JAPAN: The first of 10 Series N700-8000 Shinkansen trainsets being supplied to JR Kyushu was put on display when the operator unveiled its new rolling stock maintenance depot at Kumamoto on Sunday August 22.
Being built as part of the second phase of the Kyushu Shinkansen, the new depot is intended to replace the existing temporary facilities at Sendai in Kagoshima province which have served since the opening of the isolated southern section of the line in March 2004.
The second phase of the Kyushu Shinkansen is due to open for revenue service on March 12 2011, closing the 121·1 km gap between Shin-Yatsushiro and the Sanyo Shinkansen terminus at Hakata. Together, the Kyushu, Sanyo, Tokaido and Tohoku Shinkansen will create a continuous chain of high speed lines stretching 1 992·7 km from Kagoshima in southern Kyushu to Shin Aomori in northern Honshu.
To operate Sakura through services between Kagoshima-Chuo and Shin-Osaka, JR Kyushu and JR West jointly ordered a fleet of 29 eight-car N700 trainsets in October 2007. Derived from the 16-car trains used on the Sanyo and Tokaido Shinkansen, these do not have the passive tilting equipment fitted to the longer sets. The first of 19 'S' series N700-7000 sets for JR-West started test running in October 2008, and JR-Kyushu took delivery of the first of its identical 'R' series N700-8000 sets in July.