ASME-Landmark:Tokaido Shinkansen


In 1964, Shinkansen (which means "new trunk line" and is also known as the bullet train) between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka became the world's first high-speed railway system, running at a maximum business speed of over 200 km/h (130-160 mph). By 1992, the number of passengers transported by Shinkansen was over 600,000 a day on an average, reaching about four times of those carried by airplanes. As of March 2015, the fastest Nozomi trains could travel between Tokyo to Shin-Osaka in just 2 hours 22 minutes.

The nose profile, starting with the original 0 series, was reportedly based on that of the DC-8 airliner, which represented the state of the art of international air travel at the time. The Shinkansen standard track gauge of 1,435 mm enabled 25 m long bodies to be built 400 mm wider than previous conventional trains running on the standard Japanese 1,067 mm gauge. Initially formed as 12-car units, all cars were powered, relying on a new 25 kV AC (60Hz) overhead supply. Power was provided by 185kW traction motors driving each axle.

The Tokaido Shinkansen line was launched just in time for the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which had already brought international attention to the country. Since then, the train cars have been upgraded—to the 100 series, to the 300, the 700, and beyond—and additional stops added to the line. The 0 series of shinkansen cars are on display at several locations around the country, including transport museums in Tokyo and Osaka. See ASME website for more information