East Japan Railway Co. on Friday unveiled a new shinkansen in the town of Rifu, Miyagi Prefecture, that will run at a speed of 360 kph, which may make it the world's fastest train.
A test model of the Fastech, a new bullet train that will run at 360 kph in 2011 on the Tohoku Shinkansen Line, is unveiled Friday, with retractable, cat ear-shaped, air brakes deployed, at JR East's test center here.
JR East aims to put the new bullet train -- named Fastech -- into service on the Tohoku Shinkansen Line in 2011, when a new section opens between Hachinohe and Shin-Aomori stations in Aomori Prefecture.
The new bullet train is expected to surpass the French national railway's high-speed TGV and West Japan Railway's Sanyo shinkansen train, which run at a speed of 300 kph.
The two ends of the jade-colored, eight-car test train look different. The first car has a rounded nose, while the eighth car has a narrow, sharper rear end.
The train is equipped with a new air-brake system that deploys in the event of an earthquake or other emergency. The retractable cat ear-shaped spoilers that can protrude from the roof are expected to help slow the train more quickly than conventional brakes.
Each train has only one pantograph to reduce noise, down from two each on the current bullet trains.
The test runs between Sendai and Kitakami, Iwate Prefecture, will be conducted at a maximum speed of 405 kph.
JR East said it also plans to conduct environmental assessment and other studies to develop cars suitable for operating at 360 kph on a commercial basis.
The Japan Times: June 25, 2005