Japan begins testing the Alfa-X, the fastest-ever shinkansen bullet train, capable of speeds of as much as 400 kilometers (249 miles) per hour.
Unveiled on Thursday by East Japan Railway Co., the 10-car train will make runs starting Friday night.
The test runs will be conducted about twice a week between Sendai and Shin-Aomori stations.
JR East aims to start services on the Tohoku and Hokkaido Shinkansen lines using a train based on the Alfa-X around fiscal 2030, when the Hokkaido Shinkansen line is scheduled to be extended to Sapporo.
Shinkansens are extremely accurate and are rarely late, even though they depart Tokyo Station every few minutes for Osaka, Kyoto and other destinations.
JR East aims for the train to operate at 360 kph, which would be the fastest in Japan. That would make it 10 kph faster than China’s Fuxing Hao, which links Beijing and Shanghai and has the same top speed.
The Alfa-X’s first car has an aerodynamic sleek nose, measuring 22 meters (72 feet). The bullet train has air brakes on the roof and also use magnetic plates near the rails to slow down, in addition to conventional brakes.
Special dampers and air suspension is used to keep the train stable when traversing curves, maintaining its balance and comfort for passengers.
Meanwhile, a new maglev line is being built between Tokyo and Nagoya with operations starting in 2027. Traveling mostly through deep tunnels, the magnetically levitated train will travel at a top speed of 505 kilometers per hour, cutting the time between the two cities to 40 minutes, from the current 110 minutes.