Press Information

MHI Begins Construction of "MIHARA Test Center,"
Japan's First Comprehensive Railway Transportation System Test Facility


Tokyo, March 27, 2013 - Today Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) began construction of the "MIHARA Test Center," Japan's first comprehensive railway transportation system verification facility, at the Wadaoki Plant of its Mihara Machinery Works in Hiroshima Prefecture. The test center - which takes its name both from its location and from the acronym "Multipurpose Integrated Highly Advanced Railway Applications" - will have a 3.2 kilometers (km) long loop track capable of accommodating various international standards. Operation is slated to commence in the first half of 2014. Plans call for the center to welcome use by outside entities such as other companies, government offices and organizations.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the construction site today attended by local government officials and representatives of related organizations, associations, a university, railway companies, manufacturers and trading companies. Attendees included Deputy Governor of Hiroshima Prefecture Kazuaki Jono, Mihara City Mayor Yasuyuki Goto and MHI President Hideaki Omiya.

Construction of the MIHARA Test Center is aimed primarily at strengthening Japan's business competitiveness in railway systems, a pillar of the country's infrastructure export strategy. The center will function as a strong support tool for verifying compliance with international standards and for promoting product development. At the same time, it will also serve to further enhance Japan's highly acclaimed railway system maintenance and management capabilities. Future plans call for center facilities to be further upgraded to enable comprehensive verification testing and demonstrations related to smart communities.

MHI has already had test tracks at the Wadaoki Plant not only for railway systems but also for the APM (automated people mover) system and the HSST (high-speed surface transport) magnetic levitation system. With construction of the new MIHARA Test Center, these existing test tracks will be significantly extended by introducing the 3.2km loop track. The new test tracks will enable train performance testing under various conditions: for example, operation at a maximum speed of 100km/hour, continuous operation, and noise testing on curves. The center will also have system capability to perform comprehensive train testing, including the signaling system, communications system, operation management, etc.

Although the global market for railway systems is presently booming, competition among system suppliers has become increasingly intense due to the entry of competitors in newly emerging countries. Against this backdrop, the market now tends to require more sophisticated signal and operation management systems and more complex route layouts in urban areas, and as a result high-level system integration capability to respond to these requirements has become a key factor for winning orders. Construction of the new test facility is MHI's response to today's market trends and the company's need to enhance its competitiveness.

MHI plans not only to use the MIHARA Test Center for its own purposes but also to make the facility widely available for use by other entities. Based on that intention, evaluation and management methods will be taken under consideration - from the viewpoints of fairness, confidentiality and openness - by a committee that will include related industrial associations and corporations. Several organizations have already expressed interest in cooperating, and this stance will enable a team approach to enhancing Japan's competitiveness in this field.

Going forward MHI intends to play a role as a leading company in this area and aggressively promote the superiority of Japanese railway systems to the global market. At the same time it will leverage construction of the MIHARA Test Center to strengthen its own international competitiveness as a systems integrator.

About MHI Group

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group is one of the world’s leading industrial groups, spanning energy, smart infrastructure, industrial machinery, aerospace and defense. MHI Group combines cutting-edge technology with deep experience to deliver innovative, integrated solutions that help to realize a carbon neutral world, improve the quality of life and ensure a safer world. For more information, please visit or follow our insights and stories on