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Toshiba’s Hybrid Propulsion System to Power Twilight Express Mizukaze, West Japan Railway Company’s Luxurious Sleeper Train

Press Release   •   Jun 16, 2017 02:07 GMT

Toshiba’s Hybrid Propulsion System *Photo courtesy of JR West

Toshiba and JR West developed a new small hybrid propulsion system to fit the luxurious sleeper train design

Hybrid propulsion system allows the train to travel on non-electrified tracks

Operation of Twilight Express Mizukaze to start on June 17

TOKYO—Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO: 6502) today announced that when the luxury sleeper train Twilight Express Mizukaze (“Mizukaze”) enters service with West Japan Railway Company (JR West) on June 17, it will be with a small hybrid propulsion system developed by Toshiba and JR West and delivered by Toshiba.

Mizukaze is a new superluxury sleeper train that elegantly captures the concept of “a hotel rolling through the beautiful Japanese landscape – superior quality with a touch of nostalgia.” It will run in West Japan, a region offering a wealth of tradition and unspoiled Japanese landscape, including the rich history and culture of Kyoto, Matsue, Izumo and Miyajima. It will also run on both electrified track and non-electrified tracks; on the latter thanks to a hybrid propulsion system that supplies electricity generated by a diesel generator and battery.

Train propulsion systems are generally located under the floor. As Mizukaze also has to fit in a water tank to serve the showers installed on the train, the propulsion system had to be compact. Toshiba and JR West together developed the system. Instead of the usual semiconductors used in trains, they adopted low-voltage power semiconductors found in cars, etc., in the main converters that control the motor and battery, achieving a smaller, lighter system, including a water cooling system without the large external cooling fins of conventional systems. As the propulsion system is smaller, the main converters can be installed on the roof of the train, contributing to realization of high quality design without affecting the overall lines of the train design.

Toshiba’s SCiB™ lithium-ion rechargeable battery cells, which charge during braking and supply energy during acceleration, realize efficiently energy use and improve fuel economy and environmental performance. The motor is a totally enclosed design that eliminates the need for cleaning throughout the service life, while minimizing maintenance and reducing noise.

Toshiba will develop railway equipment and systems that meet concepts defined by individual railways and that deliver safety and convenience.

Twilight Express Mizukaze

*Photo courtesy of JR West

Toshiba’s SCiB™ lithium-ion rechargeable battery cells


Toshiba’s Motor


About Toshiba

Toshiba Corporation, a Fortune Global 500 company, channels world-class capabilities in advanced electronic and electrical product and systems into three focus business fields: Energy that sustains everyday life, that is cleaner and safer; Infrastructure that sustains quality of life; and Storage that sustains the advanced information society. Guided by the principles of The Basic Commitment of the Toshiba Group, “Committed to People, Committed to the Future”, Toshiba promotes global operations and is contributing to the realization of a world where generations to come can live better lives.

Founded in Tokyo in 1875, today’s Toshiba is at the heart of a global network of 551 consolidated companies employing 188,000 people worldwide, with annual sales surpassing 5.6 trillion yen (US$50 billion). (As of March 31, 2016.)

To find out more about Toshiba, visit www.toshiba.co.jp/index.htm