JR West opened the northern segment of the Osaka Higashi Line on March 16th, adding six more stations to the line and expanding its reach as far north as Shin-Osaka Station. As a result, Shin-Osaka Station, with its intercity shinkansen services, is now directly connected to Kyuhoji Station, and accessibility between the eastern and northern parts of Osaka is much improved.
Together with this line expansion, a new Direct Rapid service between Shin-Osaka and Nara has been introduced that runs along the Osaka Higashi Line until Kyuhoji Station and then continues on the Yamatoji Line to Nara. There are now four daily Direct Rapid return services which run the complete distance between Shin-Osaka Station and JR Nara Station in around 55 minutes. Previously, passengers traveling between Shin-Osaka and Nara had to transfer at Osaka Station and the journey took around 65 minutes. [Read more…]