Japanese railway company JR East will start testing a new model of the Shinkansen bullet train, capable of reaching speeds up to 360km/h by 2019, a company spokesperson says.
ALFA-X, short for “Advanced Labs for Frontline Activity in rail eXperimentation,” will serve as the basis for a new generation of Japanese bullet trains, which the company plans to put in operation by 2030.
The new model, whose first prototype will have 10 coaches, will be considerably faster than JR East’s E5 series, currently the fastest Shinkansen in operation, travelling at speeds of up to 320km/h to connect Tokyo with the northern region of Tohoku.
The new generation of Japanese bullet trains will commence operations at the same time as the proposed extension of the high speed line to the city of Sapporo in Hokkaido, the main northern island of the Japanese archipelago.
Meanwhile, JR Central, owned by the same group as JR East, is also developing a super high-speed magnetic levitation (maglev) train, which will start commercial operations in 2027.
The line, named Chuo Shinkansen, will run at speeds exceeding 500km/h and initially connect Tokyo with Nagoya (Central Japan), but will be later extended to Osaka (West).