Friday, March 8, 2013
JR East Takes Fastest Train Up To New Top Speed
TOKYO (Nikkei)--A Hayabusa bullet train operated by East Japan Railway Co. (9020) put on a smooth performance at 320kph Thursday, letting passengers feel what it will be like to ride Japan's fastest rail service.
Starting March 16, Hayabusa trains, which operate on the Tohoku Shinkansen line connecting Tokyo with Aomori, will reach a maximum speed of 320kph.
This and other advances could serve as selling points for Japanese bullet train technology overseas.
- Clocking it in at 320kph.
Named after the peregrine falcon, Hayabusa trains belong to the E5 series. They detect and reduce vibration and lean into corners to ease the g-force on passengers. German-made brakes enable the same stopping distance traveling at 320kph as at the standard bullet train speed of 275kph.
Although designed for a higher top speed, JR East has been holding the E5 series to a maximum of 300kph. It has collected data for about two years to prepare for regular service at higher speeds.
JR East President Tetsuro Tomita says the company's goal is 360kph, adding that reducing noise and vibration and ensuring safety are "absolute prerequisites."
Central Japan Railway Co. (9022), better known as JR Tokai, added N700A trains last month on the Tokaido Shinkansen line between Tokyo and Osaka. In a first for Japanese bullet trains, they have an autopilot feature that can make up for lost time in the event of delays.
(The Nikkei, March 8 morning edition)