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Shinkansen impressions

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4007F

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Shinkansen impressions - Posted: October 31, 2019 - 3:13 AM Quote and reply
My first experience of the Japanese Shinkansen today, on the original Tokaido line from Tokyo west to Kyoto

Land is at a premium in central Tokyo so the Tokaido line operates from just 4 terminal platforms. The efficiency of this is impressive; each platform is handling at least 3 trains an hour, turning round in the platform. These are 16-car trains, seating 1400 people approx each. So in the space of under 10 mins a train empties, all the seats are reversed (to face forwards for the next journey) head rest covers replaced, the train cleaned - and opened for boarding nearly 10 mins prior to departure for its next service.

Boarding is very disciplined; platform access is at multiple places along its length from the concourse beneath. Platform edged doors help manage the process. The same numbered car is always in the same place in the set (no reverse or random formations here!) and the platforms are clearly marked as to where to wait for your car. Passengers form an orderly queue and there is no scrummaging or jostling on boarding, no indecisions as to where to sit or what to do.

Total turn round time from arrival to departure is about 17 mins; and it doesnít feel rushed. MML, GWR Paddington please take note

On board, these are not luxury trains in standard class. Seats recline without being super-comfortable; there is one power socket per row of seats and the view out of the windows is poor; the windows are more akin to large aircraft windows than train windows as we know them in Europe.

These are high volume high speed people movers at 100/car standard class and a Tokyo-Kyoto fare of £100/head single - no advance discounts here. And there are a lot of trains.......

Performance is impressive with very fast acceleration once clear of the Tokyo inner suburbs. We are set to run 513km Tokyo-Kyoto in 2hr 17mins with 3 intermediate stops; an average speed of 225 km/h including the slow section of inner Tokyo and the stops, with a maximum of only 285 km/h. Thatís 175mph max, 140 mph average over a distance slightly less than Kings Cross - Berwick with stops equivalent to Potters Bar, Stevenage and Newcastle



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CTAYLOR

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JAPAN - Posted: October 31, 2019 - 10:42 AM Quote and reply
Better to travel first class, You can reserve seats up to 10 minutes or sooner before departure. on some of the newer stock the seats are reversed by electric motors all at the same time. Frequency is impressive. Although it was 11 years since I was there.

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heatonj

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Re: JAPAN - Posted: October 31, 2019 - 10:31 PM Quote and reply
CTAYLOR said:
Better to travel first class, You can reserve seats up to 10 minutes or sooner before departure. on some of the newer stock the seats are reversed by electric motors all at the same time. Frequency is impressive. Although it was 11 years since I was there.


Would not agree that Japanese first is a good deal. If two are travelling together first does 2+1 seating which means reservations together can be difficult but both my visits were at peak season near or at golden week holiday and cherry blossom times. Also if you are using local and regional trains there is often no first (known as green) class. You cannot travel first class without a reservation or if the small amount of accommodation is full whereas standard has plenty of unreservable coaches normally. Short notice change of plan is difficult therefore if using first. Yes you can always downgrade to standard i suppose in those situations. Of 40 something trains in the 2 wk trip my wife and i used there last April there were no more than three times i wished i had booked first and, being Japan, the standard of social behaviour in standard is always exemplary.J

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