Japan to trial bullet train at 360kmph

Bullet train, or Shinkansen, as it is known in Japan

Tokyo (TAN): Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Central) has announced that it will carry out test runs of the new N700S Shinkansen at speeds of up to 360kmph this year, ahead of its scheduled  commercial running in fiscal 2020.

Presently, the fastest Shinkanshen – Nozomi using N700 equipment – reaches speeds of 300kmph. The new train, all set to debut on the Tokaido Shinkansen line, will transport passengers faster.

Shin Kaneko, president, JR Central, said, “We aim to carry out test runs at 360 kph this year so that we can demonstrate safety when we export the train to such markets as the United States and Taiwan.”

He also revealed that they have achieved a maximum speed of 330kmph in past tests.

Kaneko observed that about a third of the passengers buying reserved seats used the smartphone-based ticketless SmartEX service. This was true on both the Tokaido Shinkansen and Sanyo Shinkansen lines. SmartEX was launched for the two lines in the latter half of 2017. According to Kaneko, ticketless travel is also helpful for railway operators as it does not involve commission charges.

“Ticketless travel relieves passengers of stress,” he said, while also adding that he personally hopes “that a ticketless system will be introduced also for the Chuo Shinkansen line.” The Chuo Shinkansen line, linking Tokyo to Nagoya using magnetically levitated (maglev) trains, is scheduled to start operations in 2027.

Referring to the magnetically levitated trains, Kaneko said JR Central, one of the five bullet train operators in the country, has already started construction.

“We have secured more than 50 per cent of land needed for the maglev work on the west side of Nagoya Station, and are now in talks with landowners for the east side of the station,” he said, while assuring “we’ll continue making all-out efforts.”


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