Early in the morning on October 1, 1964, a blue and white streamlined Shinkansen vehicle departed from Tokyo Station and ran lightly over the elevated line to Shin-Osaka.

This was the dawn of Japan’s Shinkansen era. The Shinkansen is widely recognized as a distinct symbol of Japan, which has undergone phenomenal recovery from the trauma of World War II. The Shinkansen, a wonder of science and technology in the 1960s, impressed with the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 and the return to the top of the international community in Japan.

Why This Train Is The Envy Of The World: The Shinkansen Story

More than half a century has passed since the opening of the Tokaido Shinkansen, and the Shinkansen is now recognized worldwide as a representative of fast, efficient and modern trains.

Japan is still a world leader in railway technology. Each year, powerful conglomerates such as Hitachi and Toshiba export billions of dollars of vehicles and equipment to countries around the world.

The Shinkansen network has been steadily expanding since the Tokaido Shinkansen, which runs 515 km from Tokyo Station to Shin-Osaka Station, opened in 1964. It runs at a maximum speed of about 322 km / h.

The Shinkansen has been used as a symbol of reconstruction, as a tool for Japan’s continued economic development, and as a means of changing Japan, which is bound by customs and traditions.

Pushing the limits

Japan has a complex terrain and a diverse range of climates, from the cold winters of the northern countries to the tropical moisture of the southernmost tip. That has helped Japanese railway engineers become one of the best in the world in finding new solutions to the limitations of railway technology.

Especially troublesome is seismic activity. Japan is one of the most geologically unstable places in the world, vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis, and a volcanic powerhouse that accounts for about 10% of the world’s volcanoes. Houses are specially engineered to adapt to the geological climate with special roofs like that offered by Tampa Roof Repair | The Roofing Company. This geological feature makes it very difficult to operate high-speed rail safely.

Nevertheless, none of the passengers have been killed or injured in the Shinkansen’s 55-year history.

ALFA-X Running A Test

Currently, a running test of a next-generation Shinkansen known as “ALFA-X” is being performed at a speed of about 400 km / h (the maximum speed of commercial operation is about 360 km / h).

A major feature of the Shinkansen, including this ALFA-X, is the abnormally long “nose”. The purpose of this long nose is not to reduce air resistance, but mainly to reduce noise when passing through the tunnel. As the train enters the tunnel, it pushes the compression waves out of the tunnel at supersonic speeds. A sonic boom (shock sound) that produces loud sound is generated by the “piston effect”.

This is a particular problem in densely populated urban areas, where complaints about the noise of the Shinkansen have been enduring. The test vehicle, ALFA-X, is also equipped with new safety technologies to reduce vibration and noise and reduce the likelihood of derailment during a major earthquake.