Construction of the Hokuriku Shinkansen near Kanazawa Station, March 2008
|Opening||14 March 2015 (scheduled)|
|Operator(s)||JR East, JR West|
|Rolling stock||E2 series, E7 series, W7 series|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
|Minimum radius||4,000 m|
|Electrification||25 kV AC, 50/60 Hz, overhead catenary|
|Operating speed||260 km/h (160 mph)|
The Hokuriku Shinkansen (北陸新幹線?) is a Shinkansen line currently under construction through the Hokuriku region of Japan. The first section, between Takasaki and Nagano, currently called the Nagano Shinkansen, opened on 1 October 1997 (the Jōetsu Shinkansen links Takasaki with Tokyo). The extension to Toyama and Kanazawa is scheduled to open on 14 March 2015. Construction of a further section to Fukui and Tsuruga commenced in 2012, with proposed completion in 2025. The options for the route of the final section to connect to the Tokaido Shinkansen are being studied, with three alignments being considered, that would connect at Maibara, Kyoto, or Shin-Osaka.
For details of the route operational since 1997, see the Nagano Shinkansen article.
- Stations in italics are not currently operational.
- New station constructed.
- Tentative name.
Train names and service patterns
Services on the line are scheduled to be split into four types, with train names as listed below.
- Kagayaki: Tokyo - Kanazawa, limited-stop service
- Hakutaka: Tokyo - Kanazawa, mostly all-stations service
- Tsurugi: Toyama - Kanazawa, all-stations shuttle service
- Asama: Tokyo - Nagano, mostly all-stations service, corresponding to existing Nagano Shinkansen service
A fleet of 17 JR East E7 series and 10 JR West W7 series 12-car sets are planned to be built for use on Hokuriku Shinkansen services when the line opens beyond Nagano, with the existing Nagano Shinkansen 8-car E2 series trains also retained initially on services as far as Nagano.
Construction of the extension from Nagano to Kanazawa was completed on 24 May 2014. It is expected that when services commence in March 2015, the travel time from Tokyo to Toyama will be reduced to about 2 hours, with Kanazawa an additional 30 minutes away. Final permission to start construction to Fukui was granted in December 2011, with modification works to Fukui Station already in progress for several years in anticipation of the extension. The extension to Tsuruga was approved for construction on 30 June 2012, and is scheduled to open in 2025. Beyond Jōetsumyōkō Station, the line will be operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR West) instead of East Japan Railway Company (JR East).
Test-running on the JR East section of the line between Nagano and Kurobe-Unazukionsen commenced on 1 December 2013, initially at low speeds using the "East i" test train. From 6 December, test-running commenced using 10-car E2 series trainsets, with running speeds gradually increased to the full line speed of 260 km/h. Test-running continued until the end of March 2014. Test-running on the entire line between Nagano and Kanazawa (Hakusan Depot) started on 1 August 2014, using the "East i" test train. Test-running using W7 series trains commenced on 5 August 2014, initially at low speed, on the JR West section between Kanazawa and Jōetsumyōkō.
Future plans for the Hokuriku Shinkansen eventually include extension as far as Osaka via Toyama, Kanazawa and Fukui. Construction of parts of the 162.1 km section to Toyama began as early as 1993, and as of 2013[update], construction is well advanced as far as Kanazawa. Breakthrough for the 22.2 km Iiyama tunnel, the longest on the line, was achieved on December 3, 2007.
The route of the final section from Tsuruga to Osaka is not yet finalized. There are three options under consideration:
- Wakasa Route (若狭ルート?): Involves building a full standard shinkansen track via Obama and Kameoka. It is the shortest route to Osaka, but also the most expensive (est. 1 trillion yen), and would bypass Kyoto.
- Maibara Route (米原ルート?): Involves building a full standard shinkansen track to Maibara Station. It is one third of the length of the Wakasa Route, and provides good access to both Kyoto and Nagoya. It would result in longer travel time to Osaka than the other options, and trains would have to use the existing, already near-capacity Tōkaidō Shinkansen tracks between Maibara and Shin-Osaka, although capacity constraints may become less of an issue when the Chuo Shinkansen opens to Osaka, proposed for 2045.
- Kosei Line Option (湖西線利用?): Involves no new track construction; instead, this proposal would upgrade the Kosei Line to Kyoto, either by regauging or dual-gauging the line to support Mini-Shinkansen, or alternatively utilising Gauge Change Train (GCT) operations. This is the cheapest option, but means train speeds will likely be limited to a maximum of 160 km/h and hence travel times will be longer than the other options. If the West Kyushu Shinkansen to Nagasaki (due to open by 2023) is successfully operating with GCTs by that time, it may increase the attractiveness of this option.
Conventional lines running parallel to the Hokuriku Shinkansen
With the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen extension north of Nagano on 14 March 2015, the conventional (narrow gauge) lines running along approximately the same route will be transferred from the control of their respective JR owning companies to newly established third-sector railway operating companies funded primarily by the prefectural and municipal governments through which the lines pass. A total of 252.2 km of route between Nagano and Kanazawa will be transferred to four separate operating companies, including 75.0 km of the Shinetsu Main Line between Nagano and Naoetsu, and 177.2 km of the Hokuriku Main Line between Naoetsu and Kanazawa. Details of the four third-sector operating companies and their respective lines are as shown below.
|Section||Length (km)||Former line name||Former operating company||New line name||Operating company|
|Karuizawa - Shinonoi||65.1||Shinetsu Main Line||JR East||Shinano Railway Line||Shinano Railway|
|Nagano - Jōetsumyōkō||37.3||Shinano Railway Kita-Shinano Line|
|Jōetsumyōkō - Naoetsu||37.7||Myōkō Haneuma Line||Echigo Tokimeki Railway|
|Naoetsu - Ichiburi||59.3||Hokuriku Main Line||JR West||Nihonkai Hisui Line|
|Ichiburi - Kurikara||100.1||Ainokaze Toyama Railway Line||Ainokaze Toyama Railway|
|Kurikara - Kanazawa||17.8||IR Ishikawa Railway Line||IR Ishikawa Railway|
- 北陸新幹線、来年３月１４日開業 東京―金沢２時間半 [Hokuriku Shinkansen to open 14 March next year: Tokyo - Kanazawa in two and a half hours]. Tokyo Shimbun Web (in Japanese). Japan: Chunichi Shimbun. 27 August 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- 北陸新幹線 長野～金沢間開業に伴う運行計画の概要について [Outline of service plans for opening of Hokuriku Shinkansen from Nagano to Kanazawa] (PDF). News release (in Japanese). Japan: JR East & JR West. 27 August 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- Saito, Masatoshi (4 September 2012). ＪＲ東:北陸新幹線の新型車両「Ｅ７系」概要発表 [JR East announces details of new E7 series for Hokuriku Shinkansen]. Mainichi jp (in Japanese). Japan: The Mainichi Newspapers. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
- Igata, Katsuhiro (25 May 2014). "Hokuriku Shinkansen line between Nagano, Kanazawa completed". ajw.asahi.com. Asahi Shimbun. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
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- [dead link]
- Kyodo News, "DPJ may OK three new bullet-train sections", The Japan Times, 17 December 2011, p. 1.
- 北陸新幹線、１２月１日から走行試験 [Hokuriku Shinkansen test running to start from 1 December]. Webun (in Japanese). Japan: The Kitanippon Shimbun. 5 October 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
- "E926形"East-i"が金沢（白山総合車両所）まで走行試験" [Class E926 "East i" test run to Kanazawa (Hakusan Depot)]. Tetsudo Hobidas (in Japanese). Japan: Neko Publishing. 4 August 2014. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
- "北陸新幹線金沢～上越妙高間でW7系による走行試験が始まる" [Test-running using W7 series begins on Hokuriku Shinkansen between Kanazawa and Jōetsumyōkō]. Tetsudo Hobidas (in Japanese). Japan: Neko Publishing. 5 August 2014. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
- Osano, Kagetoshi (March 2015). 北陸新幹線並行在来線各社の姿 [Guide to companies operating conventional lines alongside the Hokuriku Shinkansen]. Tetsudō Daiya Jōhō Magazine (in Japanese) (Japan: Kōtsū Shimbun) 44 (371): p.28-33.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hokuriku Shinkansen.|
- JR East website (Japanese)
- JR West website (Japanese)
- Ishikawa Prefecture: Hokuriku Shinkansen construction page (Japanese)
- Fukui Prefecture: Hokuriku Shinkansen Construction Promotion Division (Japanese)