Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 41 (pp.2 & 57–59)


Latest Rolling Stock in Japan

JR East: FASTECH 360S high-speed shinkansen test train

JR East unveiled its eight-car E954 (FASTECH 360 ) high-speed test train in June 2005 and immediately started a series of test runs between Sendai and Kitakami on the Tohoku Shinkansen. The company has set a target of commercial operation at 360 km/h on Tohoku Shinkansen after the opening of Hachinohe–Shin Aomori section, now under construction and expected to open by March 2011. The current maximum speed is 275 km/h, but higher speeds are needed to run over the 676-km Tokyo–Shin Aomori section in under 3 hours.

Photo: FASTECH logo includes the subtitle ‘The Frontier Spirit of JR East’, symbolizing the company's challenge to operate the world's fastest train.
(JR East)
Photo: Different nose shapes are used at each end of the train to test the optimum aerodynamic shape .
(JR East)
Photo: To improve emergency braking, the train has airbrake spoilers that rapidly cut train speed by increasing air resistance .
(JR East)
Photos: The end cars have futuristic cockpits .
(JR East)

JR East: Series 531 for Joban Line

JR East introduced its Series E531 (top left) for the Joban Line between Ueno (Tokyo) and Tsuchiura (about 70 km north-west of Tokyo) to provide rapid commuter services at a maximum speed of 130 km/h. The simple cockpit design has good front and side views (top right) and most passenger cars have benches (bottom left) while some use a combination of benches and booth seats (bottom right).

Photos: (JR East)

JR Central and JR West: Series N700 for Tokaido and San'yo Shinkansen

JR Central and JR West jointly unveiled their Series N700, an improved version of the Series 700 now widely used on the Tokaido and San'yo shinkansen, to provide faster services—especially on the Tokaido Shinkansen. Although maximum speeds remain unchanged (270 km/h and 300 km/h on the Tokaido and the San'yo, respectively), reduced journey time between Tokyo and Shin Osaka is achieved by increasing speeds through curves thanks to a sophisticated tilting control mechanism on bogies.

Photo: (Transportation News)

Meitetsu Series 2000 and Tsukuba Express Series TX-1000 and 2000

Meitetsu's Series 2000 µSky (µ = mu, the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet) started limited-express services on 29 January 2005, linking major cities in the Nagoya region to Central Japan International Airport (top left). The new airport was opened in February under the nickname Centrair , in preparation for the opening of EXPO 2005 AICHI JAPAN held near Nagoya City from March to September 2005. µSky takes 28 minutes from Meitetsu Nagoya Station to the airport (39.3 km) at a maximum speed of 120 km/h.
Tsukuba Express started service on 24 August 2005. The 58.3-km narrow-gauge (1067 mm) line, linking Tsukuba Station in Ibaraki Prefecture to Akihabara Station in central Tokyo, was built and is operated by the Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company founded by related local authorities and private companies. Rapid commuter services with a maximum speed of 130 km/h are provided using two types of rolling stock—the Series TX-1000 DC EMU (bottom left) for the DC-electrified Akihabara–Moriya section (37.7 km), and the Series TX-2000 AC/DC EMU (bottom right) for the entire line including the AC-electrified Moriya–Tsukuba section.

Photo: (Nagoya Railroad)
Photo: (Tsukuba Express)
Photo: (Tsukuba Express)

Odakyu Electric Railway: Series VSE 50000

Odakyu Electric Railway introduced its new Series VSE50000 EMU on 19 March 2005 for so-called Romance Car limited expresses between Shinjuku and Hakone Yumoto, a hot-spring resort at the foot of Mt Hakone. The 10-car articulated train boasts better views from its elevated floor (45 cm higher than other trains) and is composed of seven normal cars (middle left), two observation cars at both ends (middle right), plus a saloon car with three 4-seat compartments (bottom left).

Photos: (Odakyu Electric Railway)