Amazing news today from JR Central: The Chuo Shinkansen with a 7-car consist has achieved 603km/h. Only a week ago they hit 590km/h, breaking their previous record of 581km/h. The news is already spreading.
For anyone searching for the track, it's hard to find the exact route of the Chuo Shinkansen on the usual internet mapping services. I've therefore chosen to outline the path below. Meanwhile, here's an overview. The tunnels are in dark-green and the rest of the track is dark-pink. Note that it's not 100% accurate. Especially the west-end where I 'think' the tunnel entrance is being built.
This is the west-most end of the test track. It's based in southern Fuefuki and the mapping services struggle to keep their satelite data updated. The images that follow are from Google, Yahoo and then Bing. You can use the large factory building in the top-left of each image as a point of reference.
As you can see, Yahoo (being the Japanese local) hasn't updated their maps in quite a while; the pillars are still under construction. Meanwhile, all services in 'street map' mode have zero information on the test track.
From here we'll be tunnel-chasing. The track goes through mountains... a lot of mountains... For those playing at home, start from here.
This bridge casts a great shadow. The track is 100% covered here. In fact, it's covered almost the entire way, there's only one spot where we'll be able to see the trains, so far.
You'll note two smaller enclosed bridges here. One major goal of the Chuo Shinkansen is to keep the track as level as possible throughout the length of the track. Japan's mountainous terrain makes this routing rather difficult, but mountains provide a very stable platform to build very flat track. Of course, you'll find the odd valley in the terrain and so enclosed bridges have been used to not hinder operation of the service.
Yessss... exposed track. This bridge also casts a good shadow. I want to go and check this area out when the trains are running more frequently. Will have to ensure shutter speeds are at something ridiculous.
End of the line: Asahisoshi?
Google maps would have you think that this area is the end of the line... but it's not. There's a terminus here, but the line has been extended further east to Uenohara. We'll use Bing to finish the other segment.
On Bing, you can see the following tunnels in a further state of completion.
Another tunnel entrance?
All providers show this satellite imagery. It seems to be inline with the tracks, but I can't tell if it's the continued east-bound construction.
The Chuo Shinkansen is to be running between Nagoya and Tokyo by 2027 and then Osaka to Tokyo in 2045. That sounds like a long time away... but I have a hunch they'll have it running sooner.