320km/h in the snow! Tohoku Shinkansen runs at full speed.

Have you ever ridden the Shinkansen in Japan? Japan is a long island stretching from north to south, and the climate is completely different between the northern and southern parts of the country. In the northern part of Japan, there is a great deal of snowfall, but even in such conditions, the Shinkansen runs normally at speeds of over 300 km/h.

This is truly amazing, and normally it would be unthinkable for a train to run at speeds over 300 km/h in heavy snowfall. It takes a lot of technology and experience to make it happen.

On the Hokuriku Shinkansen line between Nagano and Kanazawa, about 44% of the line is covered by tunnels, and the short above-ground section between tunnels is covered by a roof called a snow shelter. In the first place, there are very few areas on the tracks where snow can accumulate.

What about the elevated tracks that make up the majority of the non-tunnel sections? The Joetsu Shinkansen and Tohoku Shinkansen, which run in areas with heavy snowfall, have space to store snow on the sides of the tracks inside elevated bridges. In addition to this basic structure, the Hokuriku Shinkansen has diagonal sheds on the side walls (soundproof walls) of elevated bridges and openings in the floor in some sections to “dump” snow outside the tracks. Other technologies are also used, such as circulating antifreeze to melt snow.

One response to “320km/h in the snow! Tohoku Shinkansen runs at full speed.”

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    The Shinkansen running at over 300 km/h through the snow is a very impressive sight!

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