INTRO: Compressed air controlled by accelerometers restrain sway and yaw of the rear car of JR West’s Series 500; controlled dampers perform a similar function to improve the ride of first class cars and those carrying pantographs

BYLINE: Hisashi Norinao

Rolling Stock DeptJR West

ON MARCH 22, Japan joined the exclusive club of nations operating trains at 300 km/h. JR West welcomed passengers aboard the first Series 500 trainsets, which now transport 1324 passengers over the 553·7 km between Shin-Osaka and Hakata in 2h 17min, including three intermediate stops.

Series 500 is the most advanced shinkansen train in service and has a design speed of 320 km/h. The prototype was ordered in November 1994 at the conclusion of technical trials with JR West’s WIN350 test train, which began running in June 1992.

Among the innovations which feature in Series 500 (RG 3.96 p135), many are designed to meet environmental criteria such as lineside noise which is the principal barrier to higher speeds in Japan. For commercial operation at 300 km/h, it was also necessary to maintain satisfactory lateral ride quality, especially in first class, in the rear car, and those carrying pantographs where sway must be restricted.

Initially, passive suspension parameters as in the bogie to body spring/damper system were optimised to ensure good ride comfort: