The new N700S was launched on 1st July 2020 after a long period of test running. It should have in fact been launched earlier this year in readiness for the Tokyo Olympics, however the COVID-19 pandemic put things to a stop. After much uncertainty including whether the Olympics would even take place (they will in 2021) the 285kmh N700S was launched after an initial press launch two weeks earlier. This is just a brief report with some shots of the opening ceremony from social media.
The first train in service was the 06.00am Nozomi 1 bound for Hakata and there were a number of enthusiasts en route to see the first service go past. This video shows the first service as it travels between Kokura (10.37am) and Hakata (10.52am) – and there are some good shots of the interior, information displays (including English versions) and other aspects of the new high speed trains.
The first public N700S awaits at Tokyo as the inauguration ceremony gets underway. Source: Twitter
As always the ceremonies are short and basic, the aim being to ensure no sort of hindrance to services is made and the train leaves right on time.
JR Tokai President Shin Kaneko at the launch. Source: Twitter
Japan Central Railway (JR Tokai) president Shin Kaneko said at the launch of the new N700S: ‘I am confident that this is the best Shinkansen in every respect with improved safety, stability, and comfort. I hope many passengers will enjoy their travels.’
The pre 6.00am ceremony gets underway. Source: Twitter
Flowers exchanged from Naval staff to the crew in charge of Nozomi 1. Source: Twitter
Tokyo station officials see the first N700S depart as station master Takeshi Matsuki gives the signal to leave at exactly 06.00am. President Shin Kaneko is the guy in the middle with glasses. Source: Twitter
The N700S departure as shown on Twitter video.
Four N700S sets were in service the first day. This is expected to rise to twelve sets as 2020 progresses. More will be in service in time for the deferred 2021 Tokyo Olympics and by 2022 the full complement of 40 sets will be in service. By then there will be few N700As in service.
The Blue Car section (standard class) of the N700S. Source: Twitter
The new train has several advances over the earlier N700A. As well as improved dynamics (which I have discussed elsewhere) it also has back up power which means in the event of power failure (due to earthquake for example) the train can continue its journey (albeit at reduced speed) to the nearest available station.
Interior of the ‘Green Car’ (first class) section. Source: Twitter
There’s also increased comfort including better reclining seats which give more room, greater ambience, more USB power sockets, and better information displays for passengers. One new innovation is if anyone leaves any luggage or belongings on the train, a visual reminder will be made by way of a light being shone on the section of luggage rack in question.
High definition LCD information displays on the N700S. Source: Twitter
The luggage racks themselves and other interior parts of the new trains consist of recycled materials derived from the N700’s which were scrapped earlier this year.
JR Central’s advert for the new N700S.
Dramatic picture of the new N700S passing through a short tunnel on the Tokaido Shinkansen. Note the inner anti-derailment rails which are being fitted to all parts of the Shinkansen. Source: Shanghai Eye
In retrospect here’s the first ever N700S set to be seen in public two years ago. Over a number of nights each car from that set was towed in the road during a transfer at Hamamatsu and hordes of rail enthusiasts were out to see these despite the late hour this was taking place!
Car number 16 from the first N700S set. Source: Twitter
In other news from Japan’s railways its said JR Central have given up on a 2027 launch for its futuristic Chuo Shinkansen. There had a been an ongoing clash with the Shizuoka prefecture. Just a day or two after the N700S launch the Shizuoka Government deferred its approval of the new Maglev line due to fears it would damage the local environment. This means Jr Central cannot now hope to begin construction on that section and achieve a 2027 opening for the first stage of its new line. See this news page and this news page for details.