Construction began in Japan on a new high-speed railway, known as the Shinkansen (‘New Main Line’), in April 1959 on 515km (320 miles) of track between Tokyo and Osaka. The plan was to implement electrified trains that could reach 210kph (130mph) on a dedicated, wider-gauge track (matching American and European standard gauges) that was free of level crossings – a concept that has since spread to high-speed rail in other countries. Safety would be further enhanced by a ground-breaking Automatic Train Control (ATC) system that automatically activated the brakes if a train exceeded the permitted speed. (This has since played a significant role in maintaining the Shinkansen’s peerless safety record of no train accident-related fatalities since operations commenced.) The aim was to complete this extraordinary feat of civil engineering and technology in just five years, in order to unveil the Shinkansen to the world during the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games. Staff united around the slogan, “Be in time for the Olympics”.