24 July 2007
New train: “...almost half as fast as an airplane.”
Patrick Crozier
New N700 Series

I admire the Japanese Bullet Trains (aka Shinkansens) very much - not least because I am not paying for them - but I had to laugh when I read this particular quote, marking the launch of the N700.  Is there a better way of saying: “Gather round everybody, look at us, we’re not very good.”?

If even the Japanese are struggling to say good things about trains, it all rather confirms my belief that as a form of transport they’re doomed.

In that vein I’ve been toying with the idea of compiling a list of insuperable train-travel bugs.  I mean problems that either cannot or probably never will be solved.  If I did I think I’d have to include this one, along with:

The ugliness of the view
The ugliness of the structures
The complexity of the fares
The inflexibility eg you can’t use trains for your trips to the DIY store
The actions of other people

Incidentally, I have yet to find out what the “N” stands for in N700.  Not-half-as-ugly-as-a 700, perhaps?

700 Series Shinkansen


  1. Trains may only be half as fast as airplanes, but the big bug with airplanes is how bloody long it takes to get on them and off them, and to them and from them.  Recently I travelled to Brittany from central London.  The flight took two hours.  The journey took the whole day.

    Posted by Brian Micklethwait on  25 July 2007 at 02:07 pm

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