National

Environmental study for new train link to Haneda airport eyed for this spring

Kyodo

East Japan Railway Co. will begin an environmental impact survey this spring in preparation for building a faster access line to Haneda airport from central Tokyo, according to sources on Saturday who also said the announcement of the study could come as early this month.

With the new line, the 15-kilometer journey from Haneda airport to Tokyo and Shinjuku stations will take about 18 and 23 minutes, respectively. Tokyo Station is a transit hub for bullet train services bound for regions throughout the country.

If it all goes according to plan, the new train line will be completed around 2029 after three years of the assessment surveys and seven years of construction work.

Travelers will benefit from easier and faster access via three routes to the airport with the completion of the lines now expected to cost over ¥300 billion ($2.7 billion).

JR East, which has requested financial support from the central and the Tokyo Metropolitan governments, has already conducted a boring survey at the airport to build a new station.

Under the current plan, a 5.7-kilometer tunnel will be built to connect a new station at the airport and an existing freight terminal in Tokyo’s Shinagawa Ward.

At present, JR East does not have a direct train link to Haneda, officially known as Tokyo International Airport. The monorail service that goes to the airport is run by a subsidiary.

In 2017, Haneda airport’s passenger count totaled about 85.41 million, ranking fourth in the world, according to Airports Council International, a global nonprofit trade entity representing the world’s airport authorities.

Haneda was once the capital city’s primary international air hub before Narita airport opened in 1978. Until it resumed hosting international flights in 2010, it handled mostly domestic flights.

In recent years, the airport on Tokyo’s waterfront has rapidly expanded as a result of the government’s policy of promoting tourism and the capital city being picked to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.