It seems that the railway country Japan is finally launching light rail stretches in the country. Many of the railways in Japan could have been converted to light rail stretches and get way more passengers on their stretches. Just take a look at the light rail routes in Europe connecting places and cities. Finally Utsunomiya north of Tokyo will be getting its first modern type of light rail line by 2022!

On 26th of September 2016, MILT aka Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport approved plans for the construction of a 14.6km light rail line in Utsunomiya. A city that is the capital for the Tochigi prefecture north of Tokyo. Utsunomiya City is the most famous town for gyoza (dumplings) in Japan. And now soon with this new light rail line. The city will be even more accessible everywhere. Great move! 

Central reservation priority at the new Utsunomiya light rail line

Like most of the light rail lines in the world. This line in Japan will run for the most on its own parts of the roads. It will never share traffic with the cars except when crossing crossings. The video I’ve seen is that it will be constructed on lots of concrete. I hope that the constructors can build more grass avenues as it helps a lot for the feel of the city.

The Utsunomiya light rail line will become a double-track east-west line that will link the Honda research and development facility in the town of Haga with JR East’s Utsunomiya station, which is served by the Tohoku Shinkansen, Tohoku Main Line and Nikko Line.

Utsunomiya street with the light rail in the middle

Both express and local journeys will start in 2022

The entire light rail route is planned to open in 2022. It will have 19 stations, four of which will be located in Haga with the remainder in Utsunomiya. It will become an effective way to travel from one side to the other in this area of Japan.

Map of Utsunomiya

Passing loops will also be constructed at two stations to enable express services to overtake all-stations local services. This is smart and there are some towns like Warsaw in Poland that got them. The journey time between the important terminus stations will be 38 minutes for express services and 44 minutes for locals. Services will run every 6 min in the peaks and 10 min off-peak, with a mix of express and stopping services.

The first news about light rail completion was scheduled for December 2019. But this is postponed to 2022 as the construction started on the 28th of May 2018. A groundbreaking ceremony for the Utsunomiya light rail project took place on the 28th of May 2018. The ¥45.8 billion projects are now planned to open in March 2022.

But as I know with light rail constructions. This date can move and so I am more sure 3 or 4 months before the real opening happens. I will inform you more when I get more information about this new light rail line.