Wednesday, December 16, 2009

British "Shinkansen"

Old news by now, but it looks like the railway clock has turned full circle. The first locomotive to operate in Japan was British-made (it's on display in the Railway Museum in Saitama), but in recent years (well, since the end of WWII really), British railways have degraded from world class to a world-class joke. And now Japanese-built trains have finally made the return trip, so to speak, introducing elements of Shinkansen technology onto Britain's only true high-speed line in the form of Class 395 "Javelin" trains which will operate on domestic services on the "High Speed 1" line running betwween London and Ashford on the Kent coast.

The Class 395 units are based on Hitachi's A-Train family and incorporate elements from the 400 Series Shinkansen (which runs on the Yamagata Shinkansen), which has caused over-excitable elements of the press to term them "bullet trains".. Externally they resemble the class 885 series operated by JR Kyushu. In normal operation they will run at speeds of up to 225 km/h. They will also be utilised to provide shuttle services for visitors to the 2012 London Olympics.

No reports whether the train staff will bow as they enter and exit each carriage.

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