Recycled Shinkansen Trains Back in Swing as Baseball Bats

The Yomiuri Shimbun
New bats produced from recycled aluminum extracted from scrapped Tokaido Shinkansen bullet trains are on display in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo.

Recycled Shinkansen train scraps transformed into baseball bats are picking up steam.

Mizuno Corp. and Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) have jointly developed a children’s aluminum baseball bat from recycled Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train material.

The bats, which come in silver, white and yellow, are designed to resemble the N700 series and the Doctor Yellow test trains.

Because pre-orders for the items via online stores sold out in only about a week, Mizuno is mulling an increase in production.

To ready the material for the bats, the bodies of scrapped N700 series trains are melted down to extract a high-purity aluminum alloy, which gives the bat the same durability as typical aluminum bats.

Recycling the material is said to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 97%, compared to the process used to make new ones from aluminum.

The bats each bear the image of a Shinkansen body and its windows printed in blue. They are intended for first- to third-grade elementary school students and come in three lengths: 74 centimeters (440 grams), 76 centimeters (450 grams), and 78 centimeters (460 grams). All are priced at ¥14,300, including tax.

Mizuno initially planned to offer a limited number of 1,400 bats in October, and started accepting pre-orders on its online store and directly managed outlets on Aug. 1. The bats allocated for the online store were sold out by Aug. 8. Now, they can only be pre-ordered at some directly managed stores.

JR Tokai Executive Vice President Akihiko Nakamura offered a humorous promotion of the items, saying, “I hope these bats will produce balls hit at a velocity of more than 285 kph,” the Tokaido Shinkansen’s top speed.