Japan to develop faster bullet train with 360kmph operating speeds

JR East aims to develop two test models by spring 2019.

JR East to develop ALFA-X bullet trainGetty Images/East Japan Railway

Japanese railway company JR East will develop a new bullet train that can reach speeds of up to 360 kilometres per hour.

In an announcement made on Tuesday, the company said it plans to put the next-gen Shinkansen model in operation by 2030. The project, that includes test runs of the new train, is expected to cost 10 billion yen (£68m, $88m).

JR East aims to develop two test models by spring 2019, with the first one set to begin operations by 2030, reports Nikkie Asian Review.

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"We'll complete the next Shinkansen model by around fiscal 2030," JR East President Tetsuro Tomita said in a statement.

The model is dubbed ALFA-X, which stands for Advanced Labs for Frontline Activity in rail experimentation. A major improvement in the train is preventing derailments during earthquakes.

The new train will succeed JR East's E5 series that operates on the Tohoku Shinkansen line stretching north from Tokyo. The E5 series is the fastest Shinkansen travelling at a speed of up to 320kmph.

The company had initially revealed the plans for a 360kmph train in 2012.

JR East will also enable constant monitoring of train cars, tracks and overhead lines during operations to enable quicker response times to repair malfunctions. Additionally, the railway operator is working to reduce the amount of noise that is produced when trains enter tunnels.

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