Friday, October 17, 2014

I hope I live long enough to ride this thing: Gov't approves JR Tokai plan to build maglev line

Gov't approves JR Tokai plan to build maglev line

Let's see.  If this goes into service in 2027, I'll be... pretty old.  Okay, not that old.  59.  Not even retirement age.  I'm not sure I'll still be living.  Take nothing for granted.  And if I am, I may not be living in Japan.  Ideally, if so, my wife and I will still be married and bringing the kids back to the mother country that year and we'll be among the first to hop a maglev train in Shinagawa and zip to Nagoya in 40 minutes.  Making the trip in an hour and forty minutes is fast enough for me.  I'm not so impatient I need that hour back, and I enjoy my time on the shinkansen.  But if the maglev train is as smooth then I imagine I'll imagine my shorter time riding it even more.

High-speed train service is certainly one thing Japan does well.  Shinkansen service is 50 years old this year and there have only been two derailments.  One was during an earthquake and the other a blizzard.  No one died in either.  The second year I lived in Japan, there was a horrible accident on a local train in Hyogo.  107 people died.  I tend to take shinkansen safety for granted, but when I'm rocking on a local train I stay much more alert.

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