The US government wants to strengthen its commuter rail system. And it’s starting with plans to bring a magnetic-levitation train—the world’s fastest—to the nation’s capital.
The Japanese-designed train would shuttle passengers the 40 miles between Washington DC and Baltimore, Maryland, in 15 minutes, Bloomberg reported.
That’s about half the time it currently takes Amtrak’s Acela express line to make the trip.
The US Department of Transportation is still in the early stages of planning for the maglev line. On Friday (Nov. 6), the Federal Railroad Administration awarded Maryland’s state government $27.8 million to study the costs and other feasibility issues.
Maglev trains achieve incredible speeds—hitting up to 374 mph (603 km) in a recent test and routinely topping 300 mph. Magnets providing propulsion and lift allow the trains to float above the tracks, effectively eliminating speed-reducing friction.
Northeast Maglev, the company working to build the line between Washington and Baltimore, told ABC the project is expected to cost more than $10 billion and would use technology provided by Central Japan Railway Company.
The US train-maker’s CEO, Wayne Rogers, said he eventually hopes to extend the line to New York, whisking riders there in 45 minutes.