Japan designing the world’s first invisible train that will be out in 2018

When it comes to technology and inventions, Japan has always been ahead in the race. It already has the bullet train since last two years that carries its passengers across the country at speed of up to 580 km/hour. Now, Seibu Railway Co. wants to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2018 by launching a new line of speedy commuter trains that will “blend into the landscape.”

Seibu Railway Co. is a Japanese conglomerate based in Tokorozawa, Saitama, Japan. Its principal businesses are in railways, tourism, and real estate. Its railway operations are in northwest Tokyo, and Saitama prefecture.

Architect Kazuyo Sejima from the Japanese firm Sanaa, who recently received a Pritzker Prize – the Nobel Prize of architecture, has designed a train that won’t be completely invisible but super-reflective. Essentially, it merges into its surroundings by reflecting them off its pristine mirrored surfaces.

The Pritzker prize is awarded to “architects whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision, and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.”

Sejima’s website suggests she favors minimalism in design, which is certainly true of the new Seibu train concept. She was quoted as saying: “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.”

Many ambitious architects have come forward to suggest that this design can actually be applied to existing trains. The Seibu Railway Co. has given Sejima the permission to redesign both the exteriors and the interiors of the Red Arrow express commuter train for its 100th anniversary.

The exterior on the Red Arrow commuter train will be coated with semi-transparent and mirrored surfaces. Sejima claims the surfaces will be something never seen before now. The interior will feel like a living room so that passengers can relax while travelling. The current exterior is expected to be replaced with semi-transparent and mirrored panels, while the traditional boxy shape will be re-structured to look like a silver bullet. No details have been provided on the environmental impact of the train.

This invisible train is likely to hit the tracks with seven eight-car trains in the year 2018. It will be covering some over 178 kms (111 miles) throughout Japan. It will run through different terrains including the mountains of Chichibu, Tokyo and more, which suggests that the train would blend into different types of scenery. The vehicles will be built by Hitachi Ltd., a company which builds Japan’s 200 mph Shinkansen trains.

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