World’s Fastest Bullet Train Starts High-Speed Tests (Reports).
Japan has started testing the world’s fastest bullet train, capable of reaching speeds as much as 400 kilometers per hour (249 miles per hour).
Called the ALFA-X, the train is scheduled to go into service with Japanese rail company JR East in 2030, Bloomberg reported.
Once it enters operation, JR East plans to operate it at 360 kph (224 mph), which would make it 10 kph faster than China’s Fuxing Hao, which has the same top speed capabilities as the ALFA-X.
The ALFA-X’s most striking feature is its sleek nose, which measures 72 feet (22 meters), and is designed to cope with massive wind resistance when entering tunnels, according to Bloomberg. The train’s futuristic design also features 10 cars, painted in metallic silver with green stripes.
The train, which marks a new stage of growth for the Shinkansen network of high-speed railway lines in Japan, begins test runs Friday between the cities of Aomori and Sendai at night, to be conducted over three years.
Just a year ago, Japan started testing its new Shinkansen N700S, which will enter operation in 2020, according to CNN. But with the N700S’s maximum speeds of 300 kph (186 mph), the ALFA-X will easily outpace it.
The testing of new bullet train models coincides with Japan’s preparations to host the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Japan’s bullet trains made their debut in the same year as the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and have since become a symbol of the country’s focus on efficiency and reliability.
Magnetic levitation, or maglev, trains however still hold the record for fastest trains. Shanghai is home to the fastest commercially operating Maglev train, which has a top speed of 268 mph, enabling it to cover a 19-mile distance in just seven minutes and 20 seconds.