The “Shinkansen Super Express”: The Cutting-Edge Technology of Trains ( Tech-review)

  As we were commonly using the JR rail trains to reach the six destinations, I had an urge to write an entire review about this technology worthy of prize. Not only did it approach distances, it also ameliorated the quality of travel.  JR took this technology to a whole new level, and what is coming will raise even more eyebrows! 

Japan is where high-speed railways made their first appearance.  To sustain a moving economy, The JR company built an inter-city rail system  connecting the main islands . Due to the overpopulation, building a navigation system that connects the most cities was the best expedient. There is a wide range of trains in Japan. Even between two sites there is more than one train running, the discrepancies appear in terms of the time each takes to cover the very same distance. The fastest train to ever be manufactured in Japan is the Shinkansen which translates as “TheNew Trunk Line train” .  The JR east’s CEO,  elucidated the global reach of his company in a number of European countries such as France and Germany.  I believe the JR company is worthy of accolades for the “high-expresses” invention!

The Shinkansen travel experience

 While this study abroad program was running, our group was fortuned to travel once or twice on the famous Shinkansen series E2!   The train is composed of several cabines. Between the cabines, there are different types of restrooms. The train is equipped with vending machines. Even better, there is a waitress who roams across the train offering many types of drinks and snacks. The level of comfort is outstanding and the service is brilliant. Despite the language,  by simply waiving at the waitress, she would immediately stop by your chair. You can ask for the price prior to making your purchase and she would approach this automatic engine to the selected item and then show you the price displayed.  The chairs are spacious, and on the back of each chair there is a hanging mini table on which one can either eat, write or use their labtop.  There is enough space for the chair to lean backward and not bother the passenger sitting behind. Moreover, there is a wireless connection throughout the train. Throughout the trip, I noticed many people using their computer. On top, there are benches with plenty of space sufficient to accomodates all the passengers luggage.  Not to mention the voice reminders in Japanese and English whenever the train arrives at a station in addition to the indications displayed in Kanji, Hiragan, Katagana, and English on the screen. The windows offer a magnificient panoramic view and are equipped with covers for the passengers whishing to sleep.  

The Shinkansen’s models

 The Shinkansen has had a long history since its launch in 1940 ; therefore, there exists many models known as series 0, 100, 200 and so forth until series 800 , along with E1, E2, E3, and E4 series. ( Some of the Shinkansen models are aligned in the picture) It seems odd that each of these Sinkansen trains has a unique appearance since the differences reside in only added or enhanced features. 

Line-up of the different Shinkansen series

(picture from wikipedia)

The premiere Shinkansen trains were designed to run up to 200 km per hour,  the second wave run to a speed to 220 km per hour. The third wave trains had an average speed of 300 km per hour.  The latter Shinkansen are considered to be among the fastest worldwide, along with the TGV which runs in France and Belgium and the German ICE.

Future Prospects

   However, oddly , the Fastest train in the world belongs to China. The WuGuang’s ( China’s Shinkansen) runs at an average speed of 312 km per hour.   The cutting-edge technology, as emphasized in the JR- center of research, is going to be a series of magnetically levitated shuttle trains that will hit an average speed between 400 and 500 km per hour, and will surpass the Chinese best record. The viability of using these high-speed technology wonders resides in the design of the rail in addition to the train. These cutting-edge advanced trains will be considered revolutionary because their functioning will be based on a whole new principle. In fact, the idea of the magnet elevated trains is not new, and has been brought up by many rail companies. However, its practicality and safety is what being investigated especially the concept is a umprecedented one. There are still tests running in terms of safety, noise, and comfort prior to its implementation.  

( picture of the E2 serious Shinkansen taken by Radin)

This super express train technology is only prevalent in Japan, China, Korea, western Europe but not in the States. It is puzzling that the US did not import or design the Shinkansen yet. In the states, where the geographical area is vast, the shinkansen would be the perfect expedient to connect many areas throughout the US. Implementing a high-speed rail would solve many of the airflight congestions. It would also be considered as an ecofriendly approach since it would lessen the rate of car usage.

Sources:

http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/24341/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinkansen

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