Railways in Japan include Japan Railways (JR), a group of six railway companies covering the entire country, plus a variety of companies, which operate in many larger cities.
JR is famous for its extreme punctuality. On the Tokyo commuter lines trains run through the stations at 1.5-minute intervals at peak times. And of course its Shinkansen or Bullet Trains provide ultra fast and highly reliable rail links over all the length of Japan. Its lines are the Tokaido Line, the Sanyo Line, the Tohoku Line and the Joetsu Line.
JRs long-distance services include super express, limited express, express, berth and reserved seats with charges varying according to the distance.
The history of railways in Japan dates back to 1872, when the first 29 km line was officially opened for public use between Tokyo and Yokohama. Its construction was completed under the guidance of British engineers. The line was extended from Osaka to Kyoto and in 1889 Japan had the through artery of 606 km Tokaido trunk line.
The construction of new railway lines stopped during the World War II. The authorities of National railways bought some more private lines in order to meet the military need. After the World War II Japan considerably increased railway traffic on trunk lines. Soon, the main line between Tokyo and Kobe, as well as other principal trunk lines started double tracking to enlarge the track capacity. To meet the necessity of speeding up the running of trains, technical improvements were carried out. On the main trunk lines the top speed of the trains was increased from 60 km/h to 95 km/h, the speed of electric trains being raised to 120 km/h.
Automatic signals were installed to provide for higher train frequency. After the war Centralized Traffic Control was extensively put into operation. Then, to facilitate and speed up both train traffic and road traffic in big cities, the tracks were elevated for the elimination of level crossings with roads.
With the development of aviation and motor transport railways are losing their monopolistic position in the field of transportation in Japan as well as in other countries of the world. However, the New Tokaido Line, which was opened to high-speed traffic between Tokyo and Ship-Osaka in 1964, showed the great advantages of railways for long-distance transportations. The opening of the so-called Shinkansen railway in 1964 was an event of great importance in the countrys railway history. The Shinkansen line was built as the Tokaido main line had been overburdened with passenger and freight trains. This new main line for super-high-speed trains is 553 km long and has the 1,435 mm gauge. Train sets of 16 cars run at the top speed of 210 km/h.
The Japanese National Railways pay great attention to the development of automatic signalling and computer-based information processing systems as well. The Automatic Train Control System is widely used by Japanese railways providing the most modern trains safety at very high speeds.
Pioneering the modern high-speed train in the 1960s, Japanese railway engineers have contributed to develop and refine rolling stock for the countrys Shinkansen high-speed rail network. One of the most recent types is the Series 700 train set which was jointly developed by two of Japans private rail companies. The Series 700 is based on the experience gained with earlier Series 300 and 500 train sets, creating new design offering the highest standards of performance, comfort, reliability and maintainability.
With 16 cars, the Series 700 are high-capacity trains, each providing seating for 1,323 passengers in a mixture of the first and second-class accommodation. Comfort improvements include an increased ceiling height compared with earlier Shinkansen train sets.
There is a damping control system, which senses vehicle body vibration and controls it using computer technology. In addition, both internal and external noise is minimized.
JR Central was the first of the two railways to adopt the design, placing an order for 17 units in 1998. The first of these was put into service in March 1999.
Japan is a very mountainous country: the geology of the four main islands is extremely complex, igneous rocks penetrating deeply. As Japan lies in a seismic zone, studies are under way to determine the stability of permanent way and rigidity of structures against earthquakes.
High Speed Rail Network in South Korea.
The first railway in the Korean Peninsula, from Seoul to the port of Incheon, was inaugurated in September 1899, and trains on this line ran at a maximum speed of 22 km/h. Between 1905 and 1945 Korea was under Japanese control, which meant that the rail network reflected political and all military requirements. By 1919 about 2,032 km of line had been built while in 1945 total network length was 6,326 km (of which just 2,642 km was in the region which later became South Korea). During Korean War (1950 to 1953) the South Korean system lost about half its rolling stock, since then network length has increased to 3,129 km.
Following the conflict, which resulted in the partition of the peninsula into North and South Korea there was a period of reconstruction, with new locomotives being imported. Dieselization commenced in 1951, being completed in August 1967. In 1959 Korean National Railways started building its own passenger stock. Railway transport in Korea developed slowly, and 1961 rail still accounted for 52% of all passenger journeys and 88% of all freight movements. The situation started changing in the 1970s, when some highway motorways were constructed, a 425.5 km four-line route between Seoul and Pusan being one of them. Since this motorway linked the capital with the countrys most important city (Pusan), it became highly popular. Today there are 23 express motorways covering all parts of the country. The rapid increase in the number of road vehicles meant that by 1999 the rail network was handling only 25% of all passenger journeys and just 15% of all freight movements.
The Seoul-Pusan corridor is characterized by the greatest concentrations of population together with most industries today. This motorway was rebuilt to increase capacity, but this solution proved to be a short-term one, as traffic levels have continued to rise. New solutions must be found for the growing problem of congestion, and in 1989 it was decided to link the cities by means of a high-speed railway. This decision was taken as a result of observing the success and potential of the French, and later the German high speed lines. However, since 1989 things have not always gone smoothly, and some problems remained. With the inauguration on April 1, 2004 of the Seoul Pusan and Seoul Mokpo high-speed railway lines (KTX), South Korea joined the growing league of countries with high-speed rail networks. Being an electrified line, the KTX itself produces practically no environmental pollutants, while its energy efficiency is twice as high as that of road vehicles and four times that of aircraft.
The formal inauguration took place on March 30, 2004, with public services commencing on April 1. A total of 1,758,000 people used the KTX for the Seoul-Pusan route and 355,000 people for the Seoul Mokpo route in the first month. The punctuality rate of the KTX is currently estimated at 98%, compared with 75% punctuality rate in France and 91.8% in Germany.
The high-speed rail in South Korea can result in major economic and environmental benefits to the country.
Before the coming of railways the word express had long been applied to a special messenger travelling on horseback on business. The word express was widely used in 1840s to denote a special train chartered by someone for his own use. Express trains opened to the public were introduced by the London - Brighton Railway in 1844 on its 51-mile run.
Express trains had two disadvantages: they were expensive and they were dangerous. They cost more to run than ordinary trains, so supplementary fares were usually charged. The risks in running expresses on the same tracks as slower trains were evident with the primitive signalling equipment then in use.
By the 1880s it was usual to define a British express train as one that ran at 40 mph, including stops. By 1900, however, in France expresses made 50 mph and more and some people were concluding that Britains supremacy had passed. Still, in 1914 the best LondonBristol expresses ran faster than any other ones between the two large continental cities. And in some other respects the British trains were, in many passengers eyes, superior.
It should be added that there were express goods trains too, running at a lower speed than the passenger trains but still considerably faster than other goods trains. Some of goods trains could do 23-30 mph, including stops.
In the inter-war years the British express-train service remained good. The average speed of such train in Britain was 60 mph, though the achievements of the German and American railways were greater in this field.
The word express is now falling into disuse. With modern methods of operation the trains on every British line have a more-or-less standard schedule, under which no train runs at a speed significantly higher than the rest.
The car-sleeper train, called the Auto-Train, is a new concept train. The Auto-Train presents the modern paradox that many people like to have their cars with them but do not enjoy driving them.
Such trains, under various names (Auto-coach, Motorail, etc) have been a great success in Europe for they enable holidaymakers to take their families and their cars hundreds of miles to the sunshine without the strain and the risk of driving those miles. Paris to Milan, Hamburg to Verona, London to Cornwall, the North Sea and Channel ports to the Mediterranean are just a few of the routes now offered to motorists. The basic routine is always the same. The motorist presents his car to the loading station where it is put on a car-carrier vehicle while the cars occupants go to the sitting or sleeping accommodation in the train. All the car carriers are coupled to the passenger section of the train, which then moves to its destination. The next morning the passengers step out of the train and find their car waiting for them.
The USA was a little late in this field, but when the first Auto-Train service began it was rather different from the European services. It was provided not by railroad companies but by a private corporation. The role of the railroads was simply, for a price, to move the train over their tracks between the two terminals. Now the train is intended to serve holidaymakers from the northeastern states who wants to avoid the long drive to Florida. The starting point is not far from Washington. The distance is 1,377 km (856 miles) and the train leaves at 16 to arrive the next day at 9. Passenger accommodation includes some observation cars, sleepers, reclining cars with free blankets and pillows; buffet dining facilities and cinema and night-club attractions. Typically the train consists of nine passenger cars and about thirty car-carriers. The whole train, including the two diesel locomotives, is painted white with red and purple stripes. On arrival at the terminal, passengers are received by Auto-Train personnel in brightly-coloured uniforms.
Advanced Passenger Train
The concept was to exploit the potential of existing British Rail (B.R.) main-line passenger routes rather than build new lines at too high cost, as in Japan. This would be possible by the operation of Advanced Passenger Trains (APTs), whose technology would make possible the combination of a high maximum speed up to 155 mph and, compared with conventional trains, an ability to maintain higher speeds on curves, typically 20-40 per cent above existing limits.
The initiative for the APT project was developed from BR research during the early 1960s into the dynamics of rail vehicles. This indicated that the critical speed of a vehicle was related to the suspension system and track parameters.
In 1967, after a series of experiments a proposal was made for a high-speed train whose tilting mechanism would allow much higher curving speeds.
Further research led to the concept of the APT Experimental (APT-E) gas turbinepowered train whose construction was authorized in 1969.
Promising results from test running of the APT-E led to the building of three 25 kv a.c. electric APTP (Prototype) trains and these began trials in 1979. After an unhappy start in public service in 1981 there were further modifications and running tests but the project was abandoned in 1986. A program of route modernization to ease track curvature was preferred.
The designers of APT predicted that the train would give the fastest, the quietest and smoothest ride in the world. The train was expected to develop speeds of up to 250 km/h, but after extensive laboratory testing the experimental train underwent running trials in 1975, breaking the 250 km/h barrier with a new world record of 243 km/h.
As oil price rise had put an end to gas-turbine development, it was decided not to fit any of the future prototypes with gas-turbine equipment. So, commercial service at 200 km/h began between London and Glasgow.
Air-conditioning on British Railways
Carriages may be described as air-conditioned when fitted with an automatic system by which air entering them has been filtered and brought to a pre-determined humidity and temperature, which is then maintained within the vehicle. A comfortable atmosphere should be established, without objectionable draughts, and for effective working when the windows are sealed.
Fully air-conditioned passenger stock was in service in the USA during 1930. However, a partial air-conditioning system, better described as pressure ventilation was fitted to royal saloons built by the East Coast companies in 1908. From the early 1930s the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) made increasing use of pressure ventilation for prestige stock, principally first-class sleeping cars. Such carriages retained opening windows. At first, the heating and ventilation system was all electric but the LNER found that it was more practical to retain steam heating to ensure adequate warmth at the start of a journey. Comprising filters, fans and thermostat equipment was usually mounted on the underframe and electrically powered from the carriage batteries. Air was distributed to the carriage interior through ducting, usually at floor level. A set of pressure ventilated carriages entered service between London and Newcastle in 1934 and prestige LNER train sets built in 1935-1939 were so equipped.