A current, non-battery-powered JR Central N700 series shinkansen set Z28 on the Sanyo Shinkansen between Okayama and Aioi stations.

JR Central unveils 1st battery-powered bullet train


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When they come up with one that runs on a rubber band - then I'll be impressed.

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The test run was held for media at a railyard in Mishima, Shizuoka Prefecture.

So, a publicity stunt, then.

To my way of thinking, this seems like a solution in search of a problem since the only way a Shinkansen train is likely to become stranded is a) by an accident e.g. derailment, or b) by a total power failure in the supply infrastructure (which would affect any train on that stretch of track). If we assume that there is enough on board redundancy, even if some of the traction equipment failed, the train would still be able to limp to the nearest station.

Meanwhile, batteries increase cost, complexity, weight, and of course performance.

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Bungle's right in that the headline is far grander than the story. Its a train with batteries for emergency backup power only.

Shink lines are mostly bridges and tunnels with little on the actual ground. So the risk of being stranded when the thing stops is actually very high. It will be much higher for the mag-lev, whose line is one long tunnel. The maglev's power consumption is super-high though, so batteries will be a non-starter.

The Hokkaido earthquake also proved that a small localized earthquake can leave a huge prefecture without power for days. That is how bad the grid is in parts of the country. So backup power for a train might be a good idea, but only because of a lack of resilience in the system as a whole.

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