The nihongo|"Shinkansen"|新幹線 is a
networkof high-speed railway lines in Japanoperated by four Japan Railways Groupcompanies. Since the initial Tōkaidō Shinkansenopened in 1964 running at 210 km/h (130 mph), the network (2,459 km or 1,528 miles) has expanded to link most major cities on the islands of Honshūand Kyūshūwith running speeds of up to 300 km/h (188 mph), in an earthquake- and typhoon-prone environment. Test run speeds have been 443 km/h (275 mph) for conventional rail in 1996, and up to a world record of 581 km/h (361 mph) for maglev trainsets in 2003.
"Shinkansen" literally means "New Trunk Line", referring to the tracks, but the name is widely used inside and outside Japan to refer to the trains as well as the system as a whole. The name nihongo|"Superexpress"|超特急|chō-tokkyū, initially used for Hikari trains, was retired in 1972 but is still used in English-language announcements and signage.
In contrast to older lines, Shinkansen are
standard gauge, and use tunnels and viaductsto go through and over obstacles, rather than around them. It is separated from conventional rail and constructed in completely renewed railway system, using ATC (Automatic train control system without signal), minimum 4,000 meters (2,500 meters in the oldest Tōkaidō Shinkansen) radius curve and elevated tracks without roadway crossings.
Tōkaidō Shinkansen is the world's busiest
high-speed railline and carries 375,000 passengers a day, and has transported more passengers (4.5 billion) than all other high speed lines in the world combined. Though largely a long-distance transport system, the Shinkansen also serves commuters who travel to work in metropolitan areas from cities beyond the metropolitan areas.
Japan was the first country to build dedicated railway lines for high speed travel. Because of the mountainous terrain, the existing network consisted of RailGauge|42 narrow gauge lines, which generally took indirect routes and could not be adapted to higher speeds. Consequently, Japan had a greater need for new high speed lines than countries where the existing
standard gaugeor broad gaugerail system had more upgrade potential.
The popular English name bullet train is a literal translation of the Japanese term "dangan ressha" ( _ja. 弾丸列車), a nickname given to the project while it was initially being discussed in the 1930s. The name stuck due to the Shinkansen locomotive's resemblance to a bullet and its high speed.
The "Shinkansen" name was first formally used in 1940 for a proposed standard gauge passenger/freight line between
Tokyoand Shimonoseki, using steam and electric locomotives with a top speed of 200 km/h (124 mph). Over the next three years, the Ministry of Railways drew up more ambitious plans to extend the line to Beijing(through a tunnel to Korea) and even Singapore, and build connections to the Trans-Siberian Railwayand other trunk lines in Asia. These plans were abandoned in 1943, as Japan's position in World War IIworsened. However, some construction did commence on the line; several tunnels on the present-day Shinkansen date to the war-era project.
Odakyu Electric Railwayintroduced its Romancecar3000 SE service, setting a world speed record of 145 km/h (90 mph) for a narrow gauge train. This train gave designers the confidence they could safely build an even faster standard gauge train, as the first Shinkansen, the 0 Series, and built on the success of the Romancecar.
Following the end of
World War II, high speed rail was forgotten for several years. Passengers of conventional Tōkaidō Main Lineincreased and by the mid-1950s, the line was operating at full capacity, and the Ministry of Railways decided to revisit the Shinkansen project. Government approval came in 1958, and construction of the first segment of the Tōkaidō Shinkansenbetween Tokyoand Osakastarted in 1959. Some of the construction was financed by a US$80 million loan from the World Bank. A testing facility for rolling stock, now part of the line, opened in Odawarain 1962.
The Tōkaidō Shinkansen opened on
October 1 1964, in time for the Tokyo Olympics. Conventional Limited express ran from Tokyo to Osaka in 6h40, but Shinkansen ran in only 4h00, and in 1965 shortened to 3h10. It was an immediate success, reaching the 100 million passenger mark in less than three years on July 13 1967and one billion passengers in 1976. Sixteen-car trains were introduced for Expo '70in Osaka.
The first Shinkansen trains, the 0 series, ran at speeds of up to 210 km/h (130 mph) [http://www.h2.dion.ne.jp/~dajf/byunbyun/speeds/schedule.htm] , later increased to 220 km/h (135 mph). Some of these trains, with their classic bullet-nosed appearance, are still in use but are due to be retired in November 2008. A driving car from one of the 0 series trains is now in the British
National Railway Museumin York.
This early success prompted an extension of the first line westward to
Hiroshimaand Fukuoka (the Sanyō Shinkansen), and was completed in 1975.
Kakuei Tanakawas an ardent supporter, and his government proposed an extensive network paralleling most existing trunk lines. Two new lines, the Tōhoku Shinkansenand Jōetsu Shinkansen, were built following this plan. Many other planned lines were delayed or scrapped entirely as the national railway went further into debt, largely due to the high costs of building the Shinkansen network. By the early 1980s, Japan National Railwayswas practically insolvent, leading to privatization in 1987.
Despite this, development of the Shinkansen continued. Several new models of train followed the first, generally each with its own distinctive appearance. Shinkansen trains now run regularly at speeds of up to 300 km/h (186 mph), putting them among the fastest trains running in the world, along with the French
TGV, Italian TAV, Spanish AVE, and German ICE trains.
Since 1970, development has also been underway for the
Chūō Shinkansen, a maglev trainplanned to run from Tokyo to Osaka. On December 2 2003, the 3-car maglev trainset JR-Maglev MLX01 reached a world speed record of 581 km/h (361 mph).
In 2003, JR Central reported that the Shinkansen's average arrival time was within six seconds of the scheduled time. This includes all natural and human accidents and errors and is calculated from all of about 160,000 Shinkansen trips made. The previous record was from 1997 and was 18 seconds. Japan celebrated 40 years of high speed rail in 2004, with the Tōkaidō Shinkansen line alone having carried 4.16 billion passengers. According to Japanrail.com, the website for companies that operate Shinkansen, the network has carried over 6 billion passengers.
During the Shinkansen's 44-year, nearly 7 billion passenger history, there have been no passenger fatalities due to derailments or collisions (including earthquakes and typhoons). Injuries and a single fatality have been caused by doors closing on passengers or their belongings; attendants are employed at platforms to prevent this. There have, however, been suicides by passengers jumping both from and in front of moving trains. In comparison, there have been
TGV accidentsand InterCityExpress accidents resulting in fatalities, despite running in areas without major risk from either typhoons or earthquakes.
The only derailment of a Shinkansen train in passenger service occurred during the Chūetsu Earthquake on
October 23, 2004. Eight of ten cars of the Toki No. 325 train on the Jōetsu Shinkansenderailed near Nagaoka Stationin Nagaoka, Niigata. There were no casualties among the 154 passengers. PDFlink| [http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/investor/ar/2005/pdf/ar2005_17.pdf] |43.8 KiB In the event of an earthquake, an earthquake detection system can bring the train to a stop very quickly. Experimental Fastech 360trains have ear-like air resistance braking flaps to assist emergency stops at high speeds.
Noise pollutionconcerns mean that increasing speed is becoming more difficult. Current research is primarily aimed at reducing operational noise, particularly the " tunnel boom" phenomenon caused when trains exit tunnels at high speed.
JR East has announced that new trains capable of up to 320 km/h (199 mph) are to be introduced coinciding with the opening of the Tōhoku Shinkansen extension from Hachinohe to Shin-Aomori in early 2011. Extensive trials using the Fastech 360 test trains has shown that operation at 360 km/h is not currently feasible due to problems of
noise pollution, overhead wire wear, and braking distances. This may indicate the limits to railed Shinkansen technology, and eventually maglevor another technology will need to replace it. Operation at speeds of up to 320 km/h between Utsunomiyaand Shin-Aomori is expected to allow journey times of around 3 hours for trains from Tokyo to Shin-Aomori (a distance of approximately 675 km or 419 miles).
Kyūshū Shinkansenfrom Kagoshimato Yatsushiroopened in March 2004. Three more extensions are planned for opening by 2010: Hakata-Yatsushiro, Hachinohe-Aomori, and by 2014: Nagano-Kanazawa, and 2015: Aomori-Hakodate (through the Seikan Tunnel). There are also long-term plans to extend the network, Hokkaidō Shinkansenfrom Hakodate to Sapporo, Kyūshū Shinkansen to Nagasaki, as well as to complete a link from Kanazawa back to Osaka, although none of these are likely to be completed by 2020. Also, the CEO of JR Central announced plans to have the maglev Chūō Shinkansenoperating Tokyo- Nagoyain 1 hr (366 km/227 miles) by 2025.
Narita Shinkansenproject to connect Tokyo to Narita International Airport, initiated in the 1970s but halted in 1983 after landowner protests, has been officially cancelled and removed from the Basic Plan governing Shinkansen construction. Parts of its planned right-of-way will be utilized by the Narita Rapid Railwaylink when it opens in 2010. Although the NRR will use standard-gauge track, it will not be built to Shinkansen specifications and it would not be feasible to convert it into a full Shinkansen line.
List of Shinkansen lines
The main Shinkansen lines are:
Tōkaidō Shinkansen(Tokyo – Shin-Osaka)
Sanyō Shinkansen(Shin-Osaka – Hakata)
Tōhoku Shinkansen(Tokyo – Hachinohe)
Jōetsu Shinkansen(Ōmiya – Niigata)
Hokuriku Shinkansenor Nagano Shinkansen(Takasaki – Nagano)
Kyūshū Shinkansen(Shin-Yatsushiro – Kagoshima-Chūō)
Two further lines, known as
Mini-Shinkansen( _ja. ミニ新幹線), have also been constructed by upgrading existing sections of line:
There are two standard gauge not technically classified as Shinkansen lines but with Shinkansen services:
Many Shinkansen lines were proposed during the boom of the early 1970s but have yet to be constructed. These are called "Seibi Shinkansen" ( _ja. 整備新幹線) or "planned Shinkansen." One of these lines, the
Narita Shinkansento Narita Airport, has been officially cancelled, but a few remain under development.
Tōhoku Shinkansenextension from Hachinohe Stationto Shin-Aomori is under construction and will open by 2010.
Hokuriku Shinkansenextension to Kanazawa is under construction and will open by 2014. The complete extension of the line to Osakais under development, and only Fukui Station is under construction.
Kyūshū Shinkansenextension to Hakata is under construction and will open by 2010.
*The second Kyūshū Shinkansen route from Shin-Tosu to Nagasaki section is under development.
Hokkaidō Shinkansenfrom Shin-Aomori to Shin-Hakodate is under construction and will open by 2015. A further extension of the line from Shin-Hakodate to Sapporo is under development.
The other lines in the 1973 plan are:
* Hokkaidō Minami-mawari (South Loop) Shinkansen (北海道南回り新幹線): Oshamanbe - Muroran - Sapporo
* Uetsu Shinkansen (羽越新幹線): Toyama - Niigata - Akita
* Ōu Shinkansen (奥羽新幹線): Fukushima - Yamagata - Akita
* Hokuriku – Chūkyō Shinkansen (北陸・中京新幹線): Nagoya - Tsuruga
* San'in Shinkansen (山陰新幹線): Osaka - Tottori - Matsue - Shimonoseki
* Chūgoku Ōdan Shinkansen (中国横断新幹線): Okayama - Matsue
* Shikoku Shinkansen (四国新幹線): Osaka - Tokushima - Takamatsu - Matsuyama - Ōita
* Shikoku Ōdan Shinkansen (四国横断新幹線): Okayama - Kōchi - Matsuyama
* Higashi-Kyūshū Shinkansen (東九州新幹線): Fukuoka - Ōita - Miyazaki - Kagoshima
* Kyūshū Ōdan Shinkansen (九州横断新幹線): Ōita - Kumamoto
Shinkansen technology outside Japan
Railways using Shinkansen technology are not limited to those in Japan.
Taiwan High Speed Railoperates 700T Series sets built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries.
Chinahas ordered 60 eight-car 200 km/h (124 mph)EMUs based on the E2-1000 Series design named CRH-2 built by a consortium formed of Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, and Hitachi, for deliveries starting in March 2006.
* Class 395 EMUs were built by Hitachi based on Shinkansen technology for use on high-speed commuter services in Britain on the
High Speed 1line.
* Japan is currently promoting its shinkansen technology to the Brazilian Government for use on the planned high speed rail link system set to crisscross Brazil.Fact|date=January 2008
List of Shinkansen train models
Trains can be up to sixteen cars long. With each car measuring 25 m (82 ft) in length, the longest trains are 400 m (1/4 mile) from front to back. Stations are similarly long to accommodate these trains. Japan's maglev trains "are considered "Shinkansen.
* Passenger Trains
**400 Series (Mini-Shinkansen)
**700T Series (Taiwan High Speed Rail, "a.k.a. Taiwan Shinkansen")
**E1 Series (Max)
**E3 Series (Mini-Shinkansen)
**E4 Series (Max)
**E5 Series (Currently on order)
* Experimental Railed Trains
**500-900 Series (
**952/953 Type (
**955 Type (300X)
**E954 Type (
**E955 Type (FASTECH 360 Z)(Mini-Shinkansen)
* Maglev Trains:
**LSM200 - 1972
**ML100 - 1972
**ML100A - 1975
**ML-500 - 1977
**ML-500R - 1979
**MLU001 - 1981
**MLU002 - 1987
**MLU002N - 1993
**MLX01 - 1996
**MLX01-901 - 2002
* Maintenance Trains
**911 Type Diesel
**912 Type Diesel Locomotive
**DD18 Type Diesel Locomotive
**DD19 Type Diesel Locomotive
**944 Type (Rescue Train)
**921 Type 0 Numbers (Track Checking Car)
**922 Type (
Doctor YellowSet T1, T2, T3)
**923 Type (Doctor Yellow Set T4, T5)
**925 Type (Doctor Yellow Set S1, S2)
**E926 Type (East i)(Mini-Shinkansen)
List of types of Shinkansen services
Originally intended to carry passenger and freight trains by day and night, the Shinkansen lines carry only passenger trains. The system shuts down between midnight and 06:00 every day for maintenance. The few overnight trains that still run in Japan run on the old narrow gauge network that the Shinkansen parallels.
*Tōkaidō Shinkansen and Sanyō Shinkansen
*:Hikari "Rail Star" (in Sanyo area only) (ひかりレールスター)
*Tohoku Shinkansen, Yamagata Shinkansen and Akita Shinkansen
*:Yamabiko, "Max" Yamabiko (やまびこ)
*:Nasuno, "Max" Nasuno (なすの)
*:Aoba (discontinued) (あおば)
*:Komachi (Akita Shinkansen) (こまち)
*:Tsubasa (Yamagata Shinkansen) (つばさ)
*:Toki, "Max" Toki (とき)
*:Tanigawa, "Max" Tanigawa (たにがわ)
*:Asahi (discontinued), "Max" Asahi (あさひ)(discontinued)
*Hokuriku Shinkansen (Nagano Shinkansen)
*:Asama, "Max" Asama (あさま)
*cite book | first=Christopher P. | last=Hood | year=2006 | title=Shinkansen – From Bullet Train to Symbol of Modern Japan | chapter= | editor= | others= | pages= | location=London | publisher=Routledge | id=ISBN 0-415-32052-6 (hb) or ISBN 0415444098 | url= | authorlink= (pb)
Taiwan High Speed Rail
* [http://www.japanesestudies.org.uk/discussionpapers/Hood.html Biting the Bullet: What we can learn from the Shinkansen] , discussion paper by Christopher Hood in the [http://www.japanesestudies.org.uk "electronic journal of contemporary japanese studies"] , 23 May 2001
* [http://www.h2.dion.ne.jp/~dajf/byunbyun/ Byun Byun Shinkansen, a comprehensive guide] by D.A.J. Fossett
* [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9067405/Shinkansen Encyclopaedia Britannica Shinkansen]
* [http://www.asahi.com/english/nation/TKY200410150138.html East meets West] , a story of how the Shinkansen brought
Tokyoand Osakacloser together.
* [http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/life/2005/08/19/stories/2005081900120300.htm Bullet on wheels] , a travel report by Vinod Jacob 19 Aug 2005
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