December 16, 2006


JFS English Guided Tours -- JR East Railways

Report of the Eco Products 2006

The largest railway company in the world and one of seven JR companies, which operates almost all intercity rail services and a large proportion of commuter rail services.


Energy generating floor

  • JR East has been testing "energy generating floor" at Tokyo station from October 2006. This technology uses vibration from walking (of commuters) to generate energy. The company is developing this technology with a speaker company.

Hybrid train

  • Here is how the hybrid train works.

    1. Departing from a station: car is set into motion on battery power up to a speed of 30km/h (19mph)

    2. Cruising on a level track: diesel engine operates at its highest efficiency, and a secondary battery discharge/charges depending on running loads.

    3. Running upslope: the diesel engine is operated at its maximum out put level.

    4. Running on downslope: the battery is charged by the regenerative brake, Car speed is controlled by the engine exhaust brake.

    5. Braking: the diesel engine stops and the battery is charged by the regenerative brake

    6. Stopping at a station: the diesel engine switches off. Service energy is supplied from then battery.

  • Hybrid reduce fuel consumption by more than 10% compared to the current diesel railcars, while cutting NOX and PM about 60% (initial targets were a reduction in fuel consumption of 20% and reducing emissions by 50%) The company has confirmed the performance even in difficult conditions, such as on steepslopes and in severe cold.

  • JR East will start to operate the hybrid train on the koumi line between obuchizawa station in the town of obuchizawa, yamanashi prefecture and komoro station in the city of komoro, nagano prefecture. The company designed the powertrain in anticipation of replacing the diesel with a fuel-cell system

  • Question and Answers:

    Q. "Is diesel train widely used in Japan?"

    A. "Yes, in rural area in Japan there are many diesel trains. We started from diesel hybrid and then hope to shift to fuel-cell hybrid in the future."

    Q. "Do you have a plan to promote light rail?"

    A. "Yes, the research is underway to develop a hybrid-type next generation streetcar, or light rail (LRT). "

  • Food for thoughts: How does the railway system work in your country? Do you see the technology development that JR East has been promoting would be meaningful in your country, too?

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