Link - by Avi Abrams

Shinkansen "Bullet Trains" of Japan

One of the technological icons of modern Japan - "Bullet Trains" (or Shin-Kansen) are capable of super high-speeds with the usual speed of "just" 300 km/h. With the names like "Light", "Hope" and "Skylark" they swoop around Japanese countryside as an extensive rail network, partly described on this site.

Looking more like supersonic jets than trains, with cool futuristic, slightly sinister forms, they represent the latest in train design and comfort.

(photo by Gary Hymes)

JR 800 is the Latest Machine - Does it go to the Asteroid Belt as well?

(these and following images via)

"In 1964 the first Shinkansen, the Tokaido Line, opened between Tokyo and Osaka, paralleling the renowned Tokaido Road that had linked Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto in samurai times." Here is somewhat older model:

Experimental WIN 350 train:

JR E3:

JR E4:

"Each line has its own name (Tokaido, Tohoku etc.), and each type of train is identified by a name (Nozomi, Hikari etc.). In the almost 40 years since it opened, the Shinkansen network has carried over 6 billion passengers without a single major accident. The Shinkansen network also boasts very high frequency. For example, at least six trains per hour (not per day!) operate between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka Stations during daytime hours."

JR 300:

"Hikari meaning 'light,' was the original Shinkansen service on the Tokaido/Sanyo Line. Since the introduction of the Nozomi trains, it now serves as the mid-level service making a few more stops, but still traveling very fast. Hikari trains link Tokyo and Osaka in about three hours."

JR 500 variation:

JR 500:

Photo by Nick Coutts

Photo by Dean Chamberland

"Meaning 'hope,' the Nozomi trains take only about 2.5 hours between Tokyo and Osaka, and roughly 5 hours from Tokyo all the way to the southern end of the island at Hakata (Fukuoka)". The high-speed rail network of Japan is commercially justified by very high population density of these areas, even though each train can cost up to $40 million US dollars.

Images credit denshaotaku365

Image credit Jugem

Storm Trooper's Special:

Blue trains over blue landscapes:

Other image source: www.hikejapan.com

For more pictures and comprehensive model catalog, click here



You probably heard about French beating previous train speed record of 515 km/h with the new TGV-based train V-150 with a supercharged engine and extra-wide wheels. New record is 574.8 km/h. Way to go, France! Next record-beating train will just soar into the air, grow some wings and fly across to England, or even overseas :)
Check out the offical record site, it has a better quality video.

Images credit: Alstom Transport / design and Styling

Image credit: Alstom Transport / P. Sautelet

Photos by Trains-en-voyage.com

Photo by jb0057


I had an opportunity to take a TGV train from Paris to Cote D'Azur, and can testify how smooth and classy these are.
Some of my shots of the train and from the window:

(images credit: Avi Abrams)

From Brussels to Paris we took another high-speed line - "Thalys", which was even more comfortable:

(images credit: Avi Abrams)

Europe has some outstanding transportation design (many Japanese Shinkansen trains were designed in Germany). We saw lots of cool trains; here is one on Munich-Fussen line... at Sargans in Austria:

(images credit: Avi Abrams)

By the way, Austrian QBB plans the High Speed prototype of its own:

... and the view out of the windows is not bad either:

(images credit: Avi Abrams)

Oh well, in North America we have our SUVs and interstates - I can consider my Jeep a personal train which stops any time and goes anywhere I like.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great stuff, Avi! I love train travel, so I'm always thrilled to hear of advances in that area. Also glad to see the photo credits! :-)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool pictures, nevertheless the Austrian Federal Railway is called ÖBB (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%96BB), not QBB ;)

best regards from Austria

Blogger Unknown said...

Great site!

But Sargans is not in Austria, but in Switzerland!!

Best Regards


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice blog. Couple of corrections on the Shinkansens. The trains are not names Nozomi and Hikari etc, but rather the services. Nozomi is the super rapid service between Osaka and Tokyo, and it can use the 500 and new N700 trains. Also the 800 is older than the 700. The numerical naming system is based on whether the trains run east or west of Tokyo. Even numbers run west, odd run east.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 2nd last picture in the Shinkansen picture series(Blue train end) isn't a shinkansen train but a JR - E351 commuter train, just adding that.
On a side note, yes the french have the speed, but their trains are like what, 4 cars long? The MAX E4 (double decker)shinkansen can carry 1,634 passengers in a 16 car configuration, and hits 300Kmh. which is pretty impressive.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had taken some photos of the opulent interiors of the new (I believe) Tsumbame line services, both the relay and rapid services. Unfortunately, I LOST my bloody memory card..I am going back to the Japan at the end of the year, so if I have time I may go down south again, and retake the pics.

Anonymous Anonymous said...


if you like nice design on trains, check out the German ICE-3 ;).

It runs on the new LGV-Est between France and Germany, on L2 in Belgium between Brussels, Cologne and Frankfurt and of course it acts as a fast intercity service between Germany's major cities(hence the name: intercity express).

Anonymous Anonymous said...

00-series Shinkansens run on JR Central and JR West (southbound from Tokyo)
E-series shinkansens are used by JR East (northbound from Tokyo)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This page might be of interest, good links to pages and videos about high speed rail (Maglev, electric) and bullet trains in Europe, India, Japan and China (incl Tibet Railway).


Anonymous charliehorse said...

Anonymous persons should probably do a little more home work on their Japanese railway interests.

Anonymous Matt said...

There's no need for flying train to go from France to England -- there's the Channel Tunnel, and the high-speed Eurostar trains.

(Brussels to London is just under two hours, Paris to London just over two hours.)


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