Lack of commercial commitment to develop the technology notwithstanding, a Japanese magnetically levitated trainset has broken the world speed record for a manned train, clocking 343 mph.
The train was a five-car consist powered by a maglev linear motor vehicle. The previous record was 330 mph for a manned run, set on Dec. 12, 1997. Central Japan Railway Co. is developing the technology jointly with Japan's Railway Technology Research Institute. They will decide by March next year whether to adopt the train for use in future commercial transportation projects
However, many observers believe that Japan's and Germany's maglev programs have little future beyond the research stage due to lack of political and private-sector commitment.
Last year, United States federal government authorized $1 billion over six years to explore and construct a maglev segment. So far, only a fraction of that amount has been appropriated for the program.