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  1. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003344992 Scenes at Kawasaki Heavy's plant in Kobe:
  2. The origin of a standard gauge, long distance train concept was discussed in Japan during the early 1930s, when Japan expanded its empire on mainland Asia. The necessity to move troops, materiel, cargo and people over the expansive land area of Northeaster China, more precisely Manchuria (Manchukuo in Japanese), became an important topic. Research begin at the Japanese National Railway's Kunitachi Test Laboratory in the Western suburbs of Tokyo. The work was stopped in 1943, when Japan's war fortunes declined and the research budget had to be cancelled. After Japan's defeat, during the Allied occupation, emphasis was on the restoration of rail services and it was not until the latter part of the 1950s that the expansion of the railroad system and the idea of a high speed intercity passenger line resurfaced. Helped by the fact that Japan was awarded the staging of the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Transportation Ministry bureaucrats managed to convince politicians and the general public to build a "new, high speed, bullet train, trunk line." Thus the idea of the Shinkansen was resurrected and building completed in the summer of 1964. Service opened in the fall, October 1st to be exact, just in time to impress the visiting Olympians and tourists with the fastest passenger train service in the world. The original line extended from Tokyo to Osaka, the second largest city and metropolitan area in the country. Travel time initially was four hours, however, by the spring of 1965, the schedule was revised and 40 minutes were cut from the schedule. I married my sweetheart on January 9th, 1965, and after our wedding ceremony at her church near Tokyo University, we were driven by a friend to Tokyo Station. Another close friend of ours gave us a great wedding present: Two very expensive round-trip tickets from Tokyo to Kyoto. We were off on our honeymoon. I recall the day clearly as it was an overcast and cold winter afternoon when we boarded the train. The seats still had that "new smell" and even the standard class had plush seats, plenty of hip and leg room. Soon after departure, I visited the buffet car and was impressed by the large speed dial on the wall. We were aware when in the trip we would reach speeds in excess of 200 km/hour and a lot of passengers congregated there to watch the dial pass that mark. The ride was smooth and we found the total quiet impressive, almost eerie. To be frank, we were expecting the usual chatter and noise as the wheels passed over the rail joints. There was none. As expected, our train arrived in Kyoto right on time. We spent four nights in Kyoto and three nights in Nara, taking the train between the two cities. We managed to get on the wrong train while visiting Nara and surprisingly ended up in Osaka. Well, it was an auspicious omen as unexpectedly we enjoyed a great Kobe steak dinner. Since that first ride in January, 1965, we have rode the Tokaido Shinkansen probably 7 or 8 times; the last time in June, 2014 while celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary with a return trip. The elapsed time to Kyoto is now 2 hours and 20 minutes, and while everything about our cars have been upgraded, it still brings back wonderful memories and provides great travelling convenience and comfort. We are convinced that passenger trains are the most civilized way to travel! One incident just occurred to me: Some time in the 1970s, way before we ever even imagined cell phones, there was telephone service on the Shinkansen! We visited my brother-in-law, living in Osaka at the time, and 20 minutes before our arrival we called him to come by and pick us up at Shin-Osaka Station. We considered the convenience a miracle of futuristic communication at the time. We came a long way since. More later.
  3. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/business/racing-to-beat-china-japans-pm-shinzo-abe-sweetens-bid-for-indonesia-rail-project/articleshow/48697227.cms
  4. JR East announced two days ago (JST) a new shinkansen/art gallery combination (?), the "Genbi Shinkansen" (現美新幹線), to run on the Jōetsu Shinkansen (Echigo-Yuzawa to Niigata) from spring 2016. It's to be based on a 6-car E3 set seating ~105 total, fitted with art exhibition spaces in each car and a cafe in the third car. The exterior will have photographs of Niigata's Nagaoka fireworks festival. Apparently the new train has something to do with the Echigo-Tsumari art festival. I know little of Japanese and less of art, so find more detailed information more directly from sources below: RocketNews24: [1] JR East press release (Japanese, PDF): [2]
  5. Nothing novel about the findings of this study, but it does give info about the financing of this line which will be provided by Japan. http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/mumbai-ahmedabad-distance-of-534-km-ideal-for-high-speed-rail-iim-a-study-116041300403_1.html
  6. Not the most exciting of setups, but there you go...
  7. With the opening of the line a few days away, an interesting short documentary/commercial by Meiden Corporation, which manufactures all the transformers and electrical substations for shinkansen lines. The first segment is the installation of a transformer inside the Seikan Tunnel. Later we see the substation at Shin Hakodate.
  8. A very subjective topic, but note the criteria: https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2016/02/23/813345/0/en/GoEuro-Ranks-World-s-Best-High-Speed-Trains-Names-Japan-as-Number-1.html
  9. In this video, RailKingJP and his son visit car 951-1, which is on display across from the Railway Technical Research Institute in Kokubunji, Tokyo. It appears that during the daytime, the car is open to the public, and has displays and a small library inside. I'll check it out when I drop off my résumé at RTRI https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Class_951_Shinkansen location: https://goo.gl/maps/LGaZoVmHu8p
  10. A simulator for an e5 shinkansen train is on display for visitor use at the California State Railroad Museum. It was provided by JR East, as part of a special exhibition on hsr. https://www.instagram.com/p/-SlpBDxoYc/ http://www.csrmf.org/component/content/article/55-events-exhibits-train-rides/477-fast-tracks-the-world-of-high-speed-rail
  11. Was a rare oportunity to visit those vehicles only 2 days 10/10 and 10/11, inside have a pictures to how was build and some new papers saying about the new tech for future shinkansen trains, i was alowed for only 1 minute in the drive seat :( The 300X JRCentral later 700 Series, STAR21 JREast E2, E3 and WIN350 JRWest 500 Series are all experimental vehicles that were used to test high-speed technology for future shinkansen. Not only are these trains on display, but visitors can actually go inside them. edit: i upload all the pics from my quick visit there so enjoy :D
  12. Period documentary from 1970, complete with atmospheric soundtrack and apropos editing effects. A view of the modern JNR, one emphasizing "cybernetics". https://youtube.com/watch?v=75N2GV9ZCuE Starting from the old JNR of iron trains and iron men (Joban Line steam), we are whisked to the new look railway of Shinkansen CTC, MARS online reservation system, ticket vending machines (some even sell express tickets!), newfangled automated ticket gates from Omron, automated maintenance of emu traction motors, computerized hump yards, computer traffic simulations, automated printing of string diagrams, testing of the 0 series at 250km/h for running on the future Sanyo Shinkansen, and what do we have here at 17:58, an early version of touch panel to modify the running diagram?? Lots and lots of blinking lights.
  13. Recently a group of 40 geiko and maiko in full dress took the Tokaido shinkansen to Tokyo as part of a Kyoto tourism destination campaign event.
  14. Most here are already familiar with this process, but it apparently is getting a lot of hits on youtube from outside Japan:
  15. Been awhile since this proposed trainset has last been in the news. With the PM's U.S. visit, it looks like this model will be officially offered for the California project. Apparently tender bids by the various manufacturers will occur sometime this year. Kyodo News report via the Japan Times (yecch...): http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/04/25/business/japanese-consortium-to-propose-kawasaki-heavy-bullet-trains-for-high-speed-line-in-california/ ...efSET, something like a "super" E7 set?
  16. Wednesday, April 22 saw the beginning of a program at selected financial institutions nationwide where the public can exchange 100 yen coins for commemorative 100 yen coins with shinkansen designs. There are a total of 5 designs- for the Tokaido, Sanyo, Tohoku, Joetsu, and Hokuriku Shinkansen, with the N700A, 500 series, E5, E4, and E7 designs respectively on one side, and the 0 series on the other. Coins for the Kyushu, Hokkaido, Akita, and Yamagata Shinkansen are planned to be released in the future. http://trafficnews.jp/post/39559/
  17. http://www.eki-net.com/travel/hokuriku/index.html *Edit* coverage in English language media: http://mashable.com/2015/03/13/google-street-view-japan-bullet-train/
  18. On Thursday October 23rd, NHK World will air the Shinkansen episode of Japanology Plus. I believe this is a new episode. The times (UTC) are: 0:30 - 1:00, 6:30 - 7:00, 12:30 - 13:00, 18:30 - 19:00. the show's page: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/tv/japanologyplus/index.html NHK World schedule: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/tv/schedule/
  19. The Shinkansen is mentioned on slide 6: http://www.msn.com/en-au/travel/article/eurostar-at-20-the-worlds-most-famous-trains/ss-BBdzByS
  20. This Thursday the lead car of the first revenue service 0 Series trainset (1964) was moved out by road haulage from the now closed Osaka Transportation Museum. It will be cosmetically restored and then eventually put on display at the now under construction Kyoto Railway Museum, scheduled for opening in spring 2016. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWZRaww63YY
  21. Here's an interesting website hosted by NHK showing 9 slides. They are: title slide short history time in hours required for transit from Tokyo to Osaka, 1889 to 2045 ridership in 1000s of passenger diagram showing departures per hour from Tokyo for 4 different years rolling stock types in fleet, 1987 to 2012. 500 series appears to absent, not sure why. JR Central only? average lateness by two-tenths of a minute, 1987 to 2013. I wonder what happened in 1990 and 2003. more text, info about operation, safety, future of network closing slide http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/shinkansen/#c1
  22. At the recent InnoTrans 2014, JR East had a driving simulator for the E5 at their booth, all of the cab displays were converted to English.
  23. Guest

    Old Man Thunder

    So, I had killed some time in Saijo City on my way to Takamatsu. Caught some nice looking and rather rare trains at JR Iyo-Saijo when I decided to hit the Saijo train barn. While looking at the display case of the little train museum, I noticed a book in romaji and was easily able to read and comprehend it. I was dead certain, that after two and a half week in Japan, my second trip to Japan in six months, that I was finally reading Japanese (although romaji) without even thinking about it. Sadly, did I learn, it was actually in English. Grabbed a snap shot of the open page and went on my way. Afterall, there was a 0-series shinkansen next door that I wanted to sit in before continuing east. Got back to the states and while going through the iPhone snapshots of things I wanted to do further research on, discovered the book title of Old Man Thunder, Father of the Bullet Train. Ordered a copy from amazon, and am about 85% through it right now. It's the story of Shinji Sogo, a man who in all reality is seems like the (successful) Japanese version of myself (and by that, a total asshole, who pretty much makes it a point to royally tick people off with no regards whatsoever to social norms). Any case, copies can be found on the cheap on amazon, and it's pretty fascinating what had to be done in order to construction the new mainline for the shinkansen.
  24. Posted by Dave Fossett on the jtrains list, Tetsudou Fan is carrying this also: new fleet livery: http://railf.jp/news/2014/03/04/171500.html "Toreiyu" excursion train: http://railf.jp/news/2014/03/04/173000.html pdf on JR East's site with diagram of excursion train's modified Japanese style interior: http://www.jreast.co.jp/press/2013/20140303.pdf All regular services trains will have the new livery by the end of 2016, and the single 6-car Toreiyu set is to be in service by the end of July.
  25. More, including the economic reasons for retirement: http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201406060010
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