How awesome is this? A Toyota 2000GT wrapped on the side of a train. Of course, it is in Japan and the train is the Linimo, a mag-lev train in Aichi Prefecture. Japanese rail companies often create limited-time decorations for their trains, but this is perhaps the coolest one yet. Here’s more than you ever wanted to know about it.
The fact that this train takes you past the Toyota Automobile Museum is no coincidence. Back in January 2004, we visited the museum and noticed there was a massive construction project in front of it. Turns out it was the Linimo. Before that, even in rail-connected Japan there was no easy way to get to the museum without a car (we had quite a memorable adventure getting there, but that’s a story for another day). Now, the stop is Geidai-dori, just look for the big red “T” that sits outside the museum.
2015 marks the 10th anniversary of the Linimo (an abbreviation of Linear Motor, the type of electric motor that powers the magnetic field that the train floats on). It’s not as fast as the 268 mph maglev train in Shanghai, China, but the Linimo serves an urban area with close stops so it only needs a top speed of 62 mph.
At the time of its construction, it was Japan’s only maglev train. It was opened in 2005 to serve the Aichi Expo, a five-month-long, 22-million-visitor World’s Fair hosted in Toyota’s backyard. In fact, ToMoCo spent so much sponsorship money — showcasing technology and concept cars at pavilions, donating alternative fuel buses, and helping build Olympic-sized infrastructure projects — that some critics called it simply the Toyota Expo.
Photos courtesy of the Toyota Automobile Museum.