Getting from Tokyo to Osaka is a two and a half hour journey, but soon — well, in 17 years — it might take just 67 minutes. A new initiative called the Linear Project is being developed by the Japan Railways Group to facilitate travel across Japan at record-breaking speeds. The project would revolve around the Linear bullet train, which initially runs on wheels before gathering enough speed to retract its wheels and continue running while levitating four inches above the ground. The elimination of friction between the wheels and track allows the train to travel at speeds of up to 311 mph.
The train would be capable of taking passengers from Tokyo to Nagoya in 40 minutes, or Tokyo to Osaka in just 67 minutes. Unfortunately, the commute isn’t exactly going to be shortening anytime soon. The project will reportedly cost $50.5 billion, and take until 2037 for all the infrastructure to be built (2027 for Tokyo to Nagoya). You won’t exactly be enjoying any outside scenery, either, as 86 percent of the track will be underground to avoid areas with strong earthquake tremors.
Japan’s current bullet trains are already among the fastest in the world, traveling at speeds of 199 mph. And in 50 years of operation there have been zero accidents resulting in passenger injury or death.