November 28, 2021
The Joetsu Shinkansen is a high-speed railway line (Shinkansen) and its trains of the East Japan Railway Company (JR East) that connects Omiya Station to Niigata Station. Almost all trains board the Tohoku Shinkansen and depart and arrive at Tokyo Station, so the passenger information will indicate that the section between Tokyo Station on the Shinkansen, including the section between Omiya Station and the section between Tokyo Station and Niigata Station, is the "Joetsu Shinkansen".
This section also touches on the traffic between the Joetsu region of Niigata prefecture and the three Hokuriku prefectures (Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui), which are historically closely related to the Joetsu Shinkansen, and the metropolitan area.
The Joetsu Shinkansen is one of the three lines announced in 1971 (Showa 46) by the "Basic Plan to Determine the Shinkansen Lines to Start Construction" pursuant to the provisions of Article 4, Paragraph 1 of the National Shinkansen Railway Development Law. It is one. The maintenance plan was decided and construction started in April of the same year. It was built by the Japan Railway Construction Public Corporation and opened between Omiya Station and Niigata Station in 1982. It was operated by the Japanese National Railways (JNR), but after the JNR division and privatization, the Joetsu Shinkansen is operated by the East Japan Railway Company (JR East).
The line between Tokyo Station and Omiya Station is the Tohoku Shinkansen, but there are no trains that start and end at Omiya Station, and almost all trains depart and arrive at Tokyo Station (some trains are at Ueno Station). The section between Tokyo Station and Niigata Station, including Tokyo Station, will be announced as the "Joetsu Shinkansen". A direct train to the Hokuriku Shinkansen runs between Omiya Station and Takasaki Station, but because it operates independently of this line, it is also referred to as the "Hokuriku Shinkansen" between Omiya Station and Takasaki Station.
The section between Gunma and Niigata prefectures (between Takasaki Station and Nagaoka Station) crosses the Mikuni Mountains, which is the central diversion ridge of the Japanese archipelago, so many sections are tunnels. In addition, it is equipped with a snow melting facility using sprinklers mainly in Niigata prefecture, which is a heavy snowfall area, and at stations in Niigata prefecture, measures against snow damage are taken, such as the entire railroad track and platform being covered with a roof. As a result, there are few operational obstacles due to snow. In the plains (Kanto Plain / Echigo Plain), most of them run on elevated tracks.
The difference from the conventional Tokaido / Sanyo Shinkansen and Tohoku Shinkansen is that it is a "Shinkansen that crosses Honshu". It is the first Shinkansen that connects the Pacific Ocean side of Honshu and the Sea of Japan side, and it is the first Shinkansen from the Tokyo metropolitan area to each city on the Sea of Japan side (specifically, connecting at Echigo Yuzawa Station and Nagaoka Station to the Joetsu region of Niigata prefecture and the Toyama / Kanazawa area. However, by connecting at Niigata Station, the Shimoetsu region in Niigata prefecture and the Shonai region in Yamagata prefecture / Akita prefecture were connected in a shorter time than before (then transportation to the Joetsu region and Toyama / Ishikawa prefecture opened in 2015). Most of it was handed over to the Hokuriku Shinkansen).
The name "Joetsu" is derived from the parallel conventional line Joetsu Line (between Takasaki Station and Miyauchi Station), and is derived from the old decree country names (Joetsu and Echigo) of both Gunma and Niigata prefectures. The Joetsu region (western Niigata prefecture) is not included in the route.
The section between Echigo Yuzawa Station and Gala Yuzawa Station is open only during the winter when the Gala Yuzawa Ski Resort is open. Only Shinkansen trains are used, but it is a branch line of the Joetsu line and is treated as a conventional line.
The current maximum speed is 240 km / h for all lines because it was adjusted to the E4 series. However, since most of the sections are linear, it is possible to drive at 240 km / h or higher, and in the 1990s, some sections were operated at 275 km / h, as will be described later. However, regarding the "Nakayama Tunnel" between Takasaki Station and Jomokogen Station, there were two major flood accidents in which the tunnel was submerged during construction, and as a result, the route was changed from the original plan to a detour.