Tuesday, 13th January 2015
In Japan Travel News,
New Shinkansen sections to open ahead of schedule
Two previously announced extensions to the existing bullet train network in Japan will open ahead of schedule, the country's ruling government has announced, with a number of long-term infrastructure projects set to be moved forwards.
As confirmed by the government-backed Japanese Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency, these projects include a section of the Hokuriku Shinkansen line from Kanazawa to Tsuruga, which will be completed three years earlier than initially envisioned.
Completion was first expected to be achieved by 2025, but it is hoped commuters will be able to ride this new section of the track as early as 2022.
Additionally, the government wants to alter the schedule of the future Hokkaido Shinkansen line extension connecting Sapporo and Shin-hakodate-hokuto, bringing its completion date forward by five years.
Originally slated for a 2035 completion, trains will now run along this part of the track from 2030 if all goes as planned.
With some $4.5 billion required to speed up the projects, however, the Japanese Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency will need to borrow about $3.9 billion from financial institutions. This is a point of contention between the current government and the ruling parties.
The projects will help to revitalise local economies along the routes they serve, and will also make things easier for travellers wishing to experience parts of Japan that are off the so-called 'golden route' commonly traversed by tourists that includes Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.
Japan's popular Shinkansen trains are the most convenient method of transportation for those wishing to travel the distances between cities. Its unblemished safety record, exceptionally comfortable seating and pleasant service are among the reasons for its popularity.