JR FREIGHT is drawing up plans for a multiple-unit freight train able to travel at 130 km/h. Intended to permit more competitive timings against road haulage in the busy industrial and commercial corridor between Tokyo and Osaka, the train would shave around 1h off the present 7h trip over the 1067mm gauge Tokaido main line.

The train would be formed of 16 wagons with distributed power modules driving small traction motors. A prototype is to be developed for trials by 2003 at a cost of ´1bn.

JR Freight hopes that the faster transit time would attract high-value lightweight merchandise and allow it to increase its share of the Tokyo - Osaka freight market, where road haulage currently dominates with 90% of the traffic.