In a nutshell: A partnership between Hitachi and Kawasaki Heavy Industries has just tested a new bullet train that has a cruising speed faster than a NASCAR and a top speed faster than a Formula One. The Shinkansen ALFA-X will scoot passengers along at 225 mph when it debuts in 2030.
Last week Japan began testing a new bullet train. Called the Shinkansen ALFA-X, it is capable of traveling at 400 kph or roughly 250 mph. However, operators will keep the train’s speed at 360 kph (225 mph) when carrying passengers.
Even at this lower speed, it will still be the fastest bullet train in the world. Currently, that title is held by a Chinese train called Fuxing. Fuxing carries passengers at 350 kpm but is capable of a top speed of 400 kph just like the Shinkansen.
So it will technically tie as the fastest train, only being considered the fastest due to technical differences in operational rules.
According to CNN, last Friday’s marked the first in a series of test runs that will occur twice a week for three years. The trials will be made at midnight on routes between Aomori and Sendai.
The front and rear of the train have a 72-foot long tapered nose for optimal aerodynamics. It will use a combination of roof-mounted air brakes and magnetic plates underneath for braking. Engineers will also test a 52-foot long version. It will carry up to ten passenger cars, but it is unclear how many each compartment will seat.
The ALFA-X is not scheduled to take on passengers until 2030. In the meantime, the Shinkansen N700S will begin operations in 2020. It will travel at 300 kph, which is still quite fast. If it is still not speedy enough for you, you can always take the Japan's maglev which reached a top speed of 603 kpm (375mph) in 2015 but operates with passengers at 500 kph (video above).