Japan Extends High Speed Rail Network

People boarding a high-speed train in Japan.

On March 16, Japan opened a new high-speed line connecting Tsuruga with the rest of Japan’s high-speed rail network at Kanazawa, and allowing for direct service to Tokyo.

The new line is called the Hokuriku extension and it includes six new train stations, serving the major hubs in the region. High-speed trains will make fourteen round trips a day on the 360 mile route between Tokyo and Tsuruga. With top speeds of up to 186 mph, the travel time will be a little over three hours. This route is comparable to a trip from Chicago to Cleveland, which takes over five hours when traffic is light. 

Inaugural ceremonies were conducted at many of the new stations and community leaders spoke about the boost to tourism and commerce that being connected to Japan’s high-speed rail network would bring. In anticipation, they have built new shopping centers and hotels near the stations.

Mayor Shigeru Saigyo of Fukui observed that “half a century has passed since the development plan [for the Hokuriku Shinkansen to Fukui] was decided, and although we faced many hardships, we were able to reach this day today. Today marks the beginning of a new era for Fukui.”

This extension is part of the 1973 government plan to connect the entire country with high-speed trains. There are future plans to extend the new high-speed line from Tsuruga to Kyoto, which would connect the Hokuriku line back to the main trunk line of Japan’s network. 

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