Odakyu Electric Railway Co. revealed the upgraded edition of its signature luxury Romancecar EXE express train on Thursday.
Dubbed the EXE Alpha, the new trains are scheduled to go online from March next year, connecting Tokyo with the Hakone hot-spring resort area, Katase Enoshima Station in Kanagawa Prefecture, and Gotemba Station in Shizuoka Prefecture.
According to Odakyu, “EXE” stands for “Excellent Express.” The current 30000 series has been running for 20 years.
“Everything is now going well” with the current EXE, “but we had troubles in the past,” Odakyu spokesman Toshiaki Nonaka said at the Karakida rail yard, where the new train was shown to reporters.
“It’s very impressive that my beloved trains have been reborn after 20 years,” he said.
Compared with the previous models, the new version features larger bathrooms and storage areas. It also features a barrier-free universal design with greater space allocated to passengers in wheelchairs.
There will also be a multipurpose room with folded tables and chairs to be used for nursing mothers or when a passenger becomes suddenly ill.
Security cameras connected to a system monitored by train crew members will be installed in each carriage, and free Wi-Fi service will also be available.
Odakyu announced separately in October that they will introduce another set of the Romancecar 70000 series in March 2018.
Romancecar trains carry roughly 13 million passengers per year, and their legacy extends back to the 1920s. Odakyu hopes to draw more riders with the new trains, including the growing number of non-Japanese tourists.
As for EXE Alpha, the company will be holding a test ride event on Feb. 12 next year to be attended by 100 groups. Interested parties can apply to join the ride on Odakyu’s website until Dec. 28.