East Japan Railway (JR East) is reducing train impact on the environment through innovations in hybrid systems, fuel cells and other motive power systems.
The new energy train (NE Train), powered by a storage battery and two 65KW fuel cells, can run at a maximum speed of 100 kph and it can travel for 50 to 100km between hydrogen refuelling stops, discharging only water.
The first step for the environmentally friendly train is the development of a test rail car that carries a hybrid system. JR East is currently conducting operational tests to assess system performance and energy saving effects.
The train will begin test runs on actual train tracks from next April, according to JR East. JR East estimates the NE Train will consume about 20 per cent less energy than traditional trains.
New Energy Train logo///
Unlike conventional trains it does not require a constant supply of electricity from overhead wires as it can store the energy that is produced when it brakes.
Minoru Ogasawara, head of JR East\\$quot;s centre for railway systems development, said: "There are still many issues to overcome, such as the cost and the distance it can travel, but it will improve the view of the city as it requires no overhead wires. We hope to make it a commuting train 10 or 20 years from now."
•The image colours for the test car are red and green, with the design on the red circle on the side of the car representing the sun and the green one the earth.
•The logo mark symbolizes the sun as the source of energy and our irreplaceable earth, and expresses the N and E of NE Train.
EAST JAPAN RAILWAY