CAPTION: A ceremony at Tokyo Central on March 13 marked the start of revenue services with the first production Series 700 shinkansen trains developed by JR Central and JR West (RG 10.98 p697). Four trains will work three Nozomi expresses each way between Tokyo and Hakata, cutting 7min off the Series 300 timing and covering the 1069 km trip in 4h 57min. A further nine sets will be built for through services over the next two years. Following tests with the prototype since September 1997, production trains have had the ’Aerostream’ nose lengthened from 8·5 to 9·2m Photo: Mikio Miura

An accord was signed in Wien by Railtrack, Eurotunnel, RFF, SNCF, DB Netz, ÖBB, and GySEV on March 3, setting up a one-stop shop for the London - Sopron Trans European Rail Freight Freeway. The final route links Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, London, Dunkerque, Le Havre, Metz, Strasbourg, Frankfurt, Würzburg, Nürnberg, Passau, Wels, Linz, Wien and Sopron.