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While we were off flying on Jetblue's Inaugural LAX route, a few lucky folks in Britain were taking their newest transportation toy for a spin, the high-speed Javelin Train. The Japanese-built Shinkansen superfast trains will be the country's frirst high-speed domestic commuter service, cutting travel time immensely (think from 80 minutes down to 37) and preparing for the 2012 London Olympics.
When the 140-mph service hits the tracks on June 29, it will run on the newly-built Channel Tunnel raillink tracks between London's St. Pancras station and the towns of Ashford and Ebbsfleet. This way, the bullet trains need not lean like Virgin's Pendolino service; the raillink route was built for speed, with gentle curves and updated signaling.
Although commuters will totally benefit from the time saved, their wallets will nonetheless be hit by the upgraded service; Yahoo UK reports that a single fare from Ashford to St Pancras which now costs £22.20 ($37) will go up to £26.60 ($44). Let's hope they don't have to commute too often.
For the Olympics in 2012, the train will add a stop at the Olympic Village at Stratford, which, on the Javelin, will only be a 7-minute train ride away from central London. If we give in to our minor fascination for the Shinkansen trains, we just might see you there in 2012.