200-mph red bullet trains thrill rail-mad Japan

A Super Komachi bullet train departs from Tokyo Station as trainspotters and families snap photos.

(Credit: Tim Hornyak/CNET)

TOKYO–The crowd lining the end of Tokyo Station’s platform 22 is four people deep.

They’re jostling for position with their cameras — trainspotters, parents, and children alike — to get a shot of Japan’s latest bullet train: the Series E6 Shinkansen, known as the Super Komachi.

They all bought tickets for the privilege of entering this part of the sprawling terminal that serves 380,000 passengers daily, and operator JR East has to deploy extra security guards to keep them a safe distance from the glistening new locomotive.

With services to northern Japan on the Akita Shinkansen Line, the Super Komachi debuted earlier this month as one of Japan’s fastest commercial trains.

It has been traveling at 300 kph (186 mph) and will eventually run at 320 kph (198.8 mph), also the new operational speed of the Series E5 Hayabusa, among the world’s fastest along with France’s TGV.

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