October 1964 marked the date of the first departure of the Shinkansen high speed train from Tokyo. Originally conceived and studied in 1938 work had to be put on hold as the war effort increased in 1942. The project was started again in the 1950’s by engineers and staff who had originally conceived the project while working for the national railroad. It is an interesting journey to the completion of the first high speed rail line that was operational in Japan. You can ride along on the maiden voyage with film clips and view historic construction photos on a web site prepared by the Japan News agency to commemorate this historic occasion.
While you enjoy the ride on the Shinkansen reflect on the fact that Japan has had this efficient and safe mass transit system in place for half a century while the United States continues to struggle with implementation of this type of efficient transit.