The N700S or N700 'Supreme' is the latest addition to Japan's bullet train fleet. The train doesn't only run faster and smoother, it is also able to transport passengers safely in the event of an earthquake. The train started its maiden journey on July 1 and serves the Tokaido Shinkansen line, which links Tokyo Station and Shin-Osaka Station in Osaka.
N700S achieved a top speed of 360 kilometres per hour during a test run in 2019 - making it one of the fastest trains in the world. However, the operating speed will be capped at 285 kilometers per hour.
The new train doesn't look too different from the older N700 or N700A models, apart from its elegant golden logo. But with a closer inspection, a more angular nose, and sleeker headlight design can be seen. On the inside, newly designed seats allow passengers to recline further, offering more comfort, especially for long-haul riders. Each seat has an individual power outlet.
The actual ride will be a lot quieter and smoother, too, thanks to a new active suspension system that helps absorb train movements. The train has an upgraded automatic control and braking system that allows it to halt faster in case of an emergency. More cameras have also been installed inside car compartments - an increase from two cameras to up to six in each train car.
The train has the world's first lithium-ion battery self-propulsion system, which will allow the train to operate for short distances during a power outage, making it easier to run the train out of high risk areas, through tunnels and over bridges, during a natural disaster. Four of the 16 cars will carry batteries on the underside of its carriages.
The upgraded components will take up less space under the train floor compared to the old model, making it possible for a more flexible configuration, from four to 16 cars. This also decreases energy consumption while speeding up production times, making it a more appealing option for operators internationally.
Deputy head of JR Central's bullet train business department, Masayuki Ueno said,
By making the mechanisms under the floor of the N700S lighter and more compact, we created a new standard. This new standard will also help when it comes to expanding our business overseas.