World’s Newest High Speed Rail Service

Hokkaido Shinkansen on tracks

A new high-speed rail service, the Hokkaido Shinkansen, will be debuting in Japan on March 26th. The 92.5 mile line extends from Shin-Aomori to Shin-Hakodate and features the 33.4 mile Seikan tunnel that was once the longest in the world. The completion of this line will connect Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s three main islands, to Japan’s high-speed rail network for the very first time.

The route will begin with 13 round-trip services per day from Hakodate, 10 of which terminate in Tokyo. The journey from Shin-Hakodate to Tokyo takes you 512 miles, roughly the distance from Chicago-Buffalo, in approximately 4 hours. Series H5 bullet trains will service the route with the capacity for 731 seated passengers.

The total cost of this project was about $4.67bn, two-thirds of funding coming from the Japanese government and the rest contributed by local government. The next phase of the project extends the line to Sapporo, Hokkaido’s largest city with a population of 1.9 million. That project is expected to be complete by March 2031.

The Midwest High Speed Rail Association is offering an educational trip to Japan to explore the country’s rich history of train travel in October 2016. Participants will get to experience the new Hokkaido Shinkansen service on a journey from Hakodate to Tokyo as part of the trip.


Dylan Hayward

Last Week at MHSRA:

Executive Director Richard Harnish attended the U.S. Travel Association’s day on the hill in order to educate policymakers about the importance of travel as an economic driver.

Articles We Enjoyed:

Understanding Amtrak and the Importance of Passenger Rail in the United States – “Passenger rail is an essential element of America’s surface transportation system…service supports economic development, connects rural communities to the nation, and helps reduce roadway congestion in major metropolitan regions.”

High-Speed Rail Officials Realign Proposed Burbank to Palmdale Route Options – “The California High Speed Rail Authority redrew its proposed routes for the Burbank to Palmdale section of the planned California bullet train”

What’s the Best Way to Provide “Great Airport Transit” to O’Hare – A detailed at look at what has and hasn’t worked for other airport express services.

Why High-Speed Rail Trains are a Wiser Investment than Self-Driving Cars – Autonomous cars won’t solve America’s problems with overcrowded highways and excessive fuel emissions.

Why is there still No High-Speed Rail Network in America? – “Although Europe and Asia have built a transportation infrastructure full of bullet trains that travel at hundreds of miles an hour, America’s passenger rail system is dominated by Amtrak’s slow-chugging, outdated carriages that fail to rival air travel in time or cost….Why is that?”

Upcoming Events:

2016 Annual Spring Meeting

When: Saturday April 2, 2016 – 9:00am to 2:00pm. 
Check in will start at 8:15am.

Where: IBEW Local 134, 
600 W. Washington Blvd.,
 Chicago, IL 60661

Cost: Single Ticket $40.00
 Student Ticket: $20.00  
*Cost includes lunch

Click Here to Register

Japan High-Speed Rail Tour

We are planning the tour for October of 2016. This trip will give everyone an opportunity to enjoy the rich history of train travel the country offers. We are creating an itinerary thatmincludes riding the first high-speed rail line, visiting at leastmone railroad museum and meetings with experts in the field. We have already begun making contacts to arrange technical visits and train tours. Once we have received 10 fully-refundable deposits we will finalize the details of the trip.

Please click here if you would like to learn more about the trip

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