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Federal funding for US maglev

The US government has taken the surprising step of awarding a $27.8 million grant to fund the planning costs for a superconducting maglev line on the east coast.

In a country known for its lack of high-speed rail services, the 500 km/h maglev would reduce journey times between Washington and New York to just an hour.

It would be the first application of the technology outside of Japan, where it is still years away from operating regular passenger services.

The FTA said the funding would finance “pre-construction planning, engineering analysis, and other capital costs for fixed guideway infrastructure”.

Governor of Maryland Larry Hogan said: “The ability to travel between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. in only 15 minutes will be absolutely transformative, not just for these two cities, but for our entire state.

“This grant will go a long way in helping us determine our next steps in this transportation and economic development opportunity.”

In April, JR Central’s superconducting maglev set a new world speed record on its test track in Japan’s Yamanashi prefecture.

The maglev topped 590 km/h on April 16, breaking the previous record of 581 km/h set in 2003, before going on to break the 600 km/h barrier the following week.

In 2027, JR West plans to begin operating services on the Chuo Shinkansen system between Nagoya, Tokyo and Osaka.

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