ON April 10 East Japan Railway unveiled its Deluxe Super Night Express train at Tokyo’s Ogu depot. Marketed as Cassiopeia, the 12-car double-deck set is to enter revenue service between Ueno and Sapporo on July 16. It will run northwards on Sunday, Tuesday and Friday each week, returning on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Departures at 16.20 from each end will give arrivals at 08.55 in Sapporo and 09.20 in Ueno.

The cars are 21·3 m long and 4·07m high, weighing between 40 and 50 tonnes each. Top speed on the 1 067 mm gauge tracks is 110 km/h.

The train has 88 compartments accommodating 176 passengers. Coaches 1 and 2 each offer four suites with separate bedrooms and sitting rooms; seven two-berth and one three-berth. Cars 4 to 11 have 10 conventional compartments with two berths. Disabled accommodation is provided in Car 4. All rooms have toilet, washstand and video entertainment including satellite television, but the suites also have showers.

Car 3 is a dining car, offering panoramic views from the 26-seat upper deck restaurant (above). French and Japanese menus will be on offer, with room service available if booked in advance. All passengers will get complementary welcome drinks and morning coffee. Car 12 is a lounge car (left), with two underfloor diesel generators providing hotel power.

The Cassiopeia name follows the Hokutosei (Plough) service launched 20 years ago in using the image of northern constellations. The livery features a star and five coloured stripes reflecting the gradually changing colours of the sky.

Fares range from ´30570 per person in a twin compartment to ´115990 for three people in a deluxe suite.