Imagine being able to travel from New York to Los Angeles without having to step on a plane, yet be able to do so in a fraction of the time it would take to drive. On the surface, that tantalizing prospect took a step closer with the news last month that a Japanese maglev train had reached a top speed of close to 400 mph, breaking its own world record in the process.
And the sight of futuristic looking trains whizzing past platforms at hundreds of miles per hour isn’t confined to Japan: China, France and Spain, to name a few, have their own high-speed rail networks. Indeed, while these bullet trains may look futuristic, they have been around for decades; they’re a tried and tested technology that the Japanese debuted over 50 years ago.
Read more: Japan’s maglev train sets world record: 603 kph
So surely it’s only a matter of time before large numbers of U.S. passengers are doing a daily commute to New York from Washington and Boston in about the time it would take them to drive to work in their own cities, right?
Not anytime soon.