Saturday, April 23, 2011

Shinkansen, Every 3 Minutes


Platform of the Tokaido-shinkansen at Kyoto Station, JR Central

As you are aware, “Shinkansen” is the train that represents Japan. Currently, its maximum speed is 300km/h on the Sanyo and the Tohoku-shinkansen. Furthermore, JR East recently announced that they would raise the maximum speed up to 320km/h on the Tohoku-shinkansen in 2013.

Certainly, I'm proud of the speed of shinkansen trains of my home country; but, more importantly, it’s amazing that shinkansen trains are operated so frequently, every 3 minutes during busy hours.

Look at the photo at the top. A lot of westbound trains are scheduled to depart at Kyoto Station on the Tokaido-shinkansen, JR Central (Central Japan Railway Company). The first train is “Kodama 633” bound for Shin-osaka departing at 10.39 from track No.14. Then, “Nozomi 209” also for Shin-osaka will depart at 10.43 from track No.13 and so on. It’s very busy, minumum every 3 minutes. One train is composed of 16 cars and is able to carry 1,323 people, so the maximum transport capacity is 19,845 persons per hour with a maximum speed of 300km/h (the Sanyo-shinkansen section)!

Another amazing thing is that the railway employees are very well-trained and orderly. Look at the video at the bottom. It's a crew change scene shot at Shin-osaka Station. The female driver stands completely still almost all the time (0:00-2:27), while she is standing by on the platform. She is very polite to the passengers (2:10-2:15). The efficient transition briefing scene (2:27-2:47) with her predecessor is also very impressive.

Shinkansen is a crystallization of technology and wisdom.

 
Crew change of EMU N700 series at Shin-osaka Station, the Tokaido-
shinkansen, JR Central and JR West, Video: Courtesy "Panacealand"

More information about the Tokaido-shinkansen: http://english.jr-central.co.jp/about/index.html
More railway videos by "Panacealand": http://www.youtube.com/user/panacealand