Third Osaka railway eyes Yumeshima link

    Yoshifumi Kato, CEO and COO of Keihan Holdings, said on Tuesday that it was “his greatest mission” to connect by railway the anticipated IR at Yumeshima, Osaka, with Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto, a leading tourist destination where his company is building large new hotels.

    The Keihan group includes, aside from its real estate and shopping subsidiaries, the Keihan Electric Railway Company, whose existing lines include a direct link between Kyoto and the area near JR Osaka Station. Indeed, the name “Keihan” itself derives from kanji characters combining the names “Kyoto” (kei) and “Osaka” (han).

    The notion is that the company’s existing Nakanoshima Line might be extended to Yumeshima island from the Maishima island direction. Alternatively—or additionally—it could link up with the Subway Chuo Line at Kujo Station.

    This could form a third possible rail link to Yumeshima island, helping to solve the considerable transportation challenges associated with the site.

    The other potential rail links are an extension of JR West’s Yumesaki Line beyond its current terminus at Sakurajima Station—this one would run parallel to the envisioned Keihan Nakanoshima Line extension across Maishima island. Another possibility is an extension of the Subway Chuo Line from the opposing Sakishima island direction.

    These various options are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it might ultimately prove necessary for all three train lines to serve Yumeshima in order to accommodate large numbers of IR visitors and staff.

    However, the extension of these railway lines through urban Osaka will obviously require very large financial investments, and at this point they remain plans up on the drawing board.

    Their open interest in connecting Yumeshima with their hotels in Kyoto, as well as the versatility of the Keihan Holdings group, also suggests the possibility that this company could become a major consortium partner in a prospective Yumeshima IR.