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'World's fastest bullet train' starts test runs in Japan

Next-generation shinkansen to clock in at 360 kph

The state-of-the-art Alfa-X shinkansen features a lengthy 22-meter nose. (Photo by Konosuke Urata)

TOKYO -- The newest shinkansen bullet train from Japanese rail operator JR East begins test operation Friday, with its top speed expected to exceed the fastest now in service by at least 40 kph.

Green stripes grace the Alfa-X's bluish-silver body, featuring a 22-meter nose on the front car -- the longest for a shinkansen. JR East, formally East Japan Railway, previewed the full 250-meter, 10-car version for the media Thursday at a Miyagi Prefecture facility.

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