Rail-happy Japan, a country that probably takes great joy in watching America's embarrassingly slow and fitful adoption of high-speed and maglev trains, will be graced with new breed of green, 300+ kph trains by 2010. Kawasaki Heavy Industries, the designer of these new trains, isn't promoting speed as the main selling point—Japan railways have seen much faster hardware fly down the tracks before—but instead is emphasising its environmental benefits.
The main bit of green tech will sound somewhat familiar to car enthusiasts; regenerative braking, which converts braking resistance to electricity, has been a standard feature of hybrid cars for quite a few years now. The 350 kph cruising speed, not so much. For reference, Amtrak only serves about five destinations with its high-speed service, which tops out at 240kph on a good day. For terror, consider that the Metrolink crash that killed over 25 people occurred at no more than 80kph. [Wired]