CENTRAL Japan Railway (JR Central) will extend the use of its series HC85 two-car diesel-battery multiple-units to all Nanki Limited Express trains operating between Nagoya and Kii-Katsuura from July 1.

The trains have been operated on the Hida Limited Express service between Nagoya and Takayama since July 1 2022.

Developed by Nippon Sharyo, the trains have a top speed of 120km/h and are replacing series 85 Kiha DMUs. The new trains have half the number of engines compared with the Kiha, offering improved fuel efficiency as well as reduced noise and environmental impact.

JR Central has ordered 64 of the new trains at a cost of Yen 31bn ($US 299.7m) in its 2022 and 2023 financial years. Another four cars used for testing have already entered commercial operation.

The plan is to use the fleet interchangeably across both the Nanki and Hida Limited Express services.

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