Quicker, and more comfortable than ever before – The new bullet train

The new “bullet train” is being launched all over Japan, offering faster and more comfortable service to those traveling than ever before.

The newest trains to Japan railways’ already impressive service – the Tohoku Shinkansen Hayabusa E5 series – will be introduced March 5. The trains have already completed vigorous test runs at 300 km per hour on stretches of track between Sendai, north of Tokyo, and Shin-Aomori Station, in the far north of Japan’s main island of Honshu.

If successful the trains being put through their paces in Japan could be seen all over the world. Japanese companies are currently in negotiations with a number of foreign countries for the provision of high-speed train services.

The new service will link Hakata on the northern coast of Japan’s most southerly main island of Kyushu, with the city of Kagoshima from March 12.

A huge increase in leisure travelers is obviously expected due to the high-speed links with Japan’s major cities. Kyushu Railway Co. is looking to take advantage of this extra tourism, introducing a new luxury cruise train. This will take travelers on a three-day tour around Kyushu, taking in the major sites of Nagasaki, Beppu and Fukuoka.

Comprising of six or seven carriages fitted out with sofas, dining tables and larger viewing windows.

Some will also include restaurant facilities and the number of travelers will be limited to an exclusive 30 or so on each trip.

The railway company aims to start the new service in early 2013 and tickets will cost around Y200,000 (€1,764) – although rail companies believe that travelers will be happy to pay a large amount for a luxury travel experience.

Luxury is key to the new Hayabusa train, with an extravagant 18-seat first class section that is akin to first class in an aircraft. With large leather reclining seats, wool carpets and wooden ceiling and personal attendants meeting your ever need, travelling GranClass really is the only way to travel.

BA cabin crew could strike at Easter

Latest target of cabin crew representing British Airways cabin crew could be Easter.

Giving the airline a week’s notice Unite has said there will be a fresh strike ballot – the fourth in two years – with the outcome to be stated on March 28.

If the ballot results in a yes, this will lead to industrial action over the Easter holiday and also the Royal Wedding on April 29.

With 78% of cabin crew calling for industrial action last December, a strike could well be on the cards.

However du to a legal challenge by the airline Unite was forced to set aside the vote.

Officials within the British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association (BASSA), Unite’s cabin crew branch, had been drawing up plans for guerrilla action.

Aiming to cause greatest damage to the airline while having minimum impact on cabin crew taking involved in industrial action.

Plans included calling stoppages and then cancelling them at the last minute, leaving the airline having to pay both regular crew and other members of staff, including some pilots, who took over from strikers.

Last year 22 days of industrial action cost BA an estimated £150 million. Although the airline successfully kept most planes running, there were still hundreds of cancellations.

Leaving BA’s reputation hugely damaged, Unite believes indecision over industrial action will harm the airline’s bookings at one of the busiest times of the year.

However the strike also hit BASSA, which has lost 2,500 of its 12,780 members in a year.

It is understood that the causes of the original dispute are close to being agreed upon, BA’s demand for changes in working practices.

But the sides are still miles apart over action taken by the airline during the many strikes last year, including the removal of the staff travel perk.

“If BA’s management believes that it can secure industrial harmony by these methods it is living in a fools’ paradise,” Len McCluskey, Unite’s new general secretary, told union members.

“Only negotiation, not litigation or intimidation, can start to heal the wounds caused by this dispute.”

A BA spokesman condemned the latest strike threat. “Apart from a tiny minority of hardliners, everyone now wants this dispute to be over. It is time for Unite to reflect the mood of its members and seek to promote discussion, not disruption.

“Should there be any further industrial action, we will implement our well-established contingency plans. We will fly a full schedule at London City and London Gatwick. We are also planning to fly 100 per cent of our Heathrow long haul operation and a substantial part of our Heathrow short haul schedule.”

The rudest cities in the world – according to Foursquare

Think the people in your city are vulgar and rude? Location-based social network foursquare has hunted all over the world for the locations in which it inhabitants are the rudest.

The UK’s northern city of Manchester tops the list of foursquare places with the highest percentage of tips containing curse words. El Paso in Texas, USA, is second on the list. “Its good to see that the Mancunians truly are not only the rudest people in the UK, but the rudest people globally, only El Paso comes close,” said foursquare in a February 28 post on its engineering blog.

??Cities in the US dominate the list with Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Bloomington, Indiana; Riverside, California; Tempe, Arizona; Scottsdale, Arizona; Portland, Oregon; Venice, California; and Orange California all making it among the top 10 rudest cities in the world. ??Melbourne, Australia is the only other non-US city to make it into the list, however, foursquare didn’t include the rudeness of non-English speaking countries. ?