Monday, 21 July 2014

The 50th Anniversary of Shinkansen

Unit number 21-86 of the EMU Shinkansen 0 series is preserved in SCMAGLEV and Railway Park
The "Shinkansen" is the bullet train that represents Japanese railways. Its total network length is nearly 2,700km and there are 1 million passengers per day. The first Shinkansen, namely Tokaido Shinkansen, was opened between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka in 1964, just before the opening of the Tokyo Olympics.

The first model, the EMU 0 series, achieved a maximum speed of 210 kilometers/hour (133MPH). It was the world speed record of commercial trains at that time. Since then, Japanese National Railways and its successors, JR companies, have launched 16 models one after another. The fastest ones are the EMU E5 and the E6 series, which have a maximum speed of 320km/hour (199MPH); but more importantly, there have been no fatal passenger accidents on the Shinkansen so far.

This year, Shinkansen is celebrating 50 years of operation. JR group, especially JR Central, plans plenty of memorial events on the Tokaido Shinkansen. Events such as special exhibitions and special tours are being held. Currently, we can see many posters and decorations to celebrate the anniversary in Tokyo station yard.

It is also worth noting that I have wispy memories about the "Pre-Shinkansen era" in my childhood. Getting onto the limited express train, Kodama (echo) of the EMU 151 series, I visited Shizuoka Prefecture with my parents for a summer vacation. I still remember that I enjoyed looking out the window at the passing scenery. Currently, it is difficult to enjoy the scenery from the Shinkansen windows due to the high speed of the trains.

Shinkansen travels toward its next half a century.

The 50th anniversary posters of the Tokaido Shinkansen are seen in Tokyo Station yard
More information about the Tokaido Shinkansen: