MARCH 8 sees the inauguration of a 12·3 km cross-city rail link in the Japanese city of Osaka. Built by a public-private third sector company, the Katafuku line links existing JR West stations at Kyobashi and Amagasaki. The route includes 10·2 km in tunnel under the heart of the city. There are seven intermediate stations including interchanges to the metro at Eibe/Nodo-Hanshin, Kita-Shinchi and Temmangu.

Services will be worked by JR West under the Tozai line branding. Trains from the Kobe and Takarazuka lines west of Osaka will be diverted to the new route at Amagasaki and continue east from Kyobashi onto the Gakken-toshi line. Around 160 trains a day in each direction will use the link, providing 8 trains/h off-peak and up to 13 trains/h at peak times.

  • Osaka’s small-profile linear-motored Tsurumi-Ryokuchi metro line has been extended 5·7 km to Shinsaibashi. The former inner-city terminus at Katamachi has closed, and the line has been diverted to interchange with the Tozai line at Kyobashi. The extension then serves Osaka Business Park and loops south of the city centre, connecting with JR West’s Osaka Loop line and the Chuo metro line at Morinoyima and with three other metro lines. o