The 500 Series Shinkansen are the fastest, most powerful and most expensive trainsets yet to run on Japan's Shinkansen high-speed rail network. They are designed to be capable of 320 km/h (200 mph) although they currently operate at a maximum of 300 km/h (186 mph) in service. The running gear utilises computer-controlled active suspension for a smoother, safer ride. All sixteen cars in each train are powered, giving a maximum of 18.24 MW of power (25,000 hp). Each train costs an estimated ¥5 billion, or over US$40 million; because of that price tag, only nine have been built.

Shinkansen 500 Series
500 Series Shinkansen at Kyoto Station 2005. Photo by NickCoutts

The first entered service in 1995 and the last of the nine in 1998. They are used only on the premium Nozomi services.

Visually they are quite striking, with a long, pointed needle nose more like that of a supersonic plane than a conventional high speed train. In 1990, Hitachi commissioned Neumeister Design of Germany to create a design for a new Shinkansen. It became the basis for the development of the Nozomi 500.

(Article based on Wikipedia article and used under the GNU Free Documentation License)



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