TOKYO, March 17 (UPI) -- Two new bullet trains went into service in Japan this weekend, raising the maximum speeds possible on their respective routes, rail officials said.
A Hayabusa E5 Series train promptly set a new Japanese speed record of 320 kilometers per hour (192 mph) on the Tohoku Shinkansen line, eclipsing the previous record of 300 kph (180 mph).
The added speed cut the average trip from Tokyo to the Shin-Aomori stations to less than 3 hours.
A big crowd turned out at a Tokyo rail station to see a second new train off on its maiden run from Tokyo to Akita.
The Super Komachi E6 Series train pulled out of the JR Tokyo Station right on time Saturday with a gaggle of rail buffs snapping pictures. "The bright red color is original and looks so beautiful," Susumu Yabe, 65, told the Yomiuri Shimbun. "I hope this new train becomes a reason for many people to visit the earthquake-hit area."
The speedy Super Komachi E6 Series can reach speeds of 300 kilometers an hour, slightly faster than the current E3 series. It will run between Tokyo and Akita in about 3 hours, 45 minutes.
The Yomiuri Shimbun said the train's top speed would be increased to 320 kph this spring.