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'Supreme' new N700S shinkansen bullet train prototype unveiled with test run

The prototype of the N700S bullet train, foreground, and an N700A train are seen at JR Toyohashi Station in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, on Oct. 30, 2019. (Mainichi/Katsuyuki Uchibayashi)
The logo for the N700S is seen on the new N700S bullet train prototype's body at JR Toyohashi Station in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, on Oct. 30, 2019. (Mainichi/Katsuyuki Uchibayashi)

TOKYO -- The prototype of the new N700S bullet train was unveiled to the press during a trial operation on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line from Tokyo to Toyohashi in the central Japan prefecture of Aichi on Oct. 30.

The "S" in N700S stands for supreme. Its operator, Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Central), says that among the new features inside the train are comfortable seats, created to be more pleasant to sit in than those currently on the N700A in service since February 2013.

Each seat on the N700S also has an electric outlet, and Wi-Fi services are available on all train cars. Moreover, the number of security cameras on each carriage has been upped from the two on the N700A to six on the new model.

On the transit side, the new model is equipped with improved automatic train control and braking systems to reduce stopping distances in the event of an earthquake. The N700S is also the first high-speed train equipped with lithium-ion batteries, enabling it to move on to a safer location in cases where a power blackout brings it to a halt in a tunnel or on a bridge.

During a trial operation in June, the prototype train reached 360 kilometers per hour on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line, a record on that track. But JR Central officials say the maximum speed of the new model's regular services, set to begin in July 2020, will remain at 285 kph.

(Japanese original by Keigetsu Hirai, City News Department)

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