From the beginning, the Shinkansen struggled to deal with snow.
Even though JNR did many Shinkansen test runs on the prototype line in Kanagawa Prefecture, no tests had been conducted in snow. It turned out that snow damaged train cars. When the Shinkansen kicked up snow from the ground, it accumulated on the train as ice. When chunks of ice dropped off after the Shinkansen moved into warmer areas, they fell among the ballast stones of the track, flinging the stones up against the train.ｐ>
The Sekigahara area in Gifu Prefecture and Maibara, Shiga Prefecture, have particularly heavy snowfalls. In 1967, JNR installed sprinklers in those areas to prevent snow from flying up from the ground.
Currently, multilayered countermeasures are taken in addition to the sprinkler system. When bullet trains stop at Nagoya and Shin-Osaka stations, workers use high-pressure washers to hose the ice off of them. Moreover, out-of-service trains run ahead of the day's first service to clear away snowfall and reduce the amount of snow accumulated on the track.
Additionally, cameras are installed beneath some train cars to analyze the quality of snow on the track so that flexible responses can be taken.