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Documentary on the Series O Shinkansen at the National Railway Museum (UK)


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bill937ca

BBC Documentary showcasing the incredible journey of the Shinkansen Bullet Train from Japan to it's new home at the National Railway Museum in York

 

 

Edited by bill937ca
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  • bill937ca changed the title to Documentary on the Series O Shinkansen at the National Railway Museum (UK)
Claude_Dreyfus

And it is still taking a pride of place in the Great Hall at York. Taken on 10th July this year.

 

IMG_6208.thumb.JPG.868ee152b1a092d2690eb70e267670ee.JPG

 

 

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I caught the tail end of this documentary when it originally aired back in 2001, and have been trying to find the program in its entirety ever since, so I was really happy to find it again about a month ago (just never got around to sharing it), so thank you for sharing this, Bill!

 

Though I was already nursing a budding interest in Japanese trains, since I was about 8 years old, at the time this program was aired I had just been introduced to a much wider range of Japanese trains through a number of new books and articles I had read over a period of slightly more than a year, which included a number of articles on the shinkansen. Though I had been rather dismissive of the shinkansen prior to reading said books, I wasn't really interested in high speed rail after all, this truly started to change through the additional exposure I received this way truly made me appreciate the shinkansen much more, and I actually fell in love with the J.N.R. shinkansen series at that point in time. I guess reading about the 0 series rapidly disappearing, when this started the last Yk formations had just been retired by JR Tōkai, and being introduced to all the different shinkansen I had never seen before (that green shinkansen series which kinda looked like the 0 series at first inspection, but was actually totally different when I looked at it closely, would end up playing a major role in this transformation, surprisingly🙃) coupled with a growing fascination, and awareness, in Japan and Japanese culture which had started to emerge during puberty (and a general widening of interests (of all kinds😅) and tastes which is generally associated with the early maturation stages, I guess), made me realize that the shinkansen wasn't just a high-speed rail network, and it were those elements which truly made me fall in love with not just the trains themselves but the system in its entirety, though it would still take a couple more years before it truly clicked for me, and all the pieces of the puzzle truly fell into their place. This program was one of the pieces of that puzzle and as such it was actually kinda emotional watching it all again, though as it involves the 0 series that usually ends up happening to me, so my apologies for going on a bit of a tangent, but I kinda wanted to share what this meant to me I guess?

 

As my knowledge on Japanese railways, the shinkansen and especially the 0 series has evolved just a tiny teensy bit compared to my 13yo self, I was half expecting myself to cringe through the entire thing, however I found it to be surprisingly watchable after all that time. It might help that there wasn't all that much focus on the story of the train itself as opposed to her journey to the NRM, and ignoring the pronunciation of certain names, the egregious use of the word bullet train (seriously people of the UK and the larger Anglosphere could you please stop using that word? okthxbai!) and cultural awkwardness at the beginning, I found it much more enjoyable than I had originally imagined it to be. Seeing the contrast between how well everything was organized on the Japanese side vs the controlled chaos at the other sides, and the realization what this implied was also great to see, though there is of course some scripting and rehearsed dialogue going on in programs like these, seeing people gain an appreciation for Japan and Japanese culture through experiences like this is something I always enjoy.

 

Interestingly from what I've read, the idea to acquire a 0 series car for the NRM collection had been around since the mid 1990's, and initially they approached JR Tōkai to see if they could perhaps acquire one of the "original" 0 series end cars (which would've been a difficult request to fulfill, the last original (batch 1 and 2) cars were scrapped in 1978) for their collection though JR Tōkai was apparently not willing to cooperate in the end. JR West proved to be more cooperative a couple of years later, and well the rest is history as they say.

Interestingly enough, the car JR West provided, 22-141, actually does have some additional historic value, being the last of the 0 series 0 sub-type cars to be retired in October 2000 (though 22-141 would only be officially retired in March of 2001) together with her sister, 22-141, as part of 4-car formation Q2. She's also one of the few late type 0 sub-type cars (Batch 16~21) to be preserved in her entirety, 22-141 is also preserved at the Shikoku Railway Cultural Center but as a cut model with only the forward section being preserved. While 21-100 has been preserved as a library at a housing complex at Akishima-shi, Tōkyō since December 1991, with the library closing in 2020 her future is a bit uncertain (she's also stored in the open air...). Of the intermediate cars, only 36-84 was preserved by JR Tōkai and is currently part of their museum in Nagoya. Most of the other preserved 0 sub-type cars are of the early type 0 sub-type (batch 1~13, though you could technically split batch 1~6 and 7~13 as well) though a single mid-type (batch 14 and 15) car (21-86 ,  So in a way it truly is like the vice president of JR West said (though perhaps a bit old fashioned), it is like sending a daughter to be wed in a foreign country.

 

 

On a different note though, since last year 22-141 is no longer the sole 0 series car to be preserved outside of Japan. Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation has restored 21-5035 (built as 21-2032), which had been transferred by JR West to be used as a track clearance car during the construction of Taiwan High Speed Rail, in 2020. She is displayed in front of Tainan station since last year.

 

https://www.cna.com.tw/news/ahel/202009220298.aspx

 

 

 

4 hours ago, Claude_Dreyfus said:

And it is still taking a pride of place in the Great Hall at York. Taken on 10th July this year.

 

I have experienced, and sought out, a number of the preserved 0 series cars in Japan, yet somehow I haven't been to the NRM yet, despite it being much closer to me geographically, funny how that works eh?

 

Great picture btw, though it seems like she could use a bit of a dustup...

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On 7/28/2022 at 9:37 AM, 200系 said:

the egregious use of the word bullet train (seriously people of the UK and the larger Anglosphere could you please stop using that word? okthxbai!

Probably stirring up a hornet's nest as @200系 will most likely correct me and put me in my place, but as I am from the UK and interested in the exact origins.

 

I was under the impression the word originated from Japan in the 1930's discussions of  弾丸列車 (Danganressha) or Bullet Train project?

 

Perhaps we should really use shinkansen but "Bullet Train" sounds much cooler than "New Trunk Line." There are a lot of Japanese words that are very "matter of fact" so a little poetry to make something sound more exciting can't be a bad thing. Incorrect? technically, yes. Sound awesome? Definitely, YES!

 

Anyway, who doesn't love those new trunk line super expresses? 😁

 

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We sort of went back and forth on this in the club years ago as we do a lot of public events and talking to the public about Japanese trains. I recall the same root of bullet train being from the early planning stages and shinkansen came along later. In the end we really took no stance on it and just always tried to weave in shinkansen as it’s the current Japanese name to educate a bit from the Japanese perspective. It really depends on who you are talking to and the conversation as at times I say shinkansen and I can get a very quizzical look from a visitor and I realize they only know bullet train, so I will tend to try use both terms up front to set the equivocal in folks head on the two terms unless I see evidence the visitor has had some exposure to the term shinkansen.
 

I’ll put on my exhibit design hat. When talking to the general public it is very helpful when using terms to be simple and descriptive. Forcing use of more unknown terms up front just turns folks off. Better to get into the concept using simpler terms and then bring in the more complicated terminology and that way folks have something larger (the concept) now in their heads and they can associate the terms with them (and explaining the root of the term in some cases can help set the term in memory as well). Many curators love to use the big sophisticated terms and obscure references of their speciality in labels and explainations that the general public has no reference to. These just confuses the visitors and they don’t get much if any learning out of the copy and what’s worse it can make them feel stupid which is the worst thing you can do with a visitor. Art museums are the worst offenders of this. I’ve spent a lot of time in museums watching how much people read labels and trying to assess how approachable the content is and as you would expect the labels with more straightforward copy w.o lots of terms (or when a new term is used it’s explained) get a lot of reading time by visitors, while the complex termed ones don’t even get a glance after the first couple the visitor look at.

 

A classic example of this is the adding “fish” to some non fish animals, like the old term “jellyfish” that wrankled marine biologists as coelenterates are not fish, far from it. But it’s an old hardwired term. There was a big try a few decades back to try to get everyone to say “sea jellies”, well that didn’t work and it went to just “jellies” as the educational term to use (same with starfish to sea stars). While its now standardized in education to use just “jellies” you still hear kids usually say jellyfish. Not sure if it will ever go away. While I worked in marine biology and exhibits for decades I never cottoned to being a purist on this as whenever I saw folks try to correct jellyfish it rarely went well. Instead I usually didn’t correct the person to just say jellies but I’d use the name to say while they are called jellyfish the aren’t actually fish and then can get into talking about their simpler structures and unique features. I’ve talked about this with kids and seen them turn around and see them retain it as they recite it to another kid with glee that name is wrong and they are not fish, so I’m just happy they have the understanding and the name actually sort of gives them something to retain that even if technically wrong.

 

in the end if your purpose is to educate sometimes you just have to be looser with terminology if you want to make a lasting positive impression on your student than you would be with a colleague, otherwise they just tend to blow you off and you get nowhere.

 

cheers,

 

jeff

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4 hours ago, Kamome said:

Probably stirring up a hornet's nest as @200系 will most likely correct me and put me in my place, but as I am from the UK and interested in the exact origins.

 

Somewhat, however I'm kinda recovering from a, to be honest somewhat unpleasant, covid infection, so I simply do not have the energy to go all in right now. So the schooling will have to wait for another time I'm afraid.

 

I'm more than happy to do some correcting at a later date though 😉

 

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36 minutes ago, 200系 said:

 

 

Somewhat, however I'm kinda recovering from a, to be honest somewhat unpleasant, covid infection, so I simply do not have the energy to go all in right now. So the schooling will have to wait for another time I'm afraid.

 

I'm more than happy to do some correcting at a later date though 😉

 

Sorry, I was just being flippant to expand the conversation. As your knowledge base is extensive and you did specifically mention people from the UK, perhaps I was being a little cheeky. As your passion for such things comes out in your posts, thought i’d give a little provocation.  Anyway, wishing you a speedy recovery. 

 

2 hours ago, cteno4 said:

’ll put on my exhibit design hat. When talking to the general public it is very helpful when using terms to be simple and descriptive.

Thanks for your post. i fully agree with you.  I find there are many friends I talk to back home in the UK who have very little frame of reference when it comes to Japan but are also interested to hear more. Other than the most serious of news stories or TV shows about the weirdest parts of the culture, there is very little discussed in commonly accessed sources.

 

Certainly being pedantic with terminology is likely to have the opposite effect for people with a genuine interest to hear a little more on a subject. More important that people actually want to join the conversation than to be corrected on their word usage.

 

 

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