The dramatic-looking Shinkansen 500-series was the very first train in the world to break 300km/h on its regular route (between Tokyo and Osaka), and after 13yrs blasting flat-out across the Japanese countryside, it was retired from ultra-high speed service on the weekend. As reported on the Muza-Chan blog, lots of fans gathered in Tokyo and Osaka to bid farewell to the mighty train. The Tokyo-Osaka run will continue to be serviced by the less elegant, duck-billed 700 series Shinkansen (which is equally fast).
The 500-series will remain in service, but on a slower line which won’t require it to stretch its 320km/h legs. Have a rest, big fella.
a proboscis to love
ouch, that makes my trip to japan miss out this fantastic speed breaking train then! wish they delayed the service discontinuation
Sayonara, Bulleto Train!
So sad… Japan is retiring a bullet train, yet Australia hasn’t even got a train faster than 150kph(?).
The shape of the 500 is definitely iconic.
That 700 series looks like someone grafted an aero front end onto a passenger (train) car. The 500 series is certainly better looking!
It’s not fare! The US “should” have a few of these running coast to coast! I blame the losers in the government!
Actually, blame special interests. About 10-15 years ago, there was a project in the works to build a high speed train system, starting with a segment going form Houston (near the port), to Dallas.
It was killed by lobbyists hired by Southwest Airlines, among others, who felt the train would cut into their business on one of their important regional routes.
Amtrak is a joke, for anyone who’s ever ridden it. I took an Amtrak from Austin to Dallas once – took 6 hours. No joke. I’ve made that drive in 2 hours and 40 minutes before.
Although, really we the citizens are to blame for voting for public officials who bend over to special interests rather than representing their constituents.
AFAIK, the Shinkansen runs on normal train tracks, but there aren’t any level crossings etc on the line (and one assumes, no real sharp corners). So presumably any USDM-Shinkansen would require quite a lot of modification to the existing tracks.
Actually the Shinkansan runs on what America and England refer to as Standard Gauge, 4 feet 8 and a half inches spacing, but with a really well prepared road bed and concrete sleepers. At their speed, all tunnels are designed extra large in diameter to avoid air blast from slowing them down on entry. They are about triple diameter to normal Japanese train tunnels. Normal Japanese trains run on Narrow Gauge tracks.