Transport in Japan - Rail Transportation

Rail Transportation

In Japan, railways are a major means of passenger transportation, especially for mass and high-speed transport between major cities and for commuter transport in metropolitan areas. Seven Japan Railways Group companies, once state-owned until 1987, cover most parts of Japan. There also are railway services operated by private rail companies, regional governments, and companies funded by both regional governments and private companies.

Total railways of 27,182 km include several track gauges, the most common of which is 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) narrow gauge, with 22,301 km of track of which 15,222 km is electrified.

Fukuoka, Kobe, Kyoto, Nagoya, Osaka, Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo, and Yokohama have subway systems.

Most Japanese people traveled on foot until the later part of the 19th century. The first railway was built between Tokyo and Yokohama in 1872 and many more developed. Japan now has one of the worlds most developed transportation networks. Mass transportation is well developed in Japan, but the road system lags behind and is inadequate for the number of cars. Road construction is difficult because of the high areas of population and the limited amount of usable land. Shinkansen are the high speed trains in Japan and they are known as bullet trains. About 250 Shinkansen trains operate daily. The fastest shinkansen trains are the N700 series Nozomi, which operate at a maximum speed of 300 km/h. Shinkansen trains are known to be very punctual. A train is recorded as late if it does not arrive at the specified time. In 2003, the average delay per train on the Tokaido Shinkansen was 6 seconds.

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