TOYAMA--With the tightening of final ceremonial bolts here at JR Toyama Station on May 24, the Nagano-Kanazawa section of the Hokuriku Shinkansen line was completed about a year ahead of the first official run.
The railway connects Tokyo and Kanazawa, capital of Ishikawa Prefecture, and runs through the cities of Nagano and Toyama. Bullet trains are already operating between Tokyo and Nagano.
Eventually, it will connect Tokyo and Osaka, a second bullet train line between the two major cities, along with the Tokaido Shinkansen.
In the ceremony on May 24, about 60 people including local government leaders of four prefectures along the line--Nagano, Niigata, Toyama and Ishikawa--tightened the last bolts. Then, a rail car for construction work made a ceremonial run along the connected rail.
After the Hokuriku Shinkansen line starts operations in spring 2015, bullet trains will run the 454-kilometer railway between Tokyo and Kanazawa in about two and a half hours. Travel time between Tokyo and Toyama will be about two hours.
Meanwhile, the section between Kanazawa and Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, is scheduled to be operating around 2025. The route between Tsuruga and Osaka has yet to be decided.
The total construction costs of the Nagano-Kanazawa section stand at about 1.78 trillion yen ($17.5 billion). Workers began to lay tracks in December 2010 in the Iiyama Tunnel in Iiyama, northern Nagano Prefecture.
Test runs started in December 2013 in the stretch between Nagano and Kurobe, Toyama Prefecture. In the section between Kurobe and Kanazawa, test runs are scheduled to start in August this year.
In the testing, West Japan Railway Co.’s latest W7 series trains will travel at a speed of up to 260 kilometers per hour. Staff members will also check the gaps in heights between the trains and platforms of each station.
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