If you’re a train enthusiast, you must definitely know pretty much all there is to know about the Shinkansen, the first ever high-speed train that paved the way to all of the wonderful trains you can find now in Asia and some parts of Europe as well, a revolutionary machine that completely changed the industry.
From The ‘Bullet Train’ To the Shinkansen, The Pre-War Plan
The first ever railway of Japan was finally finished way back then in 1872, from Yokohama to Shinbanshi, thanks to the Japanese government’s plan to use British technology and engineering to get the job done. A bunch of years later, and with the purpose of putting together a unique railway system that could connect the whole country, Japanese engineers inquired about the possibility of changing the older rails to make them wider, but the government shut down their intentions over and over. Later on, in 1939, other engineers would try and develop a ‘bullet train’ to take people from the routes of Tokaido and Sanyo, but the government once again was reluctant to let them lean towards wider rails, mostly because of the war.
Enter the Shinkansen
The project that was bound to finally change the rails of the Tokaido route was approved in 1957 following the war, and that’s when the Shinkansen was finally born, even against heavy opposition.Despite what most doubters expected out of the project, the number of passengers was quickly on the rise, especially after its inauguration in 1864. Later on, as the Osaka World Expo was bound to take place in 1970, the system was once again reinforced by adding bigger and more modern trains. Then, the railways’ system was improved between 1974 and 1982, but it wasn’t until 1986 when engineers redesigned the trains motivated by the constant complaints from the neighbors regarding the loud noises and vibrations coming out of it, paving the way for the modern Shinkansen that featured magnetic levitation.
The Future of Shinkansen
Nowadays, there has been a lot of inquiries regarding what the future may hold for the Shinkansen system, with dozens of countries looking forward to importing the ‘bullet train’ system all the way from Japan, especially considering its ability to serve thousands of passengers in little time.The Shinkansen system has some very unique features, like its rails completely isolated from conventional trains and railways, its centralized control, and the automatic train control to coordinate and prevent any different kind of accident.
So far, no other country in the world has been able to fully embrace the Shinkansen system on its railways, even though several have tried. Even if there’s no true way to tell whether this system could successfully work elsewhere, there’s no doubt that a lot of countries and the world’s best engineers are by all means going to try and replicate it to suit the demands of their own population for many years to come. The sky ‘s the limit, and the future is certainly exciting.