Railways and Shinkansen Bullet Trains



Characteristics of Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs)

Railway systems, such as electrified railways and the Shinkansen bullet train system, generate electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that have various frequencies, ranging from static EMFs to intermediate frequency EMFs (IF-EMFs).

In a railway system, electric energy fluctuates dramatically in a short time period (a few seconds to tens of seconds) with the operating state (acceleration, coasting, breaking or another state) of the train; accordingly, generated EMFs tend to fluctuate abruptly.


Adverse Health Effects

Health effects caused by electromagnetic fields (EMFs) ranging from extremely low frequency EMFs (ELF-EMFs) to intermediate frequency EMFs (IF-EMFs) are discussed in the sections on Substations and Transmission Lines and Electric Appliances in Households; here in Railways and Shinkansen Bullet Trains, health effects caused by static EMFs (with the frequency of 0 Hz (hertz)) that do not fluctuate over a period of time are described.

A person in a very strong static magnetic field may experience dizziness, nausea and other transitory feelings. However, no static magnetic field of such strength is generated in an electric train or Shinkansen bullet train. * The static magnetic field generated by a railway is thought to have no adverse health effects.

* According to a report from the Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan, the largest measurement of a magnetic field generated by a direct-current electrified railway (in a railway train) is approximately 1.5 mt (millitesla), which is below international guideline limits.

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Japanese law stipulates that power facilities which supply the electricity for railway operation shall be installed so that magnetic fields generated thereby are below 200 microtesla (μT).This value is based on ICNIRP guidelines (reference levels for general public at 50 Hz and 60 Hz).There is no regulation on electric field.However, the regulations do not apply to vehicles on railways including Shinkansen bullet trains