New high-speed Japanese rail to run faster than bullet trains

A sketch of the new train model design. Source: JR East

JAPANESE rail company JR East will begin testing a newer, faster model of the Shinkansen bullet train, according to a report in The Japan Times.

The company said this week the 10-car test train – which will be rolled out in 2019 – would run at a speed of 360/kph, faster than the E5 train, the current fastest option that operates at 320/kph.

The new models will adopt new designs including a new nose with the aim of reducing wind resistance and increasing speed. To develop faster trains, noise from running trains, too, need to be reduced.

On top of that, the test train is expected to sport two different front cars as the railway company will research technology to reduce air pressure when the train enters a tunnel.

JR East President Tetsuro Tomita said at a press conference, “We’ll complete the next Shinkansen model by around fiscal 2030.”

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Japan is no stranger to sophisticated railway technology and efficiency. Last year, acclaimed Japanese architect Kazuyo Sejima designed a nearly invisible train to begin operations in Tokyo in 2018.

The commuter train – which was designed to commemorate Seibu Group’s 100th anniversary – uses semi-reflective and semi-transparent material to blend into the scenery.

According to a report by Architectural Digest, the train’s concept shows an exterior with a silvery metallic appearance designed to reflect the passing landscape. As such, the train will almost “disappear” into any environment it’s in, even when not moving.