Japanese Railway Introduces Hybrid Train

In this illustration released by Tokyo-based East Japan Railways Co., Friday, April 14, 2006, the NE Train, or New Energy Train, that the Japan's biggest rail company will soon test is shown. The initial train will consist of a single car powered by electric batteries and capable of traveling at up to 100 kph (62 mph). A diesel-run generator will provide most of the electricity, with two 65-kilowatt hydrogen fuel cells chipping in about a third.
AP Photo/East Japan Railways, HO
A Japanese railway company will put the world's first environmentally friendly hybrid train into commercial service later this month, a move designed to help curb global warming, a company official said Thursday.

The train will be powered by a diesel engine and electric battery that gets recharged by energy created from braking at curves and when entering stations, East Japan Railway spokesman Shinichi Harada said.

Although gas-and-electric hybrid automobiles are already touted as a way to fight global warming, the JR East's hybrid train is the first of its kind in the world, Harada said.

The train, called Kiha E200, developed by East Japan Railway Co., will debut on the Koumi Line in central Japan on July 31.

The new technology helps reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter by up to 60 percent, compared to conventional trains, Harada said.

It cuts fuel consumption by up to 20 percent, and also runs more quietly.

"It is our responsibility to help reduce global warming by running environmentally friendly means of transportation," Harada said.

Harada said JR East, as the company is also known, study the train's performance on the 48.9 mile Koumi Line, which passes through mountain resorts, before deciding whether to mass produce the hybrid train cars.