The Tokaido Shinkansen service requires regular inspection of the track to ensure it is up to the high standards required of high speed service. JRC operates an inspection train called Doctor Yellow. It is a highly instrumented version of the current trains. I have seen the current Doctor Yellow when I was at one of JRC’s maintenance facilities. However, the original Doctor Yellow was based on the Series 0 trains. It is now preserved in the SC Maglev museum in Nagoya along with many of the other Shinkansen designs.
The Japanese Shinkansen trains introduced in the 1960s became known around the world as bullet trains. The shape of them was well known, often photographed with Mt Fuji in the background. While other countries developed high speed rail, the Japanese bullet train was often the first one people would associate with the topic. These first trains are known as the Series 0. There have been several iterations of design since. However, the Series 0 is still very recognizable to me and probably others of my generation.
I had seen a Series 0 vehicle once before. I visited the Nippon Sharyo factory is Toyokawa many years ago and they have a cab vehicle on display by the main gate. Sadly, I wasn’t able to get a photograph of that then. Seeing an example at the SC Maglev museum was my second opportunity. It was displayed alongside a number of the more recent iterations of the Shinkansen but, judging by the number of people taking photos of it, it still has a strong level of recognition.
Nagoya is home to a museum of Japanese rolling stock. The museum name focuses on Maglev technology and there is a Maglev prototype in the museum. However, the exhibits are really a cross section of the Japanese rail industry over the years. I will probably post some more from the museum as there were quite a few interesting exhibits. Most of it was inside – most welcome on such a hot day – but the N700 prototype was outside. I did have a look at that briefly along with an old steam locomotive but I was soon driven back inside by the temperatures.
When I first got there, you are directed into a hall with three significant exhibits. It was so dark, I was wondering whether there would be any decent photo opportunities. However, this was just the initial introduction and there were periodic videos and light shows to allow you to see these exhibits more clearly. A little patience was required. The main hall had the majority of the exhibits and they were lit normally. There were plenty of people in the museum taking pictures with small children that didn’t seem to be enjoying it as much as the parents would have liked! Maybe they wanted to be at Legoland across the street?