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Wednesday, 12th June 2013

Rail line to link Russia with Japan to be built

Plans are afoot to extend the Trans-Siberian railway to make it possible for people to travel by train from London to Tokyo in approximately two weeks.

The existing track takes travellers some 5,772 miles from Moscow, Russia, to the Pacific Ocean port of Vladivostok, making it the longest railway line anywhere in the world.

A bridge will be built from Russia to Sakhalin, an island in the North Pacific and then a track will carry passengers some 380 miles to the coast where a 25 mile tunnel will be built to Japan.

Officials from Japan's ministry of land and transport met a delegation from the Sakhalin Oblast government on May 29th in Tokyo to discuss the ground-breaking route.

Koichi Yamagishi, director of overseas projects at Japan's ministry of transport, suggested that the link would be beneficial for Japan's economy.

Speaking in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Mr Yamagishi said: "To have direct access to the Sakhalin one and two oil and gas projects would be very beneficial.

"In terms of natural resources, this rail link would be a very positive development."

Both Russia and Japan hope that the new route will boost trade between the two countries.

The project will be a costly one, with initial estimates put at £6.4 billion and anyone hoping to take advantage of the new route will have to wait some time. The initial phase of the project is set to begin in 2016, although no completion date has yet been issued.

Japan is at the forefront of train travel technology and The Central Japan Railway recently announced that it had completed tests of trains that will break the 300 mph speed barrier.

The so-called LO Series trains will run on magnetic levitation technology although they may not be available to the public until 2027.

Related news stories:
Train routes app launches for Japan Rail Pass (16th August 2016)
Japan and Russia continue island discussion (14th April 2010)
Japan Rail Passes now to be available in-country (4th April 2016)