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Old October 16th, 2016, 03:30 PM   #1981
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I do think that JR East/JR Hokkaido is looking at 360 km/h maximum between Utsunomiya and Shin-Aomori Stations on the Honshu side and probably around 300 km/h between Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto and Sapporo Stations on the Hokkaido side. Right now, the maximum speed between Morioka and Shin-Aomori is 260 km/h, but I think those long tunnels between Morioka and Shin-Aomori could easily accommodate speeds up to 320 km/h.
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Old October 16th, 2016, 03:59 PM   #1982
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Likewise, I remember reading that the plan was to reach 360km/h on the Tohoku Shinkansen by 2020, along with a plan to reduce the Tokyo-Sapporo travel time to 4 hours.

Personally I think we could start seeing work on a new "E8" trainset to replace the E2 trainsets by 2020, incorporating the design improvements 00Zy99 was talking about.

EDIT: Here's a source on Tokyo-Sapporo in 4h:

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Old October 16th, 2016, 04:42 PM   #1983
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So, that would be, what, two hours to Aomori and three to Hakodate?
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Old October 16th, 2016, 04:58 PM   #1984
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Two hours to Aomori considering no stopping at Sendai and Morioka? Not sure...
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Old October 16th, 2016, 05:37 PM   #1985
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sr.Horn View Post
Two hours to Aomori considering no stopping at Sendai and Morioka? Not sure...
Eh, I don't know, the fastest Hayabusa trains can get to Aomori in around 3 hours (I took Hayabusa 11 as an example).

H11 averages around 263kph between Omiya/Sendai and Sendai/Morioka, and around 227kph between Morioka and Aomori.

The main time sink seems to be between Tokyo and Omiya, where 23 mins is spent to cover the 31km distance, because the trains are stuck at zairaisen speeds. Increasing this to 160kph or so, around the speed of the Keisei Skyliner, sounds to me like a low hanging fruit to squeeze 5-10 minutes out of the travel times.

Full 320kph service between Morioka and Aomori could also squeeze you an additional 5-10 minutes at least, and then perhaps if speeds north of Omiya can hit 360kph you get maybe 20 extra minutes, getting you a total of 30-40 mins off the existing 3h travel time?

It's another hour to Hakodate mainly due to speed restrictions on the Kaikyo Line, and if they manage to get 300kph on the Hokkaido Shinkansen then 1 hour to Sapporo.

So it's just me, but 4h30min seems like a more realistic timing, unless they find a way to allow the Shinkansen to operate at higher speeds through the Kaikyo Line without affecting the freight service. Then 4h might be more reasonable.
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Old October 16th, 2016, 08:02 PM   #1986
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I do think 150-160 km/h between Ueno and Omiya Stations is doable, then 300 km/h between Omiya and Utsunomiya, 360km/h max between Utsunomiya and Morioka, 320 km/h beteen Morioka and Shin-Aomori, 220 km/h between Shin-Aomori and Kikonai, and 300 to 320 km/h between Kikonai and Sapporo.

I still think the "train on train" idea may come to fruition. That way, freight cars can be loaded into a wider train at a new terminal next to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station and unloaded at a new terminal at what is now Shin-Nakaoguni Signal Station just south of the Doai Tunnel (the south end of the tunnel is where the Shinkansen and zairaisen tracks separate).
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Old October 16th, 2016, 08:10 PM   #1987
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luacstjh98 View Post
Likewise, I remember reading that the plan was to reach 360km/h on the Tohoku Shinkansen by 2020, along with a plan to reduce the Tokyo-Sapporo travel time to 4 hours.
It was also planned to run free-gauge trains on the Nagasaki Shinkansen. And look how far that project has come. The high-speed operation over 300 km/h requires a significant technological progress as well. Such a progress may come one day or maybe it doesn't, who knows. I wouldn't count on it though.

If the Japanese government as well as the involved railway companies really wanted to push travel time to Sapporo down to competitive levels they would have built the Tohoku Shinkansen differently. The slow passages of the metropolitan areas of Tokyo and Sendai as well as the alignment north of Morioka do not suggest that travel times to Sapporo were the highest priority. Hence my doubt on the ambitious plans of a 4-hour rail travel.

By the way travel times of 2,5 hours to Shin-Aomori would require an average speed of over 300 km/h north of Omiya. I don't see a way to achieve this with the currently available technologies.
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Old October 17th, 2016, 03:41 AM   #1988
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 00Zy99 View Post
Curve realignment is much easier to do than you seem to think-note Japan's repeated ability to shift alignments overnight in construction activities.

...
00Zy99, you mentioned about improving the curve alignments on existing tracks. I am not even sure if they had maximised curved alignments on the newest of tracks.

I had posted six months ago about the curve radius coming into Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station looking very tight. Considering this is the second- newest Shinkansen line, I was surprised that it seems that they did not maximise the track design to have the highest possible maximum speed on that section. In fact, I roughly estimated looking at the curve radius that the maximum speed through the station would be +/- 200 km/h, which is pretty low considering many Shinkansen stations even on the same spinal high speed route north from Tokyo allow for trains to operate through without slowing down.

Track design, coupled with related infrastructure such as the concrete viaduct, is probably one of the most complicated factors to change once operations have started. I am at a loss to understand the reason for the relatively low speeds this newest of lines seems to have been designed for. Difficult terrain does not seem to me to be a likely reason as they would be tunneling onwards anyway, through what will be some of the longest tunnels in Japan. Maybe they intended for all trains going into the future to require stopping at Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto, which also seems unlikely considering the 3-track layout within Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station itself. Now there must be a reason, most likely a commercial and/or political one, but I am not sure it would be so compelling if the overarching aim of the Hokkaido Shinkansen was to eventually have competitive journey times on par with air travel.

Also I understand that the relatively short run from Kikonai to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto is fairly straight. Even though the current maximum speed on that stretch is 260 km/h it should be easy for Shinkansen trains to eventually run at 320 km/h. It seems to me that 260 km/h is a speed limit mandated by the authorities for initial operations on all newly-opened high speed lines, which may be conservative but seems fair from a safety and energy-use perspective. I don't think there would be any obstacles to increasing the speed limit on this stretch especially upon the eventual opening of the stretch to Sapporo. However, for a train to accelerate after leaving the Seikan tunnel only to have to slow down considerably before Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station makes 320 km/h, much less 360 km/h, seemingly unfeasible as well.

Just looking at this one example and not considering technological, vibration and noise challenges, it does not bode well to me that a Tokyo-Sapporo time of under 4 hours will be achieved as much as I certainly would like it to be

Nonetheless let's not forget that reliable 320 km/h operations is the fastest in the World and is already highly superior considering the challenges that Japan faces on its high-speed railways, such as earthquakes and population density.

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Quote:
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...



My simplistic and amateur measurement of that curve on Google maps yielded a radius of around 2500m, maximum 3000m. For what I assume is a mostly greenfield location, that seems to be quite tight. That would translate to a maximum speed of 200-km/h, I take? I note that there is a considerable cant on that section to compensate for the curve as can be seen on this video:



...

It seems like an, pardon the pun, uphill climb.
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Old October 17th, 2016, 05:40 AM   #1989
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Question: Will all trains stop at Hakodate?

If yes, then perhaps the 200kph limit through the station wouldn't matter much.

If no, then it's still a time saving, but not as much of savings...
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Old October 17th, 2016, 11:43 AM   #1990
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stingstingsting View Post


My simplistic and amateur measurement of that curve on Google maps yielded a radius of around 2500m, maximum 3000m. For what I assume is a mostly greenfield location, that seems to be quite tight. That would translate to a maximum speed of 200-km/h, I take? I note that there is a considerable cant on that section to compensate for the curve as can be seen on this video:

Looking in Google Earth and using it's circle measurement then you get a circle with a radius of nearly exactly 3000 meters at this curve, which would correspond to a maximum speed of about 250 km/h.
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Old October 18th, 2016, 01:50 AM   #1991
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luacstjh98 View Post
Question: Will all trains stop at Hakodate?

If yes, then perhaps the 200kph limit through the station wouldn't matter much.

If no, then it's still a time saving, but not as much of savings...
Yes, I do think that all trains will stop at Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto, mostly because that's the closest station to the city of Hakodate itself. It's like Nagoya, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Shin-Kobe, Okayama, Hiroshima and Kokura are mandatory stops for the full-distance Nozomi trains.
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Old October 18th, 2016, 08:10 AM   #1992
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Thanks Loefet and Sacto7654.

250 km/h is not that much faster either. And if we go by the fact that we've had Nozomi services for decades and yet the fastest services still have to stop at about ten stops, the point is further reinforced that we will not see Tokyo-Sapporo Shinkansen services of under 4h. This is unlike what that famous chart below was alluding to. You can't beat that curve radius much too so its just highly unlikely.

Furthermore there will not be a modal shift for Tokyo-Sapporo journeys just like how there has not been a modal shift for Tokyo-Fukuoka journeys. Clearly, a 4h service is just neither a priority nor an intention of the Hokkaido Shinkansen. I'm resigned to that conclusion...

Quote:
Originally Posted by luacstjh98 View Post
...

EDIT: Here's a source on Tokyo-Sapporo in 4h:

A related question:
why do all the new stations on the Hokkaido Shinkansen only have three tracks? I looked at the Tohoku Shinkansen, and in fact on all other Shinkansen lines, and I'm hard pressed to find three-track stations. Most of them are two-tracked, four-tracked or six-tracked. Even multiples would mean a through track for each direction. Also the new Hokuriku Shinkansen does not have three-track stations. I understand removing one track might save some costs. Hokkaido is also more sparsely populated but this seems new and operationally quite a bit more complicated, isn't it?
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Old October 18th, 2016, 12:24 PM   #1993
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If disregarding the Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station which have space for three tracks but only have two installed and concentrate on the Okutsugaru-Imabetsu and Kikonai stations instead which both have three tracks installed but only 2 platforms.

These stations lay at either and of the Seikan Tunnel, which I believe plays a huge part on their design. I presume that there stricter limits on train distances in the tunnel compared to other stretches. And with this layout with the platform for the line towards the tunnel on a siding makes it possible for "faster" services to overtake the all stop ones, but after exiting the tunnel there is enough distance to the next train for a slower train to stop and still have enough space for getting up to speed before the faster train catches up with it.
I hope that this makes sense.
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Old October 18th, 2016, 01:27 PM   #1994
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stingstingsting View Post


Thanks Loefet and Sacto7654.

250 km/h is not that much faster either. And if we go by the fact that we've had Nozomi services for decades and yet the fastest services still have to stop at about ten stops, the point is further reinforced that we will not see Tokyo-Sapporo Shinkansen services of under 4h. This is unlike what that famous chart below was alluding to. You can't beat that curve radius much too so its just highly unlikely.

Furthermore there will not be a modal shift for Tokyo-Sapporo journeys just like how there has not been a modal shift for Tokyo-Fukuoka journeys. Clearly, a 4h service is just neither a priority nor an intention of the Hokkaido Shinkansen. I'm resigned to that conclusion...
You can't compare the Tohoku and Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen, they serve quite different areas. A wiser comparison for the Tohoku Shinkansen would be the CRH network, where stations are more spaced out.

IIRC Japan is more densely populated west of Tokyo than east of it, since along the way to Fukuoka you have Nagoya, the entire Kansai region (Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Shin-Kobe, all of which are next to each other so you can't hit high speeds for long), Okayama (for trains to Shikoku) and Hiroshima along the way, along with Kokura just 50km out from Hakata. Whereas on the Tohoku trunk, you only have stops at Sendai, Morioka, Aomori and Hakodate, and long clear runs between all stations. Hence more stops to the west than to the east, and why trains to the east can reach higher speeds.

Besides, I don't really see much of a "modal shift" in Tokyo-Fukuoka travel, since it's five hours with so many stops. The money is in travel to/from the intermediate cities. And the Shinkansen to Sapporo is only happening in 2030, so who knows what could happen in the meantime? Maybe by then JR Hokkaido and JR East would have bought super-fast "E8/H8" series trains that can make the journey in 4h, assuming the Tohoku Shinkansen is also upgraded.

I don't think it's wise to shut the possibility down now since we're talking about things fifteen years away at the very least.
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Old October 18th, 2016, 02:56 PM   #1995
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luacstjh98 View Post
You can't compare the Tohoku and Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen, they serve quite different areas. A wiser comparison for the Tohoku Shinkansen would be the CRH network, where stations are more spaced out.

IIRC Japan is more densely populated west of Tokyo than east of it, since along the way to Fukuoka you have Nagoya, the entire Kansai region (Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Shin-Kobe, all of which are next to each other so you can't hit high speeds for long), Okayama (for trains to Shikoku) and Hiroshima along the way, along with Kokura just 50km out from Hakata. Whereas on the Tohoku trunk, you only have stops at Sendai, Morioka, Aomori and Hakodate, and long clear runs between all stations. Hence more stops to the west than to the east, and why trains to the east can reach higher speeds.

Besides, I don't really see much of a "modal shift" in Tokyo-Fukuoka travel, since it's five hours with so many stops. The money is in travel to/from the intermediate cities.
The distances are:
Tokyo-Shin-Hakodate - 824 km
Tokyo-Hiroshima - 821 km
Stops of most express trains:
Hayabusa:
  1. Omiya
  2. Sendai
  3. Morioka
  4. Shin-Aomori
  5. Shin-Hakodate
Nozomi:
  1. Shinagawa
  2. Shin-Yokohama
  3. Nagoya
  4. Kyoto
  5. Shin-Osaka
  6. Shin-Kobe
  7. Okayama
  8. Hiroshima
However, Hayabusas make additional stops which vary.
Total tally of stations that exist:
Tohoku-Hokkaido:
  1. Ueno
  2. Omiya
  3. Oyama
  4. Utsunomiya
  5. Nasu-Shiobara
  6. Shin-Shirakawa
  7. Koriyama
  8. Fukushima
  9. Shiroishi-Zao
  10. Sendai
  11. Furukawa
  12. Kurikoma-Kogen
  13. Ichinoseki
  14. Mizusawa-Esashi
  15. Kitakami
  16. Shin-Hanamaki
  17. Morioka
  18. Iwate-Numakunai
  19. Ninohe
  20. Hachinohe
  21. Towada
  22. Shin-Aomori
  23. Okutsugaru-Imabetsu
  24. Kikonai
  25. Shin-Hakodate
Tokaido-Sanyo:
  1. Shinagawa
  2. Shin-Yokohama
  3. Odawara
  4. Atami
  5. Mishima
  6. Shin-Fuji
  7. Shizuoka
  8. Kakegawa
  9. Hamamatsu
  10. Toyohashi
  11. Mikawa-Anjo
  12. Nagoya
  13. Gifu-Hashima
  14. Maibara
  15. Kyoto
  16. Shin-Osaka
  17. Shin-Kobe
  18. Nishi-Akashi
  19. Himeji
  20. Aioi
  21. Okayama
  22. Shin-Kurashiki
  23. Fukuyama
  24. Shin-Onomichi
  25. Mihara
  26. Higashi-Hiroshima
  27. Hiroshima
So, how do "clear runs" compare? The total count of stations - 25 vs. 27, there is not much difference!
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Old October 18th, 2016, 03:40 PM   #1996
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Well, here's some timings I calculated, but whether it's of use to you is mixed:



Don't forget that the N700 accelerates at 2.6km/s^2, 50% faster than the E5 which accelerates at 1.71km/s^2, so the E5 needs a longer time to get to top speed. JR East may not need to break the 360km/h barrier, perhaps with faster-accelerating trains they could also shorten travel times by quite a fair bit.

(all info from Wikipedia)
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Old November 2nd, 2016, 01:36 AM   #1997
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Not to mention 4 hours to Sapporo is still possible with trains running at 360kph. Curve radius on one station won't affect travel times that much and there are more important aspects of station design... like an alignment that actually works. To make that alignment straighter would have involved building a viaduct on top of town in addition to not being able to link up with the mainline. By doing it this way there is the possibility of doing a mini-Shinkansen north from this point along the main line.

There's no guarantee that Sapporo will get Shinkansen by 2030.
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Old November 13th, 2016, 03:46 PM   #1998
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Speaking of the Shinkansen, has JR East mentioned anything about when will they finally retire the E4 trainsets? I believe once the E4's finally retire, it may finally make it possible to bump up the maximum speed of the Shinkansen line between Omiya and Takasaki and Takasaki to Niigata to 260 km/h. And that will mean faster travel times for both the Jōetsu and Hokuriku Shinkansen runs.
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Old November 13th, 2016, 06:22 PM   #1999
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Not yet.
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Special Hokuriku-Tohoku Shinkansen from Kanawaza to Sendai and back using E7 Series Shinkansen:



TV coverage:

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Old November 14th, 2016, 12:04 PM   #2000
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This is a new Shinkansen service?
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