posted on 29th Apr 2021 12:55
On 28 April 2021 JR Kyushu announced it is about to inaugurate new stretch of Shinkansen high speed line on Kyushu island from autumn 2022. It also declared that the final name for this 66 km long HSL, which will be isolated from the rest of the Shinkansen network for a while, is Nishi-Kyushu Shinkansen, which means literally West-Kyushu New-Main-Line.
Construction began in 2008 and its first section will connect Nagasaki with Takeo Onsen in Saga Prefecture. The new HSTs will be built on a 1,435 mm track gauge and with a normal (wide) Shinkansen loading gauge. In Takeo Onsen passengers will need to transfer to "normal" 1,067 mm gauge limited express trains.
In the past, JR Kyushu for this line tested so called FGT Shinkansen with the variable-gauge bogies and a loading gauge suitable to fit 1,067 mm lines, but for technical reasons this option was abandoned. There are still debates and not conclusion about remaining part between Takeo Onsen and Shin Totsu station on Kyushu Shinkansen line.
There was also heavy negotiation about the final stretch of the line in Nagasaki, which was finally approved in 2011. On 28 April 2021 JR Kyushu also presented the service name Kamome (Seagull). The new red-gold livery was presented on N700S Shinkansen.