TOKYO, Japan: Japan has started testing its fastest-ever bullet train which is capable of reaching 400 kilometres per hour (249 mph).
ALFA-X version of the Shinkansen train began its first test on Friday and these tests will go on for three years. The first phase, to gauge the feasibility of a 360-kilometre per hour cruising speed, will run until 2021. The second phase of trials geared toward launching commercial operation will kick off the following year.
Once it enters operation around 2030, it will run at speeds of up to 360 kilometres per hour (224 mph), making it the world’s fastest bullet train.
It will also outpace China’s Fuxing train, which runs at 10 kilometres per hour slower despite being designed with the same top speed capabilities as the ALFA-X. China runs its fastest regular service on its Beijing-Shanghai line at around 350 kilometres per hour (217 mph).
The model’s futuristic design features 10 cars and a long-pointed nose to resist wind. The ALFA-X consists of two versions with especially pointy noses 16 and 22 meters long (52 and 72 feet).
The train will be tested on the line between the cities of Sendai and Aomori. The tests will take place after midnight when the line is quiet. The tests will be conducted twice a week.
The ALFA-X marks a new stage of growth for the Shinkansen, pushing the world-renowned high-speed rail service even faster towards the future. If the train achieves its top speed, the trip between Tokyo and Sapporo would be nearly halved to four and a half hours.