This project is expected to cost 10 billion yen ($US 88.3 million), including test runs of the new cars. Tokyo-based JR East aims to develop two test models by the spring of 2019, one of which will be chosen to begin operations by fiscal 2030, when the extension of the Hokkaido Shinkansen bullet train line is set to open on Japan's northernmost main island. Today's bullet trains reach speeds of up to 320kph.
The new train cars will succeed the E5 series that now operate on the Tohoku Shinkansen line stretching north from Tokyo. Preventing derailments from earthquakes will be among the major improvements.
In addition, JR East will enable constant monitoring of train cars, tracks and overhead lines during operation to respond swiftly to malfunctions. The railway operator will also work on ways to reduce the noise when trains enter tunnels, while altering the shape of pantographs and other parts to lessen sounds when trains are moving.
Plans for a 360kph train were initially disclosed in fiscal 2012. JR East sees a need for faster trains, given the length of travel on the extended line to Hokkaido.