East Japan Railway Co. plans to open a new, faster line connecting central Tokyo with Haneda Airport, beginning around 2025, sources said, which could shave more than 10 minutes off the commute.
The company estimates it will cost 300 billion yen ($2.95 billion) to 400 billion yen to build and take 10 years to complete. JR East also plans to ask the national government and the Tokyo metropolitan government to help pay for the project.
However, an official with the transport ministry's Railway Bureau said, "The government has not started considering proposals so far."
In addition, a Tokyo metropolitan government official said, "We have been briefed on the project, but Tokyo has not made any decisions."
The new line will utilize freight tracks currently not in use between Tamachi Station, which is southwest of Tokyo Station, and Oi Wharf, farther south.
From there, the line will connect to the airport via an underground tunnel system. The current 30-minute ride from Tokyo Station to Haneda Airport is expected to be shortened to 18 minutes.
The planned line will also connect with the northern Utsunomiya, Takasaki and Joban lines, which will link to Tokyo Station through the Ueno-Tokyo Line, which is currently under construction and is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2015.
The area north of the Tokyo Freight Terminal Station on the new line will also connect to the Shinjuku district to the west, via Oimachi Station. The station is on Tokyo Waterfront Area Rapid Transit Inc.'s Rinkai Line and directly connects to JR East's Saikyo Line.
The trip from Shinjuku Station to Haneda Airport is expected to be reduced from the current 40 minutes to 23 minutes.
To connect with Chiba Prefecture in the east, the new line will join the rails linking the Rinkai Line and its rail yard located near Tokyo Freight Terminal Station.
JR East anticipates that 28 million customers annually will utilize Haneda Airport Station on the new line.