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Sunday, 31st August 2014
In General Japan News,

New Shinkansen line announced

The Shinkansen, or bullet train, network in Japan already has a major cult following with tourists who have ridden this form of public transport. Famed for their speed, comfort and highly professional crew and staff, it is considered one of the best and safest modes of transport in the world.

So it will come as good news for these tourists that a new Shinkansen line is to be extended from Tokyo out to Kanazawa on the Japan Sea coast, shortening the journey time to just two and a half hours down from three hours and 40 minutes. However, only direct trains will make the journey in this reduced time. These services are termed 'Kagayaki' in Japan.

They will make ten round trips a day on the new line, while the slower-running Hakutaka will make 14.

According to the East Japan Railway Company and West Japan Railway Company, who will share responsibility of the construction, the line will hopefully be operational by March 14th next year - in plenty of time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The new segment of track is to be named the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line and it will be an extension of the Tokyo-Nagano route that was first launched 17 years ago. 

JR East President Tetsuro Tomita said at a press conference in Tokyo: "We want to try to spur inbound demand [from foreign visitors] by expanding the flow between the Tokyo metropolitan area and the Hokuriku region."

Currently, the area between Tokyo and Kanagawa is more commonly travelled by air than train, but Mr Tomita says he hopes to capture more of the market share with the development of this new Shinkansen line.

The newest model of bullet train - capable of reaching up to 260 km per hour - will make the journey, which represents a huge investment for the two companies involved.