Japan Today

Now bullet train geeks can ride the rare 'Doctor Yellow' train

By Mike, RocketNews24

It’s apparently a pretty rare sight, but on certain lengths of Shinkansen bullet train tracks, one can occasionally catch brief glimpses of a completely yellow bullet train as it whizzes past. Japan Rail (JR) doesn’t make the train’s schedule public, it doesn’t stop at stations, and it only runs a few times a month.

And, until a little later this year, no member of the public was ever allowed to ride.

If you saw the “Doctor Yellow” moniker and thought this was some kind of rescue bullet train that whisks heart attack victims or whatever to the nearest hospital, we’re sorry to inform you that the reality is a little less exciting: the Yellow Doctor is actually equipped with a host of surveillance and testing gadgetry so it can check the miles and miles of track for wear and tear and other potential problem areas. In other words, it’s a bullet train geek’s dream machine.

And now, a Tokyo-based travel agency Club Tourism is offering a once-in-a-lifetime chance to board the Yellow Doctor for an educational tour.

The tour package will apparently be held around the Nagoya area and will include a one hour tour of the interior of the Doctor Yellow train, a short ride on the train, plus an additional tour of the Nagoya bullet train depot—also typically closed to the public. The tour will even include a second-day trip to the SCMAGLEV and Railway Park museum for a full two days of train-centric excitement.

Of course, such a rare opportunity comes at a price. Interested parties should expect to fork out around 41,800 yen for the tour package, and the tours themselves are available in a very limited window: Oct 3 and 24, and Nov 14 and 21. It also goes without saying that English support will be very limited, if available at all.

If, however, you’re confident in your Japanese skills (or are just content to not understand what the guides are saying) and are in either Tokyo or Nagoya during the time periods above, you can check out more information and book here.

Source: PR Times

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In the UK we have train spotters, some say that they are a bunch of sad people who need to get a life, but I am sure they would disagree, does this mean that Japan has train spotters? (mitsukeru densha) I am sure that £233 for a guided tour of various part of the factories and testing facilities is a small price to pay, and I am sure they will be queing around the block for a ticket.

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I would love to take part in this tour. But even if I had the spare change, I'm sure it would be impossible to grab a spot. Whenever those tickets go (or went) on sale, I'm sure they'll sell out in an instant.

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Trains are something I have always been fascinated by, but the journey has always been a bigger part of that than the actual model of train itself. I'm sure though there will be plenty of demand for this.

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