CENTRAL JAPAN Railway has stepped up its campaign to build the long-planned Chuo Shinkansen as a maglev link between Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka. In August the company issued its first detailed cost estimate, putting the first stage from Tokyo to Nagoya at ¥5 000bn.

Three years ago the Tokyo - Osaka route was provisionally priced at up to ¥9 900bn, but JR Central believes that by splitting the work into two phases it could be built at a lower cost. The railway's view is that the state will have to fund the infrastructure, although the operations would be profitable.

With the railway expected to announce an operating profit of ¥376bn for the financial year to March 31 2008, JR Central has allocated ¥300bn a year for maglev development. Even so, no-one is expecting maglev trains to be flying between Tokyo and Nagoya before 2025 at the earliest.