The same week that National Journal released a sweeping report on the sorry state of America’s railways — in which, among other things, Amtrak’s president and CEO cried with frustration over the government’s financial abandonment [Amtrak is allotted $1.4 billion annually to China Rail’s $128 billion] of the company —Japan’s super-speed Maglev trains have broken a new world speed record. In a run at the foot of Mount Fuji, the Central Japan Railway Company ran a seven-car train at 603 kph (a brisk 374 mph) for over eleven seconds. Unlike Amtrak’s trains, which are powered by three-legged mules and the broken dreams of transit officials, Japan’s Maglev trains hover several inches above their tracks and are propelled by electronically-charged magnets to cruising speeds regularly above 300 mph. Also, Amtrak’s most punctual trains arrive late 25% of the time; Japanese trains arrive late approximately 0 %. We celebrate the Land of the Rising Sun and their superior technology with absolutely no bitterness.
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