And this came in…
TOKYO, Dec. 24, 2009 (Kyodo News International) —
Central Japan Railway Co. submitted to transport minister Seiji Maehara on Thursday a final report on the construction plan for a magnetically levitated train system linking Tokyo and Osaka, but failed to specify the route due to prolonged negotiations with local governments.
The report instead showed three possible routes with estimates of their respective construction costs. The shortest route running through a tunnel in the Southern Alps is seen as the most probable option.
The other two routes divert northward into Nagano Prefecture at higher construction costs, according to the railway company known as JR Tokai.
JR Tokai President Masayuki Matsumoto told a press conference, ”All data point to superiority of the straight route,” referring to the shortest route.
The Nagano prefectural government has preferred the other two routes. Nagano Gov. Jin Murai suggested that sufficient discussions are needed to determine the route.
An advisory panel to Maehara, minister of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism, is expected to consider from next spring which is the best route.
The report was jointly presented by the Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency, a public entity involved in railway construction.
JR Tokai aims to start maglev train services between Tokyo and Nagoya in 2025. The company has said it will bear all the construction cost, which is estimated to total 5.1 trillion yen for the shortest route.
If it receives approval from the government, JR Tokai plans to begin construction in fiscal 2015.
JR Tokai believes it is essential to provide an alternative railway route to the existing, 45-year-old shinkansen line between Tokyo and Osaka since the aging infrastructure including bridges and other facilities is in need of extensive renovation. But it would not be feasible to do renovations while operating the shinkansen bullet train service on its current tight schedule.
The next-generation transport project was initiated in 1973. It is expected to take 40 minutes to travel from Tokyo to Nagoya by maglev train at a top speed of 500 kilometers per hour on the shortest route.
Details of the project between Nagoya and Osaka are still undecided.
Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting Co. estimates 10.7 trillion yen in economic benefits will be created through the launch of maglev train services between Tokyo and Nagoya over the first 50 years.
”The longer the construction work takes, the more economic benefits will be lost,” said Yoshito Kato, a senior researcher with Mitsubishi UFJ Research. ”The project should start as early as possible.”