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Japan tests next-generation Shinkansen bullet train

/ 06:05 PM May 19, 2019
shinkansen japan

In this file photo taken on May 9, 2019, JR East’s new test bullet train “ALFA-X” is seen in Rifu, Miyagi prefecture. – A prototype of Japan’s next-generation Shinkansen bullet train, set to be the fastest train on wheels when it enters service, reached speeds of 320 kilometres (198 miles) per hour on a test run on May 16. The train, code-named ALFA-X, will eventually hit 360 kilometres per hour when it begins to take passengers in about a decade, according to East Japan Railway. AFP FILE PHOTO

TOKYO — A prototype of Japan’s next-generation Shinkansen bullet train, set to be the fastest train on wheels when it enters service, reached speeds of 320 kilometers (198 miles) per hour on a test run Thursday.

The train, code-named ALFA-X, will eventually hit 360 kilometers per hour when it begins to take passengers in about a decade, according to East Japan Railway.

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Production of the 10-car train with a long nose-shaped head finished in early May at a cost of 10 billion yen ($91 million).

Thursday’s trial run between Sendai and Morioka, two cities in northern Japan, was the first open to the media since tests started last week.

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“We successfully conducted the test run today and will continue testing the train for about three years,” a company spokesman said.

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The firm plans to introduce the train in 2030-31 when Shinkansen services will be extended to Sapporo, the biggest city on the nation’s northern island of Hokkaido.

“We will try to shorten traveling time with the next-generation Shinkansen,” said Kazunori Koyama, an official in charge of the testing.

Japan is a pioneer in high-speed rail networks, hailed for their punctuality and safety measures, including the emergency stop system, which can automatically slow down speeds before a major earthquake strikes.

The ALFA-X will reach the world’s fastest commercial speed for a wheeled bullet train, according to the company.

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TAGS: Bullet train, Japan, Shinkansen, technology, Transportation
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