Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Shinkansen Bullet Train

Shinkansen train, Japan by HighlanderImages

The Shinkansen bullet train in Japan is now many years old but is still an impressive piece of technology and continues to provide an impressive fast service between major cities in Japan. Starting with the Tōkaidō Shinkansen in 1964, the network has expanded to currently consist of 2,387.7 km (1,483.6 mi) of lines with maximum speeds of 240–300 km/h (149–186 mph), 283.5 km (176.2 mi) of Mini-shinkansen with a maximum speed of 130 km/h (81 mph) and 10.3 km (6.4 mi) of spur lines with Shinkansen services. The network presently links most major cities on the islands of Honshu and Kyushu, with construction of a link to the northern island of Hokkaido underway and plans to increase speeds on the Tōhoku Shinkansen up to 320 km/h (199 mph). Test runs have reached 443 km/h (275 mph) for conventional rail in 1996, and up to a world record 581 km/h (361 mph) for maglev trainsets in 2003.

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