• Kyodo

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Shinkansen carriages that will be used on a new route in Hokkaido are being put through their paces on the route’s newly laid tracks.

Trial runs of the 10-car H5 series train began Monday ahead of the spring 2016 launch of the Hokkaido bullet train, Hokkaido Railway Co. and the Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency said. The route will shrink the rail journey from Tokyo to southern Hokkaido to just 4 hours and 10 minutes.

On Monday, the train cars were to spend 3 hours traveling a 4-km round trip between a depot in the town of Nanae and the city of Hokuto. Workers will monitor whether there are any glitches in power transmission from the overhead lines.

Future trials will include tests in the tunnel linking Honshu with Hokkaido.

In service, the train will run at up to 260 kph. Future trials will include a gradual increase from the initial 30 kph.

Trials for the current fiscal year will continue through March 1.

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