Sleeker and smarter: Japan unveils new Shinkansen 'Supreme' bullet train

Yoko Wakatsuki and Maggie Wong, CNNUpdated 16th March 2018
(CNN) — The 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics may be two years away, but Japan is already flexing its transportation muscles.
Central Japan Railway Co. has rolled out its new high-speed Shinkansen N700S -- or Shinkansen Supreme -- train model.
The smarter, sleeker and quieter train will debut on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line in 2020, and they will travel between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka, in 2020. But test cars will start operating March 2018.
"The (N700S series) has been completely redesigned through renovating main facilities and equipment," Masayuki Ueno, deputy director-general of JR Tokai's Shinkansen Operations Division, told the Asahi Shimbun.
"We have produced a train that can symbolize a new era for the Tokaido Shinkansen Line."

New technology: Quieter, lighter and greener

New Shinkansen Supreme N700S
The new N700S train (left) will have a sharper nose than the old N700A model.
courtesy JR Central
In addition to its new, golden Supreme logo, the N700S series boasts a number of technological advancements.
Compared to the boxier N700A series, which entered service in 2013, the new Supreme series will have a curvier head profile.
The sharper nose design, called "dual Supreme wind," will reduce noise when entering tunnels and lessen air resistance.
The 16-car variation is a whopping 11 tons lighter than the older generation, partly thanks to the new silicon carbide semiconductors and natural air cooling system. As a result, the new Supreme train will consume less energy.
The latest technology applied to the N700S train will also shorten the braking system's reaction time.
The underfloor equipment has been streamlined, allowing more customization flexibility. The usual 16-car variant can be shortened to eight- to 12-car formations, for example.
It's hoped that this flexibility will make the model more attractive for potential overseas and domestic buyers.
In terms of speed, however, the new N700S model isn't going to be any faster. It will have a maximum speed of 300km/h, the same as other N700 series trains.

More comfortable interiors

New Shinkansen Supreme N700S
Each seat will have its own power socket.
courtesy JR Central
The interior of the new Supreme model has also gone through a major facelift.
All passenger seats will be fitted with power sockets for electronic devices.
The reclining movements on seats are smoother. Passengers traveling on Green Cars -- JR's version of first-class -- will enjoy 15% more foot space.
Other thoughtful new designs include head compartments that light up when a train approaches stations to remind passengers to pick up their belongings.
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