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Maglev train plan outlined by JR Tokai

Kyodo

Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) on Wednesday revealed the outline of its course for a magnetically levitated train that will whisk passengers from Nagoya to Tokyo in about 40 minutes starting in 2027.

New stations will be erected in four cities between Tokyo’s Shinagawa station and the capital of the Chubu region for the new line: Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture, Iida, Nagano Prefecture and Nakatsugawa, Gifu Prefecture.

It now takes at least 100 minutes from Tokyo to Nagoya by conventional shinkansen. Construction will start in fiscal 2014, JR Tokai said.

“I hope we will start construction at an early stage next year,” JR Tokai President Yoshiomi Yamada told a news conference in Nagoya.

The outline was included in a report JR Tokai submitted to the heads of all the municipalities along the planned 286-km route, which crosses seven prefectures. The report also touches on the environmental impact of the project.

The maglev train will run underground and through tunnels for more than 80 percent of the route, the outline says. In urban areas, much of the line will be routed through tunnels built at least 40 meters underground — a depth that will eliminate the need to acquire land or compensate landowners.

Yamada quickly ruled out maglev service for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

“We can’t hurry it up, even if we are told to do so. It’s just impossible to do it,” he said.