Shinkansen, which literally means ‘New Trunk Line’ in Japanese, was conceptualized in 1930. The concept resembled a bullet, and the name stuck on. The first bullet train ran from Tokyo-Osaka (513 km) in 1964 in a record four hours, and thus began the saga. My own encounter with the bullet train came in 1995 with the start of my love affair with Japan. It left me awed. With years, I became better at carrying the expected stoic expression while in Japan, but have always marveled this wonderful Japanese engineering married to high safety.
Thanks to a fully automated signaling and an amazing zero accident record, the acceptable average delay is a mere 60 seconds (anything more is explainable) and the average running time between trains is 3 minutes! Interestingly, there is this famous “7 minute miracle” i.e. the cleaning time taken between disembarking and new passengers coming on board. Shinkansen truly is an icon of everything we relate with Japan – efficiency, safety and high service.
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