Fastest Trains In The World
There are two types of trains that are considered to be the fastest trains in the world. One is a conventional train from France and another is what they classify as an unconventional train that is from Japan. The difference between the two trains is that the conventional high speed train has wheels and runs on rails, whereas the one from Japan is operated by magnetic levitation (maglev) instead of wheels. Both are passenger trains and both are achieving very high speeds. The French TGV reached a speed of 357 miles per hour and the Japanese Maglev attained the speed of 361 miles per hour.
An electrified railway system supplies electrical energy to trains so that they don't require a diesel engine. In diesel electric trains or locomotives, the diesel engine is used to create electricity that powers electric motors, that drive the train. Although initially, it is more expensive to build electrified railway systems as a country's mode of mass transit, there are a lot of advantages. Since they don't need a diesel engine or have to carry heavy or large amounts of fuel, gives them the obvious advantage of the train being simply much lighter. This means they can accelerate faster and they need much less energy that is required for steeper grades.
How an electric rail system works is that it has an overhead catenary and pantograph system. The pantograph is a jointed or hinged metal arm that sometimes employs mechanical springs, that is located on top of the train. This metal framework pushes or keeps what is called a contact or collector shoe up against electrified wires to collect the electricity that is needed to power the train. The rails that these electric trains run on are metal or steel and act to close the electrical loop on the system. Pantograph and catenary systems used in modern electrified railways are similar to how trolleys, trams or streetcars operate, only they are much more advanced.
In the magnetic levitation trains called maglevs, they either use electromagnetic suspension or electrodynamic suspension. In the electromagnetic systems, electricity is used to create magnetic fields that create levitation. If you have ever had two magnets and you try to push them together, you will find that if their end or field is opposite, then they will attract and the magnets will stick together. If they are similar ends or fields, they will repel each other. Electromagnets are created using electricity to power this magnetism.
In electrodynamic suspension systems they use linear induction motors and superconducting magnets in a sophisticated combination. Common electric motors are called induction motors and synchronous motors. They have wound copper wire, metal armatures, rotors and stators. In a common electric motor, they are basically electromagnets that are made to spin or rotate. On these maglevs they use induction motors for propulsion and to aid in the levitation process, but instead of being made to spin, these electromagnetic motors behave in a straight or linear fashion.
The advantages to these types of levitating and propulsion systems are that they don't need axles or wheels and many other mechanical parts. This means there is no friction or wear and tear, that are usually associated with those types of assemblies, which means less maintenance. They can give passengers a more gentle and comfortable ride since they are being levitated or floating in air. In actuality they are really just a half an inch in the air. The disavatages of these types of railway systems is they they have to be completely built from the ground up, since in most cases they cannot use the existing railway tracks. The results however are that they can go over 300 miles an hour and go from destination to destination in considerably less time, all while floating on air. For me, the best part is watching them fly by like indy cars!