L0 Series

The L0 Series (Japanese: L0エルゼロ, Hepburn: Eru-zero-kei, "L zero series")[4] is a high-speed maglev train that the Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) is developing and testing. JR Central plans to use the L0 series on the Chūō Shinkansen railway line between Tokyo and Osaka, which is under construction.

L0 Series
A test run of a five-car set, September 2013
ManufacturerMitsubishi Heavy Industries, Nippon Sharyo
Entered service2011
Number under construction2
Number built12 vehicles (1 set)
Number in service12 vehicles (1 set)
FormationTest: 5–12 cars
Operation: 16 cars
CapacityEnd cars: 24
Intermediate cars: 68
Operator(s)JR Central
Line(s) servedYamanashi test track
Train length299m (12-car formation)
Car length28 metres (92 ft) (end cars)
24.3 metres (80 ft) (intermediate cars)
Width2.9 metres (9.5 ft) [1]
Height3.1 metres (10 ft) [2]
Doors1 per car
Maximum speedOperational: 505 km/h (314 mph)
Record: 603 km/h (375 mph)
Power supplyL0 series: gas turbine-electric [3]
Improved L0 series: none
Current collection methodL0 series: none
Improved L0 series: induction (wireless power transfer)
Track gaugeSCMaglev Guideway

The L0 series uses the Japanese-designed SCMaglev system. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Nippon Sharyo, a subsidiary of JR Central, are building fourteen pre-production vehicles.[5]

A seven-car train set a land speed record for rail vehicles of 603 km/h (375 mph) on 21 April 2015.[6] The trains are planned to run at a maximum speed of 505 km/h (314 mph),[7] offering journey times of 40 minutes between Tokyo (Shinagawa Station) and Nagoya, and 1 hour 7 minutes between Tokyo and Osaka.[8]


The end cars of L0 series trainsets are 28 metres (92 ft) long and carry 24 passengers. The nose extends 15 metres (49 ft) for better aerodynamics and reduced noise in tunnels.[8] Intermediate cars are 24.3 metres (80 ft) long and carry 68 passengers each. Each row is four seats wide, one less than JR Central shinkansen trains. The cars are more box-shaped than earlier models to allow for more interior space.[9] Cars are painted white and blue. During normal operation, the train is expected to operate at a maximum speed of 505 km/h (314 mph).[7]

The train does not require a driver, but does have a camera at the front of both end cars in order to allow for remote operation, in case the automated systems fail. The camera is more apparent on the revised end cars, planned to be introduced from 2020. It is moved to a higher position, and increased in size.[3]

Planned Operations

Chuo Shinkansen

Construction on the Chuo Shinkansen line on which the train is intended to run began in December 2014. The first section to Nagoya is expected to be completed in 2027. That section will be approximately 85% tunnels with an estimated cost of 5.5 trillion yen (US$46.5B). The relatively high cost is in large part due to the many tunnels.[10][11]

The complete line to Osaka is estimated to cost 9 trillion yen ($74.7 billion), and was expected to be completed by 2045, after an eight year pause in construction to recuperate costs. However, after receiving a 3 trillion yen (US$28B) loan from the Japanese government, JR Central moved the project forward. It now expects to be able to open the full line as early as 2037, with construction beginning immediately after completion of the Tokyo-Nagoya section.[12]

Northeast Maglev

A route from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore, eventually extending all the way to New York City has received political support in the United States. JR Central chairman Yoshiyuki Kasai spoke with U.S. President Barack Obama about the L0 series during Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's 28 April 2015 visit.

In August 2017, development partner Mitsubishi announced that talks had "stalled" because of "a lack of clarity on the Trump administration's stance on high-speed rail".[13][14]

In March 2019, Northeast Maglev project director David Henley stated in an interview that they expect to have a Record of Decision for the D.C.-Baltimore section by August 2020, and begin construction later that same year, or in early 2021. According to Henley, this would allow operations to begin in 2027-28, allowing for a construction period of 7 years.[15]


L0 series

The first L0 series vehicle was delivered to the Yamanashi Maglev Test Line and unveiled to the press in November 2012.[16] The first five vehicles were linked up and placed on the guideway in June 2013.[9]

The first five-car train began test-running at the 42.8 km (26.6 mi) Yamanashi Maglev Test Line in June 2013, following completion of extension and upgrade work at the facility, earlier than the originally scheduled September date.[17] The maximum speed of test runs was gradually increased, reaching 500 km/h by the end of July 2013.[17]

The five-car train was lengthened to seven cars in September 2013, and test-running as a 12-car formation commenced on 25 June 2014.[18] The train was reverted to a 7-car formation later in 2014,[18] and used for public preview rides starting in November.[19]

A series of endurance and speed tests was carried out on the 42.8 km (26.6 mi) test rail in April 2015 to examine the reliability and durability of the L0 after repeated high speed usage. Several speed and distance records were set in the process.[20]

After April 2015, the train returned to being used for public preview rides.

Improved L0 Series

The L0 series are planned to be replaced with a revised model from May 2020 (named the "Improved L0 series"). This will be the first L0 series to receive power from the guideway, through induction. Currently, on-board power is provided by a small gas generator in each end car. The new end cars also feature a relocated and enlarged camera, and are more aerodynamic thanks to the removal of the exhaust vent necessary for the generator. Only one end car will be replaced by 2020, however, as well as one intermediate car. This means that the train will consist of a combination of revised and original cars for a period of time.[3]

This model is expected to form the basis for the full production sets.


L0 Series: 1 x 12-car set owned by JR Central, introduced from 2011 and planned to be converted to the Improved L0 series from June 2020.

Improved L0 Series: 1 x 12-car set planned to be upgraded from L0 series from June 2020, two replacement cars under construction as of 2019.


Speed records

  • 16 April 2015: Fastest manned train in the world (590 km/h (370 mph))
  • 21 April 2015: Fastest manned train in the world (603 km/h (375 mph))

On 16 April 2015, a manned seven-car L0 series trainset reached a speed of 590 km/h (370 mph), breaking the previous world record of 581 km/h (361 mph) set by a Japanese MLX01 maglev trainset in December 2003. The speed of 590 km/h was sustained for a period of 19 seconds.[21] This speed record was broken again on 21 April 2015, when a manned seven-car set recorded a top speed of 603 km/h (375 mph).[6] The train hit its top speed at 10:48 am, about 4 minutes into the run. With 49 JR Central employees on board, the train sustained the speed for 10.8 seconds, travelling 1.8 kilometres (1.1 mi) during that time.[6][13]

Distance records

  • 10 April 2015: Longest distance travelled in one day (3,904 km (2,426 mi)), breaking the previous record (2,876 km (1,787 mi)) set in 2003.
  • 14 April 2015: Longest distance travelled in one day (4,064 km (2,525 mi)).[10][22]

See also


  1. "L0 design changes" (PDF). jr-central.co.jp. JR Central. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  2. "L0 design changes" (PDF). jr-central.co.jp. JR Central. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  3. 山梨リニア実験線に改良型試験車両 2020年春に完成へ. 乗りものニュース (in Japanese). Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  4. リニア試乗11月再開 JR東海 有料2500円程度で [JR Central to resume maglev rides - costing around 2,500 yen]. The Yamanashi Nichinichi Shimbun - Web Edition (in Japanese). Japan: The Yamanashi Nichinichi Shimbun. 20 March 2014. Archived from the original on 25 March 2014. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  5. リニア新車両は三菱重工と日本車輌製造に内定 JR東海社長 [Maglev vehicles to be built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Nippon Sharyo - JR Central President] (in Japanese). Japan: Sankei Shimbun. 21 December 2010. Archived from the original on 23 December 2010. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  6. "Japan's maglev train breaks world speed record with 600km/h test run". The Guardian. United Kingdom: Guardian News and Media Limited. 21 April 2015. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  7. JR東海:リニア時速500キロ、試験再開-通勤圏拡大で激変も [JR Central: Maglev testing at 500 km/h resumes - Expanded commuter area to create major upheavals]. Bloomberg (in Japanese). Japan: Bloomberg LP. 29 August 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  8. "JR Tokai unveils a model for the new high-speed maglev train 'L0′". Daily Onigiri. DailyOnigiri.com. 4 November 2010. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  9. "Prototype of high-speed maglev train shown to public" Archived 30 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Asahi Shimbun, 2013-06-03.
  10. Keith Barrow (17 April 2015). "Japan breaks maglev speed record". International Railway Journal. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  11. Ichihara, Tomohiro (22 April 2015). "Japanese rail company eyes exports to cover maglev costs". Nikkei. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  12. "Japan PM's maglev decision reflects political calculus over economics". Reuters. 21 July 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  13. "Japanese rail company eyes exports to cover maglev costs". Nikkei. 22 April 2015. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  14. "Mitsubishi Heavy to back out of maglev train project". Nikkei Asian Review. 10 August 2017.
  15. American Rail Club (9 March 2019), Fastest Train Being Built in America! - NYC to DC in 60 Minutes, retrieved 14 March 2019
  16. リニア新型車両「L0系」を初公開 JR東海が山梨の実験線に搬入 [New L0 series maglev car unveiled, delivered to Yamanashi Test Track]. Sankei Biz (in Japanese). Japan: Sankei Digital Inc. 22 November 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  17. 7月中にも最高時速500キロに 新型車両「L0系」 [New L0 series trains to reach 500 km/h during July]. Chunichi Web (in Japanese). Japan: The Chunichi Shimbun. 24 July 2013. Archived from the original on 29 July 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  18. リニア、きょうからL0系試験 12両編成で走行 [Maglev L0 to start testing from today as 12-car formation]. The Yamanashi Nichinichi Shimbun - Web Edition (in Japanese). The Yamanashi Nichinichi Shimbun. 25 June 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  19. "Lucky riders whoosh along at 500 km/h on maglev test run for the public". The Asahi Shimbun Asahi & Japan Watch. Japan: The Asahi Shimbun Company. 13 November 2014. Archived from the original on 16 November 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  20. "Japanese maglev testing tops 600 km/h". Railway Gazette. 21 April 2015. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  21. リニア「L0系」、世界最高の590キロ記録 [L0 series maglev sets world speed record of 590 km/h]. Yomiuri Online (in Japanese). Japan: The Yomiuri Shimbunl. 16 April 2015. Archived from the original on 16 April 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  22. 「山梨リニア実験線 長距離走行試験」の結果等について [Results of distance trials at Yamanashi Maglev Test Track] (PDF) (Press release) (in Japanese). Japan: Central Japan Railway Company. 16 April 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
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