JR Tokai begins building maglev stations

Kyodo

Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) has started to build underground stations at two terminals that will host a magnetically levitated train for service between Tokyo and Nagoya that is expected to begin in 2027, it said Wednesday.

In October, JR Tokai, operator of the Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train service, gained government approval to build the maglev line, which is expected to cost ¥9 trillion ($77 billion). The next-generation train service uses magnetic levitation to carry vehicles and reaches a top speed of 500 kph.

Maglev trains will link Tokyo’s Shinagawa and Nagoya in only 40 minutes, compared with 88 minutes on the shortest route taken by its current bullet train.

JR Tokai started the work at Shinagawa Station in Tokyo’s Minato Ward and at Nagoya Station in Nagoya’s Nakamura Ward after holding safety ceremonies.

The company plans to extend the line further west to Osaka by 2045, shortening the trip between the two major cities to 67 minutes from the current minimum of 138 minutes for a bullet train.

The company plans to start negotiations with some 5,000 land owners to acquire the land for the railway construction.

JR Tokai said it has finished briefings for residents along the maglev train line in 47 cities, towns and villages in seven prefectures: Tokyo, Kanagawa, Yamanashi, Nagano, Shizuoka, Gifu and Aichi.

The company intends to shoulder the entire Tokyo-Osaka maglev train line construction cost. The Tokyo-Nagoya section is estimated to cost a total of ¥5.52 trillion.

In September, the company successfully completed a test run of the maglev train on its test track in Yamanashi Prefecture. The seven-car train moved along on tires and accelerated to around 160 kph, at which point it began levitating and reached 500 kph moments later.