An engineering marvel forged in the aftermath of the Second World War, it’s carried more than 10 billion passengers at speeds of up 320 kilometres per hour – and helped create the world’s third largest economy.

But that’s not enough for Japan and the country is now building the world’s fastest passenger train; a system that’ll move at twice the speed of current bullet trains and cut journey times in half, all by doing away with one fairly fundamental component – wheels.

Using magnetic levitation, these new trains will hover ten centimetres above the ground, eliminating the friction that comes from being in contact with the rails.But the new line has proved deeply controversial – grappling with delays, skyrocketing construction costs and a fierce debate over environmental concerns.