Encounter with ALFA-X – the Next-Generation Shinkansen E956 Alpha-X and East-i on the Same Day

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One day in December, while taking a break from work, I had a stroke of luck at Sendai Station. I encountered two extremely rare Shinkansen trains, the ALFA-X and the East-i, at the same time.

にほんブログ村 デザインブログ 動画編集・映像制作へ
にほんブログ村 子育てブログ パパの育児へ

Since I had some free time, I thought, why not go check out the Shinkansen trains? I bought a platform ticket (150 yen) at the Shinkansen ticket gate at Sendai Station, on a whim. I thought it might be fun, like taking a quick coffee break. This was all thanks to my son’s love of trains. I figured if I took a video of the Shinkansen trains with my smartphone and showed it to him later, he would be thrilled.

As I walked up to the platform, I saw a strange-looking train parked there. It was unlike anything I had seen before.

By chance, I encountered the ALFA-X (E956) and East-i (E926) at Sendai Station (Tohoku Shinkansen)

Huh…wait, isn’t that the Alfa-X?

The silver-colored train with an unusual long nose and distinctive coloring that I had never seen before turned out to be the Alfa-X, which my son is a big fan of with his Plarail toys.

The Alfa-X, a new shinkansen that children adore

My son loves Alpha-X so much that he even has a pair of Alpha-X sneakers from the Plarail series. He likes them so much that he didn’t want to throw them away even though they were worn out and too small for him. Finally, I managed to convince him to take a picture of them before we left for the day.”

The worn-out Alpha-X sneakers captured by my son

Detailed explanation of the Alpha-X

A detailed explanation of the Alpha-X can be found in this document by JR East Japan: https://jreast.co.jp/press/2018/20190315.pdf

The Alpha-X is a prototype vehicle designed to create the next generation of high-speed, quiet, safe, and comfortable shinkansen trains for the JR East Tohoku Shinkansen Line. It is like a test vehicle that collects experimental data, and it is interesting because various measurements are conducted simultaneously, and the shapes of the front and rear cars, as well as the window shapes of all the cars, are different from those of regular shinkansen trains.

Since the Alpha-X is a test vehicle, it is not available for the general public to ride on, and it is like a phantom vehicle that can be seen only on rare occasions. Although I have ridden on the E5 series many times, the Alpha-X, which I have only seen in books and on television, was a mysterious and aspirational presence for my son. I wanted to show it to him!

As a test vehicle, the Alpha-X was regularly tested in the early morning and late night until around the spring of 2022. The schedule for these tests was posted on the website, with apologies for the noise they caused. However, since the tests were completed, it has become difficult to find information on when and where the Alpha-X can be seen. We were fortunate enough to encounter it during a weekday afternoon, when there were fewer passengers on the train. I thought that if they were to conduct tests during a time other than the early morning or late night, this less crowded commuting period might be the time they choose.

there was an unfamiliar silhouette in the adjacent lane…

On this day, in addition to ALFA-X, there was a Shinkansen train parked far away in another lane. A strangely short Shinkansen train that didn’t seem to use even half of the platform’s length. I wondered if it might be an East i train, and it was.

The East i is a test car used by JR East to inspect the Shinkansen tracks, similar to the famous Doctor Yellow. It’s not available for the general public to ride on, and it’s difficult to know when it’s in operation. While the Doctor Yellow’s schedule can sometimes be found on the internet, it seemed much harder to find information about the East i.

What a rare find to see two unusual trains at the same time… !!

Creating a Shinkansen video with Adobe Premiere Pro

So, I created the above video using Adobe Premiere Pro.

The theme for this video editing project was to “make something that looks good in a short amount of time.” I tried to complete everything from the beginning to the export stage in just three days.

Often, it takes a long time to finish a project because we want to be meticulous and get everything perfect. However, I wanted to change that mentality and set a challenge for myself.

In this video, I added captions to highlight the parts of the ALFA-X that impressed me, even though I’m not a hardcore train fan. I also added English subtitles because I thought there might be international fans.

Updating my Instagram account


I recently started using Instagram, and it’s been a lot of fun. It’s easy to create short videos and add hashtags to attract people with similar interests. I also enjoy checking out the accounts of people who liked my posts.

I don’t know anyone around me who’s into gardening, so I find a lot of inspiration from other people’s home gardens on Instagram. I’ve even received likes from overseas gardeners through hashtags, and I’ve started following some of them back. Looking at their photos has opened up a new world for me.

Since I was going to visit Sendai Station again the following week, I went back to the platform to see if I could spot the ALFA-X again… and to my surprise, I did. I’ll write about that experience soon.

By the way, here’s the link to my YouTube channel. Since I started it without much thought, there are videos from various categories mixed together. I think I should create a sub-channel and organize everything soon.