Japan designing ‘invisible train’ for use in near future

By Shen Gao
Staff Writer

The design of the relective, silver-bullet-shaped train
Photo: Seibu Railway Co.

About a year after the magnetic levitating bullet train broke speed records in Japan in 2015, a Japanese railway company named Seibu Railway has announced that it is designing an invisible train to hit the tracks by 2018.

The train is designed by architect Kazuyo Sejima from the Japanese firm Sanaa, who has recently received the Nobel Prize of architecture—the Pritzker Prize. To be clear, the train won’t be completely invisible, but it is super-reflective. The idea was to blend the train into its environment so that it reflects the surrounding areas off its brightly mirrored surface.

An interesting thing about this project is that this design can be applied to existing trains. Going off this feature, Sejima will be redesigning the exterior and interior of Seibu Railway’s Red Arrow express train, in order to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

The “invisible” train is expected to be running some time in 2018, covering over 110 miles throughout Japan. According to Dezeen Magazine, the current exterior of the Red Arrow train will be replaced with semi-transparent and mirrored panels. The train’s shape will be re-moulded to reflect that of a silver bullet.

Japan is truly the land of unconventional trains.