Tokyo (Urban Transport News): The Japanese rail operator JR East (East Japan Rail Company) has started trial test operation of the newest shinkansen Alfa-X series bullet train from Friday. With this, the top speed expected to exceed the fastest now in service by 40 kph. According to JR East, the state-of-the-art ‘Alfa-X’ is expected to travel faster than 400 km/h and will have a range of groundbreaking features.
The new bullet train is equipped with an aerodynamic, 22-meter nose (longer than any train’s in history), improved traction control, and made from ultra-light materials. The new bullet train is designed to run almost silently with maximum comfort for passengers. The Alfa-X bullet train will be tested on the Tohoku Shinkansen line between Sendai and Aomori in northeastern Japan. JR East official said that the trial operations will take place late at night approximately twice a week.
The first phase, to gauge the feasibility of a 360 kph cruising speed, will run until 2021. Second-phase trials geared toward launching commercial operation will kick off after the successful trial runs. The new Alfa-X series bullet train will become the fastest high-speed rail in operation. However, its maximum speed will be higher and it will run at around 360 km/h while carrying passengers on the commercial run.
The official name for the Alfa-X is the E956 Series and these trains will run in the Tokoku region and Hokkaido of Japan. "The trains will be finished in bright metallic colors to reflect the stunning local surroundings where they will operate. Improved energy efficiency has been a key priority in the design of the experimental Alfa-X. The use of silicon carbide power converters, combined with the light design, will ensure the trains are environmentally-friendly. To improve passenger comfort, lateral dampers will reduce side-to-side motion and a ‘tremble protection control device’ will minimize vertical vibrations", said in the official website of the JR East.