INTRO: JR-Central and JR-West are developing a trainset that fully exploits line speed limits on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen

MARCH 2005 should see completion of a pre-production N700 trainset for trials on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen. Being developed jointly by JR-Central and JR-West, the N700 is a 16-car train derived from the successful Series 700 design, also a joint JR-Central/ JR-West initiative.

The N700 has several significant differences, and these include 14 rather than 12 powered cars, giving a nominal total rating of 17160 kW and a higher rate of acceleration (right). The maximum speed will be 300 km/h on the Sanyo Shinkansen, the same as JR-West’s Series 500.

The N700 has 1323 seats, as on Series 700, with 200 seats in Green Car (first class) accommodation. A slightly reduced width and height should improve aerodynamic performance, as will several other features. The ’aero double wing’ nose is 10·7m long compared to the 9·2m nose of Series 700, and the height of the front section of the leading car is kept to 3500mm. In addition, inter-car gaps are fully enclosed.

Other changes include the use of semi-active vibration control on all cars, and the introduction of body tilting. Using pre-programmed route information linked to the ATC system, the secondary air suspension bellows on one side of each car are inflated to lift the body by 1° when the train passes through curves with a radius of 2500m. This relatively small radius is a legacy of the Tokaido Shinkansen having been built during the early 1960s, limiting the speed of Series 700 trainsets through the curves to 250 km/h (p503). In contrast, the N700 will be able to run at the maximum line speed of 270 km/h.

TABLE: Comparison of pre-production N700 trainset with Series 700

N700 Series 700

Formation 14M+2T 12M+4T

Max speed (Sanyo) km/h 300 285

Max speed (Tokaido) km/h 270 270

Starting acceleration m/s2 0·72 0·55

Weight tonnes 700 708

Car width mm 3360 3380

Car height mm 3600 3650