Photos courtesy of U.S.-Japan High-Speed Rail.
By Fred Jandt
High-Speed rail will soon make its mark in the United States, but it’s already
turning heads across the globe.
Name: Tokaido Shinkansen
W With the release of its “Vision for Shinkensen began operations in 1964 Country: Japan
High-Speed Rail in America,” the Obama under the Japanese National Railways Operator: Central Japan Railway
Administration unveiled its plan for a na- (JNR) and is currently operated by the Company (JRC)
tional rail network. With the granting of Central Japan Railway Company (JRC). Opening date: October 1, 1964
$8 billion in federal stimulus funds for In 2007, JRC commissioned the N700 Top speed: 205 mph (330 km/h)
high-speed rail, the administration put “bullet” high-speed rail system on the Annual ridership: 149 million
its money where its vision was. Tokaido Shinkansen. JRC operates more
As the United States begins the road to than 323 trains per day on the Tokaido
rails, experts across the country have been Shinkansen, with an average annual de-
jetting across the globe to learn from suc- lay of a little more than 30 seconds per
cessful high-speed rail systems in Asia and train. Today, the Tokaido Shinkansen
Europe. These systems, some of which has more than 80 percent market share
have been running for decades, have a between Tokyo and Osaka.
lot to teach the burgeoning U.S. network. Unlike most high-speed rail opera-
In this issue, Mass Transit takes a look tors, JRC enjoys substantial profits and
at three of those systems, their histories requires no subsidization. JRC’s operat-
and lessons learned. ing revenues for the fiscal year ending in
March 2009 were ~$13 billion. JRC is currently marketing the N700-I
TOKAIDO SHINKANSEN Looking to the future, JRC is con- (the international variant of the N700) and
History structing a Tokaido Shinkansen “by- the SCMAGLEV in select U.S. corridors.
The oldest of the three systems here, pass” using superconducting magnetic
the internationally renowned Tokaido levitation technology (SCMAGLEV), Critical High-Speed Issues
Shinaknsen high-speed rail line is the which holds the world’s speed record “The most critical issue for a high-
main transportation link between Tokyo, of 361 mph. The SCMAGLEV will con- speed rail line is undoubtedly whether
Nagoya and Osaka — the world’s busiest nect Tokyo to Nagoya (a distance of 213 or not it is constructed as a closed sys-
high-speed rail corridor. The first high- miles), and ultimately will be extended tem,” says Richard Lawless, CEO of
speed rail system in history, the Tokaido to Osaka (about 100 additional miles). U.S.-Japan High-Speed Rail (USJHSR).
30 June 2010 • MassTransit • www.MassTransitm