Business / Tech

A nose for speed: East Japan Railway unveils test version of 360 kph ALFA-X bullet train with dueling noses

Kyodo

East Japan Railway Co. unveiled a test car of the next-generation ALFA-X shinkansen, expected to operate at a speed of 360 kph, to media Wednesday in Kobe.

ALFA-X is short for Advanced Labs for Frontline Activity in rail eXperimentation.

The 10-car silver train with green lines, which is being manufactured at Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd.’s plant in the Hyogo Prefecture capital, will be completed in May. It will go through a high-speed trial run on the Tohoku Shinkansen to gather sound reduction data.

Car No. 1 of the test train, which was shown Wednesday features a 16-meter nose-shaped front. The nose of the trailing No. 10 car is expected to be even longer, at about 22 meters.

JR East will study pressure and sound differences between the two noses when the train enters tunnels. Existing trains, such as the E-5 series Hayabusa shinkansen, have noses measuring about 15 meters.

The company is also planning to test the train’s emergency brakes, anti-derailment functions in the event of an earthquake and new equipment that’s designed to limit vehicle vibrations.

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