Japan celebrates bullet train's 50 years on track

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Japan celebrates bullet train's 50 years on track

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Japan is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its crowning transportation achievement, the “Shinkansen” bullet train.

The high-speed train system started operations between Tokyo and Osaka in time for the 1964 Tokyo Olympic games.

Since then it has been used to showcase Japan’s technological prowess and efficiency.

“The Tokaido Shinkansen has represented and contributed to Japan’s economic, cultural and societal progress after World War Two,” said Koei Tsuge, President of Central Japan Railway.

In its half century of operation, the high-speed train system has transported about 5.6 billion passengers and the ride time between Tokyo and Osaka has nearly been halved from four hours to two hours 25 minutes.

Additionally, the track record for safety and punctuality is astounding.

“We have been able and continue to achieve zero casualties during our operation and the total delay last fiscal year for any one single train was 59 seconds and we are proud of this efficiency,” said Tsuge, referring to the average delay per train being under a minute for a whole year.

Current models average 270 kilometres per hour (168 miles per hour), from Tokyo to Osaka whose route is slightly bent due to the geography of the land.

Central Japan Railway is currently developing the next generation of high speed trains called maglev (magnetically levitation) train which float on magnets and can travel up to 581 kilometres per hour.