Hybrid Trains in Hida: Regional Rail Innovation in Japan

Watch a recording of this event in the player above.

Celebrating the 150th anniversary of railways in Japan, Japan House London collaborated with Central Japan Railway Company to shine a spotlight on present-day innovation. The event focuses on the new hybrid train series HC85, the first fleet of which was introduced in 2022 operating on the picturesque Hida limited express services on the Takayama Main Line between Nagoya and Takayama.

The event features Ueno Naoyuki, General Manager of Central Japan Railway Company’s London office, who introduces the innovative features of the HC85 hybrid system. He is joined in conversation with Jonathan James of MTR UK to engage in a wider discussion exploring current rail innovation in Japan and UK. During the discussion Jonathan James draws on his experiences both from working on the MTR Elizabeth Line and from his time spent in Japan with the Anglo-Japanese Rail Exchange, a programme enabling UK railway managers to visit Japan to experience Japan’s rail industry.

This event follows a previous event held in partnership with Central Japan Railway Company exploring the birth of the shinkansen and the history of Japanese rail. A recording of this event can be viewed here. 

About the Speakers

Ueno Naoyuki

Ueno Naoyuki is the General Manager of Central Japan Railway Company’s London office. He joined the company in 1996 after graduating from the University of Tokyo’s School of Engineering. He has been involved in developing and maintaining Shinkansen trains since he started his career as a Shinkansen driver. He has also been heavily involved in the company’s international business. Firstly, as manager of the London office between 2005-2009, which included a year working as a researcher for UK railway organisations. He then worked as manager of the Washington DC office between 2013-2016, promoting Shinkansen and Maglev systems in the USA.

Jonathan James

Jonathan has worked in the UK rail industry for over 30 years, starting his career with British Rail in 1989. Since then, he has worked at various departments including retail, railway control, timetable planning, project sponsorship and in several commercial positions. He has worked at Railtrack/Network Rail and three train operating companies including MTR Elizabeth line. Jonathan visited Japan in 2018 as part of the long-standing exchange programme between UK and Japanese railways. Outside of work, Jonathan writes books and articles about railways and is a Director of the Narrow Gauge Railway Society.

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