Publicity poster for the bullet train line to Hokkaido

Japan’s newest high speed rail line opened in March and has now been running for nearly two weeks.

Tickets for the first Tokyo-bound service from the snowy island of Hokkaido sold out in 25 seconds but the very cold weather on Hokkaido has since reduced demand.

Hokkaido’s high speed connection to the capital was achieved by extending the existing 445-mile-long shinkansen line from Tokyo to Aomori by 93 miles via the under-sea Seikan tunnel.

The £3.4 billion project was delayed for years by Japan’s economic troubles but now runs new H5 trains, built by Hitachi and Kawasaki which can run at up to 160 mph. However, on sections of the route shared with existing passenger and freight trains, they slow down.

The Hokkaido line is an addition to Japan’s impressive network of high speed railway lines which date back to 1964 when the first 320-mile-long line opened from Tokyo to Tokaido.

This Tokaido line now forms part of the busiest high speed line in the world, between the cities of Tokyo and Osaka.

At peak times the line carries up to 13 trains an hour in each direction, with a minimum time of three minutes between trains.

The trains have in-the-cab digital signalling and two trains an hour can stop at all intermediate stations while maintaining an average speed of 150 mph.

The line speed was increased in 2015 to 178 mph and the new N700A trains tilt slightly at top speed.

The line has also been extended beyond Osaka to Hakata, making it 731 miles long.

Another 281-mile-long line from Tokyo to Kanazawa was completed in 2015.

The average lateness of Japan’s high speed trains is less than one minute.