The Shinkansen, colloquially known in English as the bullet train, is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan operated by five Japan Railways Group companies. Starting with the Tōkaidō Shinkansen (515.4 km, 320.3 mi) in 1964, the network has expanded to currently consist of 2,764.6 km (1,717.8 mi) of lines with maximum speeds of 240–320 km/h (150–200 mph), 283.5 km (176.2 mi) of Mini-shinkansen lines with a maximum speed of 130 km/h (80 mph), and 10.3 km (6.4 mi) of spur lines with Shinkansen services. The network presently links most major cities on the islands of Honshu and Kyushu, and Hakodate on northern island of Hokkaido, with an extension to Sapporo under construction and scheduled to commence in March 2031.
The maximum operating speed is 320 km/h (200 mph) (on a 387.5 km section of the Tōhoku Shinkansen). Test runs have reached 443 km/h (275 mph) for conventional rail in 1996, and up to a world record 603 km/h (375 mph) for maglev trains in April 2015.
The original Tōkaidō Shinkansen, connecting the largest cities of Tokyo and Osaka, is the world’s busiest high-speed rail line. Carrying 151 million passengers per year (March 2008), and at over 5 billion total passengers it has transported more passengers than any other high-speed line in the world. The service on the line operates much larger trains and at higher frequency than most other high-speed lines in the world. At peak times, the line carries up to thirteen trains per hour in each direction with sixteen cars each (1,323-seat capacity and occasionally additional standing passengers) with a minimum headway of three minutes between trains.
Japan’s Shinkansen network had the highest annual passenger ridership (a maximum of 353 million in 2007) of any high-speed rail network until 2011, when Chinese High Speed Rail network surpassed it at 370 million passengers annually, though the total cumulative passengers, at over 10 billion, is still larger.
The Shinkansen network has been expanding in Japan and also has implemented similar networks in Taiwan and most recently been awarded a project in India.
Source : Wikipedia