|Rolling stock||800 series
|Line length||256.8 km (159.6 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
|Electrification||25 kV AC, 60 Hz overhead catenary|
|Operating speed||260 km/h (160 mph)|
The Kyushu Shinkansen (九州新幹線 Kyūshū Shinkansen ) is a Japanese high-speed railway line between the Japanese cities of Fukuoka (Hakata) and Kagoshima in Kyushu (and an extension of the Sanyo Shinkansen from Honshu), running parallel to the existing Kagoshima Main Line and operated by the Kyushu Railway Company (JR Kyushu). The southern 127 km was constructed first because the equivalent section of the former Kagoshima Main Line is single track, and thus a significant improvement in transit time was gained when this (dual track) section opened on 13 March 2004, despite the need for passengers to change to a Relay Tsubame narrow gauge train at Shin-Yatsushiro for the remainder of the journey to Hakata. The northern 130 km section opened on 12 March 2011, (although opening ceremonies were canceled due to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami) enabling through-services to Shin-Osaka (and with a change of train, Tokyo).
The construction of the first section (from Takeo-Onsen to Isahaya) of the West Kyushu Shinkansen route to Nagasaki, approximately 45.7 km in length, began in 2008, with construction of the 21 km section from Isahaya to Nagasaki commencing in 2012. The entire line is due to open by March 2023, with the service proposed to be provided by Gauge Change Train (GCT) trainsets which will be able to run on the existing narrow gauge line between Shin-Tosu and Takeo-Onsen as well as on the standard gauge Shinkansen lines either side of this section.
Construction of the Kagoshima Route (鹿児島ルート) began in 1991, and the first segment between Kagoshima and Shin-Yatsushiro opened on 13 March 2004. This initial section cut travel times between the two cities from 130 minutes to 35 minutes, and reduced the time between Hakata and Kagoshima from 4 hours to just 2 hours. When the entire line was completed, the travel time from Hakata to Kagoshima was further reduced to about an hour and 20 minutes. Like all Shinkansen lines, the Kyushu Shinkansen is standard gauge.
In September 2011, six months after the line's completion, JR Kyushu reported a year-over-year increase in ridership of 64 percent to the southern part of Kyushu (between Kumamoto and Kagoshima), easily surpassing the 40 percent increase projected by the company. By the one-year anniversary, ridership had increased, mainly from tourists from Kansai and Chugoku. However, in northern Kyushu, where there is fierce competition with conventional JR rapid service, the private Nishi-Nippon Railroad, and expressway buses, Shinkansen ridership increased by only 38 percent (compared to the now-discontinued conventional express Relay Tsubame), falling short of estimates.
Nagasaki (West Kyushu) Route
A Shinkansen line from Fukuoka to Nagasaki, initially known as the Nagasaki Shinkansen (長崎新幹線), was laid out in the 1973 Basic Plan. Renamed as the Nagasaki Route (長崎ルート), then changed to the West Kyushu Route (西九州ルート Nishi Kyūshū rūto ) in 1995, the planning of the line had been slowed down by concerns over the necessity of duplicating the existing narrow-gauge Nagasaki Main Line and Sasebo Line between Shin-Tosu and Takeo-Onsen, and local opposition over the final section in Nagasaki city.
As of 2013[update], the current plan is to continue using the existing narrow gauge track from Shin-Tosu to Takeo-Onsen (including duplicating the 12.8 km Hizen Yamaguchi to Takeo-Onsen section) and build a new Shinkansen line from Takeo-Onsen to Nagasaki, operated by Gauge Change Trains.  This is expected to allow a travel time of around 1 hour 12 minutes between the two cities, versus 1 hour 45 minutes currently. If the entire route was constructed to Shinkansen standard, travel time would be 41 minutes.
Construction of the first 45.7 km segment between Takeo-Onsen and Isahaya began on 28 April 2008. Debate over the final section between Isahaya and Nagasaki continued for several years, before construction was finally approved by the government in December 2011. The proposed completion date is 2023. 
Other planned routes
According to the Shinkansen Basic Plan laid out in 1973, the Kagoshima and West Kyushu (Nagasaki) routes would be accompanied by two other routes: the East Kyushu Shinkansen, from Hakata to Kagoshima-chūō via Ōita and Miyazaki, paralleling the Nippō Main Line; and the Trans-Kyushu Shinkansen, linking Kumamoto and Ōita, and connecting with the also-planned Shikoku Shinkansen to Matsuyama, Takamatsu and Osaka. These plans have been shelved indefinitely, and are unlikely to be reconsidered until the completion of Shinkansen lines already under construction.
Tsubame trains stop at all stations. For Mizuho and Sakura, all trains stop at stations marked "●", while some trains stop at those marked "△".
|Station||Japanese||Distance (km)||Distance from Shin-Ōsaka (km)||Mizuho||Sakura||Transfers||Location|
|Hakata||博多||0.0||553.7||●||●||Kūkō Line (Fukuoka City Subway)
Fukuhoku Yutaka Line, Hakata-Minami Line, Kagoshima Main Line
Sanyō Shinkansen (through service)
|Shin-Tosu||新鳥栖||26.3||580.0||△||Nagasaki Main Line||Tosu||Saga|
|Kurume||久留米||32.0||585.7||△||Kagoshima Main Line, Kyūdai Main Line||Kurume||Fukuoka|
|Chikugo-Funagoya||筑後船小屋||47.9||601.6||△||Kagoshima Main Line||Chikugo|
|Kumamoto||熊本||98.2||651.9||●||●||Hōhi Main Line, Kagoshima Main Line
Kumamoto City Tram (Kumamoto-Ekimae)
|Shin-Yatsushiro||新八代||130.0||683.7||△||Kagoshima Main Line||Yatsushiro|
|Shin-Minamata||新水俣||172.8||726.5||△||Hisatsu Orange Railway Line||Minamata|
|Izumi||出水||188.8||742.5||△||Hisatsu Orange Railway Line||Izumi||Kagoshima|
|Sendai||川内||221.5||775.2||●||Hisatsu Orange Railway Line
Kagoshima Main Line
|Kagoshima-Chūō||鹿児島中央||256.8||810.5||●||●||Ibusuki Makurazaki Line, Kagoshima Main Line
Kagoshima City Tram (Kagoshima-Chūō-Ekimae)
|Nishi-Kyūshū Route (Nagasaki Route)|
|Saga||佐賀||Karatsu Line, Nagasaki Main Line, Sasebo Line||Saga|
|Under construction, scheduled for completion c. 2022|
|Isahaya||諫早||45.7||Nagasaki Main Line, Ōmura Line
Shimabara Railway Line
|Nagasaki||長崎||66.7||Nagasaki Main Line, Ōmura Line
Nagasaki Electric Tramway (Nagasaki-Ekimae)
- Tentative name
Services are operated by 6-car 800 Series sets, with a maximum speed of 260 kilometres per hour (160 mph). The trains were developed by Hitachi, and based on the 700 series trains already in service on the Tōkaidō/Sanyō Shinkansen line.
Individual trains are named Tsubame ("Swallow"), the name of the former Hakata-Kagoshima limited express service. 8-car N700-7000 and N700-8000 series trains are used on through-running services between Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-Chūō. The first set (S1) was delivered to Hakata Depot in October 2008.
Three services operate on the line, in order of speed: Mizuho, Sakura, and Tsubame. The Mizuho makes two return trips between Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-Chūō during the morning hours, and two return trips during the evening, with an end-to-end journey time of 3 hours 45 minutes. Sakura services run once per hour throughout the day between Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-Chūō making additional stops, with an end-to-end travel time of 4 hours 10 minutes. There are also one to two Sakura services every hour between Hakata and either Kumamoto or Kagoshima-Chūō. Tsubame trains operate the all-stations service between Hakata and Kumamoto 1-2 times per hour, with some services operating to/from Kagoshima-Chūō.
- Kyodo News, "Shinkansen spurs Kyushu business", Japan Times, 13 March 2012, p. 2.
- Tsuchiya, Ryō (12 September 2011), "南部好調、北部で苦戦 九州新幹線、全線開通から半年", The Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese), retrieved 12 September 2011
- "300km/hのトップランナー" [300 km/h Top Runners]. Japan Railfan Magazine (Japan: Kōyūsha Co., Ltd.) 52 (612): p.14. April 2012.
- Japan Railfan Magazine, December 2008 issue: "山陽・九州新幹線直通用車両 量産先行車", p.64-67
- "平成23年春ダイヤ改正" (Press release) (in Japanese). JR Kyushu. 2010-12-17. Retrieved 2010-12-19.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kyushu Shinkansen.|
- Official website (Japanese)