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Thursday, 12th February 2015
In Japan Travel News,

2,800 trial new shinkansen

Some 2,800 eager rail enthusiasts were lucky enough to trial the new Hokuriku shinkansen line during the weekend (February 7th and 8th) following a project that saw the network extended from Tokyo to Nagano

The lucky first users were given the opportunity to ride the bullet train after being selected from a lottery pool of more than 216,000 applicants who wanted to participate in the pre-opening test rides in both directions.

According to Japan Rail officials, the project is set to open to the public on March 14th and will be operated jointly by JR East and JR West. Passengers will be able to reach Kanazawa in just two and a half hours aboard the fastest trains - 80 minutes faster than the present time.

There will be ten round trips a day, with travellers enjoying luxurious conditions aboard the specially designed Kagayaki trains that are capable of moving at speeds of 260 kilometres an hour.

The service will depart from Tokyo central station with stops at Ueno, Omiya, Nagano and Toyama. Other services set to make use of the line include the Hakutaka, Tsurugi and Asama trains.

No problems were found following the test run, reported the Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency, which built the tracks and related facilities. However, JR Rail will continue running tests on the new E7 and W7 series cars and related facilities up to the grand opening on March 14th.

Other preparations that are being undertaken include the training of around 220 drivers and conductors that will operate the new service.

Bullet trains are often used by visitors to Japan keen to experience other major cities, such as Osaka and Kyoto. Their impeccable interiors, fantastic customer service and prompt departures make intercity travel an enjoyable experience.