TOKYO Ė A model of the new generation of Japanís bullet trains has been publicly presented in a test run in which it managed to reach speeds of 382 kilometers per hour (237 miles per hour), almost half the speed of an average-sized commercial airplane.
The ALFA-X began testing last year and is not scheduled to start operating until 2030, but the company responsible for its development, Japanese railway firm JR East, offered local journalists the opportunity to experience the record speeds late Tuesday.
JR Eastís E5 series is currently the fastest Shinkansen in operation, traveling at operating speeds of up to 320 kph. Those trains began operation in March 2011 and are currently running in Japan and France.
But the ALFA-X can reach record speeds of up to 400 kph on traditional rail lines and in the test that was carried out around midnight it reached a speed of 382 kph.
JR East plans to use the ALFA-X to connect Tokyo with the northern region of Tohoku.
The test conducted with journalists on board covered the route between Sendai and Morioka, north of Tokyo, on the Tohoku shinkansen line operated by JR East.
Local agency Jiji Press said that the noise inside the train cars and the vibration were minimal when the ALFA-X reached 320 kph and increased slightly at 360 kph. The sound of the wind and noise from the trainís motor were only heard when the speed approached 380 kph.
The ALFA-X, which will not turn around when it reaches its destination, has a 22-meter (72 feet) long nose, which would be in the front when the train travels north to better resist the impact of the winds from that direction. The nose at the other end is 16 meters long.
The ALFA-X, short for ďAdvanced Labs for Frontline Activity in rail eXperimentation,Ē was first tested on May 10 last year and has been undergoing more periodically since then.
The latest test run is the first to be held with journalists as guest passengers.
While the ALFA-X can hit a speed of up to 400 kph, a mid-sized aircraft such as the Boeing 737 can reach a cruising speed of around 800 kph.
ďAfter one and a half years of test runs, the ALFA-X can now run with a certain level of stability,Ē Koji Asano, head of JR Eastís Advanced Railway System Development Center, said, according to Jiji Press.
The ALFA-X is not the fastest train in the world but it is so on traditional railway lines.
Japan is also developing a new Maglev line, which will begin operations in 2027 with travel at a top speed of around 500 kph.