Vision of railroad for Okinawa

Okinawa Prefecture Government is pondering a possibility to build a railroad in Okinawa. The proposal was announced on June 6.

The proposed train line would connect Naha Airport to Nago through Okinawa City and include about 13 stops along the line. The total length of the line would be 69 kilometers, and the total cost of construction is estimated to be ¥5,600,000,000. This is the first time that the prefecture has introduced a plan for a rail connection in detail including a proposed route and a budget estimate.

The line planners envision that the train would take a 24 minutes to run from Naha to Okinawa City, and 58 minutes to Nago that would be the end of the line from Naha Airport.

Prefecture planners are still considering three different routes for the line. If the project comes true, the construction could start in 10 to 15 years. It then would take 10 years of construction, and the line could open for service around 2033.

Admitting that it would be hard to obtain residential or even commercial land for building the line, the planners envision constructing the tracks above national highways and underground. They estimate that 71% of the tracks would be underground and 16% of above ground over the highways. Prefecture officials envision the train be a small type, and powered by a linear motor with 4 cars in one unit. The train would travel at maximum speeds of up to 100kph hour.

Prefecture planners also estimated that there would be 32,000 to 43,000 users per day. According to their calculations the train could earn a ¥980,000,000 per year profit if there are 43,000 passengers per day, but it would be ¥870,000,000 a year in red if the lower estimate of 32,000 passengers per day is realized.