NAGOYA--Fifty years after the start of Shinkansen service, construction of the next-generation train line using magnetic levitation technology is expected to begin in October, along with a chance for the public to experience riding at 500 kph.
Central Japan Railway Co. plans to start construction of the Chuo Shinkansen Line in October, pending approval from the transport ministry, sources said.
The maglev line will serve as a bypass for the Tokaido Shinkansen Line, which opened in October 1964 between Tokyo and Osaka, in the event of a major earthquake. In the first phase, the line would connect Tokyo and Nagoya in a minimum of 40 minutes starting in 2027, compared to the current 100 minutes.
Together with the start of construction, JR Tokai will introduce a paid test-ride program in Yamanashi Prefecture, which offers a maximum speed of 500 kph for 90 seconds, the sources said.
A previous free program attracted 146,000 people during the nine years through 2007.
In the new program, visitors will ride on the more spacious and comfortable L0 series prototype on a 42.8-kilometer test line, more than double the previous 18.4-km track.
JR Tokai hopes to demonstrate the safety and speed of the maglev service, particularly to foreign visitors, during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The company also plans to hold the inaugural meeting of an association on international high-speed rail, a group of four railway operators, in October, the sources said.
JR Tokai, East Japan Railway Co., West Japan Railway Co. and Kyushu Railway Co. plan to establish Japanese high-speed rail standards as international ones and expand exports of Shinkansen and maglev technologies.
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