Japan tests fastest bullet train in the world

The ALFA-X version of the Shinkansen can reach the speed of 400 kph

The Land of the Rising Sun has proven to remain the world’s leader in the railway industry. On Friday, Japan tested its fastest bullet train ever built. During its night ride, the train reached the speed of 400 kph.

The development of the version of Shinkansen called ALFA-X began three years ago and it is expected to enter operation by 2030. With the travelling speed of around 360 kph for commercial operation, the train will beat the current record holder. China’s Fuxing Hao which links Beijing and Shanghai travels 10 kph slower.

The test rides take place between the cities of Aomori and Sendai at night and will carry on for another three years.

The symbol of efficiency

Japan launched the service of the bullet trains in 1964 when the country was hosting the Olympic games. In spite of their rather high frequency of departures, Shinkansens are rarely late and have become a symbol of Japanese efficiency and reliability.  

The ALFA-X version plays a key part in a plan to offer services to the biggest city on the northernmost island of Hokkaido — Sapporo.

“The development of the next-generation Shinkansen is based on the key concepts of superior performance, a high level of comfort, a superior operating environment and innovative maintenance,” East Japan Railway Co., better known as JR East, said in a statement.

Shinkansen has become the Japanese symbol of reliability and efficiency — EvergreenPlanet / Shutterstock Japan tests fastest bullet train in the world
Shinkansen has become the Japanese symbol of reliability and efficiency — EvergreenPlanet / Shutterstock

However, it is quite possible that ALFA-X will not be the fastest train by the time it enters commercial operation. Japan is currently building a new maglev train between Tokyo and Nagoya with operations starting in 2027.

The train will be able to reach a speed of up to 505 kph which will shorten the travel time between the two cities to 40 minutes. Today, the journey takes 110 minutes.