Hokuriku Shinkansen Service Control Centre in Fukui

Hokuriku Shinkansen Service Control Centre in Fukui

JRTT, Construction Bureau Open From April 1st, Including Ishikawa

On March 24th, the Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (JRTT) disclosed that the Hokuriku Shinkansen Construction Bureau, which will function as a control centre for the development of the Hokuriku Shinkansen, will open locations in Fukui City and Tsuruga City within Fukui Prefecture, and in Shin-Komatsu City within Ishikawa Prefecture on April 1st. One location will be within the Fukui Railway Construction Site (Fukui City), and another will be within the Tsuruga City Construction Office (Tsuruga City); the Construction Bureau Chief, Public Relations Department Chief, and Fukui Construction Department Chief will be stationed within Fukui City.

During December 2020, connected to the issue to the increased cost of construction due to delaying the opening of the Kanazawa-Tsuruga Hokuriku Shinkansen Line, the JRTT received an order for an organizational restructuring from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. It was disclosed that restructuring plans were submitted during January, the Osaka Branch Office was closed down, and there is a course to establish a locally-based construction bureau between Fukui and Ishikawa prefectures.

The Construction Chief and Chief of Architecture will be station in Tsuruga City, while the Construction Bureau Vice Chief and the Ishikawa Construction Department Chief will be station in Komatsu City. The system to be arranged will allow the organization to accurately grasp the on-site situation, and quickly convey the information to the headquarters. The Bureau Vice Chief, Chief of General Affairs, and Project Chief will be in Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture.

Source: https://www.fukuishimbun.co.jp/articles/-/1285062

Retraction of Reduced Service Schedule for Hokuriku and Tohoku Shinkansen Lines, and Limited Express Trains on Chuo and Joban Lines

Retraction of Reduced Service Schedule for Hokuriku and Tohoku Shinkansen Lines, and Limited Express Trains on Chuo and Joban Lines

JR-EAST May 22nd Announcement, Trains to Operate on Regular Schedule

On May 22nd, the East Japan Railway Company (JR-EAST) announced that it has withdrawn the temporarily reduced service schedule, which was to be followed from the 28th, for every Shinkansen line, including the Tohoku and Hokuriku lines, and for the Limited Express trains on the Chuo and Joban lines; trains are to operate on a regular schedule from hereon.

Source: https://www.fukuishimbun.co.jp/articles/-/1090721

Steady Construction Work Towards Opening in Three Years

Steady Construction Work Towards Opening in Three Years

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.

Source: https://www.fukui-tv.co.jp/?post_type=fukui_news&p=127842&page=1

Hokuriku Shinkansen Passengers in March, Down by Half due to Novel Coronavirus

Hokuriku Shinkansen Passengers in March, Down by Half due to Novel Coronavirus

March 17th Announcement by JR West, Sanyo Shinkansen Also Affected

On March 17th, West Japan Railway Company (also known as “JR-West”) reported that, due to the influence of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the ridership for the Sanyo Shinkansen during March 1st to 14th had dropped by 54%, when compared to the same period of last year. The Hokuriku Shinkansen suffered a 56% fall in ridership.

Source: https://www.fukuishimbun.co.jp/articles/-/1049456

Hokuriku Shinkansen, A Sense of Impending Crisis for Unserviced Stations

Hokuriku Shinkansen, A Sense of Impending Crisis for Unserviced Stations

5 Years Since Opening, Effects Tending to Concentrate on Major Cities

Since the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen Kanazawa extension, expansions of foreign hotels and constructions of condominiums have spread into areas around Kanazawa Station and Toyama Station; while these effects continue, there are also areas far from the stations, which are unable to keep up with the flow. Uozu Station (in Toyama Prefecture, Uozu City), is on a conventional train line and was the starting station of a Limited Express line; the station has experienced more than a 10% decrease in users, with the surrounding land values continuously dropping. In Toyama Prefecture, with the effects tending to concentrate on Toyama City, the issue is spreading its influence out to a wider area. After the Tsuruga extension opens, stations within Fukui Prefecture, similar to Uozu, like Sabae Station, holds the possibility to lose its Limited Express train service; those concerned have been gaining an increasing sense of crisis.

During the late afternoons in March, there would be a few commuters at Uozu Station. A manager (aged 66) of a liquor store located south-west of the station lamented, “In the past, cars would fill the parking lots of the shopping district, but now it’s bare. It’s difficult to see how things will go from here.”

Located in the east part of Toyama Prefecture, Uozu City has a population of approximately 42 thousand people. Before, the city had connections towards Niigata, which served as a bridge to the Tokyo City area with the “Hakutaka” Limited Express line, and was connected to the Kansai region with a stop for the “Thunderbird” Limited Express line; being rich with marine products, many fans visited from within and outside the prefecture.

However, after the Kanazawa extension opened, the demand for transfers had disappeared, and riders would travel past Uozu on the Shinkansen from Tokyo. According to Japan Rail, during a recent three-year period (2016 – 2018), the average daily ridership was 4,122 passengers, a roughly 15% drop from before the extension opened (comparing to 2012-2014’s numbers).

“I think it’s the number of business people and tourists that went down. We can only work hard and value our regular customers, and not lay the blame on the Shinkansen,” said a manager (aged 51) of a lacquerware shop in the shopping district.

“Tateyama Kurobe Alphine Route” is a significant tourist attraction in Toyama Prefecture. According to the operating company, during the first year of the Kanazawa extension, the number of visitors rose by 10% to 997 thousand people, but the numbers have been sluggish since then. The 2019 fiscal year experienced a large drop, going below 900 thousand visitors, for the first time in seven years.

Nonetheless, there are different ways to look at the situation, like at the passing effects of the typhoon in 2019. As the number of tourists visiting Japan continue to increase, promising signs also emerge.

Source: https://www.fukuishimbun.co.jp/articles/-/1043394