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Which country has the best high-speed rail technology in the world?

35 Comments
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Is this a trick question. It should be obvious, right?

2 ( +6 / -4 )

There isn't even enough grounds for a debate, it's obviously Japan.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Damn, beaten by the above (2?) commenters!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Can't vote, only been on China's.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Including safety I'd have to say Japan has the overall best package, though price knocks it down a little. France has the speed, and Germany the reliability. China seems hell-bent on speed and new tech without any regard for safety or reliability. SK's is pretty good, but tame. Again, Japan's got this one, I'd say.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

France. It has the fastest trains and doesn't require heavy-duty and costly track to achieve those speeds like the Shinkansen does.

I once rode the Chunnell to Brussels on a French-built carriage, like the TGV's, and the seats are bigger and more comfortable than on the Shinkansen's. The train and station also had decent pubs. So my vote is for France.

-7 ( +10 / -17 )

China stole Japans tech, they did a partnership with Hitachi and then canceled the second round and suddenly made their own (which then crashed and tried too cover up the entire thing).

19 ( +22 / -3 )

JeffLee

No TGV's seats ar smaller and placed in a narrower pitch then the Shinkansen.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

I've been on quite a few. TVG Paris to Marseilles was nice, an impressive 5 hours if I remember correctly. The wine and food were good too. But there's nothing really to beat the reliability and comfort of the Shinkansen. But the view from the window might not always be great.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Japan by far, China's went to hell with the Wenzhou train crash incident and their handling of it.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

"I once rode the Chunnell to Brussels on a French-built carriage, like the TGV's, and the seats are bigger and more comfortable than on the Shinkansen's. The train and station also had decent pubs. So my vote is for France"

I found it was completely the opposite way round. The Japanese trains were way smoother in ride and they are wider carriages compared to euro models (Look it up).

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Certainly not China. They pirate most technologies. US and Germany pioneered Mag-Levs decades ago. Germany proceeded US dropped. Japan picked up and has excelled in the technology.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

While I do like the Shinkansen, only one problem: they can get awfully overcrowded during Golden Week in May, Obon in mid July to mid August (depending on the region in Japan) , and around the New Years' period.

The Shinkansen trainsets could run even faster, but the small size of the country plus noise considerations may limit the top speed on most Shinkansen lines to 300 km/h or lower (though JR East wants to eventually speed up their trainsets to an amazing 360 km/h on the Tohoku line by 2020).

Overall, in terms of flat-out usage, Japan wins hands down, especially between Tokyo and Hakata (Fukuoka). Its frequency, punctuality, and cleanliness are why they are the most patronized high-speed trains in the world, no contest.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

In terms of reliability, frequency and cleanliness, Shinkansen is number one. However, there is no dynamic pricing on JR lines, unlike France SNCF (internet and time-based sales, etc.). I kind of prefer TGV's overall design (more modern and less blend than Shinkansen, that is quite grey and utilitarian), but overall Shinkansen has the best to offer.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Australia supposedly has High Speed Rail in the form of the 'Tilt Train' in Queensland, but, you can't call it High Speed Rail anymore. The last few times I've been on it (since 2010), it hasn't broken the 110km/h mark and actually takes longer to go between the main destinations I use it for than it takes on a bus or driving in my own car. This is in part due to the 15 to 30 minute stops it takes at each station...

In May 1999 the Tilt Train set an Australian train speed record of 210 km/h (130 mph) north of Bundaberg, a record that still stands. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilt_Train)

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

When it comes to public transportation, you should give top priority to safety. That's why I think Japan has the best high-speed rail technology.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The question has to deal with the best technology. As it stands currently, TGV without any doubt. Japan would pull back in the game once it implements the maglev system.

As overall experience, well the shinkansen is quite good. But who takes Hakata - Tokyo shinkansen these days - you lose 5 hours of your day in what you could accomplish in 3 hours with a flight and getting to and from the airpor.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

The question has to deal with the best technology. As it stands currently, TGV without any doubt.

Based on what? Taking into account safety and reliability, the shinkansen's technological track record is pretty much impeachable.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

This is a question for Wikipedia...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I have zero idea. Not the USA I know that. Japan is awesome and the only country I can compare it to is Taiwan and Taipei's mass transit is way better and nicer and about 1/3 the price. That being said it's brand spanking new. In a much smaller city than Tokyo, and only has 6 or 7 standardized lines and only run in Taipei. So you can't really measure Japan or even Tokyo mass transit vs Taiwan/Taipei. I can also pretty much promise next to know one who voted has visited all the countries in the poll, and seeing this is on a Japanese news site it seems just a little biased even if the results are correct.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Japan's shinkansen system is the best in terms of reliability and safety, but tickets are expensive.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Leaving out Germany and placing SK (which is basically a crappy version TGV) and China??

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Those of you who voted for China: China doesn't have it's own high speed rail know-how, it was "procured" from Siemens and Hitachi when they were contracted to work with Chinese companies to design this. Same is true of China's home grown passenger jets, with one being pretty much a copy of the 737.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@gogogo

China stole Japans tech, they did a partnership with Hitachi and then canceled the second round and suddenly made their own

that's what Japanese company been doing for decade and still doing.

have you people forget japan before the war or after the war until the US give to japan all the tech and the rest is history.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

Japan for network size, frequency and efficiency, though the experience soon becomes old.

German system for the scenery and fully-integrated transport (high speed rail station underneath Frankfurt airport, for example) - admittedly facilitated by absence of centralization that plagues 'older' EU nations.

Eurostar for the sense of international travel - between an island nation and its familiar-but-also-different neighbors.

Wouldn't it be great if we could achieve the latter here?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

that's what Japanese company been doing for decade and still doing. have you people forget japan before the war or after the war until the US give to japan all the tech and the rest is history.

The trick is to improve the technology you don't invent yourself, or to bring something new to it. Japan has shown that it can design and manufacture (and sell) almost anything it wants to, and is either dominant or an equal player in many areas - cameras, cars, and audiovisual products being obvious examples, but to make a proper list, I'd be here all night, because it certainly doesn't stop at consumer products. China is a long, long way from reaching that goal, and while it makes much better home-grown products than it used to in the 1980s and 90s, that's not saying much.

On the larger scale and back on topic, the Chinese high-speed network is certainly interesting and in some ways inspiring, but suffers from a few Chinese vices: one upmanship and hubris seem to have played a major part in how the project was implemented. With one accident, it has already earned itself a worse safety record than Japan's shinkansen over 50 years. Particularly disturbing was the way they dealt with it.

have you people forget japan before the war or after the war until the US give to japan all the tech and the rest is history.

You make it sound so easy. It isn't, and that is the real reason that the rest of Asia lagged well behind Japan technologically, and most of it still does.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

how to get gimelim

The N700i has faster acceleration rate with lower power requirement then the TGV. TGV is smaller in size and capacity and is a relic in terms of highspeed rail evolution.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I can't speak about the technology, but the regular class on the shinkansen is waaaay better than regular class on the TGV. The seats are more comfortable, with loads more leg room, and lots of place to store small to medium size luggage.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"that's what Japanese company been doing for decade and still doing. have you people forget japan before the war or after the war until the US give to japan all the tech and the rest is history"

I'm pretty sure Japan didn't look to the USA for train technology, another country is cited in particular(now with a rubbish train system of its own) and before the period you talk about too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

SamuraiBlue

Isn't TGV using the same type rail tracks as other trains do rather to have special one built to run their trains on as the shinkansen technology does? Do not the French trains maintain the record for highest speed achieved on normal rail tracks and stopping themselves from going higher by quoting air friction issues with higher speeds?

Glad to learn something new.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

how to get gimelim

The loading gauge of TGV is narrower compared to Shinkansen meaning the width of the car is narrower. The speed record was clocked by changing the wheel diameter, connecting only minimum amount of carts with two locomotive, reving up the amount of electric current to maximum while closing other traffic and ran it down a slope. It was a record for making a record sake and not possible in normal commercial situation.

Long story short it was a publicity stunt.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

inakarob:

. I can also pretty much promise next to know (SIC) one who voted has visited all the countries in the poll,

Sorry to disappoint you, but I have and I bet there are plenty who have too! And Taiwan too! However, I haven't tried the high speed rail in Korea or Taiwan yet. I would vote Japan for the best in terms of comfort. As for tech, not sure, since I don't know anything about Germany or France's technology.

bass4funk:

Is this a trick question.

Yes it is. It's designed to make you forget that the most voted one also happens to be the most expensive. Japan was an innovator, but times have changed and other countries have caught up. For the similar speeds and comfort, other trains cost a fraction of the Shinkansen which is why I never travel on it unless it's business and I don't need to pay myself (and it's always a pleasure to travel on it for journeys which are not too long).

I once took the high speed rail from Shanghai to the next city (about 40 minutes) away. With the amount I spent, I could just about get from Tokyo to Shinagawa on the Shinkansen.,

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

By the way, I've read that the Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central)--the company that operates the Tokaido Shinkansen line--wants to boost speeds on certain parts of this line to a full 300 km/h. This will likely happen once all the JR Central-owned trainsets that run the Nozomi train are all switched to the N700A trainset and once all JR Central-owned trainsets that run the Hikari train switch to the N700 trainset.

During the days of the 0 and 100 Series trainsets, they used to even have restaurant cars on the train between Tokyo and Hakata; but with the speed of today's Shinkansen trains, they were pretty much phased out by the middle 1990's.

Today, the Shinkansen is tied with the French TGV for the best-known high-speed trainset worldwide. However, the TGV can't match the amazing train frequency of the Shinkansen, especially between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka Stations.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

SamuraiBlue

So what you are saying is that having to build a separate, wider gauge tracks system is somehow a better technology than using the traditional gauge tracks that French trains run on?

The world record is a world record and since you have mentioned publicity stunt - you would know better than me that Japanese would have done it too if they only could run faster, regardless of what conditions or what calibrated instruments were used to measure the speed. There are limitations on the speed in France as well, as far as I understand, not allowing the rail operators to run faster.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To be fair, Japan is the inventor of modern high speed train. But France TGV win top speed. German is a late comer but Siemens train technology is now ahead of Japan already in many aspect. This is why even Russia buy from German for St Peterburg to Moscow HST which is so cool can be -50C in winter.

Japan HST technology never transfer to other country or build for others except Taiwan. China-Japan venture is just mid speed train low level technology cooperation. Most core technology is come from Siemens of Germany and speed can be 350km/hr. You will found many China HST technologies which Japan train do not have but similar to German ICE.

German is willing use technology to exchange market and German also reduce cost for China made components. Even Magnetic train in Shanghai is German technology transfer program. A new railway from Sh to Hongzhou is under building now.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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