Hokkaido Shinkansen

Hokkaido Shinkansen
Shinkansen jrh.svg
H5系 H1編成 仙台駅入線.JPG
An H5 series Shinkansen undergoing testing in November 2015
Native name北海道新幹線
LocaleAomori and Hokkaido prefectures, Japan
Ridership2.11 million (FY 2016)[1]
Opened26 March 2016
OwnerJR logo (hokkaido).svg JR Hokkaido
Rolling stockE5 series, H5 series
Line length148.9 km
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Electrification25 kV AC, 50 Hz, overhead catenary
Operating speed260 km/h (160 mph)
140 km/h (85 mph) (through Seikan Tunnel)
Route map
Map of Hokkaido Shinkansen.png
A chart showing proposed journey times between Tokyo and Sapporo as the Hokkaido Shinkansen is extended.
The dual-gauge Kaikyo Line near Kikonai Station in March 2016

The Hokkaido Shinkansen (北海道新幹線, Hokkaidō Shinkansen) is a Japanese high-speed shinkansen rail line that links up with the Tōhoku Shinkansen in northern Aomori Prefecture in Honshu and continues on into the interior of Hokkaido through the undersea Seikan Tunnel. Construction started in May 2005, and the initial Shin-Aomori to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto section opened on 26 March 2016.[2] Extension of the line to Sapporo is scheduled to open by March 2031.[3] The line is operated by the Hokkaido Railway Company (JR Hokkaido).[4]

Associated actions

In preparation for the opening of the Hokkaido Shinkansen, the Seikan Tunnel (Kaikyō Line) and associated approaches (approximately 82 km or 51 mi in total[3]) were converted to dual gauge, with both the Shinkansen 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard and 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) narrow gauge tracks.[5]

Upon the opening of the Shinkansen line the section of the conventional (narrow gauge) Esashi Line approximately paralleling the same route between Goryōkaku and Kikonai was transferred from the control of JR Hokkaido to a newly established third-sector railway operating company, South Hokkaido Railway Company, becoming the Isaribi Line.[6]