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Central Japan Railway launches new, more comfortable bullet train

Railway operator aims 'to be the global standard'

JR Central's new model N700S runs down the track in Kanagawa Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo: The company hopes to have 40 such trains operating by the end of fiscal 2022.     © Kyodo

TOKYO -- Central Japan Railway rolled out its latest-model bullet train on Wednesday, in its first full revamp of the high-speed train in 13 years. The company says the new bullet train, also known as the shinkansen, offers better performance and greater passenger comfort than earlier models.

The first N700S train service, dubbed Nozomi 1, departed from Tokyo Station at 6 a.m. The S in the model number stands for "supreme."

The railway company, which runs the Tokaido Shinkansen line between Tokyo and Osaka, has introduced four of the new trains, with the number set to rise to 12 by the fiscal year through March 2021. By the end of fiscal 2022, JR Central hopes to have 40 of the new trains on the tracks.

The train, whose lead car has a more aerodynamic shape than the current top-of-the-line N700A, cuts noise and vibration. All passenger seats are equipped with electrical outlets and offer improved reclining.

The N700S is equipped with a self-propelled battery system, the first among the world's high-speed trains, allowing it to move to a safe place in the event of a blackout caused by a natural disaster or human error.

JR Central's new N700S bullet train leaves Tokyo Station on July 1. (Photo courtesy of JR Central)

"This is the best shinkansen, which offers the finest-ever quality of seats and a comfortable space," said JR Central President Shin Kaneko at a departure ceremony on Wednesday.

The latest-model Tokaido bullet train comprises 16 cars. But the N700S can also operate in eight- or 12-car configurations. "This can be expanded in various ways, both in Japan and outside the country. We will aim to be the global standard," Kaneko said.

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