Last Friday, JR East and West announced changes on their flagship Shinkansen services schedules. The change was notable for the full implementation of N700A, the latest version of Shinkansen trains on the southern part of Honshu. New schedules will start to run on March 4th, 2017.
The update is good for passengers, as the new train is faster. N700A was introduced back in 2013 to replace the N700 series. Now that more of the trains are running, Shinkansen trains in these areas will run faster:
- Tokaido Shinkansen (JR East and Central) – Both Nozomi and Hikari will have their transit time shorten by 3 minutes. Total number of trains that will benefit are 51 per day, between Tokyo and Shin Osaka.
- Sanyo Shinkansen (JR West) – Between Shin Osaka and Hakata, Nozomi and Hikari trains will run 1 minute faster. Kodama trains will run 15 minutes faster.
- Nozomi service running between Tokyo to Hakata will shorten by 1-7 minutes depending on the specific train. Total transit time will shorten to 4 hours and 46 minutes.
While the time saved are not that impressive on numbers, it is significant for a service that boast absolute accuracy on the schedule. When their delays (including abnormal incidents, natural or man made) were counted in seconds, gaining a few minutes is big news. This is even more important, when competition from full fare and LCC airlines are fierce. Every minute counts when flying can be faster and cheaper in more locations ever.
In any case, it’s a win for the traveler, where you can have the benefit of faster train transport!
Updated Dec 23rd 0911 hrs GMT +8: added original article link (Google translated).