Originally envisioned to begin service next year, the long awaited New Joban Line from downtown Tsukuba to Tokyo is already about 5 years behind schedule. Signs that it will finally become a reality, however, are slowly materializing, as it was announced recently that actual construction of Tsukuba Station will commence this fiscal year. The station will be underground, in the vicinity of the present bus center, with the tunnel being dug under Chuo Doori and on to the west from there. Part of the line to the west of central Tsukuba will be on elevated track and groundwork for that section is also scheduled to begin soon.
The rail lines themselves are scheduled to be laid by 2003, with service to begin by 2005. Construction on about 30% of the 58-kilometer line is already well under way, including the tunnel from the other end of the line into Akihabara Station in Tokyo. This includes 26 different construction sites, mainly bridges and tunnels, those sites that take the most time to construct.
Unfortunately, however, several tracks of land the line is scheduled to go through have not been purchased yet, and particularly in the Omonoi section (next to Tokodai) where the elevated track passes through, land owners are opposed to selling their land. If they are anything like the obstinate landowners surrounded by the partially completed second runway at Narita Airport, opening day may have to be further revised.
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