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Thursday, 21 June, 2001, 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK
High-speed train crawls to new home
Bullet Train
The Bullet Train being loaded for shipping to Britain
A high-speed Bullet Train has arrived at its new home in Britain - after inching its way there at 25 mph.

The Japanese-built loco reached speeds of up to 140mph when it whisked passengers to destinations out of Tokyo.

But its progress across England was far more sedate as it made its way to York on the back of a low-loading lorry trailer.

Now it is being prepared to take centre stage in a new exhibition at the National Railway Museum (NRM).

'Important breakthrough'

The "Series O" train - serial number 22-141 - is the first vehicle built and run outside the UK to be part of the national collection.

It began service in 1976 and was mothballed in October 2000 after more than 20 years of plying the 320-mile Tokyo to Osaka route.

Bullet Train
Service started from Tokyo in 1964
Modern models can reach speed of 300km/h
They began life in Japan while UK still had working steam trains

The deal to bring the train to Britain was struck between NRM and West Japan Railways, with the Japanese company agreeing to pay the costs of shipping the engine to Britain.

Once in Britain, the museum was helped by a consortium of Japanese businesses who have contributed to the costs of bringing the 82-feet long train from Southampton to York.

Andrew Scott, head of the museum, said: "There is no doubt that visitors to the museum will be able to explore one of the impressive and recognisable rail icons of all time.

"If you look back over the history of railways, there have been many defining moments.

"But the launch of the Bullet Train was arguably the most important breakthrough in rail technology since Rocket won the Rainhill Trials."

Journey time slashed

The Shinkansen - which translates literally as "new main line" - was first opened in 1965 with trains hurtling from Tokyo to Osaka at speeds which slashed the 320 mile journey to just three hours.

A similar-length trip in Britain at the time would have taken around five and half hours.

The train is currently parked in an industrial estate in York before being transferred by rail to the museum on 24 June.

Visitors to the museum in York will be able to see the train from 14 July.

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See also:

17 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Bullet train gets first female drivers
13 Jun 00 | Business
Taiwan seals bullet train deal
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