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 360km/h, though the line it serves, the Tokaido Shinkansen line, has a maximum operating speed of 285km/h
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 3 780mhigh Mount Fuji.
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.
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 Britain.
In 2009, it introduced the country’s fastest domestic train the Javelin which runs at 140mph (225km/h) between London St Pancras International and Kent>chaosafrica