Japan has announced the launch of its first ever highly futuristic “invisible” express train over the next three years, inaugurating a whole new chapter in the field of high-speed mass-transit. Japanese engineers are all geared up to introduce this futuristic model boasting an exterior that would enable it to mirror the surrounding landscape, rendering it virtually “invisible” to the naked eye.
According to aspiring Japanese architect Kazuyo Sejima, who is spearheading this massive project, the train’s state-of-the-art exteriors will comprise “hyper-reflective” materials, allowing it to blend perfectly into the backdrop of varying urban and rural landscapes.
“The limited express travels in a variety of different sceneries, from the mountains of Chichibu to the middle of Tokyo, and I thought it would be good if the train could gently co-exist with this variety of scenery, I also would like it to be a limited express where large numbers of people can all relax in comfort, in their own way, like a living room, so that they think to themselves ‘I look forward to riding that train again.”
The train is slated to become the first next-generation silver-bullet model in over 20 years and is expected to launch itself into the limelight as early as 2018. According to reports, Sejima will also design the train’s interior, dubbed the “invisible” Red Arrow commuter train poised to travel on certain designated routes across Japan.
When it comes to building high-tech speed trains, Japan is leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the world, with its most advanced lines originating from Tokyo capable of cruising over 170 miles in less than an hour from one point to the next, even surpassing the oft-celebrated “maglev” Shinkansen “bullet” trains. Japan’s high-speed lines are equipped with highly sophisticated magnetic mechanisms that enable them to travel above the tracks without any friction whatsoever.
The Shinkansen train network is a major network of mind-blowing high-tech bullet trains that cover all major routes and travel at speeds of nearly 190 miles per hour zooming past a thousand miles of territory. Since its inauguration in 1964, over 5 billion commuters in Japan have used the Shinkansen as a central transportation channel linking Japan’s three largest metropolitan hubs, Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka.
According to a 2014 report, the American passenger rail system continues to straggle well far behind some of the other countries credited with the most sophisticated high-speed mass-transit networks on the planet. The International Union of Railways sees it as a heavily daunting prospect to incorporate high-speed or bullet train technology into a rather old and relatively outdated infrastructure.
In 2009, President Barack Obama unveiled an $8 billion package to bolster America’s high-speed railway technology, envisaging an express route encompassing 10 major transit corridors across the country.
“Imagine whisking through towns at speeds over 100 miles an hour, walking only a few steps to public transportation, and ending up just blocks from your destination”
Architect Kazuyo Sejima who is renowned for designing large urban structures that blend into the environment, has now been tasked with this extraordinary project by a Japanese firm Seibu, renowned for its impressively engineered, highly innovative express lines. Sejima hopes to see the trains seamlessly blend into the surrounding urban settings as well as Japan’s exceedingly beautiful and scenic rural corridor. The much-anticipated “ghost” train will use its ‘semi-reflective’ exteriors to appear largely ‘invisible’ to onlookers as it zips past its surrounding landscapes.
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