Wednesday, May 29, 2019

JR-East Unveils World's Fastest Bullet Train

Article Written By: Kyle Tam


    The East Japanese Railway Company (JR-East) has unveiled their new bullet train called Alfa-X that is capable of top speeds of 400 km/h (249 mph). Planned to enter service in 2030, JR East will be running the trains at max speeds of 360 km/h (224 mph).
    The train is composed of 10 electric cars manufactured by Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Hitachi with carriages featuring a light green line running along their silver body and a sleek nose spanning 22 metres (72 feet) to cope with massive wind resistance when entering tunnels. This will pose as an experiment to see if it will reduce the noise of the train, which is a recurring problem for shinkansen.

    Japanese shinkansen, or commonly known as bullet trains, are a symbol of Japanese efficiency. Since entering service for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, shinkansen have been rarely late, despite departing from Tokyo Station every few minutes for destinations across the country. The Alfa-X will play a crucial role in offering faster services to Sapporo, the biggest city on the northern island of Hokkaido.

    "We want to improve not only speed, but also safety and comfort," said Ichiro Ogawa, the head of JR-East's research and development center, in an interview with Japanese newspaper The Mainichi.
    Although Alfa-X currently holds the title for the world's fastest train, it may lose this title by the time it enters service. This is due to a new maglev line currently in development for Tokyo and Nagoya that will open in 2027. Travelling through deep tunnels, these trains will travel at top speeds of 505 km/h (314 mph), cutting travel times between the two cities from 110 minutes to 40 minutes.
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Image Credit: Konosuke Urata | Kyodo News

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