Eat your heart out, America, with your quaint little 19th-century Amtrak trains – Japan has just matched a world speed record for trains! The Hayabusa bullet trains (Shinkansen to those in the know) are now running at 320 kph (199 mph), which ties the speed record with France’s TGV trains. The new record is 20 kph faster than the old Hayabusa record, which means that the trains can now cover the 714 kilometers (444 miles) from Tokyo to Aomori in just 2 hours and 59 minutes, 11 minutes faster than before.
The trains run on the Tohoku Shinkansen Line, located in the area devastated by the earthquake and tsunami two years ago. In more good news for the region, a new bullet train started operating on the Akita Shinkansen Line and some local trains were able to resume service for the first time since the disaster.
The Shinkansen system of high-speed trains is one of the marvels of Japan. Begun way back in 1964, the system now covers 2,387.7 kilometers (1,483.6 miles) of lines, and runs on a schedule so precise that you can set your watch by it.
(Photo by KYODO)