Press Information

MHI to Construct "MIHARA Test Center,"
Japan's First Comprehensive Railway Transportation System Test Facility
-- Use by Outside Entities to be Promoted, to Drive Exports --

No.1606
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Tokyo, December 13, 2012 - Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has finalized plans to construct Japan's first comprehensive railway transportation system verification facility - to be known as the "MIHARA Test Center" - at the Wadaoki Plant of its Mihara Machinery Works in Hiroshima Prefecture. The new test center, which will incorporate a loop rail track 3.2 kilometers (km) long, is slated to begin operation in the first half of 2014. Specifications will be set to meet global requirements by focusing on accommodating various international standards, with the aim of exporting urban transportation infrastructure. Plans call for the center to welcome use by outside entities such as other companies, government offices and organizations. Future plans call for center facilities to be enhanced to enable comprehensive verification testing and demonstrations related to smart communities.

Construction of the MIHARA Test Center is aimed primarily at strengthening Japan's competitiveness in railway system business, 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.

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 MIHARA Test Center, these existing test tracks will be significantly extended by introducing loop tracks some five times longer. The new test tracks will enable testing under various environments: for example, train performance at a maximum speed of 100km/hour, noise on curves, and testing under continuous operation. The center will also have various systems to enable comprehensive testing of train, signaling system, communication system, operation management, etc. Construction work is slated to begin in March 2013, with completion of the first phase within 17 months.

With railway technology, quintessentially important is the comprehensive capability to integrate the technologies of many companies that handle basic technologies and products. Recognizing that competitiveness can therefore be enhanced only by elevating the level of Japanese companies as a whole, 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 their interest to cooperate, enabling concerted enhancement of Japan's competitiveness in this field as a unified team.

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 "System Integrator."