Only last week the world’s fastest bullet train began testing in Japan. Named the Shinkansen ALFA-X the train is said to be capable of 400 kilometers per hour, a whopping 249mph! Expected to begin production in 2030 it will become the world’s fastest train carrying its passengers at a steady speed of 360kph, or 224mph.
Before it can be revealed to its eager passengers the train must first undergo 3 years of testing. While the train tracks between the cities of Aomori and Sendai are deserted, after midnight twice weekly, the train will perform these tests. The ALFA-X will only add to the legacy Japan has for fast bullet trains.
Built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Hitachi two well known Japanese corporations the train will have 10 carriages and boast a 72 foot long aerodynamic nose, to cope with the massive wind resistance. Roof mounted air brakes along with magnetic plates on its undercarriage will provide ample braking.
Ever since way back in 1964, the same year as the Tokyo Olympics bullet trains have been a symbol of Japan’s focus on reliability and efficiency for its trains. Japan’s trains are very rarely late and travel to many destinations throughout the country making trains a great alternative to air travel. The ALFA-X is a key part of a plan to offer faster and better services to Sapporo, the largest city in Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido.
The ALFA-X holds the world’s fastest train record at this moment, but there is a very high chance it will be dethroned by the time it actually comes into service. A new train line between Tokyo and Nagoya that will incorporate floating magnetic trains that will travel around 505 kilometers per hour! This will cut the travel time between both cities from 100 minutes to 40 minutes!
Five Things about the ALFA-X you should know
1. All fast things must be able to stop! Air brakes on the ALFA-X’s roof along with magnetic brakes underneath will help slow down the train, the train also has a conventional braking system.
2. ALFA-X has air suspension and dampers keeping it very stable when navigationing curves or corners in the track, which will of course add comfort for its passengers.
3. ALFA-X gets its name from “Advanced Labs for Frontline Activity in rail eXperimentation.” , bit a mouthful right ? ALFA-X sounds much more futuristic.
4. ALFA-X is based on Japan’s JR’s E5 platform, which already accommodates many major routes throughout the country.
5. Data from the train will be linked to the control center, the maintenance center and its staff. This will help monitor the train’s performance keeping it operating at optimal levels throughout its journeys.