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Bullet train cars to run on new Nagasaki route of Kyushu Shinkansen Line unveiled to media

The new "Kamome" shinkansen bullet train cars are seen at Hitachi Ltd.'s Kasado Works factory in Kudamatsu, Yamaguchi Prefecture, on Dec. 22, 2021. The new bullet train will run on the Nagasaki route (the Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen line) of the Kyushu Shinkansen Line in southwest Japan from autumn 2022. (Mainichi/Takatoshi Wakiyama)

KUDAMATSU, Yamaguchi -- The latest bullet train model to run on the new Nagasaki route of southwest Japan's Kyushu Shinkansen Line were unveiled to the media at Hitachi Ltd.'s Kasado Works factory in this west Japan city, where they are manufactured, on Dec. 22.

    Kyushu Railway Co. (JR Kyushu) plans to commence operations of the Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen line, also referred to as the Nagasaki route, between Takeo-Onsen Station in the Saga Prefecture city of Takeo and Nagasaki Station in the city of Nagasaki in autumn 2022. The new train cars are named "Kamome," meaning seagull.

    Wooden seats covered with the arabesque patterns on the "Kamome" new bullet train cars are seen at Hitachi Ltd.'s Kasado Works factory in Kudamatsu, Yamaguchi Prefecture, on Dec. 22, 2021. (Mainichi/Takatoshi Wakiyama)

    They were designed by industrial designer Eiji Mitooka, who has worked on many train cars for JR Kyushu. A red line -- the railway operator's corporate color -- is painted on the white train cars based on Central Japan Railway Co.'s N700S model, and the new model's symbol mark -- a seagull on three rings -- adorns the train's body. Edges of the driver's compartment windshield and headlights are painted black to express a sense of speed. The surface of the reserved seats, made of wood, is covered with lion and arabesque patterns among other designs, creating a nostalgic but fresh atmosphere inside.

    The hiragana characters of "Kamome" on the train body are based on calligraphy by JR Kyushu President Toshihiko Aoyagi. He said, "We want to energize the Kyushu region," adding that the company will make efforts so that the western Kyushu area will influence the whole country and the world.

    (Japanese original by Takatoshi Wakiyama, Shunan Bureau)

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