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The Transport Ministry will start feasibility studies next month on the improvement of urban railway networks as well as the direct connection of bullet train lines to local lines, ministry officials said Tuesday.

The ministry will examine the construction cost of urban railway networks, profitability on 10 proposed projects, and other areas. Among the 10 projects are the construction of the Naniwa-suji subway line in Osaka and turning the JR Tokaido Line’s freight line into one for passenger trains in the Tokyo and Yokohama areas.

The ministry will also conduct a feasibility study on the wide-gauge bullet train’s direct connection to narrow-gauge local lines, using the so-called free-gauge train system. Under the system, trains can change the space between their wheels in accordance with the width of tracks.

The ministry will spend 470 million yen on the feasibility studies in the current fiscal year, and continue into the next fiscal year.

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