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Leveraging advanced technologies and expertise to provide environmentally conscious and safe transportation
Modal shift has recently gained attention as a concept for transporting people and goods by alternative means to reduce environmental burdens. Ships and railways generate significantly less CO2 per transportation unit than counterpart modes.
CO2 emissions from different means of transportation
Grams of CO2 per passenger kilometer in fiscal 2007
Source: Countermeasures against Global Warming in the Transport Sector (in Japanese), Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
Hitachi is building on its long involvement with Shinkansen (bullet train) and other railway projects to pursue technological advances. Work with East Japan Railway Company on a hybrid drive system that combines diesel engines and storage batteries is a good example.
The A-train is one of Hitachi's railway systems. This rail vehicle system employs lightweight aluminum to slash operational energy consumption and simplify recycling, thereby minimizing ecological impact. The Atrain's manufacture is dramatically more productive and environmentally conscious than conventional models. That is because Hitachi can easily collect and recycle aluminum scrap during production and can automate fabrication because the train cars do not employ frames. Friction stir welding, an innovative joining technology, minimizes warping and eliminates the need for painting. Modular construction slashes part numbers. Computers replace many of the tasks of skilled engineers, ensuring high quality and safety even with the shortest delivery schedules.
Hitachi's Railway Technology
High Speed 1 route and main conventional lines on
which British Rail Class 395 trains run
Hitachi's Class 395 high-speed train debuted on High Speed 1, the United Kingdom's first high-speed railway line. Regular passenger service began in December 2009. Hitachi won the mandate to supply these trains because it pledged to deliver six months ahead of schedule and because of the proven reliability of its technologies.
High Speed 1 connects London and Ashford in just 37 minutes, down from 80 minutes before.
Sir Stephen Gomersall, Chief Executive for Europe, Hitachi Ltd., commented that, "The first domestic high speed train service in the UK has been a great success since its inauguration. South Eastern Railway Ltd. was pleased by the early delivery and minimal disruption when starting the regular service. The Class 395 also won in the Rolling Stock Excellence category of the Eversholt Rail Business Awards 2009, recognizing that the 174 cars that Hitachi delivered are among the best in the UK." He added that, "Hitachi is handling upkeep at the newly constructed Ashford Train Maintenance Centre, which hired most of its staff locally. Employees benefit from excellent training opportunities that enable them to keep refining their skills. The fast service into London has regenerated Ashford and the entire region of Kent. Hitachi is looking for further opportunities to serve potential growth in railway demand throughout Europe."
Such a renewed interest in railways is spreading around the world, notably through the emergence of U.S. plans for a high-speed railway network. Hitachi is contributing to such planning in the United States, in Brazil, which is planning its setup ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and in India. Contributions to modal shifts are yet another example of how Hitachi helps combat climate change.
Managing Director of London & South Eastern Railway Ltd.
The introduction of the UK's first high-speed trains has been a great success. The new Class 395 trains have meant that commuters in parts of the South East have been able to reduce their journey times by half. As important though, is the effect the new services are having on the local economy with businesses moving to the South East and likewise commuters moving to the area.
Throughout the program we have felt reassured and confident in (Hitachi's) abilities. We think their particular strengths are their emphasis on process, commitment to on time delivery and focus on reliability, enabling us to run "preview" services six months early. With all big complicated railway projects there are always going to be challenges along the way, but it is testament to the strong partnership we have working with Hitachi that these have all been overcome.
(Publishing in Julys 2010)