Shikoku: JR Shikoku Plans to Introduce Hybrid Trains from 2026; Aims to Reduce CO2 Emissions

Courtesy of JR Shikoku
Rendering of the hybrid-type regular railcars to be introduced by JR Shikoku

TAKAMATSU — Shikoku Railway Co. (JR Shikoku) plans to launch hybrid trains in the Shikoku region, which still has many non-electrified lines, in fiscal 2026.

The new trains run on electricity generated by diesel engines and motors powered by storage batteries. According to the firm, the introduction of the new trains will improve fuel efficiency by 20% and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 10%. The company plans to introduce up to 70 cars across Shikoku by fiscal 2030 to replace the current cars.

The new train will run in a two-car formation with a maximum operating speed of 100 kph. Currently, two-car formation trains have a toilet and a driver’s cabin in each car, but by reducing these into one place per train, the capacity will increase from about 250 to about 300 people, the company said.

The new model will be quieter than the current aging diesel trains and the engine shuts off when the train comes to a stop. Elimination of gear changes will also reduce vibration and improve ride comfort. The company expects to reduce fueling and maintenance time with the new carriages.

JR Shikoku plans to complete production of the first four cars in December 2025. After conducting performance tests, the firm will begin commercial operation in areas such as Tokushima, where many of its aging cars are operating. Of the company’s current diesel vehicles, 86 have been in operation from 35 to 48 years.