Construction of the Hokuriku Shinkansen near Kanazawa Station, March 2008
|Opening||Spring 2015 (scheduled)|
|Operator(s)||JR East, JR West|
|Rolling stock||E7 series, W7 series|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
|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 in 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 either Maibara, or at Kyoto, or at Shin-Osaka.
For details of route currently operational, see Nagano Shinkansen article.
- Stations in italics are not currently operational.
- New station to be 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, all-stations service
- Tsurugi: Toyama - Kanazawa, shuttle service
- Asama: Tokyo - Nagano, 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 and future plans
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.
Construction of the extension from Nagano to Kanazawa was completed on May 24, 2014. It is expected that when services commence in spring 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 June 30, 2012, and is scheduled to open in 2025. Beyond Jōetsu-Myōkō Station, the line will be operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR West) instead of East Japan Railway Company (JR East).
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.
Test-running on the line between Nagano and Kurobe-Unazukionsen is scheduled to commence from 1 December 2013, initially at low speeds using the "East i" test train. From 6 December, test-running will commence using 10-car E2 series trainsets, with running speeds gradually increased to the full line speed of 260 km/h. Test-running will continue until the end of March 2014.
- "北陸新幹線の列車名の決定について" [Hokuriku Shinkansen train names decided] (pdf). News release (in Japanese). Japan: JR East & JR West. 10 October 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
- 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 (May 25, 2014). "Hokuriku Shinkansen line between Nagano, Kanazawa completed". ajw.asahi.com. Asahi Shimbun. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
- 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.
|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)