JR West Kanazawa Branch, Limited Express and Shinkansen Ridership During 2020 Obon Holidays
On August 18th, Japan Rail (JR) West Kanazawa Branch Office released the ridership records for the Limited Express and Shinkansen trains during this year’s Obon holiday period (August 7th – 17th). Throughout the whole period, there were approximately 164 thousand passengers, 23% of last year’s figures during the same holiday period, the lowest numbers seen since the opening of the Kanazawa extension of the Hokuriku Shinkansen line.
The number of passengers on the Limited Express trains were approximately 86 thousand, 24% of last year’s figures, and the numbers on the Shinkansen trains were approximately 78 thousand, 23% of last year’s numbers. The train with the highest passenger rate was the Thunderbird 92, on August 16th, at 63% capacity. The JR West Kanazawa Branch Office explained, “The continuous spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection was a huge influence. We will consider the operation schedule going forward, based on the ridership conditions from hereon.”
Hokuriku Shinkansen Track Construction Has Begun
With the opening of the Kanazawa-Tsuruga extension of the Hokuriku Shinkansen line approaching in three years, the construction site within Fukui City has begun a full-scale operation on installing the Shinkansen rail lines.
Up until recently, along the elevated bridge within Fukui City’s Takayanagi district, approximately one kilometre of rail has been temporarily put in place using cranes and manpower; but from April 7th, a specialized machine will be used to set the rails. The machine, specially built by Nippon Steel’s Kyushu Steel Works (located in Fukuoka Prefecture), can extend a rail of 200 metres.
On April 7th, approximately 30 metres of track was set. According to the Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency, which is responsible for the construction of the Shinkansen railway, a full-scale operation on rail installation between Kanazawa and Tsuruga will begin from April, with the railway being extended by 600 metres each day.
Within Fukui Prefecture, the Hokuriku Shinkansen line between Awara City and Tsuruga City is approximately 75 kilometres, with track installation scheduled to finish by spring 2022.