The Tokaido Shinkansen

The Tokaido Shinkansen is currently the busiest and fastest single high speed rail line in the world, serving the cities of Tokyo and Osaka. To me it’s nothing short of a public transport miracle. The “normal speed” is 320 kph, but speeds of up to 443 kph have been recorded. The trains are pressure sealed and run on 25000 volts DC. As they have their own tracks, last year the average delay per train across the year was.. 36 seconds! You probably know that these days the word “Shinkansen” is used to generically describe a number of different types of […]

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You Only Live Twice

I have plans to do lots of cultural things during my three day stay in Kyoto. Sadly what turned out was that my weak and feeble body could not hack the punishment I have been giving it over recent days. I therefore spent most of it (1) in a heavenly bed (2) under a heavenly hot shower (3) drinking icy beer in a heavenly hotel bar. I seem to have crossed that fine line, and it takes 48 hours to get my body fully fit for operations again. For the first day I can’t stop groaning with amazement every time […]

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The Yakumo Limited Express

On arrival at Yonanga I need to find the “Yakumo 14 Limited Express” train to Okayama. I have 16 minutes to do this. The snag is that a very nice and helpful platform guard insists on taking me into the station ticket office to make a reservation. I already know this isn’t possible as the train is fully booked, and there is a queue. The clock is ticking. In conjunction with the booking clerk we confirm what I know, but also find out the platform and number of the unreserved carriage. You really can’t fault their willingness to help a […]

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