The Shinkansen High Speed Rail Network
The Japanese Shinkansen, or "bullet train" was one of the first high-speed
train network to be established in 1964 after beginning construction
in 1959. Its initial speed was 220 km/hour, reducing travel times between
Tokyo and Osaka by about a half, from more than 8 hours to 4 hours.
Two trains per hour were leaving Tokyo (60 per day), totaling 61,000
passengers. Through a set of technical improvements, operational speeds
are now above 300 km/hour. By 2000, the travel time between Tokyo and
Osaka was reduced to 2.5 hours with 285 trains per day (11 per hour)
carrying more than 357,000 passengers. The Shinkansen network now links
the most important Japanese cities, including Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka
(better known as Tokaido). It has been an effective competitor with
air transport and the Shinkansen accounts for about 88% of the market
share for passengers between Tokyo and Osaka.