In an effort to regain the title of world’s fastest train, Japan Rail East recently unveiled the next generation shinkansen at its test center in the town of Rifu, Miyagi Prefecture. Code named “Fastech” the new train is expected to reach speeds of 360 kph and features a number of innovated design elements, including retractable cat ears. Yes, cat ears!
Over the years the shinkansen’s high speed dominance has become a matter of national pride for the Japanese. With the current fastest shinkansen being equaled by French bullet trains running at 300 kph, it was only a matter of time before one of the Japan Rail companies responded to the challenge.
Expected to launch in 2011, JR East’s Fastech will not only become the fastest passenger train in the world, but also the cutest. The jade-colored train has a distinctly anime-like look about it. The only thing missing from the early prototype was a tail.
While details of the Fastech prototype are still sketchy, the retractable cat ears are apparently being used as air brakes. JR East officials had no comment on rumours that the train will run on a revolutionary new tuna hybrid fuel. It is believed that the six year delay between this preview and the actual launch may indicate the train could need frequent naps.