Even at this juncture the outcome of the arms race on rails makes European long distance train trav elers look toward China with envy The Fuxing su per train travels the 1 200 kilometer 750 mile distance between China s capital Beijing and the business metropolis Shanghai in just under four hours An important sound barrier because var ious surveys of travelers have shown that trains can particularly score in comparison to airliners when travel time is less than four hours Train travel is faster than flying The motherland of the high speed train idea is Chi na s neighbor Japan The island state started the speed arms race on rails back in 1964 Right in time for the opening of the Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo the first Shinkansen train zipped down the tracks to Osaka In the following nearly 60 years the high speed train system has been perfected step by step Innovation boosts in braking and tilting tech nologies have caused the speedometer needle to continuously rise Accordingly the travel time for the 500 kilometer 310 mile distance has dropped from the original four hours to currently 2 22 hours Rail engineers are now aiming for two hours The Shinkansen network already outperforms air travel on many routes today due to fast con nections low headways favorable fares and ex tremely high punctuality and reliability The major Japanese railroad company JR East says the aver age delay is 50 seconds This number would be close to zero without the delays caused by natural disasters like earthquakes and typhoons which are not uncommon in Japan Europe is high speed capable too Spearheaded by Germany ICE France TGV and Spain AVE Europe is sending a number of high speed heavyweights into the race as well As far back as 30 years ago the ICE broke the 400 km h 249 mph record However the train is struggling with the problem of an insufficient number of routes on which to fully exploit its speed potential One of the reasons for this is that when the ICE proj ect was launched Deutsche Bahn chose to min imize the distances between the places where its passengers live and the nearest ICE train stations Consequently there s a large number of stops and even if an ICE doesn t stop in a particular city it has to reduce speed while traveling through it Japan s JR Maglev high speed train By 2037 it s planned to fly from Tokyo to Osaka at a speed of more than 500 km h 311 mph in 67 minutes so who d still want to board a jet aircraft 68

Vorschau Schaeffler tomorrow 02-2020 EN Seite 68
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