When we talk about high-speed trains, countries like China, Taiwan, France, Italy, Germany come to our mind. But do you know that Japan was the first country to build a bullet train? Let’s take a closer look.
As time passed the modes of transport also got changed. In the 18th century Horses were used primarily for travelling, then in 19th-century trains were widely used and in 20th-century cars and aeroplane became a popular mode of transport. While the USA was focusing on building highways and roads for swift travelling, European countries focused on air transport. Slow up-gradation in the rail system in many European countries affected its growth.
But on the other side of this world, the Japanese decided to build a high-speed transport system which will make travel timeless and transport more people. To build these high-speed rail network they decided to restructure the whole rail system from building new tracks and new trains suitable for this speedy travel. They named it “Shinkansen” which would operate at a speed of 220 km/h. But many people called it a complete madness. It was a post-war period in Japan and spending so much money on such a project was a shock for many people as there was an existing railway which was operated for daily travel.
To build this, it was necessary to create a route which will have fewer curves and turns. For that drilling of nearly 67 miles of the tunnel was done and new 3,000 bridges were constructed. But things were not that easy, the estimated budget of this mega project nearly got doubled from 180 Billion to 380 Billion Yens.
And because of this, the two visionaries of this mega project, Shinji Sogo (President of Japnese National Railways) & Hideo Shima (Chief Engineer) resigned. Finally, after many twists and turns, the project was completed and Japan unveiled the world’s first high-speed train “Shinkansen” in 1964.
Written By: Tejas P. Purohit