What can we learn from Japan's railways?

The Japan-UK cultural exchange programme allows UK railway managers to learn from the operation of the Japanese railways. The 2006 visit was to Japanese Railways - Central (JR Central), which runs railways south of Tokyo. The JR Central network includes the Shinkansen (high-speed) line from Tokyo to Osaka. The trip included visits to control centres, maintenance depots and train crew depots and 3000 miles of train travel. Cultural factors that have a bearing on the way the Japanese railways are run are discussed. The reasons why Japanese trains are more reliable and dependable than their UK counterparts are considered: the control of Japanese railway authorities on the design of trains, use of proven technology, extensive testing of new designs, stable order books for train manufacturers, more resources devoted to rolling stock maintenance, and higher staffing levels in Japanese depots. Close attention is paid to staff training and fostering teamwork. Suggestions brought back to the UK included cameras and microphones to examine pantographs when trains enter depots and the installation of simple steel frames on the approach roads to underbridges to avoid bridge strikes by lorries. (A)


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Media Info

  • Pagination: 48-50
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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01043721
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Mar 9 2007 8:12AM