“East Japan Railway says its Shinkansen bullet trains were able to put on their emergency brakes seconds before the March 11th earthquake, thanks to its early detection system.
JR East had 27 Shinkansen trains operating in northeastern Japan at the time of the quake, but all of them stopped without derailing.
The company had set up 9 seismographs along the Shinkansen tracks and the Pacific coast.
On the day of the quake, at 2:47 PM, a seismograph in Miyagi Prefecture 50 kilometers from the tracks detected ground acceleration of 120 gals, which is the benchmark for stopping train operations.
The early detection system automatically cut power to the trains. All of the trains then applied the emergency brakes to slow down.
The seismograph at Sendai Station recorded the biggest tremors. The railway operator found that the first tremor occurred 9 to 12 seconds after 2 trains near Sendai slammed on the brakes. The strongest tremor came one minute and 10 seconds later.
It’s not known at what speed the trains were moving when the biggest tremor hit, but they had apparently slowed down enough to avoid derailing
Tuesday, April 05, 2011″
I just love how advance is the automation system of the shinkansen. They hardly have “drivers”, or more appropriate term will be “pilot“, the shinkansen is going to fast for any human to react in a case of danger. The operators’ job is just to supervise and look good in a uniform.
Anyway, this article convinced me that the shinkansen is safer than an airplane