Photographing the Shinkansen: Hamamatsu Station

Today a story appeared in the media about a shinkansen driver having left the cab while he went to the toilet, leaving a conductor (who was not trained to drive the shinkansen) in the cab. As well as being covered by the Japanese media, it was also written about in The Guardian. Unfortunately, the image that went with that article (at least initially) didn’t show a Tokaido Shinkansen as can be seen in the picture below.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/21/japan-bullet-train-driver-disciplined-for-leaving-controls-to-go-to-toilet?fbclid=IwAR3rQzxOeYo_0rXpw0Vsiwl_xO2gxqxBu1f3SoA47xJz7qV89HZ9KBSU4WA

Rather than discuss the incident itself in detail (which, as a number of articles points out, is not a major concern due to the other safety systems in place… but as this is not an isolated incident, perhaps something more needs to be done about what to do if a driver needs to go to the toilet, such as providing an emergency bottle), I thought I would, instead, do a post about photographing the shinkansen. You can find a full list of places where I have taken such photographs on a page about photographs in my research and this already includes a number along the Tokaido Shinkansen (Atami, Fuji, Gifu-Hashima, Kakegawa, Lake Hamana, Maibara, Mishima Station, Near Odawara). As I have discussed before, generally I prefer not to take pictures of shinkansen at stations, but sometimes it is the most practical thing to do. This is particularly the case if you are on the JR Pass and using a Hikari or Kodama service on the Tokaido Shinkansen as you can jump out and get a picture of passing faster services. Hamamatsu is one such station.

The best thing about photographs at Hamamatsu station is the curve at the western end of the platform (nearest to carriage 1 on the shinkansen) so you get some more interesting angles.

For more information about my research on the shinkansen, click here. Also see Hijacking Japan – my novel set partly on a shinkansen.

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