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Wednesday, 17th December 2008
In Japan Travel News,

Original bullet train bids farewell

The original model of Japan's famous bullet trains has been retired after 44 years of service.

The first Dream Superexpress Zero Series bullet trains travelled at speeds of up to 220 kilometres per hour.

Present at a ceremony to mark the trains final journey was the son of Hideo Shima, a renowned National Railway engineer who was considered a driving force behind the bullet train.

Mr Shima told the Mainichi Daily News: "If my father had been alive, he would have said 'well done' to the Series O for successfully fulfilling its role in society and going into honourable retirement."

Around 1,600 people turned up at Hakata Station to see the bullet train pull in for the last time.

Train designers are currently developing the country's first generation of magnetically levitated trains, which are due to begin operating in 2025 and will be capable of travelling at speeds of more than 500 kilometres per hour.