Transportation: Highballs All Over

On a glistening 22-mile stretch of railroad south of Tokyo one day last week, Engineer Morio Yamamoto opened his throttle for a test high-speed run on the New Tokaido Line. Almost imperceptibly, Yamamoto's electric locomotive purred into power, skimmed like an arrow past paddyfields and rolling hills. Smiling with satisfaction, a Japanese National Railways executive announced to invited passengers that the train was moving at its programmed speed of 200 kilometers an hour (124 m.p.h.). "Nothing to it at all," beamed Yamamoto.

When it opens full service on the 320-mile run between...

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