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Monday, July 6, 2020

Japan launches new 223mph N700S bullet train that can escape to safety in the event of an earthquake

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A new bullet train has entered service in Japan that’s the country’s fastest, smoothest, most comfortable and safest yet – it’s able to ‘escape’ to safety in the event of an earthquake.

The N700S – the ‘s’ stands for ‘Supreme’ – has a top speed of 360kph (223mph), though the line it serves, the Tokaido Shinkansen line, has a maximum operating speed of 285kph (177mph).

This line, which links Tokyo with Osaka and Kobe, is one of the world’s most famous. It became the world’s first high-speed line when the first bullet trains began running on it on October 1, 1964, between Tokyo and Osaka – and it passes the 12,400ft-high Mount Fuji.

A new bullet train - the N700S (pictured) - has entered service in Japan that’s the country’s fastest, smoothest, most comfortable and safest yet. It’s able to ‘escape’ to safety in the event of an earthquake

A new bullet train – the N700S (pictured) – has entered service in Japan that’s the country’s fastest, smoothest, most comfortable and safest yet. It’s able to ‘escape’ to safety in the event of an earthquake

The N700S – the ‘s’ stands for ‘Supreme’ – has a top speed of 360kph (223mph), though the line it serves, the Tokaido Shinkansen line, has a maximum operating speed of 285kph (177mph)

The N700S – the ‘s’ stands for ‘Supreme’ – has a top speed of 360kph (223mph), though the line it serves, the Tokaido Shinkansen line, has a maximum operating speed of 285kph (177mph)

The summit of Mt Fuji has been considered sacred since ancient times and bullet train staff have been known to bow to it as the train passes.

While the N700S, which entered service on July 1 with the Central Japan Railway Co, looks very similar to the N700A trains it’s replacing, it boasts a number of impressive new features.

The seats, according to CNN, can recline further, have individual power outlets and the overhead racks light up at each station to remind passengers to pick up their bags.

An active suspension system makes the ride quieter and smoother and lithium-ion batteries enable the train to move without using power from the overhead lines.

While the N700S looks very similar to the N700A trains it’s replacing, it boasts a number of impressive new features

While the N700S looks very similar to the N700A trains it’s replacing, it boasts a number of impressive new features

The seats on the N700S can recline further, have individual power outlets and the overhead racks light up at each station to remind passengers to pick up their bags

The seats on the N700S can recline further, have individual power outlets and the overhead racks light up at each station to remind passengers to pick up their bags

An active suspension system makes the ride quieter and smoother and lithium-ion batteries enable the N700S to move without using power from the overhead lines

An active suspension system makes the ride quieter and smoother and lithium-ion batteries enable the N700S to move without using power from the overhead lines

The entire Shinkansen network is wired up to earthquake sensors. If a tremor is detected the power supply to the trains is cut off and their emergency brakes activated automatically to bring them to a stop. But the N700S, thanks to its battery packs, can trundle to a safer spot if it comes to a halt somewhere risky

The entire Shinkansen network is wired up to earthquake sensors. If a tremor is detected the power supply to the trains is cut off and their emergency brakes activated automatically to bring them to a stop. But the N700S, thanks to its battery packs, can trundle to a safer spot if it comes to a halt somewhere risky

An N700A bullet train passes in front of the mighty Mt Fuji, which comes into view 44 minutes after departure from Tokyo

An N700A bullet train passes in front of the mighty Mt Fuji, which comes into view 44 minutes after departure from Tokyo

This feature is particularly useful in the event of an earthquake.

The entire Shinkansen network is wired up to earthquake sensors. If a tremor is detected the power supply to the trains is cut off and their emergency brakes activated automatically to bring them to a stop.

But the N700S, thanks to its battery packs, can trundle to a safer spot if it comes to a halt somewhere risky, such as a bridge or tunnel.

Hitachi, which has been building bullet trains since the 1960s, brought bullet train technology to the UK.

In 2009 it introduced the country’s fastest domestic train – the Javelin – which runs at 140mph between London St Pancras International and Kent.

BULLET TRAIN FAST FACTS 

The first bullet train, built by Hitachi, began operating on October 1, 1964, between Tokyo and Osaka.

If bullet trains are more than one minute behind schedule they are considered officially ‘late’.

If bullet trains are more than five minutes behind schedule, the company operating them must explain themselves to the government.

Hitachi, which has been building bullet trains since the 1960s, brought bullet train technology to the UK. In 2009 it introduced the country’s fastest domestic train – the Javelin (pictured at St Pancras) – which runs at 140mph

Hitachi, which has been building bullet trains since the 1960s, brought bullet train technology to the UK. In 2009 it introduced the country’s fastest domestic train – the Javelin (pictured at St Pancras) – which runs at 140mph

The average bullet train delay is around 30 seconds.

The bullet train network passenger fatality record – in 56 years of operation – is zero.

Hitachi, which has been building bullet trains since the 1960s, brought bullet train technology to the UK. In 2009 it introduced the country’s fastest domestic train – the Javelin – which runs at 140mph between London St Pancras International and Kent. 

Bullet trains aren’t just quiet for passengers on the inside – they’re quiet when they speed past for people on the outside too. They never exceed 75 decibels while running. For comparison, a passenger car travelling at 65mph, 25 feet away makes 77 dB of noise. 

Shinkansen carriages are 0.3metres wider than high-speed trains in Europe.

The latest bullet trains use about half the electricity that a Eurostar uses.

The network is wired up to earthquake sensors. If a tremor is detected, the bullet trains stop automatically.

The summit of Mt Fuji has been considered sacred since ancient times and bullet train staff have been known to bow to it as the train passes. 

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