LDP OKs maglev line selections

Kyodo News

A Liberal Democratic Party panel approved a report Tuesday submitted by Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) that says all three routes proposed for a magnetically levitated train system between Tokyo and Nagoya are feasible from a topographic and geological perspective.

It is JR Tokai’s first formal report about specific maglev route proposals.

One of the three routes would run through the southern Alps and link the Tokyo area with the Chubu region centering on Nagoya in almost a straight line.

JR Tokai prefers this route because it is the shortest and would be the least expensive to construct.

The other two routes require the line to divert northward through cities in Nagano Prefecture, including Chino, Ina and Iida.

Nagano Prefecture wants the maglev to swing north so it can glean economic benefits from the route.

Now that JR Tokai has said all three routes are feasible, the focus will shift to deciding the specific route and location of stations — a point JR Tokai and local governments have yet to agree on.

A maglev train floats slightly above the guideway on a magnetic field. It is expected to travel at around 500 kph, much faster than the current bullet trains.

JR Tokai, which operates the Tokaido Shinkansen Line between Tokyo and Osaka, hopes to have the maglev line between Tokyo and Nagoya operational by 2025, linking the two cities in 40 to 50 minutes.

Last December, JR Tokai unveiled an estimate that constructing a Tokyo-Nagoya maglev system would cost around ¥5.1 trillion, assuming the most direct route through the mountains is selected.

JR Tokai hopes to later extend the maglev line from Nagoya to Osaka to offer roughly one-hour Tokyo-Osaka service.

The railway’s report is expected to be submitted Wednesday to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry.