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Japan’s Bullet Train - Turns 50 years Old!

Half a century ago, Japan built the world’s first high-speed rail network — a network that remains the gold standard in train travel today. In this week’s Forefront, Next City examines how that country is now helping Texas build its own bullet train, a potential game-changer for transportation in the Lone Star State.
When it launched on October 1, 1964, the world’s first high-speed rail network was known as yume no chotokkyu — literally, the “super-express of dreams.” The first line in Japan’s now world-famous shinkansen network, which would come to be known as the “bullet train,” was built against all odds, in the face of fierce public opposition, technical difficulties and astronomical costs. The $80 million loan secured from the World Bank for construction and engineering barely covered expenses, and the head of the project, Shinji Sogō, resigned amid the scandal of an out-of-control budget. People called the team who worked on the project “the crazy gang.”