Hokkaido Shinkansen to drive forward from March 26, 2016

The Japan News/ANN

East Japan Railway and Hokkaido Railway recently announced that Hokkaido's first Shinkansen service will start operation from March 26.

The Hokkaido Shinkansen service will make 13 round-trips a day between Shin-Aomori Station in Aomori Prefecture and Shin-Hakodate Hokuto Station in Hokkaido.

The Hayabusa train will make 10 round-trips between Tokyo and Shin-Hakodate Hokuto stations and one round-trip service between Sendai and Shin-Hakodate Hokuto stations. Meanwhile the Hayate train, which currently runs between Morioka and Shin-Aomori stations, will make one round-trip from each station to Shin-Hakodate Hokuto Station.

Train schedules and stops for the Hayabusa and Hayate will be announced at a later date.

The trains will run at speeds up to 260 kph, reducing speed to 140 kph when traveling through the Seikan Tunnel that connects Honshu to Hokkaido.

With the opening of the Hokkaido Shinkansen, the two railways also announced the discontinuation of four train services, including the Cassiopeia, an express luxury sleeper train connecting Ueno and Sapporo stations, and the Hamanasu express train that travels between Aomori and Sapporo stations.

The electric line voltage inside the Seikan Tunnel will be changed to 25,000 volts for Shinkansen use, meaning other trains won't be able to operate there. Cassiopeia train carriages will be used within JR East services.