JAPAN: Central Japan Railway has launched its Series HC85 hybrid multiple-units on Limited Express services between Nagoya and Takayama. Branded on this route as Hida, the trains will also be deployed on Nanki Limited Express services between Nagoya, Shingu and Kii-Katuura.

On both routes they replace KiHa 85 diesel multiple-units dating from the late 1980s and early 1990s. All 68 cars in the HC85 fleet built by Nippon Sharyo are due to be in service by the end of March 2024.

The HC85 trainsets are formed of four cars, each of which has a 330 kW six-cylinder horizontally-mounted underfloor diesel engine with direct injection. This drives a 245 kW permanent magnet synchronous main generator which in turn feeds 145 kW bogie-mounted permanent magnet traction motors.

The driveline in each car incorporates a 40 kWh battery which is packaged in an underfloor module with the power converter and static inverter; this module measures 2 300 mm by 2 700 mm.

JR Central says the hybrid drive using a single diesel engine per car achieves a 35% improvement in fuel efficiency compared with earlier DMUs, while ‘micro-control’ of the engine exhaust gases cuts CO2 emissions by 30% and NOx emissions by 40%.

At the maximum speed of 120 km/h, the HC85 interiors are 5 dB quieter than those of the KiHa 85 sets thanks to an enhanced design of floor with ‘double anti-vibration rubber’.

The HC85 fleet is also fitted with JR Central’s Data Integrated monitoring and ANAlysis system. DIANA uses LTE communications to send component condition and performance data to lineside servers for automatic analysis, enabling any impending failures to be identified remotely.