A "Free Gauge Train" tested in Shikoku Island

Kazuhiro ODA
General Manager, GCT Project
Research & Development Promotion Div.

    In Japan, the Gauge-Change Train (GCT) is commonly called a "Free Gauge Train."
    Speed up-grade and curve negotiation tests have been conducted between Takamatsu and Matsuyama of the narrow-gauge Yosan-line, JR Shikoku.
    The train was shipped to Tadotsu Works in Kagawa prefecture, JR Shikoku, to prepare for running on the 1,500 V DC catenary electrification line. A new pantograph for DC catenary was installed and verified for safe operation before the experimental run on the main line.
    The test run was implemented from Tadotsu station to Sakaide station at midnight of April 27, 2003. This test section is composed of elevated tracks installed with welded rail joints. The purpose of the test was to compare the lateral and vertical forces of wheel and rail under different rail joint conditions. The test run was successfully completed. The train run was very stable even at the top speed and on curves. The maximum speed was 130 km/h and the curve passage speed was 35 km/h over the design speed which was derived from the curve radius and super-elevation of the R400m section.
    During the experimental run, the test train was opened for the public at JR Takamatsu and Matsuyama stations. Many people and Diet members visited both stations. The test train-set was shipped back to JR Kyushu Kokura Works for other tests on JR Kyushu lines.

GCT on narrow-gauge near Takamatsu

Test site in Shikoku Island