About the project
in the United States

Is JR Central ready to deploy Superconducting Maglev technology outside Japan?

With regard to superconducting maglev technology, we are promoting an ultra-speed rail system dubbed “SCMAGLEV” in markets outside Japan.
We started running tests on the initial 11.4 mile (18.4 km) section of the Yamanashi Maglev Line in April 1997. In July 2009, the Superconducting Magnetic Levitation Technological Practicality Evaluation Committee of the Japanese government acknowledged that Superconducting Maglev technology had already achieved the level sufficient for commercial service. Japan’s Minister of transportation established the technological standards of the system in December 2011.
The Yamanashi Maglev Line was extended to 26.6 miles (42.8 km) and its facilities were fully renewed in August 2013. Running tests also began with new LO (el zero)-type vehicles based on commercial line specifications. In April 2015 we recorded a maximum daily running distance of 2,525 miles (4,064 km) and beat our own record for the fastest running train with a new world record of 374 mph (603 km/h).
In February 2017, the Evaluation Committee confirmed its evaluation that the technology development required for commercial operation was already completed.
We have been providing “Superconducting Maglev Ride” with commercial line specifications since November 2014, and around 80,000 people to date have already experienced high-speed travel at 311 mph (500 km/h).

What is the target region for deploying the SCMAGLEV system?

We are targeting the Northeast Corridor, a region covering Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York and other major cities along the east coast of the United States. This region is the political and economic heartland of the United States, and has a massive demand for passenger transportation that prioritizes time efficiency. It is comparable in many ways to the Tokyo-Osaka region in Japan.
Linking Washington D.C. with New York (approx. 220 miles/350 km) in just one hour by the SCMAGLEV system would be highly beneficial. This transformational transportation technology could dramatically resolve uneconomical and obstructed passenger transportation issues in this region such as by relieving heavy traffic congestion on arterial roads, especially in urban areas, and saturated runway slots at airports with short distance flights. In addition, the massive demand in this region would make an SCMAGLEV system profitable even though it is more expensive than conventional high-speed rails. These are the reasons we are targeting the Northeast Corridor of the United States in our promotion of this technology.

How is JR Central involved in the U.S. project?

We have been collaborating with US-based TNEM (see below) to promote deployment of the SCMAGLEV system in the U.S. TNEM is implementing various promotional activities aimed at realizing this project, and seeks to construct the 1st phase section between Washington D.C. and Baltimore as a showcase of U.S. and Japanese government collaboration.
Moreover, another U.S. company, BWRR (see below), is now proceeding with project development activities like preliminary engineering work in collaboration with TNEM, mainly focusing on the 1st phase section.
JR Central will provide technological support for the project at a later phase.

What are TNEM and BWRR?

The Northeast MAGLEV (TNEM) is a 100% U.S.-owned company headquartered in Maryland that is committed to promoting deployment of the revolutionary SCMAGLEV system in the Northeast Corridor.
Baltimore Washington Rapid Rail (BWRR) is a 100% U.S.-owned, Maryland-based railroad company working to develop the Baltimore-Washington SCMAGLEV project.

How has the project developed in the United States so far?

For details on the current state of the U.S. project, please see the websites below:
TNEM official website
BWRR official website

Is the SCMAGLEV project supported by the U.S. and Japanese governments?

There has been rising awareness and support toward this project in both the U.S and Japanese governments. Dignitaries including the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, U.S. Ambassador to Japan and Governor of Maryland were invited to the Yamanashi Maglev Line in Japan to gain firsthand experience with SCMAGLEV. They expressed high recognition of the quality of the technology. Regarding the involvement and actions of the U.S. federal and local governments, please refer to the TNEM and BWRR websites for details.
The Japanese government has so far allocated 200 million yen (approx. $1.8 million) per year for three consecutive years (FY2016-FY2018) toward project research.

Is JR Central going to lead the SCMAGLEV project?

Regarding the deployment of our high-speed railway system overseas, it is our policy not to lead or become the project development/implementation body. Instead, we contribute to projects primarily by providing technological consultation. In addition, we do not expect to become the entity that operates and manages high-speed rails overseas. Should the SCMAGLEV system be introduced in the United States, it would be appropriate to have a U.S. company operate the business. We believe a critical infrastructure of a country or region should be managed by that country’s or region’s government or local business entity. We see JR Central’s role as providing necessary consultation covering system integration, maintenance, staff training, etc.
See the websites below for details of the U.S. project.
TNEM official website
BWRR official website

About Superconducting
Maglev technology

What are the mechanisms of operating and stopping a Superconducting Maglev train?

The Superconducting Maglev system uses magnetic force between superconducting magnets installed on a vehicle and ground coils installed on the ground guideway (track) to levitate a train by about 3.9in for ultra-high speed operation.
Click here to see Superconducting Maglev mechanisms.

How much electricity does it consume?

The Superconducting Maglev is a transportation system that uses less energy and offers greater functionality than airplanes in terms of speed performance, access to urban areas and transportation capacity. Estimation based on specific premises puts peak power consumption (instantaneous value) of the Chuo Shinkansen at approx. 270,000kW at service launch to Nagoya, and approx. 740,000kW at service launch to Osaka, as shown in deliberations by Japan's Transport Policy Council. These are well within the supply capacity of electric power companies.
The Tokaido Shinkansen has improved its energy efficiency by approx. 50% since its service launch. JR Central will continue to work on reducing the weight of vehicles, improving its shape, enhancing the performance of power converters and incorporating leading-edge insight to the maximum extent to boost the energy efficiency of the Chuo Shinkansen.

Is a Superconducting Maglev train always levitated?

It drives on rubber wheels when travelling at a low speed. When the speed exceeds approx. 93mph, the train levitates (by 3.9in), storing the rubber wheels in its body.

Does it run on electricity even when driving on wheels?

Yes it does.
The Superconducting Maglev propels itself forward with magnetic force generated between superconducting magnets on vehicle and ground coils on the ground guideway (track). In other words, it runs on electricity even when driving on wheels.

What is the level of passenger comfort compared to current Shinkansen trains (bullet trains)?

It has been confirmed that the Superconducting Maglev offers a level of passenger comfort comparable to or greater than current Shinkansen trains when traveling at similar speeds. Just as passenger comfort has improved in the Tokaido Shinkansen from the first Series 0 to the current Series N700S trains, we will continue to work on improving the Chuo Shinkansen's passenger comfort.

Are there any concerns about electromagnetic waves and noise?

【Magnetic field】
The magnetic field generated by the Superconducting Maglev fully complies with guidelines stipulated by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and technical specifications on railways recognized and recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Click here to see our magnetic field countermeasures.
【Noise】
The Superconducting Maglev levitates when travelling at high speed. Therefore, its main noise is aerodynamic sound from the train traveling through air.
JR Central is working on noise reduction as a priority task. As countermeasures, JR Central has adopted and examined the performance of smoother noise-mitigating designs for the leading car and vehicle and introduced noise barriers and noise-mitigation hoods.
In July 2009, the MLIT's Maglev Technological Practicality Evaluation Committee concluded that, with the implementation of appropriate countermeasures for noise, the Superconducting Maglev technology could meet environmental standards.
Click here to see details of noise-related challenges.

What is currently being carried out at the Yamanashi Maglev Line?

The Yamanashi Maglev Line is currently running trains to establish a maintenance structure suitable for commercial operations, refine Superconducting Maglev technology and reduce Chuo Shinkansen's cost of construction, operation and maintenance.
More specifically, vehicles and facilities, built to match specifications for commercial services, are used daily for long-distance tests covering the entire 26.6-mile stretch of the Yamanashi Maglev Line. The Superconducting Maglev is performing stable operations day after day, running the total distance of approx. 1,240 miles per day on average at the speed of 311mph.

Is Superconducting Maglev technology proven?

Superconducting Maglev technology is proven technology which has already been completed for practical application.
The Maglev Technological Practicality Evaluation Committee (MTPEC), established in January 1997 under the then-Ministry of Transport (today's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism or MLIT), has examined the development of Superconducting Maglev technology from far-reaching and specialized perspectives as a third-party entity autonomous from developers.
The MTPEC acknowledged that "all necessary Superconducting Maglev technologies for the future revenue service have been established" in March 2005, and concluded in July 2009 that "the technologies of the Superconducting Maglev have been established comprehensively and systematically, which makes it possible to draw up detailed specifications and technological standards for revenue service." In response, the MLIT Minister stipulated technical standards for the Superconducting Maglev in December 2011.
More recently in February 2017, the MTPEC reiterated its findings that "the Superconducting Maglev technological developments necessary for the revenue service line have been completed."

Has JR Central overcome the issue of superconducting magnet quench?

Superconducting magnet quench was observed at the Miyazaki Test Track. We identified that vibration generated during SCMaglev running caused the issue. After developing superconducting magnets with strong structures against vibration, we have never experienced a quench in Maglev operations on the Yamanashi Maglev Line.
Should a quench occur to cause the magnets to lose the power to levitate and guide a vehicle, various safety devices would be activated to prevent the main body of the vehicle from coming in contact with the guideway, thereby protecting it from damage. The system is also designed to automatically apply the brake to bring the train to a stop safely. These safety measures have been verified in a simulated quench, ensuring safety.
We believe the issue of superconducting magnet quench has been overcome.

Helium is required to cool down coils used in the Superconducting Maglev. Wouldn't there be any supply issue with helium?

Liquid helium for cooling superconducting magnets are used in circulation. The amount of helium consumed is very small, even considering what is needed for maintenance work. Only about 1 percent of Japan's annual helium import, as of 2019, should be sufficient at the time of launching the Chuo Shinkansen service to Nagoya. Also, helium will be procured over several years, further reducing the amount required per year. Accorindgly, we do not foresee any issue in obtaining helium.
What's more, high-temperature superconducting magnets, currently under development, do not require liquid helium. Once they are introduced to Maglev trains on commercial services, the amount of helium required will further decrease.
Click here for details on high-temperature superconducting magnets.

About the
Chuo Shinkansen Project

Why is it necessary to build the Chuo Shinkansen?

Half a century has passed since the inauguration of the Tokaido Shinkansen, which serves as Japan’s main transportation artery. This is why we must establish fundamental preparedness against facility aging and large-scale disasters, considering the fact that it takes a long time to construct and build a new railway line. For this reason, we decided to complete the Chuo Shinkansen as quickly as possible by utilizing the Superconducting Maglev System, which we have developped, under the condition that we bear the cost of its construction, as it can be used as an alternate to the role of the Tokaido Shinkansen. We will operate the Chuo Shinkansen in an integrated manner along with the Tokaido Shinkansen.

What has been the past progress of the Chuo Shinkansen Plan?

JR Central is promoting the Chuo Shinkansen Project based on the Nationwide Shinkansen Railway Development Act. In 1973, the Chuo Shinkansen was designated one of the basic plan routes. Upon receiving the Japanese government’s instructions, JR Central carried out and compiled reports on topographical and geological surveys. In a series of 20 sessions convened from March 2010, a panel of experts at the Transport Policy Council examined the matter from far-reaching perspectives, including technologies, cost performance, cost of construction, environmental impact, JR Central's financial capability to carry out the project and lessons learned from the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011. In May of the same year, the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (hereby ‘the MLIT Minister’) appointed us as the operator and constructor of the project, approved the development plan and instructed us to undertake construction work. Following some four years of environmental assessment procedures, the MLIT Minister approved the project's Construction Implementation Plan for the Shinagawa - Nagoya section of the line, clearing the way for JR Central to commence construction.

When is the Chuo Shinkansen due to be completed?

Following the approval of the Construction Implementation Plan by the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, construction work for the route between Shinagawa and Nagoya commenced for opening in 2027 with extension work to Osaka due to start immediately afterward. However, in the Shizuoka section of the Southern Alps Tunnel, the construction has stalled after concerns over water resources of the Oi River prompted the governments of Shizuoka Prefecture and municipalities situated alongside the river to object to the commencement of construction, casting doubt on the service’s 2027 opening. JR Central is participating, with sincerity, in discussions with the Expert Panel on the Chuo Shinkansen Shizuoka Construction Area, arranged by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, with a view to easing local concerns to bring an early resolution to the dispute, commencing construction work in Shizuoka and achieving an early operation launch for the Shinagawa – Nagoya section.

Why doesn’t JR Central launch the full-service to Osaka all at once?

On the premise of ensuring sound business management and providing stable dividends as a private enterprise, JR Central plans to build the Chuo Shinkansen up to Nagoya and wait until our management strength recovers before commencing work on extending the line to Osaka.
In November 2016, it was decided to use the government's Fiscal Investment and Loan Program (FILP) to have the Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency provide a loan to JR Central covering part of the fund required to build the Chuo Shinkansen. In July 2017, JR Central secured financing totalling 3 trillion yen as planned. We will continue to make all-out efforts to start extending the line to Osaka as soon as the service to Nagoya opens, thereby accelerating the timeframe for full service launch by up to 8 years. This should be achieved by taking advantage of the long-term and fixed low-interest nature of the FILP loan that minimizes management risks while ensuring management independence and investment autonomy to secure sound business managemnet and stable dividend payout at the same time.
Click here to see processes leading up to full service launch.

What kind of economic effects will the Chuo Shinkansen Project have?

The high-speed performance of the Chuo Shinkansen will reduce travel time dramatically, linking Tokyo and Nagoya in as fast as 40 minutes, and Tokyo and Osaka in just 67 minutes at the fastest. This will bring together Japan's three metropolitan areas, namely the Tokyo, Chukyo and Kinki areas, into a mega region with a combined population of approx. 66 million. It will promote wide-area networking and dramatically change our lifestyles, including how business is conducted and how we spend our spare time. This way, the Chuo Shinkansen project is expected to deal a far-reaching ripple effect across Japan's economy and society as a whole.

How much will it cost to build the Chuo Shinkansen? Will it be profitable?

We expect that the Shinagawa – Nagoya section, currently under construction, will cost 7.04 trillion yen to build. The Chuo Shinkansen (linking Tokyo and Osaka) will be managed in an integrated manner together with the Tokaido Shinkansen to establish preparedness against Tokaido Shinkansen’s risks, such as facility aging in the future and large-scale natural disasters. It is an essential project for fulfilling our mission to provide more robust main transportation artery in Japan. We will proceed with this project while firmly maintaining sound management and stable dividend payouts.
Should we find ourselves unable to maintain sound management and dividend stability, the pace of the project will be adjusted to complete this project until our management strength is recovered.

Why is JR Central building the Chuo Shinkansen at its own expense?

The Chuo Shinkansen is an urgent project as a thoroughgoing preparation against future aging degradation of the Tokaido Shinkansen and large-scale disasters. Yet, Japan's national fiscal health is in a tough condition and relying on public funding for construction would keep the project's future outlook unclear. To overcome this situation, JR Central explored the possibility of completing this project with our own financial resources. We concluded that we would not have to rely on the government's financial assistance if the project was carried out in two stages, firstly building the Shinkansen line up to Nagoya and waiting until the recovery of our management strength to extend the line to Osaka.

How is the Fiscal Investment and Loan Program (FILP) being used?

In November 2016, it was decided to use the government's Fiscal Investment and Loan Program (FILP) to have the Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency provide a loan to JR Central covering part of the fund required to build the Chuo Shinkansen. In July 2017, JR Central secured financing totalling 3 trillion yen as planned. We will continue to make all-out efforts to start extending the line to Osaka as soon as the service to Nagoya opens, thereby accelerating the timeframe for full service launch by up to 8 years. This should be achieved by taking advantage of the long-term and fixed low-interest nature of the FILP loan that minimizes management risks while ensuring management independence and investment autonomy to secure sound business managemnet and stable dividend payout at the same time.
Click here to see processes leading up to full service launch.

The Chuo Shinkansen will travel “deep underground”. What does that mean?

“Deep underground” refers to underground space deeper than space in regular use, as stipulated under the Act on Special Measures concerning Public Use of Deep Underground. More specifically, it refers to underground space that is "deeper than 40 meters below ground" or "deeper than 10 meters from the layer on which deep foundations rest," whichever is deeper, and is available for public use. The Chuo Shinkansen uses deep undergound in some sections running through the Tokyo Metropolitan and Chubu areas under the Act on Special Measures concerning Public Use of Deep Underground. JR Central filed an application with the MLIT Minister for approval to use deep underground in March 2018 and received an approval in October of the same year.

Vehicle

What is the trainset configuration of the Chuo Shinkansen?

The trainset of the Chuo Shinkansen is planned to consist of 16 cars, similarly to the Tokaido Shinkansen (bullet train).

How big is the vehicle of the Chuo Shinkansen?

The Series L0 vehicle (including Series L0 Improved version) consists of a leading car measuring 91.8 feet long and middle cars each measuring 79.7 feet long. All cars are 9.5 feet wide and 10.2 feet high.

What is the maximum speed?

In the high-speed running test conducted in April 2015, the train set the world record in railway speed at 375mph. The test was carried out to gather data for achieving the optimum design for commercial service facilities. The maximum service speed of the Chuo Shinkansen is due to be 311mph.

Is it possible to increase the maximum speed in the future?

Since the Superconducting Maglev runs while being levitated with magnetic force (contactless), it is logically possible to have a higher maximum speed. However, a higher operation speed would make the train subject to greater air resistance. This would require power equipment that can withstand such resistance, and is therefore impractical.

What is the design of the vehicle?

Inheriting the designs and color combination of Tokaido Shinkansen trains, the Series L0 vehicle is mainly white to represent lightness and features blue paint to symbolize vitality. The final design to be used in commercial services will be decided by the launch of Chuo Shinkansen's commercial services.

At the service launch, is the Chuo Shinkansen going to use the vehicle currently used on the Yamanashi Maglev Line?

Currently, both Series L0 and Series L0 improved version run on the Yamanashi Maglev Line in an effort to explore specifications for commercial services.
While vehicles for commercial services will be based on the Series L0 improved version, JR Central will continue to develop technology to incorporate further improvements, just as we did with the evolution of Series 0 to Series N700S in the Tokaido Shinkansen.

Are the vehicles equipped with toilets?

All trainsets currently operating on the Yamanashi Maglev Line are equipped with toilets.

Passenger information

What security measures will be implemented (e.g. inspection of hand luggage)?

In order to ensure customer safety, JR Central is implementing highly strict security measures at train stations and aboard trains.
Based on experience with the Tokaido Shinkansen and other railway services, JR Central plans to apply similar measures to the Chuo Shinkansen while also taking technological trends into consideration. With regard to a hand luggage inspection, we will explore ways of assuring greater safety than ever before without compromizing passenger convenience. Leading up to the service launch, JR Central will continue to examine both hardware and software aspects and apply appropriate measures to achieve security while also ensuring passenger convenience.

What are the fares and service charges associated with the Chuo Shinkansen?

JR Central will finalize the structure of train fares and service charges for the Chuo Shinkansen when the time of service launch draws near, after examining various matters such as Chuo Shinkansen's operation format, service coordination/passenger transit with the Tokaido Shinkansen and even the status of the economy at the time of service launch and the status of other competing transportation services.

How do you plan to sell tickets for the Chuo Shinkansen (e.g. at ticket offices in train stations or via online sales)?
Are you going to offer non-reserved seats?

From now on, JR Central will give further considerations to establish a service structure that caters to passenger convenience, bringing together a new ticketing system, station facilities and their maintenance system on the premise of only offering reserved seats and incorporating any technological advancements.

Do Chuo Shinkansen trains have seat belts like airplanes?
(Are passengers required to stay seated during a specific duration of time when the seat belt sign is turned on?)

There will be no seat belts on Chuo Shinkansen trains, as the service will not make rapid acceleration/deceleration that would require the use of seat belts.

Does the Chuo Shinkansen have barrier-free facilities? (Does it cater to people on wheelchairs or parents with baby carriages?)

JR Central plans to offer barrier-free facilities on Chuo Shinkansen's commercial services, similar to those available on the Tokaido Shinkansen.
(Some restrictions apply to the Superconducting Maglev Ride service currently offered on the Yamanashi Maglev Line, as the trainset used includes cars and facilities originally designed for testing purposes.)

Can we receive telecommunications data while the train is traveling through a tunnel?
(Can we make calls on a mobile phone or use the Internet on a laptop?)

JR Central will continue to explore better services with regard to mobile telephone use and Internet connectivity on commercial Chuo Shinkansen trains in view of future technological trends and customer needs.

Service operation and route

Do Chuo Shinkansen services have a driver/conductor onboard?

The Chuo Shinkansen does not need a driver because it uses a ground-based system to control its operation, including accelerating, decelerating and braking the train. However, JR Central plans to have some crew members onboard to provide passenger services and handle emergency response. Details about a specific structure will be examined and finalized before service launch.

How did you decide on the service route and locations of stations for the Shinagawa - Nagoya section? Are they subject to change in the future?

In May 2011, the Transport Policy Council recommended the Southern Alps Route. Based on that recommendation, the MLIT Minister adopted a development plan that set the approximate route traveling near Kofu City, the central southern part of the Akashi Mountain Range (Southern Alps), Nagoya City and Nara City.
In the process of conducting environmental assessment for the section between Shinagawa and Nagoya, JR Central narrowed down the final route from the perspectives of Superconducting Maglev's technological, topographical, geological and environmental constraints. The locations of stations were finalized in consideration of various factors of each candidate site, e.g. engineering possibility of having a station built, user convenience and level of environmental impact. In October 2014, the MLIT Minister approved the implementation plan for the Shinagawa – Nagoya section.
In consideration of these circumstances, the route and station locations are improbable to change.
Click here for processes leading up to full service launch.

When are you going to finalize the route and station locations between Nagoya and Osaka?

The route and station locations for the section between Nagoya and Osaka will be finalized through an environmental assessment procedure.
In the environmental assessment stage, topographical, geological and environmental constraints are examined to determine as straight a route as possible to make the most of Superconducting Maglev's characteristics. The actual locations of stations will be determined to ensure user convenience and keep the cost of construction low.
The environmental assessment procedure will be initiated approx. four years before the commencement of construction work for the Nagoya - Osaka stretch.
Click here for details of the environmental assessment procedure.

Once the Chuo Shinkansen opens for service, how is it going to be operated in relation to the Tokaido Shinkansen? Will the Chuo Shinkansen have service variations similar to "Kodama", "Hikari" etc. in the Tokaido Shinkansen?

In order to bring out the maximum transportation potential of the Superconducting Maglev, which is capable of operating at 311mph, JR Central plans to combine services directly connecting Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka with services that stop at stations in between. When the Chuo Shinkansen extends to Osaka, the Tokaido Shinkansen will have room to explore new service potential, e.g. taking advantage of additional transportation capacity to increase Hikari-type services which stop at a larger number of stations.
JR Central will finalize the service structure of Chuo Shinkansen and Tokaido Shinkansen as the launch of Chuo Shinkansen draws near. It will ensure maximum use of their respective transportation characteristics, consider their potential of complementing each other's services, and observe economic conditions and other transportation services' trends at the time of the Chuo Shinkansen launch.

What is the travel duration between terminal stations and middle stations?

Specific timetable details will be finalized as the launch of the Chuo Shinkansen draws near in view of economic conditions and other transport services' trends at the time of Chuo Shinkansen launch. Approximate travel durations for services that stop at all stations will be as follows:
Shinagawa
Station
Nagoya
Station
Kanagawa-Ken Station
(tentative name)
around 10 minutes around 60 minutes
Yamanashi-Ken Station
(tentative name)
around 25 minutes around 45 minutes
Nagano-Ken Station
(tentative name)
around 45 minutes around 25 minutes
Gifu-Ken Station
(tentative name)
around 60 minutes around 15 minutes

How long does it take for passengers to transfer from a Chuo Shinkansen train to a Tokaido Shinkansen train at Nagoya Station?

The Chuo Shinkansen's Nagoya Station and the Tokaido Shinkansen's Nagoya Station are on top of each other. Considering their designs, including the location of elevators, JR Central expects transfer time to be a minimum of 3 minutes and a maximum of around 9 minutes.

Is the Chuo Shinkansen subject to operation restrictions at the time of severe rain and wind?
(Can it operate in heavy rain and snow?)

【Rain】
Based on operation tests carried out over the last 20 years, JR Central believes that rainfall will not affect Chuo Shinkansen operation.
【Wind】
The Superconducting Maglev body is shorter than regular Shinkansen trains, and its bottom half is sheltered by guideway walls (concrete walls on both sides of the track). The guideway walls use magnetic force to prevent the train's body from veering to the right and left. For this reason, JR Central believes the Superconducting Maglev's operation safety and stability will not be compromised by severe winds.
【Snow】
The Chuo Shinkansen runs underground or through tunnels on more than 80% of its route, and some of its above-ground sections will be fitted with noise-mitigating safety hoods. Snowfall is not expected to disrupt services in these areas. For sections that do not have the hoods, JR Central will implement measures such as using sprinklers to melt snow so that the fast-traveling trains will not splash snow or ice, thereby preventing any impact from snowfalls.

Construction

What is the progress of construction work?

Construction work for the Chuo Shinkansen is commencing gradually as JR Central signs construction contracts and finishes preparatory work.
Click here for the operation route and construction progress map.

Which companies have been contracted to carry out construction work?

The map of operation route and construction progress shows companies contracted to carry out construction work.
Click here for the operation route and construction progress map.

Can you describe the construction method and procedures used for building the Chuo Shinkansen?

See the following on construction methods and procedures in urban areas, mountainous areas and at terminal stations:
Click here for details on tunnel construction in urban areas.
Click here for details on tunnel construction in mountainous areas.
Click here for details on construction of terminal stations.

We have been told that the construction work is of a high degree of difficulty. Which parts of the construciton work are particularly difficult?

In construction of the Chuo Shinkansen, construction tasks of large scale and higher difficulty that require extended periods include the construction of the Southern Alps tunnel and terminal stations at Shinagawa and Nagoya. The Southern Alps tunnel has a total length of approx. 15.5 miles and a depth of up to around 1,400m from the ground surface. It will be an unprecedented tunnel in terms of both length and depth. The construction of terminal stations has to be carried out directly underneath operational railways, making the tasks complex and large in scale. See the following on the characteristics of construction work at the Southern Alps tunnel and terminal stations:
Click here for details of construction work for mountain tunnels (Southern Alps tunnel).
Click here for details of construction work at the terminal stations.

What is the standard size of tunnels on the Chuo Shinkansen Line?
How much bigger is it compared to tunnels on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line?

Mountain tunnels are semi-cylindrical, measuring 24.9ft tall and 41.9ft wide. Urban tunnels are circular with a diameter of 42.3ft. A standard tunnel on the Tokaido Shinkansen is 23.6ft tall and 31.4ft wide. These figures indicate the internal dimensions of thick tunnel structures.

Will construction vehicles cause traffic congestion or accidents?

In operating vehicles for construction work, JR Central investigates road conditions, traffic volume and other details to draw up an appropriate operation plan, so as to prevent traffic congestion.
As for the prevention of traffic accidents, JR Central is implementing safety measures according to the conditions of individual sites, including providing safety driving education, deploying traffic controllers appropriately, giving priority to local vehicles and installing signs that urge caution from local residents.
Click here for details of safety measures.

If the construction work causes damage, is there going to be compensation?

Should the construcion work for the Chuo Shinkansen cause any damage to buildings, etc., JR Central is prepared to compensate for the damage.

Will the construction of structures for the Chuo Shinkansen affect the amount of sunlight existing buildings receive?

If construction work for the Chuo Shinkansen creates shade to the extent that it affects nearby residents and agricultural produce, there will be compensation based on Japanese government standards.

Will the construction work impact the environment?

In carrying out construction work, JR Central seriously implements environmental conservation measures according to the conditions of individual sites to avert or mitigate any environmental impact.
Click here for details of environmental conservation measures.

How much waste soil will be generated from the construction work?

The Environmental Impact Statement released by JR Central (October 2014) estimates the amount of waste soil by prefecture as follows:
Tokyo Approx. 6 million m3
Kanagawa Approx. 11.4 million m3
Yamanashi Approx. 6.76 million m3
Shizuoka Approx. 3.6 million m3
Nagano Approx. 9.74 million m3
Gifu Approx. 12.8 million m3
Aichi Approx. 6.5 million m3
Total Approx. 56.8 million m3

Where do you take the waste soil?

JR Central plans to utilize waste soil generated from tunnel excavation, etc. as much as possible within the Chuo Shinkansen construction project, and explores its use in other public works projects and private-sector projects. Cooperation from wayside prefectures and municipalities has been sought to gather information about and make arrangements as possible destinations for such soil. As of now, JR Central has already received information about soil recipients to a level that exceeds the anticipated amount of waste soil to be generated. With regard to specific use, JR Central has started to select recipient sites, coordinating with their rights holders and other stakeholders and conducting surveys on site. At some of these sites, the area for placing waste soil has already been determined. There is a report on conservation measures, posted on JR Central's website, detailing sites due to be used for depositing such waste soil.
Conservation Plan
Click here for sites in Yamanashi Prefecture.
Click here for sites in Nagano Prefecture.
Click here for sites in Gifu Prefecture.
JR Central will continue to examine environmental and technical aspects in depth, and determine where waste soil will go in line with the progress of construction work, similarly to the construction of other shinkansen lines.

What if the construction work generates waste soil that affects the environment negatively?

Prior to commencing construction work, JR Central examines each site's land history and carries out soil surveys as required to determine whether the site has any soil contamination. If, in the course of construction, JR Central encounters soil that may be contaminated, the soil is checked for contamination and the presence of hazardous substances. If soil contamination is confirmed, the applicable waste soil will be processed and disposed of appropriately in accordance with relevant laws and regulations, such as the Soil Contamination Countermeasures Act.
Waste soil from tunnels and other sites exempt from the Soil Contamination Countermeasures Act is also checked for the presence of naturally occurring heavy metals that exceed their respective regulatory limits. If the amount of waste soil exceeds the standard, the soil is placed on a truck bed and covered with sheeting to prevent it from spreading before it is appropriately transported and handled. If a specific site is to be set up for placing waste soil, JR Central will implement all possible measures, whenever necessary, to ensure that heavy metals contained in the waste soil will not bleed into the ground.

What about noise and vibration that may arise during construction work?

JR Central will counter noise and vibration associated with the operation of construction machinery and construction vehicles with the implementation of environmental conservation measures, e.g. "use of low-noise low-vibration machinery," "selection of construction machinery that suits the scale of work" and "levelling of construction work" to further mitigate environmental impact.

The Chuo Shinkansen has underground sections along its route. Will the construction work cause land subsidence?

Tunnel construction in urban areas is carried out using the shield tunneling method, which prevents water leakage into excavated tunnels to prevent the lowering of groundwater levels. Methods in consideration of geological properties are also adopted to build underground stations and emergency access in urban areas in an effort to prevent land subsidence.
Tunnel construction in mountainous areas should have minimal impact as it is carried out using methods suitable for the geological properties, using rock bolts to integrate natural ground into tunnels and installing tunnel supports to bear the weight of natural ground above.
When building shallow underground tunnels, e.g. underneath geologically weak ground with residential developments above, JR Central measures ground displacement during construction work to check for any impact on the ground.

What is the effect of tunnel construction on groundwater?

Tunnel construction in urban areas is carried out using the shield tunneling method, which prevents water leakage into excavated tunnels in order to prevent lowering of the groundwater level.
Tunnel construction in mountainous areas should also have minimal impact on groundwater, except in construction zones around faults, as JR Central adopts appropriate methods such as the use of waterproof sheeting and chemical solution injection to suit each site's geological characteristics and groundwater status.
In carrying out construction work, JR Central measures the water levels and flow volumes of local wells and river systems. Upon detecting any drop in water levels that could affect water use, JR Central activates emergency measures to ensure normal water use, while investigating the cause and applying more permanent measures if required.

Is it possible to visit and see Chuo Shinkansen construction sites, e.g. sites for vehicle depots and tunnels?

We do not allow any public access to construction sites in principle for safety reasons and to maintain scheduled construction progress. See the operation route and construction progress map for detailed progress by prefecture.
Click here for the operation route and construction progress map.

Emergency response

What are evacuation protocols in emergencies such as earthquakes and fires?

Leading up to the service launch, JR Central will continue to examine both hardware and software aspects and introduce appropriate protocols, including details of passenger evacuation, with top priority placed on passenger safety.

What will happen in the event of a power outage?

Even when there is a power outage, the Superconducting Maglev system maintains levitation force while the train is operating at high speed. Vehicles would come to a stop safely, rather than falling suddenly on the track. In addition, even when one substation suffers an outage, the Superconducting Maglev uses a system that receives electricity from an adjacent substation, minimizing the likelihood of an extended power outage.

If a major earthquake occurs while a Superconducting Maglev train is in operation, what are possible dangers, such as derailment?

The Chuo Shinkansen's key terminal stations - Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka - and most of its tracks are due to be built underground or in tunnels. Underground space is generally considered to have smaller ground motions at the time of an earthquake, making it more disaster-resistant. Civil-engineering structures are designed to have sufficient quake-resistance in accordance with the government's most up-to-date building standards. At the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Kumamoto Earthquake, Shinkansen structures built or reinforced under these standards escaped major damage.
Superconducting Maglev vehicles travel contact-free inside a U-shaped guideway while levitating about 3.9 inches off the track. The magnetic force of levitation and guidance coils keeps the train centered within the guideway space both vertically and horizontally, preventing any derailment in earthquakes.
Furthermore, the Chuo Shinkansen will adopt the Tokaido Shinkansen's early earthquake alarm system, called TERRA-S, to decelerate and stop trains swiftly in case of an earthquake.

In an emergency, could a Superconducting Maglev train run out of power (making the train unable to move at all)?

The Superconducting Maglev system is extremely unlikely to leave trains stranded from loss of power, as it has a much higher level of electrical reliability and redundancy than conventional railways.
Even if a train might become stranded, JR Central has used the Yamanashi Maglev Line to verify and confirm an evacuation method that ensures safe evacuation of passengers.

In an emergency, could a Superconducting Maglev train switch from levitated operation to operation on wheels?

The Superconducting Maglev may operate on its wheels in an emergency. Using the Yamanashi Maglev Line, JR Central has repeatedly carried out emergency tests under tough conditions, including an unlikely scenario of landing the train from levitated operation at 311mph, and confirmed operation safety.

The Chuo Shinkansen travels through the mountains at the Southern Alps. How would passengers be evacuated if a Maglev train became stranded in the area? Would it be safe in the winter months?

Passengers will be evacuated through a pilot tunnel, excavated for geological surveys, running parallel to the main Southern Alps tunnel. This pilot tunnel, due to be used for maintenance work once the Chuo Shinkansen commences commercial services, is large enough to allow vehicle access. Passengers can safely reach a nearby emergency access, etc. either on foot or by car, according to on-site conditions.
Space inside tunnels generally has smaller temperature fluctuations throughout the year, even in winter months, compared to outside. Passengers will be kept inside a safe tunnel until they can be transported. Similarly to other Shinkansen lines that travel through mountainous areas, existing roads or routes specifically built for construction work are to be used to reach an emergency access, making it a safe evacuation option even in winter.

Would passengers be safe from the effect of magnetic field when evacuating from a Maglev train?

A degaussing mechanism is available to immediately reduce the magnetic fields of superconducting magnets as required to secure a safe evacuation route. Passengers would not be affected by magnetic fields even in emergency.