Road & Rail

Japan trials the world’s fastest bullet train

Japan has trialled its fastest ever bullet train, with predictions it can hit speeds upwards of 350 kilometres per hour.

Bloomberg reported the new shinkansen (bullet train), scheduled to go into service in 2030, is capable of speeds as high as 400 kilometres per hour – a tad quicker than Sydney’s light rail.

Rail company East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) reportedly plans to operate the Alfa-X at 360 kilometres per hour – 10 kilometres faster than China’s Fuxing Hao, which links Beijing and Shanghai and has the same top speed.

Kazunori Koyama, an official in charge of the testing, told CNN Asia that the shinkansen aimed to further shorten commute times for a service already known for its punctuality.

Production of the shinkansen finished in early May at a reported cost of 10 billion yen ($131 million).

“The development of the next-generation shinkansen is based on the key concepts of superior performance, a high level of comfort, a superior operating environment and innovative maintenance,” JR East told Bloomberg.

CNN Asia reported the 10-car Alfa-X trialled yesterday, between the Northern Japanese cities of Sendai and Morioka, and reached speeds of 320 kilometres per hour.

Japan’s high-speed rail is also known for its revolutionary safety measures, including its emergency stop system, which can reportedly automatically slow down speeds before a major earthquake strikes.

Furthermore, Bloomberg reported the new bullet train will have air brakes on the roof and use magnetic plates near the rails to slow down, in addition to conventional brakes.

However, the Alfa-X could be dethroned as the world’s fastest train before it even goes into service. A new magnetic-levitation line is reportedly being built between Tokyo and Nagoya, with operations starting in 2027.

The train is set to operate at a top speed of 505 kilometres per hour, with the magnetically levitated train reportedly cutting commute time between Tokyo and Nagoya to 40 minutes, from the current 110 minutes.

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