AFTER MORE than a year of test running with its prototype N700 tilting Shinkansen trainset, Central Japan Railway announced on May 26 that a series build will be introduced into commercial service on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen from the summer of 2007.

JR Central and JR West have agreed a phased programme that will see 54 Series N700 trainsets introduced on Nozomi services in the financial years 2007-09. Of these, JR Central will buy 42 trains for around ´200bn and JR West 12 sets for ´60bn. The two railways are still considering whether to order further sets for introduction after 2010.

The Series N700 sets will replace the current Series 700 trains, which in turn will be cascaded to replace the Series 300 units on slower services. According to JR Central, testing with the prototype N700 has demonstrated a 19% saving in energy consumption compared to the Series 700, thanks to a superior nose design, smoother body sides and inter-car shields and a reduction in acceleration and braking by being able to tilt through curves at full speed.

Interior changes from the Series 700 include an improved seat design for the Green Cars, an increased number of outlets for laptops and other mobile devices and larger passenger information displays. All seating areas will be non-smoking, but six smoking areas will be provided in the vestibules of four vehicles in each 16-car set. n

CAPTION: N700 on test at Tokyo Central on June 7 Photo: Kazumiki Miura