The 7-minute miracle: Meet the Japanese train cleaners who never run late

Journalist Charli James provides a behind-the-scenes peek at a crew of Japanese train cleaners who keep the Shinkansen bullet trains clean on a super tight schedule. Shown in this video is the procedure known as the “seven-minute miracle”. That’s how long cleaners from East Japan Railway Company’s service provider Tessei Co need to make a 1,323-seat long-distance train ready for another stretch.

Busy, busy trains

For most people, the logistics behind incredibly busy systems like the Shinkansen can seem boring and mundane, as long as the trains run on time. But you don’t need to do Excel for a living to realize that the numbers surrounding the Japanese high-speed rail system are astonishing. The Shinkansen line between Tokyo and Osaka, the two largest metropolises in Japan, carries thirteen trains per hour with sixteen cars each (capacity) run in each direction.’

The Shinkansen earned the nickname “bullet train” as early as the planning stage during the 1930s. This is a literal translation of “dangan ressha”, a nod towards the streamlined looks of the original 0 Series trains.

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6 replies

  1. I never know where to be impressed or freaked out by Japanese dedication. On this occasion, I’ll go for the former

  2. Damn, wish they could ship some of those fellas over to South West trains. They’re hard pressed to do 7 seats in 1323 minutes

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