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Hokuriku Shinkansen Holds Test Run Ahead of Extension; JR Hopes Extension Will Accelerate Disaster Reconstruction

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train of the W7 series enters JR Tsuruga Station in Fukui Prefecture on Thursday.

TSURUGA, Fukui — A test run for the W7 series of the Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train was held on Thursday, carrying about 100 members of the media and others before the line is extended beyond Kanazawa to reach Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, next month.

The train left JR Tsuruga Station at 10:13 a.m. Thursday and arrived at JR Kanazawa Station at 11:10 a.m.

West Japan Railway Co. began test runs on the Kanazawa-Tsuruga section in December. However, they were suspended following the devastating earthquake that battered the Hokuriku region on New Year’s Day. Test runs resumed on Jan. 4 after the operator confirmed the safety of the tracks.

Thursday’s test run was held before similar events this weekend, during which about 2,000 people, including applicants chosen by lottery, will be on board.

When the Shinkansen line is extended on March 16, the minimum traveling time between Tokyo and Fukui stations will be shortened to 2 hours 51 minutes, or about 30 minutes less than now.

“We’re making preparations so that the extension will help accelerate restoration efforts following the Noto Peninsula Earthquake and invigorate the disaster-affected areas,” a JR West official said.