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Old December 29th, 2010, 04:59 AM   #481
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Hitachi bullish on IEP, eager to enter rest of European market
http://www.sankeibiz.jp/business/new...0502005-n1.htm

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In regards to a UK high-speed rail project for which it had secured preferential negotiating rights, on December 28 Hitachi revealed that it expects to sign a formal contract for the order in the new year. At one time, the project itself was nearing the chopping block as a result of a change in government administration in the UK, but partially due to high praise showered on Hitachi-made trains which began commercial service in the UK last year, the path to a formal agreement was opened. The news is likely to re-energize Japan, which is venturing into the infrastructure export market with cooperation between the public and private sectors.

Hitachi has been in negotiations to fulfill orders for the Department for Transport’s Intercity Express Programme (IEP). The project would replace as many as 1,400 aging railcars on the line between London and Manchester and two other mainlines over the course of 30 years.

Hitachi beat out Germany’s Siemens and the other members of the “Big 3,” securing preferential negotiating rights in February 2009. A formal contract was slated to be signed by March 2010, but with a change in government administration in the UK—currently in financial troubles—the IEP became a victim of cost-cutting, and negotiations were halted. In inquiries to a third-party body, there were even proposals to scrap the project altogether.

However, the UK’s first Japanese-manufactured high-speed trains, supplied by Hitachi, entered service in December of last year and have operated for a year without major problems. Even when faced with heavy snow in the UK this winter, the trains received high praise after being “the only units not to suffer major delays” (Hitachi president Nakanishi Hiroaki). According to Nakanishi, the DfT is leaning towards Hitachi’s proposal, saying it was the “best” offer.

In anticipation of the formal contract for the IEP, Hitachi is moving forward with preparations to construct a factory in the UK, and plans to use the experience gained in the UK as a stepping stone to marketing its products all across Europe. In regards to Germany and France, the home bases of the “Big 3,” Nakanishi expressed his intention to accelerate development of Hitachi’s own home base: “We want to attack. There’s a lot of opportunities here.”

Regarding the IEP, however, it’s possible the project will be reduced in scale as part of cost-saving measures. In addition, others, including officials close to the project, say there is a possibility that the project itself could capsize altogether, and uncertainties still remain.

Related article:
http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/new...e_problems___/
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Old December 29th, 2010, 06:20 PM   #482
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
Perhaps not. Not sure it's really worth it from a business perspective, though.

I believe GranClass partly works on Tōhoku Shinkansen because the green car on the Hayate is frequently full or close to full, indicating there is demand for higher-quality seats and service. The few times I've ridden the green car on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen, it's been pretty empty (and very relaxing because of it). In that respect, a GranClass-type service on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen may not offer much added value over a green car.
If green cars are full, there are 3 possible conclusions:
Tohoku Shinkansen green car tickets are too cheap and they should be made more expensive
Tohoku Shinkansen has too few green cars, and some ordinary cars should be replaced with green
Tohoku Shinkansen might have demand for GranClass.

Conversely, if Tokaido Shinkansen green cars are empty, there are possible conclusions:
Tokaido Shinkansen green car tickets are too expensive, and they should be made cheaper
Tokaido Shinkansen has too many green cars, and one green car out of the 3 should be replaced with ordinary car (thus 132 green car seats and over 1323 total capacity)
Tokaido Shinkansen has spare capacity which is not sacrificed when 1 out of the 3 green cars is replaced with GranClass rather than ordinary car.

Which of these is likely?
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Old December 29th, 2010, 07:19 PM   #483
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New Year's Shinkansen rush: Part 1

A few news reports on the first day (2010.12.29) of the Shinkansen rush, as people leave Tōkyō and other major metropolitan areas to head home for the holidays. Peak day of travel in the outbound direction is 2010.12.30.

TBS news report (2010.12.29):
Tōkaidō Shinkansen Nozomi: Reserved seats full on all trains; non-reserved seats over 100% of capacity on almost all trains (1:10 pm departure from Tōkyō was 150%)
Tōhoku Shinkansen Hayate: Morning and evening trains full; reservations are up 122% over last year



ANN news report (2010.12.29) on the Shin-Aomori extension:

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Old December 29th, 2010, 07:54 PM   #484
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Nice update I'm glad there are people like you sharing pictures, news and videos on such a daily basis and put so much effort into that! Thx a lot quashlo


BTW, I was wondering why there seem to be so many people in Japan wearing face masks? Are there any major diseases I am not aware of? Is it polluted air? Or just a cultural thing where a lot of people are super-sensitive towards health and hygiene?
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Old December 29th, 2010, 10:55 PM   #485
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I'm pretty sure that one of the reasons is that they are sick (cold or similar) and don't want to pass on their infection. Japanese people are so caring of others, I love it...

Keep the updates coming!!
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Old December 30th, 2010, 09:02 AM   #486
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Originally Posted by loefet View Post
I'm pretty sure that one of the reasons is that they are sick (cold or similar) and don't want to pass on their infection. Japanese people are so caring of others, I love it...

Keep the updates coming!!
Yes, pretty much that, plus some people (especially pregnant women and students taking entrance exams) do it to prevent catching a cold/flu (less effective tho). Also, when you wear the mask, it keeps your throat moisturized, which is beneficial in dry winter air conditions.

As for Tohoku shinkansen passenger loads, as stated by some passengers, the decisive factor is being able to get to Aomori on one train, w/o transfers. Looking forward to Hayabusa starting operations this spring.
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Old December 30th, 2010, 04:14 PM   #487
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
New Year's Shinkansen rush: Part 1

A few news reports on the first day (2010.12.29) of the Shinkansen rush, as people leave Tōkyō and other major metropolitan areas to head home for the holidays. Peak day of travel in the outbound direction is 2010.12.30.

TBS news report (2010.12.29):
Tōkaidō Shinkansen Nozomi: Reserved seats full on all trains; non-reserved seats over 100% of capacity on almost all trains (1:10 pm departure from Tōkyō was 150%)
Tōhoku Shinkansen Hayate: Morning and evening trains full; reservations are up 122% over last year
Oh my God! I will take these trains on January 3, will it be the same?
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Old December 30th, 2010, 04:53 PM   #488
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Originally Posted by k.k.jetcar View Post
Yes, pretty much that, plus some people (especially pregnant women and students taking entrance exams) do it to prevent catching a cold/flu (less effective tho).
I've yet to see a person wearing a facemask which does prevent them from infections. Those papertowel-masks people wear don't have any effect on germs. To me this is more a weird custom, like driving bicycle with an umbrella...
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Old December 30th, 2010, 09:50 PM   #489
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It may be unusual, but the masks do have benefits.... As others have said, they are still good when you have allergies, its chilly outside, or you are already sick (stuffy / runny nose or sore throat) and you want to keep your germs away from other people and keep your nose clear and throat moisturized. This also makes them good for when traveling by plane.
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Old December 30th, 2010, 09:51 PM   #490
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New Year's Shinkansen rush: Part 2

Today (2010.12.30) was the peak for outbound travel on the Shinkansen. Overcrowding will continue until 2010.12.31 midday.

TBS news report (2010.12.30):
Passenger loads continued to exceed 100% on all lines, with Nozomi 5 departing Tōkyō at 180% of capacity.



ANN news report (2010.12.30):

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Old December 30th, 2010, 09:56 PM   #491
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Quote:
Originally Posted by godetto View Post
Oh my God! I will take these trains on January 3, will it be the same?
January 3 is the so-called "U-turn" or inbound peak, when everybody is leaving their parents' homes (or their New Year's vacation spot) and rushing back to the big cities. I believe the inbound peak is supposed to be worse than the outbound peak, but we'll see in a few days either way.

Depending on what kind of pass or ticket you have and for what service, it may be less chaotic. The standees are concentrated in the non-reserved seats.
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Old January 5th, 2011, 08:57 AM   #492
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JBIC commissions study for Florida high-speed rail project
http://www.morningstar.co.jp/portal/...o?rncNo=398785

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In support of Japanese firms considering participation in the high-speed rail project in Florida, U.S., on December 29, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) announced that it will commission a study regarding the commercial viability of the project. While the Japanese government is advancing the export of infrastructure "packages" into overseas markets as a cornerstone of its new growth strategy, this is JBIC's first study effort targeting a project in a developed country.

U.S. president Obama heralded a policy of actively promoting construction of energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly high-speed railways as an engine for job creation and economic development. Studies of 11 candidate lines across the U.S. selected by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), including routes in California, the Chicago area, the Northeast Corridor, and the Southeast region, are currently underway. Of these, JBIC will commission a study on the high-speed rail project in Florida state. According to the FRA's plans, the project would construct a line between Tampa and Orlando in Florida state, ultimately extending all the way to Miami. Out of all the various proposals, it's believed that the Florida project has the highest likelihood of being implemented first.

Globally, integrated railway manufacturers including Siemens (Germany), Alstom (France), and Bombardier (Canada) possess a large share of the market, supplying orders for everything from facilities to rolling stock and the entire operating system. China and Korea are also pouring their efforts into exports of comparatively cheaper high-speed rail products, and may have the potential to become a major opposing force. While Japanese manufacturers have some experience exporting rolling stock, it has yet to successfully market an entire package like other major overseas manufacturers. It is hoped that the commissioning of the latest study by the JBIC is the first step towards building the Japan-wide framework being promoted by the government.
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Old January 5th, 2011, 08:57 AM   #493
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JR Central studying possibility of improving Shinkansen train strength for U.S. market
http://www.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20110...207201000.html

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JR Central, which is hoping to export the Shinkansen to the United States, has begun investigations into increasing the strength of Shinkansen trains for the export market, in preparation for the event that high-speed rail safety standards to be established by the U.S. government include strict standards regarding train buff strength.

The U.S. government is hoping to introduce high-speed rail and is moving forward with drafting safety standards, including train buff strength in the event of collisions. Since JR Central's Shinkansen trains were designed to avoid accidents by construction of exclusive tracks without grade crossings, it has no specific standards regarding train strength. As a result, JR Central has begun studies to look at increasing the strength of Shinkansen trains designed for export, in the event that the U.S. establishes strict safety standards regarding train strength. Specifically, the railway says it is in discussions with rolling stock manufacturers regarding train design and other factors to see just how much the strength can be increased while retaining the high energy efficiency made possible by the Shinkansen's lightweight trains. Currently, JR Central is aiming to win the high-speed rail project in Florida state, which is slated to be put out to bid sometime this year. JR Central is aiming to win orders for the project by establishing a flexible position regarding safety standards.
The article also contains a short video news report.

Related article:
http://www.jiji.com/jc/zc?k=201012/2010122700171
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Old January 5th, 2011, 09:02 AM   #494
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New Year's Shinkansen rush: Part 3

U-turn rush peak day was 2011.01.03.

TBS news report:
Tōkaidō Shinkansen: Reserved seats almost all full; non-reserved seats 150% of capacity (3:30 pm Nozomi departure from Nagoya)
Tōhoku Shinkansen: Non-reserved seats 150% of capacity
Jōetsu Shinkansen: Non-reserved seats 200% of capacity



ANN news report:



I believe ridership in general has posted a small increase over last year, so I'm waiting anxiously for some hard statistics soon.
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Old January 5th, 2011, 09:02 AM   #495
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New schedule for Kyūshū Shinkansen revealed

When the details of the Kyūshū Shinkansen schedule were released a few weeks ago, the Minami-Nippon Shimbun released what appears to be the future schedule:
http://373news.com/_kikaku/shinkansen/pdf/20101218.pdf
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Old January 5th, 2011, 09:03 AM   #496
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San'yō / Kyūshū Shinkansen through-services will increase in 2012
http://www.asahi.com/kansai/travel/n...101020016.html

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Of the trains to operate on the Kyūshū Shinkansen's Kagoshima route (Hakata ‒ Kagoshima Chūō), scheduled to celebrate its full opening in March, JR Kyūshū and JR West have finalized plans to substantially increase the 30 daily Mizuho and Sakura direct-service trips to and from Shin-Ōsaka in spring 2012. The move is a result of a 50 percent increase in the size of the fleet about one year after the line opens.

The new N700 series trains to be used on the Mizuho and Sakura services will operate at a top speed of 300 kph on the San'yō Shinkansen and 260 kph on the Kyūshū Shinkansen. At the time of the line's opening in March, a total of 19 of the N700 series trains (10 JR Kyūshū units and 9 JR West units) will be available for service.

In addition, JR West will add an additional 10 units by spring 2012, bringing the grand total of new trains to 29 units, 1.5 times the fleet size at the time of the line's opening. It appears that the two railway operators have decided to gradually increase the fleet size in coordination with the increase in the number of trips beginning in the line's second year of service.

The fastest service, the Mizuho, will make the journey between Shin-Ōsaka and Kagoshima Chūō in as little as 3 hours and 45 minutes, one hour and 17 minutes faster than the current travel time. The Sakura service will make the journey in 4 hours and 10 minutes. Both services are anticipated to be used by tourists from the Kinki and the Chūgoku regions, and local governments along the Kyūshū Shinkansen have been petitioning JR to have as many Shin-Ōsaka through-service Shinkansen trains as possible stop at their respective stations.

Within JR Kyūshū, some have said that the 30 direct-service trips a day is still "too few." At a press conference in December of last year, JR Kyūshū president Karaike Kōji said that the railway "wants to increase the number of Shin-Ōsaka through-service Shinkansen trips" in the future.

JR will contemplate increasing the number of trips after examining the ridership levels, but one railway analyst has said, "It's likely that there will be an increase in the number of trips, primarily for services with a limited number of stops such as the Mizuho." The reason is that many passengers are expected to use these services, as they have an edge in the competition against airlines and stop at major stations including Kokura, Hakata, Kumamoto, and Kagoshima Chūō.

In concert, JR plans to reevaluate the number of Shin-Ōsaka through-service Sakura trains stopping at respective stations based on the the station ridership. In attempt to meet the requests of local jurisdictions, JR decided to have all 12 stations on the Kyūshū Shinkansen served by at least three direct-service Sakura trains a day.
New JR Kyūshū CM on the Kyūshū Shinkansen extension. Catchphrase is "The Start of a New Kyūshū."


Source: cromagnmon1969 on YouTube
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Old January 5th, 2011, 09:03 AM   #497
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Studies on Isahaya Station improvements underway
http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nnp/item/218307

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On December 29, it was revealed that Isahaya City and JR Kyūshū, which are evaluating a renovation of JR Isahaya Station (Isahaya City, Nagasaki Prefecture) and a station bus terminal in coordination with the project approval for the Takeo Onsen ‒ Isahaya section of the Kyūshū Shinkansen's Nishi-Kyūshū (Nagasaki) route, will compile their improvements proposal within the end of the fiscal year. Two alternatives appear to be the most likely for consideration: one involving construction of a bus terminal building ten stories or taller, and a "no build" alternative for the bus terminal building. The project will aim to strengthen the functions of the station as a hub for access to the Shimabara and Sasebo areas of Nagasaki Prefecture.

Isahaya City, the Nagasaki Prefectural Government, JR Kyūshū, and Shimabara Railroad established a working group to investigate infrastructure improvements for the area around the station in October 2008 following project approval.

If the Nishi-Kyūshū route is extended to Nagasaki Station according to full Shinkansen standards, Isahaya City has estimated that station entries and exits would increase by approx. 40 percent above current levels to approx. 18,000 passengers daily. With a forecasted increase in interchange passenger demand between the JR Nagasaki Line, JR Ōmura Line, Shimabara Railroad, and buses, the committee has invited academic experts and conducted discussions.

In both possible alternatives, the station building would be constructed with an elevated concourse that spans across the Shinkansen and zairaisen (conventional line) tracks. If the bus terminal building is constructed, it would be integrated with the station building, and designed to improve convenience for interchanging passengers, with tenants including retail faciltiies.

However, a high-rise building would require a hefty pricetag, and others are worried about the ability to secure tenants amid a prolonged recession. As a result, investigation is currently underway into a proposal that would not construct a bus terminal building, but would expand the station plaza to 6,500 sq m (about 10 times its current size) to improve convenience for passengers transferring to and from buses.

Work will now begin on hammering out the project cost and funding contributions, aiming for completion of the improvements before the opening of the Nishi-Kyūshū route (currently unknown). Spokespersons for Isahaya City say, "We hope this will lead to a detailed plan that also includes a tourism strategy."
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Old January 5th, 2011, 09:04 AM   #498
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JR Kyūshū envisioning luxury sleeper train circling around Kyūshū
Nishi-Nippon Shimbun (print edition only)

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JR Kyūshū will launch operations of a Kyūshū Circular Luxury Sleeper Train, being planned as a way to expand the benefits of the opening of the full length of the Kyūshū Shinkansen's Kagoshima route to all parts of the island, in spring 2013. Using new sleeper cars equipped with suite rooms and other amenities, the trains will make through way through various parts of Kyūshū in three days and two nights. Each train will have capacity for 30 passengers and fares will be about ¥200,000 a person, with trains operating twice a week. The service is likely to be a new centerpiece for Kyūshū tourism.

JR Kyūshū is estimating manufacturing costs for the train of ¥100 million to ¥150 million per car, and has already included it in its investment plan. The railway is also considering the possibility of constructing the trains at its Kokura Plant.

According to the plan, the train would depart Hakata and head to Yufuin in Ōita Prefecture, where passengers would stay at traditional onsen (hot springs) inns. The next day, the train would reach Miyazaki, and then Kagoshima the following morning, where passengers will be able to gaze at Sakurajima as the sun rises. The train's course would change depending on the seasons.

The train is envisioned as a six- to seven-car unit. In addition to sleeper cars, the train will also include cars featuring restaurant space and lounges, as well as a car featuring three suite rooms. The train is being designed by Mitooka Eiji, who had a hand in the 800 series Tsubame Shinkansen. The base for the design is the "Sleeper Train of Dreams" proposed by Mitooka in writings and other sources.

Among luxury sleeper trains, the Twilight Express between Ōsaka and Sapporo and the Cassiopeia between Tōkyō and Sapporo are famous. Korail also operates the Haeoreum, a three-day, two-night service circling through Korea, and the train has proven popular primarily among seniors and other passenger demographics.
An ambitious plan, given that sleepers have been a dying breed in Japan for some time now.

JTB interview, where Mitooka Eiji (center) talks about the design of the new train / service.



There's a few conceptual sketches in the print article here:
http://up.2chan.net/r/res/399942.htm
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Old January 5th, 2011, 09:05 AM   #499
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Farewell to the 500 series Nozomi

We're approaching one year since the 500 series trains were downgraded off 16-car Nozomi services and relegated to 8-car Kodama runs on the San'yō Shinkansen. A couple of videos to remember. Last run was 2010.02.28.
Source: hs616rb on YouTube

This one almost brings tears to my eyes...



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Old January 6th, 2011, 07:50 PM   #500
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Nippon Sharyō and Sumitomo win Taiwan train order
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-0...-update1-.html

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Nippon Sharyo Ltd., a unit of Japan’s biggest bullet-train operator, gained the most in more than two years in Tokyo trading after it won part of a Taiwan rail order worth 30 billion yen ($360 million).

The trainmaker and Sumitomo Corp. will supply 136 rail cars under the contract, the company said in a statement through the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Nippon Sharyo jumped 15 percent, the biggest gain since August 2008, to 464 yen at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo. The shares dropped 33 percent in 2010, compared with a 3 percent decline in the benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average.

The order extends Nippon Sharyo’s participation in Taiwan’s high-speed railroad after the Japanese company supplied cars for the initial leg of the system, which opened in 2007. Taiwan plans to connect all provincial capitals and cities with more than 500,000 residents via bullet trains by 2020, according to the Taiwan Railways Administration.

“This is positive for Nippon Sharyo because it confirms that the order flow will continue,” Ryo Tazaki, an analyst at Nomura Holdings Inc. in Tokyo, said by phone.

Sales related to the order will be booked over three years starting in April 2012, according to the statement by Nippon Sharyo, which is 50 percent owned by Central Japan Railway Co.

Sumitomo announced the contract earlier today and is a partner with Nippon Sharyo for the order.
“The contract added to the market’s strong expectation that Taiwan’s introduction of a high-speed train will contribute to Nippon Sharyo’s sales for a long time,” Satoshi Yuzaki, chief analyst at Takagi Securities Co., said by phone in Tokyo.

Sumitomo rose 1.9 percent to 1,218 yen.
Full Nippon Sharyō press release is here:
http://www.n-sharyo.co.jp/finance/irinfo110106.pdf

Rendering:


Source: Nippon Sharyō

A total of 136 cars (17 8-car units) will be supplied, featuring lightweight aluminum body and tilting system. The trains will be used on intercity passenger service between Chiayi, Taipei, and Hualien (but primarily between Taipei and Hualien).

Nippon Sharyō and Sumitomo have already supplied about 400 railcars to Taiwan, including trains supplied through Taiwan Rolling Stock Co., a joint venture between Nippon Sharyō, Sumitomo, and local Taiwanese firms Tang Eng Iron Works Co. and China Steel Corporation.
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