The Kyūshū Shinkansen (九州新幹線?) is a Japanese high-speed railway line between the Japanese cities of Fukuoka and Kagoshima in Kyushu, running parallel to the existing Kagoshima Main Line and operated by the Kyushu Railway Company (JR Kyushu). The southern 127 km opened on 13 March 2004. The northern 130 km section opened on 12 March 2011, although opening ceremonies were canceled due to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. The construction of a spur from Takeo-Onsen to Isahaya, approximately 45.7 km in length, began in 2008. A further 21 km from Isahaya to Nagasaki has been approved for construction and will open by fiscal 2022.
Construction of the Kagoshima Route (鹿児島ルート?) began in 1991, and the first segment between Kagoshima and Yatsushiro opened on 13 March 2004. This initial section cut travel times between the two cities from 130 minutes to 35 minutes, and reduced the time between Hakata and Kagoshima from 4 hours to just 2 hours. When the entire line was completed, the travel time from Hakata to Kagoshima was further reduced to about an hour and 20 minutes. Like the original Shinkansen lines, the Kyushu Shinkansen is standard gauge.
The line's Sakura and Mizuho services operate through to Shin-Osaka Station via the Sanyō Shinkansen.
In September 2011, six months after the line's completion, JR Kyushu reported a year-over-year increase in ridership of 64 percent to the southern part of Kyushu (between Kumamoto and Kagoshima), easily surpassing the 40 percent increase projected by the company. By the one-year anniversary, ridership had increased, mainly from tourists from Kansai and Chugoku. However, in northern Kyushu, where there is fierce competition with conventional JR rapid service, the private Nishi-Nippon Railroad, and expressway buses, Shinkansen ridership increased by only 38 percent (compared to the now-discontinued conventional express Relay Tsubame), falling short of estimates.
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