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UPDATED:Original Japanese “bullet train” heads to retirement

A columnist in, Valeriano Avila, has a column about his trip from the Philippines to Japan. Scroll down into the body and discover a fascinating footnote to history.

For the trip to Hiroshima, we would be taking the Shinkansen a.k.a. the Bullet Train. Three days from now, the original model of the O Series Bullet Train, inaugurated in 1964 at the Tokaido-Shinkansen line connecting Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka would be retired. This original bullet nosed train (hence the name) operated 10 times a day between Shin-Osaka and Hakata in Fukuoka on the Sanyo-Shinkansen Line. Hundreds of rail enthusiasts went to the platform to take photos of this historic train. This old bullet train originally runs at the high speed of 200 kilometers per hour. Today’s newer versions of the Shinkansen Trains are hitting speeds of up to 300 kilometers per hour. What’s remarkable about the Shinkansen Bullet trains is that, since its introduction 44 years ago, there has never been a single death attributed to a train accident or mishap, except a murder incident inside the train a long time ago.

Bullet trains are always exactly on time. In a one-year period, the combined delays of all the bullet trains in Japan railways was only 12 seconds! They are a major contribution to the Japanese economy and a source of pride by the Japanese. I gathered that by next year, bullet trains would have Wi-Fi connection!

OK, the part about 12 seconds just has to be a lie, right?

And the speed, in American speed, is 125 mph. That is about the average speed of an Acela train, which does a little better than the old Metroliner. Nothing in the United States east of Philadelphia goes anywhere near the Japanese equipment that is being set out in retirement. 300 kph is 186 mph, well beyond anything in the States.

’nuff said on that one.

UPDATE: No! There is more. Go read the comments. No!!

I will move the comments up here to the front page. You need to read this stuff.

Alex |

no, the part about the delay is NOT a lie. The Japanese trains are timed to the second.

While the public is obviously only given departure times by the minute (say 13:27 departure time). The engineer timetable may say depart at (13:27:15).

Look at the beginning of this video:

Notice the arrival times announcement at the beginning 7:36am, 8:11am , 8:52. Not round numbers. Why? because they mean 8:11am not 8:10am. They are that accurate.

If you watch the whole video notice how the engineer is always making sure that he is on time.

From UPDATED:Original Japanese “bullet train” heads to retirement, 2008/11/27 at 6:14 PM


Filed under: International High Speed Rail, Passenger Rail Politics, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy

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November 2008