The Bulletin

Japan’s Inaugural Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen train

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Kyushu’s new Shinkansen line linking the prefectures of Saga and Nagasaki in the Kyushu region is open and running.

The new Kyushu Shinkansen line is part of the west Kyushu route of the Kyushu Shinkansen line and is the shortest of all shinkansen lines in the nation being only 66-kilometers in length. This will be the 8th Shinkansen route in the nation. The Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen Line operated by Kyushu Railway (JR Kyushu), links Takeo-Onsen Station in Saga and Nagasaki Station in the city of Nagasaki.

JR Kyushu and local communities expect that the high-speed railway will help increase visitor numbers and revitalize local economies, especially from the Kansai and Chugoku western Japan regions with visitors having easier access to the areas now on the route. Local authorities are also trying to promote the use of the new Shinkansen line for residents.

The N700S (‘S’ stands for ‘Supreme’) Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen train, nicknamed ‘Kamome’ which is ‘Seagull’ in Japanese, takes passengers between Takeo-Onsen and Nagasaki stations in as little as 23 minutes, reducing the minimum travel time between Hakata and Nagasaki stations by approximately 30 minutes. 

The Shinkansen 'bullet train' is an iconic symbol of Japanese technology and innovation and runs along many routes connecting the country – from Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu in the south. The engine boasts the latest cutting-edge features in Japanese train technology, next-generation semiconductors and reduced air resistance, the result of a sharper nose and aerodynamic body design which produces 7% less energy than its predecessor. 

The first generation ‘Series 0’ Shinkansen commenced service on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen line which was inaugurated just 10 days prior to the opening ceremony of the first Tokyo Olympic Games in October 1964 and was renowned as the world’s first high-speed rail line. Since it commenced operation, the Tōkaidō Shinkansen has carried approximately 6.5 billion passengers connecting Tokyo with Kyoto and Osaka. 

This new series is not only greener, lighter and quieter than before, but also safer. An improved braking distance of 285 kph and newly developed battery-based self-propulsion system reduces the level of risk in the event of a natural disaster and allows for the safe transportation of passengers to an evacuation point in the case of an emergency. 

The N700S model has six (6) carriages. Configuration - cars 1-3 are reserved seating and cars 4-6 are non-reserved seating. The new train has a speed of up to 260km/h however in theory this new model can make speeds up to 300km/h. 

The plan has been in place since 1973 to link Takeo-Onsen with Shin-Tosu Station on the Kyushu Shinkansen line. Once linked, it will complete the west Kyushu route of the bullet train network in the Kyushu region. 

This new service provides a wonderful holiday commute option whilst enjoying the beautiful scenery at the same time. The new Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen line offers a new visitor experience to the region and is very pleasing to locals.

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