Japan Debuts New Bullet Train That Can Run Safely In An Earthquake
Japan has unveiled a new design for the famous bullet train, with an increased top speed and the unique ability to safely run in the event of an earthquake.
Say hello to the N700S, the newest titan in rail travel; the ‘S’ stands for ‘Supreme’, to ‘signify the progression in design, technology, and comfort’. On July 1, it entered into use on the Tokaido Shinkansen line, linking Tokyo Station and Shin-Osaka Station in Osaka.
There’s some cool details to behold; it’s the fastest train on the market, with the ability to run at 332 kilometres-per-hour, though the operating speed is capped at 285kph. However, safety is the big push for the N700S – so much so, it’s able to ferry passengers to safety during a natural disaster.
According to the Japan Rail Pass website, it’s the first new bullet train model to be added to the Tokaido Shinkansen line by the Central Japan Railway in 13 years. Originally, its launch was set to coincide with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, now postponed to next year due to the current pandemic.
While similar in look to other trains in the N700 series, it has a more ‘streamlined and angular’ front, a sleeker headlight design and a golden logo. However, it’s the engineering side where things get really impressive.
There’s a new active suspension system that will help the train absorb any movements during a journey, as well as upgraded automatic control and a stronger braking system that ensures a quick halt in case of an emergency.
The landmark development is the lithium-ion battery self-propulsion system, which will power the train in the event of a power outage, allowing passengers to be transported to safety even in the event of an earthquake, as CNN reports.
These upgrades require less space underneath the train, allowing for more flexible car configurations, which in turn helps work towards lower energy consumption and faster production times – all intended to raise the eyebrows of international operators.
Masayuki Ueno, deputy head of JR Central’s bullet train business department, told NHK in 2019: ‘By making the mechanisms under the floor of the N700S lighter and more compact, we created a new standard. This new standard will also help when it comes to expanding our business overseas.’
As for the passenger experience, there’s been other improvements: comfier seats that recline further; power outlets at every seat in the 16 cars; more relaxing interior lighting; up to six cameras in each car; and reservation-only storage areas that long-haul riders will particularly appreciate.
If only all trains were as cool, and quick, as the N700S.
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