Japan’s shinkansen aims for 500kmh

Shinkensen by Christopher Blizzard, on Flickr

It is more than a decade away, but Japan expects to see a long-distance train network running at 500kmh, more than 300mph, by 2027. The government recently gave formal approval to the $51+ billion dollar project which will connect Tokyo and Nagoya in as little as 40 minutes.

Some 20 years after that – by 2045 – the line is expected to connect Tokyo to Osaka in just over an hour, down from the 2.5 hours it takes today. That will increase the project cost to more than $85 billion.

JR Tokai filed the maglev application in August with the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry, which examined the project’s safety and environmental impact.

Transport minister Akihiro Ota told a news conference that there is some concern about the project’s environmental impact and said JR Tokai will need to ask residents along it for permission.

The Tokyo-Nagoya leg will traverse seven prefectures.

JR Tokai President Koei Tsuge, who received a letter of authorization from Ota, told the minister that the railway will cooperate with local governments and “make all-out efforts to achieve the project at an early date.”

The maglev train runs on wheels at lower speeds but once it gets over ~100mph it switches to maglev mode and that’s when it really starts to move. And, while it is significantly more expensive per mile than the current title holder of fastest maglev train, Shanghai’s Maglev Train connecting to Pudong Airport from downtown, that’s in large part because the new route to Nagoya will require a massive investment in tunnel construction. Reports have roughly 86% of the new tracks in tunnels, some as deep as 40 meters underground in urban areas.

Read more here and here.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.