JAPAN - Three new train lines to directly connect Haneda Airport to stations in central Tokyo are to be constructed in about 10 years, with one of them shortening the current 28 minutes between Tokyo Station and the airport to 18 minutes.
The Oshio Tanraku line is to connect the airport directly to Tokyo Station, while the Higashi-Shinagawa Tanraku line will go to Shinjuku Station and the Rinkai Kaiso line will serve Shin-Kiba Station. Passengers currently need to change trains at least once to reach the airport from those stations. The current 46 minutes from Shinjuku Station to the airport-the longest distance in the project-will be cut to about 23 minutes.
The East Japan Railway Co., which announced the project on Tuesday, said that before the start of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics it aims to begin operating parts of the routes that will connect the airport to the Games venues. The line to Shin-Kiba Station will include the Rinkai waterfront area where venues are set to be built.
The total construction cost is expected to be about 320 billion yen. (S$3.87 billion)
The railway company plans to run a new Access Shinsen line starting from the airport with the aim of improving access from major stations in central Tokyo, by connecting the current Rinkai Line, Yamanote Line and a freight line to the new lines.
The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry is considering a plan to construct a new station about 40 meters below the current Tokyo Station area to drastically shorten time needed to reach both Haneda and Narita airports.
Tokyo Metro Co. plans to move up the scheduled extension of the Yurakucho subway line beyond its Toyosu Station terminus, to reach Sumiyoshi Station on the Hanzomon Line.
Also being considered is setting up a new line to connect Keikyu Kamata Station on the Keikyu Line and Kamata Station on the Tokyu Tamagawa Line via a potential route dubbed the "Kama-Kama line."
The government aims to double the number of tourists from overseas to 20 million in 2020, along with increasing the number of departure and arrival slots for international flights at Haneda Airport from the current 90,000 to 130,000.