial ride exceeded 80,000 persons. Test of two trains passing each other at a maximum relative speed of 1,026 km/h.

  • 2005 - The Crown Prince of Japan, Naruhito, experienced a Maglev trial ride.

  • 2007 - JR Tokai announces the decision to build and operate a Maglev link between Tokyo and Nagoya (later: Osaka) by 2025.


  • 1972 - LSM200

  • 1972 - ML100

  • 1975 - ML100A

  • 1977 - ML-500

  • 1979 - ML-500R

  • 1980 - MLU001

  • 1987 - MLU002

  • 1993 - MLU002N

  • 1996 - MLX01

  • 2002 - MLX01-901