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February 18, 2022

East Japan Railway unveils hydrogen-powered train

JR East plans to carry out test runs for the new train from late March 2022 and commission it in 2030.

East Japan Railway (JR East) has unveiled a hydrogen-powered test train that features a fuel cell system and storage batteries, according to Jiji Press.

Said to be the first of its kind in Japan, the two-car hydrogen fuel cell hybrid train is named Hydrogen-Hybrid Advanced Rail Vehicle for Innovation (HYBARI).

JR East plans to undertake test runs for the new train from late March 2022, with plans to start commercial operation in 2030.

These tests will be carried out on the Nanbu Line, which connects Tachikawa Station in Tachikawa, Tokyo and Kawasaki Station in Kawasaki, Kanagawa, as well as some other lines.

The new train is equipped with hybrid systems that make used of hydrogen-powered fuel cells and storage batteries as their source of electricity.

Toyota Motor has developed the fuel cell system for the train while the hybrid drive system is provided by Hitachi.

Developed with an estimated investment of about $34.7m (JPY4bn), the train will be able to travel up to 140km per charge of hydrogen, reported the news agency citing the railway operator.

In November 2021, JR East said it completed a trial run of its E-7 series Shinkansen bullet train in Japan’s Niigata Prefecture.

During the trial, the 12-car E7-series bullet train was remotely piloted from a control centre. It travelled for nearly 5km from Niigata Station on the Joetsu Shinkansen line.

The train also reached the anticipated top speed of 110km/h during the trial run.

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