Tōhoku Through Line

The Tōhoku Jūkan Line (東北縦貫線 Tōhoku-jūkan-sen?), also known as Tōhoku Through Line,[1][2][3][4] is a construction project of East Japan Railway Company (JR East) to build a railway linking Ueno Station and Tokyo Station in order to extend the services of the Utsunomiya Line, the Takasaki Line, and the Jōban Line to Tokyo Station.[1][2][3] The project began on 30 May 2008.[5] JR East aims to begin operations in fiscal 2014, and the project is expected to cost about JPY40 billion.[1][4]

Direct travel is expected to ease congestion on the Yamanote Line and Keihin-Tōhoku Line, and reduce the travel time from Ōmiya to Tokyo by about 11 minutes.[5]

Proposed route

Beginning from Ueno Station, the project involves re-laying about 2.5 km[5] of existing tracks that formerly linked the two stations until separated near Kanda Station to make room for the Tōhoku Shinkansen extension to Tokyo. The gap will be reconnected by a new 1.3 km[5] top deck on the existing Shinkansen viaduct near Kanda Station with ramps at either end up from the existing formations.[6] Provision was made during construction of the Shinkansen link for eventual restoration of through traffic on the Tōhoku lines.[7]

In conjunction with the Tōhoku Jūkan Line project, JR East is building train turnback facilities at Shinagawa Station on the Tōkaidō Line, allowing through trains from Ueno to terminate there and return north.[1]

Proposed services

Trains from the Utsunomiya Line, Jōban Line, and Takasaki Line will run non-stop between Ueno and Tokyo Station and continue on the Tōkaidō Line towards Yokohama Station.[8]


The Tōhoku Main Line ran to Tokyo Station both prior to and following World War II. Although the connector between Ueno and Tokyo was only used for freight trains and forwarding at first, the Allied occupation forces ran passenger trains from Tokyo Station through the Tōhoku Main Line following World War II, and this was followed by a number of through services from the 1950s until the 1970s. The connector between Ueno and Tokyo was closed to passenger service in April 1973, and to freight service in January 1983; the portion of the line around Akihabara and Kanda was dismantled to provide a right-of-way to extend the Tōhoku Shinkansen to Tokyo Station, with through services to Tokyo Station commencing in 1991.

A government panel recommendation in 2000 suggested restoring the connector between Ueno and Tokyo by 2015, and JR East officially announced the project on March 27, 2002.

The project received support from various local governments, particularly in Saitama Prefecture, Ibaraki Prefecture and other areas to the north of Tokyo. However, residents of the area immediately surrounding the project cited light blockage and earthquake risk, and applied to a Tokyo court for an injunction against construction in 2007.[9] The lawsuit was dismissed in 2012.

The project was originally scheduled to be completed in FY 2013, but completion was pushed back to FY 2014 following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.


External links

  • JR East construction diagrams (Japanese)
  • Protest website (Japanese)
  • This blog page outlines the construction, with photos.

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