NAGOYA – Full-fledged construction work began Friday on the nation’s first magnetic levitation train line, with Central Japan Raiway Co. beginning the digging of a 25-km tunnel between Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures.
Of the 286-km route envisioned for the line, which aims to connect Tokyo with Nagoya in 40 minutes, 86 percent will be underground.
The company, better known as JR Tokai, held a prayer ceremony Friday for the safety of the tunneling work in Hayakawa, Yamanashi Prefecture.
The tunneling work will take 10 years to complete. A joint venture that includes major contractor Taisei Corp. will undertake the project.
The construction work for the maglev train started in December, but so far it has been limited to temporary facilities for building materials near Shinagawa and Nagoya stations.
The tunneling is expected to entail a lot of hard work. It will pass through the Southern Alps and will be up to 1,400 meters deep.
Residents in nearby areas have voiced concerns that the construction might affect the groundwater supply.
Maglev operations between Shinagawa and Nagoya are expected to begin in 2027, and will be extended to Osaka in 2045.
Tunneling begins on Japan’s first maglev line.