This summer JR Central will debut a new hybrid HC85 series on trains running between Nagoya and Takayama. The HC85 uses a fuel-efficient combination of diesel and electric power and will replace the KiHa 85 series of diesel trains which have been in use since 1989. This is JR Central’s first hybrid rail-car and also the fastest hybrid train in Japan, having a top speed of 120kph.
While the old KiHa 85 train has two diesel engines, the new HC85 uses a combination of a single diesel engine and an electric storage battery. Regenerative braking is also used to charge the battery, and an idling stop system shuts down the engine automatically each time the train stops so that less power is wasted.
Compared to the old KiHa 85 series, the HC85 improves fuel efficiency by about 35%, CO2 emissions are reduced by about 30%, and NOx emissions are reduced by about 40%. The new train also has more soundproofing and an anti-vibration structure that provides passengers with a more comfortable ride.
Inside, the 4-car train is supplied with LCD information screens, power outlets in the armrests of all seats, free Wi-Fi, security cameras, and a large luggage storage space at the end of each car. One car will have three wheelchair spaces, which are also supplied with power outlets, and a wheelchair accessible toilet. A “nano-museum” space on the deck of two cars will be used to display traditional crafts from the route of the train.
Currently the KiHa 85 series is used for the Limited Express Hida service that runs between Nagoya and Takayama and the Limited Express Nanki service that runs from Nagoya through Mie to Wakayama. The HC85 will make its debut on the Hida service on July 1st and will be introduced on the Nanki service by 2023. A total of 68 cars are to be built by 2023, to create a complete fleet of 17 4-car trains.
Article by Michael Lambe. Images courtesy of JR Central. All rights reserved.