Earlier this year Kansai Rapid Railway Co., Ltd. received government approval to carry out construction of the new Naniwasuji Line which will provide a more direct link between north and south Osaka. The new line will be 7.2km long of which 6.5km will be underground.
The planned Naniwasuji Line will run north-south through Osaka with much of its length running beneath the Naniwa-suji boulevard. This new line will provide a direct connection between the Umeda district in northern Osaka and the Namba district in southern Osaka and thereby improve accessibility between Kansai International Airport and the city’s shinkansen terminal at Shin-Osaka Station. New stations will be built for the Naniwasuji Line which have been given provisional names: Kita-Umeda Station in Umeda, Nakanoshima Station, Nishi-Hommachi Station, and Nankai Shin-Namba Station. At Kita-Umeda the Naniwasuji Line will connect with a branch line of the JR Tokaido Main Line while it will connect to the JR Yamatoji Line at JR Namba Station. It will also connect with the Nankai Main Line at Nankai Shin-Namba Station and Shin-Imamiya Station.
Once built, both JR West’s Limited Express Haruka service and Nankai Railway’s Limited Express Rapi:t service will be able to run directly from Kansai International Airport to the Umeda district. Currently it takes just over an hour to travel between Kansai Airport and Umeda but the new railway line is projected to cut that time down to just 30 minutes.
Kansai Rapid Railway (KRR) is a 3rd sector company whose primary shareholders are JR West, Osaka Prefecture, and Osaka City. This mixed private-public company was established in 1988 to manage construction of the JR Tozai Line, which KRR now leases to JR West. In 2017 KRR was designated as the main company responsible for construction of the Naniwasuji Line. After the line is completed, KRR will lease the line’s railway facilities to JR West and Nankai Electric Railway and use these fees to cover the construction costs which are estimated to total 330 billion yen.
Kita-Umeda Station is due to open in the spring of 2023 while the Naniwasuji Line is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2031.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.