FUKUOKA -- The new southwest Japan shinkansen bullet train line expected to commence operations in autumn 2022 between Nagasaki and Saga prefectures will be named the Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen in Japanese, Kyushu Railway Co. (JR Kyushu) announced on April 28.
The naming choice for the line connecting Nagasaki with Takeo-Onsen in Saga Prefecture reportedly came from a desire to distinguish the service from the central line services between Hakata and Kagoshima-chuo, and to make it easier to get an image of the section as crossing the prefectures of Nagasaki and Saga.
JR Kyushu President and CEO Toshihiko Aoyagi explained at a news conference, "Related parties had already informally been referring to it as the Nishi Kyushu route, and we judged that that name had taken root."
However, he revealed that consultations with Saga Prefecture over maintenance methods for the route had hit a snag, with no conclusion reached for the section between Shin-Tosu and Takeo-Onsen.
Among the public, the line has generally been referred to as the Nagasaki route. Online and elsewhere, people have speculated that consideration was being given to Saga Prefecture, which has confronted JR and other parties over maintenance methods.
It has already been confirmed that the trains themselves will be known as "Kamome," meaning "seagull." For the time being people can transfer to conventional express trains at Takeo-Onsen Station.
(Japanese original by Hiroshi Hisano, Kyushu News Department)