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2014年10月 6日 (月)

新幹線50年 安全で正確な運行これからも

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Efforts must be made to extend life of safe, punctual Shinkansen lines
新幹線50年 安全で正確な運行これからも

Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary of the Tokaido Shinkansen line. When it was put into service, the bullet train was called “the superexpress train of our dreams.”
 「夢の超特急」と呼ばれた東海道新幹線が、開業から50年を迎えた。

Shinkansen service at a speed of up to 210 kph reduced the time required for a train trip between Tokyo and Osaka to four hours, compared with the 6½ hours the same trip took on a limited express train.
 特急で6時間半かかった東京―大阪間を、最高時速210キロの新幹線が一気に4時間へと縮めた。

The latest Shinkansen model, which runs at 270 kph, has shortened the time to less than 2½ hours. A train evolving through incessant efforts, the Shinkansen should be considered a good example to other nations seeking to build similar high-speed railway systems.
 270キロで疾走する最新型の新幹線は、2時間半を切るまでになった。たゆまぬ改良で今も進化を続ける新幹線は、世界の高速鉄道のお手本と言えよう。

The Tokaido Shinkansen line served as the main artery connecting the Tokyo metropolitan area and the Kansai region, a development essential for underpinning our country’s successful efforts to achieve high economic growth.
 東海道新幹線は、首都圏と関西を結ぶ大動脈として、日本の高度経済成長を支えた。

Later, the Shinkansen system was expanded to include the Sanyo, Tohoku and Joetsu routes, which tremendously widened the range of destinations for one-day trips. All this greatly contributed to improving the efficiency of doing business in this country while also promoting tourism in many parts of the nation.
 さらに、山陽、東北、上越へと路線が延びるにつれて、鉄道で日帰りできる範囲は飛躍的に広がった。ビジネスの効率化や、観光振興への貢献度は大きい。

A popular topic of conversation related to the Shinkansen was a TV commercial featuring a young couple who had a long-distance romantic relationship. The serialized “Cinderella Express” spot depicted the couple using the Shinkansen to meet over the weekend and say bittersweet goodbyes to each other on the platform before taking Sunday’s last Shinkansen to return home. The commercial seemed to show that the Shinkansen service had considerably affected the lifestyle of people in this country.
 遠距離恋愛のカップルによる再会や惜別の姿を描いた「シンデレラ・エクスプレス」のCMも、話題を呼んだ。生活スタイルに与えた影響は少なくない。

It deserves special mention that the Shinkansen network has maintained a high degree of safety over a half century. During that period, not one passenger has died due to such accidents as derailments or crashes on the high-speed network.
 特筆すべきなのは、半世紀にわたって、脱線や衝突などの列車事故で死亡した乗客がゼロという安全性の高さである。

Nevertheless, in 1995 a schoolboy died after his fingers were caught in a closing Shinkansen door and he was dragged by the train. Derailments also took place in the 2004 Chuetsu Earthquake and the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.
 とはいえ、1995年にはホームで新幹線のドアに挟まれ、引きずられた人が死亡した。2004年の中越地震と11年の東日本大震災では、脱線事故も起きた。

Safety mustn’t be assumed

The Shinkansen network should never be considered perfectly safe, which could lead to dangerous complacency about the system’s safety. We hope consistent efforts will be made to further improve the safety of the Shinkansen network.
 「安全神話」に陥ってはならない。さらなる安全性の向上へ、不断の努力を続けてもらいたい。

Another feature of the Shinkansen system is its precise operation control system. No parallel can be found among railway systems in other nations.
 世界に類を見ない正確な運行管理も、新幹線の特長である。

For instance, delays in Tokaido Shinkansen services average less than one minute, including those caused by bad weather. This precision makes it possible to run Shinkansen trains at high speeds. But it also guarantees an extremely congested schedule for Shinkansen operations, as indicated by the fact that such trains depart once every three minutes during peak hours.
 東海道新幹線は、悪天候の影響を含めても、遅延は平均1分以内だ。この緻密さが、高速運転と、ピーク時に3分間隔という過密ダイヤの両立を可能にしている。

It is said that many foreign visitors to Japan are amazed to see a Shinkansen train arrive at its last stop and its interior immediately cleaned during a period of less than 10 minutes for a new run.
 終点に着いた列車が、わずか10分弱で車内の清掃を終え、折り返し運転する様子に、驚く外国人客も少なくないという。

Not only the capacity and safety of Shinkansen trains but their excellent operational control system is something Japan can boast to the rest of the world as one of the nation’s assets.
 新幹線の性能や安全性だけでなく、優れた運行管理も、日本が世界に誇る貴重な財産である。

It is essential to properly pass on our nation’s accumulated Shinkansen technology and expertise to the next generation.
 これまで培った技術やノウハウを、次世代にしっかりと伝えていくことが大切だ。

Projects have been prepared to build and improve high-speed railway systems in more than 10 locations around the world. The Shinkansen technology can become a centerpiece of our nation’s infrastructure export drive as a pillar of the growth strategy pursued by the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The government and the private sector need to join hands to succeed in this endeavor.
 世界の10か所以上で、高速鉄道の整備が計画されている。新幹線は、安倍政権が成長戦略の柱とするインフラ(社会資本)輸出の「目玉」と期待される。官民を挙げて売り込みたい。

The government and the ruling parties are studying the idea of opening three new Shinkansen routes that will cover Hokkaido and the Hokuriku and Kyushu regions, respectively, earlier than initially planned. If the idea is translated into action, it would increase the amount of construction costs by a sizable ¥540 billion.
 政府・与党は北海道、北陸、九州の3整備新幹線の開業前倒しを検討しており、建設費が5400億円も増える見込みという。

We believe priority should be placed on projects to repair and refurbish obsolete railway tracks and bridges instead of hastening to complete the new routes, thereby making it possible to safely extend the life of the existing Shinkansen lines.
 完成を急ぐより、老朽化した線路や橋の補修・更新を充実させ、既存の新幹線を長く、安全に使うことを優先すべきではないか。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 5, 2014)Speech

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