Japan, the birthplace of high-speed rail travel, is pushing the limits of train travel.
It recently unveiled its new generation bullet train Alfa-X which is capable of speeds of as much as 400 kilometers (249 miles) per hour.
The ALFA-X version of the Shinkansen train will be built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Hitachi. The train has gone into testing. It will have to undergo three years of testing and the test runs will take place on tracks between the cities of Aomori and Sendai. The tests will be taking place after midnight and are expected to take place twice a week.
Some of the salient features of Alfa-X:
- The train is scheduled to go into service in 2030.
- It has 10 cars and a 72-foot-long aerodynamic nose, which is dramatically elongated to minimize noise and pressure when passing through tunnels.
- In addition to conventional brakes, it will have both roof-mounted air brakes and magnetic plates near the rails.
- It also features sensors for reducing the impact of possible earthquake tremors.
- Bullet train Alfa-X will have dampers and air suspension for its stability while traversing curves, maintaining its balance and comfort for passengers.
Alfa-X won’t be able to match the record-breaking speed of Japan Railway’s magnetic levitation, or maglev, a train which hit 603 kph (374 mph) in 2015.