JR Tokai makes public its outline of maglev train project

Central Japan Railway Co. said Wednesday it will open six stations for its magnetically levitated trains to be launched between Tokyo and Nagoya in 2027.

Besides the terminals at Tokyo's Shinagawa and Nagoya, stations will be built in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture, Iida, Nagano Prefecture and Nakatsugawa, Gifu Prefecture.

Construction of the line, which will connect the capital and Nagoya in about 40 minutes, will start in fiscal 2014, the train operator, known as JR Tokai, said.

"I hope we will start construction at an early stage next year," JR Tokai President Yoshiomi Yamada told a news conference in Nagoya.

Yamada, however, ruled out the possibility of launching the maglev train service before the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, saying, "We can't hurry it up, even if we are told to do so. It's just impossible to do it."

The outline of the construction plan was included in a report submitted by JR Tokai to the heads of municipalities along the planned 286-kilometer route, which straddles seven prefectures. The report touches on the environmental impact of the construction work.

The maglev train will run through tunnels built through mountains and underground along more than 80 percent of the route between Tokyo and Nagoya, according to the outline.

In urban areas, much of the line will be routed through tunnels built at least 40 meters underground, a depth that will eliminate the need to acquire land above ground or pay compensation to landowners.

It now takes at least 100 minutes to travel between Tokyo and Nagoya by the conventional Shinkansen bullet train service.

The maglev train line is expected to be stretched further west to Osaka by 2045. The total construction cost is estimated to reach around 9 trillion yen, which will be completely covered by JR Tokai.