JR East readies new line of bullet trains

Japan will launch a new fleet of high-speed trains to add to its shiny collection as it celebrates the 50th anniversary of its extensive railway network.

East Japan Railway (JR East) has begun tests of its new Series E7 bullet train, which will whisk away passengers between Tokyo and Nagano in March, and the Sea of Japan coastal area by 2015. The operator is considering branching to Osaka after 2025.

The E7 runs at a top speed of 160 mph, putting it on the lower spectrum of Japan’s bullet trains but its impressive exterior makes up for its relative lack of speed.

Crafted by Kawasaki Heavy Industries and industrial engineer Ken Okuyama, the E7 is done up in ivory with a blue roof and nose, along with a bronze trim to represent various regional crafts such as Kutani porcelain from the Sea of Japan.

“We’ve produced a vivid exterior that’s appropriate for a Shinkansen for a new Japan,” Okuyama, who recently showed off the retro-futuristic Kode 9 sports car at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, said in a release.

“The interiors have elements that reflect the various cultures and seasons along the railway. We hope this design pleases everyone.”

The train was put to the test on the weekend, running it from Nagano to Karuizawa, a mountain resort northwest of Tokyo on the Nagano Shinkansen Line, part of the planned Hokuriku Shinkansen Line that will eventually connect Japan’s mountain region with Osaka. JR West also commissioned new W7 bullet trains, which are identical to the E7.

By Maesie Bertumen

Image: twicepix/Flickr

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