“‘Maglev’ is a quick way to say ‘magnetic levitation,’ a mode of train transport that allows for faster, smoother rides.
Most trains get their power from an electrified third rail, with which the underside of the train must stay in constant contact, resulting in friction and loss of speed. A maglev train also depends on electricity, but in a different way. A Power source electrifies coils on the maglev track, which produces a magnetic field. This field repels the magnets on the train’s underside, so the train ‘floats’ an inch or two above the tracks.
Because it experiences virtually no friction, a maglev train can go much faster than an ordinary train. In japan, a new maglev line promises to hit speeds of about 300 miles per hour-about twice the average speed of the fastest electric train, and half the speed of a passenger plane!