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Old March 6th, 2012, 08:45 PM   #3441
quashlo
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Additional 14 km of JR Nara Line to be double-tracked
http://www.kyoto-np.co.jp/yamashiro/...20120126000028

Quote:
After learning that Kyōto Prefecture and JR West will launch studies in preparation of double-tracking an additional three sections (approx. 14 km total) of the JR Nara Line, on January 25 mayors of local jurisdictions along the line indicated they had mixed feelings about the news.

Shiomi Akio, mayor of Ide Town and chairman of the Committee for Double-Tracking of the Nara Line (comprised of five cities and two towns along the line), remarked, “Inclusion of double-tracking of the Yamashiro Taga – Tamamizu section south of Jōyō, together with upgrades to Tanakura Station, is perhaps an indication that progress is being made towards double-tracking of the entire line. We’d like to express our gratitude to JR’s resolve and the Prefectural Government’s efforts.”

In regards to next steps, Shiomi commented that it is “critical to keep construction costs to the absolute minimum, if only to reduce the funding burden on local jurisdictions,” revealing his intention to lobby JR West through the Prefectural Government. However, he also steeled his resolve, saying that local governments now need to “initiate efforts to translate the double-tracking project into regional revitalization.”

Uji City
For Uji City, the entire section of the line within city limits has been selected for study, meaning substantial progress has been made towards improving convenience for local residents. However, many issues remain, including improvements to related infrastructure, land acquisition, and strategies to boost ridership. There is also the dilemma regarding the establishment of a new station between Uji and Obaku, a proposal requested by residents living in the area and which is dependent on the double-tracking of the line. The city’s Transport Policy Division says, “As the project will require a financial burden on our part, we will need to scrutinize what kind of urban planning we need to carry out.”

“As Uji City was a member of the committee that had pushed for double-tracking of the entire line, I cannot comment on this particular issue alone,” remarked Mayor Kubota Isamu.

Jōyō City
Jōyō City mayor Hashimoto Akio, who now enjoys the prospect of seeing the entire section of the line from Kyōto to Jōyō double-tracked, also gave his comments: “I do applaud the efforts to get at least this far and move forward with studies to prepare for double-tacking of the Jōyō – Kyōto section.”

The city has been attempting to lure the exclusive stadium for ball sports being planned by the Prefectural Government to the eastern parts of the city. However, the Jōyō – Yamashiro Taga section of the line, which includes Nagaike Station (the closest station to the proposed site), was not included in the sections to be studied for double-tracking. “I will continue to lobby for double-tracking of the line south of Jōyō together with other cities and towns along the line.”

Kizugawa City
Kizugawa City was not included among the latest sections to be studied. Mayor Kawai Noriko applauded the decision: “If expansion of the line’s double-track sections can lead to increased convenience, such as more trains and reduced travel times, we can anticipate benefits for the new development in the Kizu Chūō area, which is awaiting its debut.” However, she also gave the following remarks: “Our goal is still to double-track the entire line. I want to push to realize this goal in the third phase of construction works.”
The following three sections will be double-tracked:

JR Fujimori (Fushimi Ward, Kyōto City) – Uji (Uji City): 9.9 km
Shinden (Uji City) – Jōyō (Jōyō City): 2.1 km
Yamashiro Taga (Ide Town) – Tamamizu (Ide Town): 2.0 km

Map:
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=...afdcb876&msa=0

The expected project timeline will stretch for approximately ten years from now, bringing the progress of double-tracking on the Nara Line from 23.6% currently to 63%. The line is 34.7 km, and currently only two sections (8.2 km) of the line are double-tracked: Kyōto – JR Fujimori and Uji – Shinden. Negotiations between JR West and Kyōto Prefecture on double-tracking the rest of the line began after double-tracking of the JR San’in Line between Kyōto and Sonobe was completed in March 2010. In addition to upgrades to Tanakura Station, the project also includes upgrades to the Nara Line platforms at Kyōto Station. Estimated project cost is between ¥30 billion and ¥40 billion.

Double-tracking of the Nara Line is a bit of a “tug-and-war” between Kyōto Prefecture, which wants to see the entire line double-tracked, and JR West, which wants to keep its costs down and focus only on segments that can guarantee some ridership increase. After these upgrades, most of the line south of Jōyō will still remain single-track, but there will be a double-track section right in the middle that should give JR West a little more schedule flexibility.
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Old March 6th, 2012, 08:46 PM   #3442
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Niigata City moves forward with BRT project between Niigata and Hakusan Stations
http://mainichi.jp/area/niigata/news...10111000c.html

Quote:
Niigata City has compiled the basic plan for its “new transit” system, bus rapid transit (BRT), which the city hopes will revitalize the urban core of Niigata and eliminate excessive dependence on automobiles. The city selected a route connecting JR Niigata Station and Hakusan Station as the first phase of the project, aiming to introduce the system by FY2014. The news was reported February 13 at a full committee session of the City Council.

BRT involves running low-floor, high-performance buses on exclusive rights-of-way. According to the basic plan, the first-phase operating segment will connect Niigata Station, Bandai, Furumachi, Niigata City Hall, and Hakusan Station. The exclusive right-of-way (ROW) will be established on Higashi-Ōdōri, Bandaibashi, Masaya-kōji, Higashi Naka-dōri, and the Former Densha-dōri, and the city is aiming for urban planning approval for the exclusive ROW in FY2012.

As BRT has an exclusive ROW, it can secure similar on-time performance to railways, and the basic plan calls for an “operating frequency that does not require looking at a schedule”. Project execution will involve a public-private partnership, with the city owning the vehicles and building the ROW and stations, and a private-sector enterprise operating the line.

In addition, the basic plan identifies a second-phase operating segment from Niigata Station to the southern part of Toyano Lagoon. The city will also continue further studies towards converting the ROW into a light rail line, laying tracks in the exclusive ROW and running trams along it.
Google Map:
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=...681e9065&msa=0

Good to see this moving forward, as I think it’s definitely something some of the smaller cities should be looking at. Hard to find a map of the alignments, but anyways, the Phase 1 alignment shown should be pretty close to what is built, while the Phase 2 is my guess at what it will be. It can be pretty busy on the Phase 1 alignment currently, with close to 70 buses per hour heading from Furumachi towards Niigata Station in the morning.

Not mentioned in this particular article, but Phase 1 will cost approx. ¥3 billion, with Phase 2 estimates at ¥4 billion. They will purchase at least a few articulated buses for the line (not sure how many), although I imagine that all their buses, including the standard-sized ones, will use the ROW.
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Old March 7th, 2012, 09:31 PM   #3443
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JR Kyōto Line schedule at Shin-Ōsaka Station, bound for Kyōto.
Black = local
Orange = rapid
Blue = special rapid

There’s a pretty recognizable pattern of rapids and special rapids every 15 minutes to Yasu, Maibara, Nagahama, or Tsuruga, supplemented by various local services to Takatsuki and Kyōto.

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Inside a special rapid. This is the fastest service on the line, making the journey between Ōsaka and Kyōto Stations in less than 30 minutes.

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Inari Station, JR Nara Line
This is an interesting line as it’s one of the more recent ones to receive upgrades from JR West, including double-tracking specific sections, with more upgrades to come in the near future. It’s in direct competition with the Kintetsu Kyōto Line for Kyōto – Nara traffic, though.

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Old March 7th, 2012, 09:32 PM   #3444
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Grade crossing on the Keihan Main Line, as a local for Yodoyabashi passes by.
The Keihan Main Line and JR Nara Line run parallel in this part of Kyōto.

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Fushimi Inari Station, Keihan Main Line

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Keihan 3000 series on a limited express run for Yodoyabashi in Ōsaka

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Old March 7th, 2012, 09:32 PM   #3445
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Fushimi Inari is a minor station, so the midday frequency is only a train every 10 minutes.

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A limited express in the opposite direction, for Demachiyanagi.
Limited expresses are either two or three doors per side.

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Old March 7th, 2012, 09:33 PM   #3446
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Unlike the faster JR or Hankyū, Keihan’s alignment is quite curvy, making it substantially slower. This is somewhat offset by having better access into central Kyōto, as it travels north-south along the river and has the closest stations to many of Kyōto’s landmarks.

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Local for Nakanoshima
Due to ridership on the Nakanoshima Line falling below expectations, Keihan has since reduced the number of trains on the line and downgraded trains to slower services, but the schedule is designed to allow passengers to transfer at Kyōbashi to the faster services on the Main Line, reducing overall travel time to / from Kyōto.

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Old March 7th, 2012, 09:33 PM   #3447
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Sub-express for Demachiyanagi
Virtually all trains continue past Sanjō to Demachiyanagi

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Old March 7th, 2012, 09:35 PM   #3448
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Keihan Sanjō Station

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Kyōto Municipal Bus
The buses make it easier to get around the city and reach landmarks that don’t have direct rail service, but Kyōto is an old city, and there’s some really narrow streets with heavy congestion. There’s a proposal out to re-introduce municipal trams on the busiest bus corridors, so hopefully that plan goes somewhere.

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As part of the opening of the Nakanoshima Line, Keihan renamed several of their Kyōto stations after famous landmarks:
Gojō → Kiyomizu Gojō (after Kiyomizu-dera Temple)
Shijō → Gion Shijō (after Gion, a famous Kyōto district nearby)
Marutamachi → Jingū Marutamachi (after Heian Jingū Shrine)

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Old March 7th, 2012, 09:35 PM   #3449
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Taxi queues in Shijō–Kawaramachi.
Hankyū’s Kawaramachi Station is directly underneath this street, an underground alignment that was actually the first underground rail line in the Kansai area (1931), beating out the Ōsaka Municipal Subway (1933).

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Inside Hankyū Kawaramachi Station, waiting for a train back to Ōsaka.

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Old March 7th, 2012, 09:36 PM   #3450
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A local for Katsura, probably a pull-in after the evening rush hour (Katsura has one of Hankyū’s two yards for the Kyōto Line). Can see the blinds (a common feature in stock running aboveground), but these are solid and are pulled up from the pocket underneath the window sill.

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Back at Umeda, our train becomes a rapid express for Kawaramachi. Can see the monitors used by the conductor to check the doors before closing them (the platforms at Umeda are curved). This is a 9300 series, the newest series on the Kyōto Line. I don’t think the maroon will ever grow old—it’s a classic.

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Old March 8th, 2012, 10:25 AM   #3451
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Undergrounded section of Keiō Line to open this August
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/tok...OYT8T00071.htm

Quote:
Total of 4 km, part of strategy to eliminate grade crossings that never open
In regards to the continuous grade-separation project that would underground Chōfu, Fuda, and Kokuryō Stations on the Keiō Line, on February 28 the Tōkyō Metropolitan Government revealed that it will switch the line to the underground tracks in August. Bureau of Construction chief Matsuo Kōichi revealed the news in a response to questions during a session of the Metropolitan Assembly.

The project is being carried out by the Tōkyō Metropolitan Government as part of an effort to eliminate grade crossings that never open, with the aim of making traffic flow smoother. The segments to be switched to underground tunnel in August stretch approx. 4 km in total, comprised of a 2.8 km section of the Keiō Line (starting between Shibasaki and Kokuryō Stations and ending between Chōfu and Nishi-Chōfu Stations) and a 0.9 km section of the Keiō Sagamihara Line from Chōfu Station to a point just before Keiō Tamagawa Station.

In response to the Tōkyō Metropolitan Government’s announcement that it would make the switch in August, Chōfu City mayor Nagatomo Yoshiki released the following comment: “I hope to make the undergrounding a new starting point, and work to create attractive places to live.” In terms of strategies to reuse the space freed up at ground level, the city is considering showing films at the station plaza and converting the former right-of-way into a recreational path, hosting events in the space.

On February 28, the Tōkyō Metropolitan Government also announced that it would approve urban planning for the elevation of the Sasazuka – Senkawa section of the Keiō Line (approx. 7 km) in FY2012. After receiving approval from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) in FY2013, the Tōkyō Metropolitan Government says it will complete the project in ten years.
We finally have an approximate date… Can’t believe this project is in the home stretch now. This is not just an undergrounding, but also a quadruple-tracking project. Too bad we will have to wait for another 10 years before the “missing link” section the rest of the way to Sasazuka is quadruple-tracked.

Videos of driving alongside the Keiō Line alignment. You get a good view of the scope of the construction involved and the neighborhoods along the line, part of the dense “suburban” swath of western Tōkyō.

Part 1: Kokuryō – Chōfu



Part 2: Around Chōfu Station
The infamous grade crossing just west of the station makes an appearance towards the end… Kind of saddening that we will no longer be able to see Keiō’s cross-platform magic once it all moves underground, spread across two levels.

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Old March 8th, 2012, 02:52 PM   #3452
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Great news. Here's hoping they fix the nightmare that is the Odakyu Line between Shinjuku and Yoyogi-Uehara, another stretch of infamously busy tracks and crossings that never open!
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Old March 8th, 2012, 07:47 PM   #3453
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I don't think there's been any movement on that section at all. It's an extremely tight alignment, hampered by all the houses that are right next to the tracks. They'd also probably need to do a lot of modifications to the terminal at Shinjuku (already a two-level station, with underground platforms), so I can see the cost ballooning to several tens of billions of yen for what is a relatively short section.

It will be interesting to see what Odakyū does with their timetable once the current work on the line (undergrounding + quadruple-tracking between Higashi-Kitazawa and Umegaoka) is complete. They will still technically be limited two tracks on the key stretch between Yoyogi Uehara and Shinjuku (currently around 24 tph per direction at peak, with non-uniform stopping patterns), so I'm curious just how much they can actually increase the number of trains without forcing more onto the Chiyoda Line, which is technically the "quadruple-track" for this section of the Odakyū Line. I suspect they have not much choice other than to increase the number of Chiyoda Line through-services if they want to take full advantage of the quadruple-track section west of Yoyogi Uehara.
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Old March 8th, 2012, 10:26 PM   #3454
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Hankyū Kyōto Line Rakusai-guchi Station construction update

Now to catch up on some of the construction projects…

First is the continuous grade-separation of the Hankyū Kyōto Line in the vicinity of Rakusai-guchi Station in Kyōto City. This is an elevation of 1.92 km of the Hankyū Kyōto Line between Katsura and Higashi-Mukō, eliminating three grade crossings. Completion is scheduled for March 2015.

Some pics (2012.01):
Source: http://saitoshika.blog119.fc2.com/

Station plaza (taxi and bus zones)



Project information at construction site. In addition to elevating the track, Rakusai-guchi Station, which opened in 2003 with temporary platforms and station facilities, will also be elevated. This will be a simple two-track + side-platform station. Platform length will be 162 m, accommodating eight-car formations.



The current ground-level platforms… Very simple design, since it was only going to be used for 10 years or so.



Columns are being erected just to the west of the station, behind the Kyōto-bound platforms.



North end of the station, closer to Kawaramachi



South end, closer to Umeda



Kyōto City is carrying out a land readjustment project (basically fixing the streets and other infrastructure to get it ready for development) on 8.4 ha to the east of the station.





9300 series and 8300 series passing each other at the station. This is a minor station, so only locals / semi-expresses stop here (midday frequency of every 10 minutes).

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Old March 8th, 2012, 10:26 PM   #3455
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Keihan Main Line Yodo Station construction update: Part 1

Next, an update on the work at Yodo Station on the Keihan Main Line. This project involves the continuous grade-separation elevation of approx. 2 km of the line surrounding Yodo Station and upgrades to the station to convert it from a two-track, side-platform configuration to a more standard four-track station with two island platforms, in line with its importance as the gateway to the Kyōto Racecourse. The station will be slightly relocated, away from Yodo Castle and closer to the Racecourse. Three grade crossings will be eliminated, and a station plaza and frontage roads along the viaduct will also be constructed. The outbound (for Ōsaka) tracks were elevated on 2009.12.09, followed by one of the inbound (for Kyōto) tracks on 2011.05.28. The last bit of work is constructing the second inbound track and platform. The entire project is scheduled for completion in July 2013.

Some pics:
Source: http://building-pc.cocolog-nifty.com/map/

Render



East end of the inbound tracks. To the left is the second inbound track being worked on. This is only a semi-major station, but critical for Racecourse traffic.



A train laying over on the siding. Not sure why it’s on ballast… Perhaps they plan on doing some minor adjustment to this later on.



Construction of the second inbound track (Track 1)



Inbound platform, looking towards the center of the station. Simple but clean design.



The canopy is intended to be asymmetrical, with the inbound platform side being lower.



Center of the platform



Track 1 side



Concrete trackbed and sleepers



South end of the inbound platform





Outbound platform

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Old March 8th, 2012, 10:27 PM   #3456
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Keihan Main Line Yodo Station construction update: Part 2

The canopy was probably designed asymmetrical to afford views of the Racecourse from the outbound platform.



This is the special second-level concourse only used during race days, obviously designed to handle crowds.



An impressive array of faregates greets Racecourse visitors on race days, with what appears to be 14 gates.



This special exit is closed on non-race days, with only one regular exit on the west side of the station open to passengers. Outside of race days, the station doesn’t see too many passengers, so only one exit is needed.



Outside of the faregates, the special concourse continues all the way to the Racecourse.





This viaduct is higher than the typical design, likely to provide vertical clearance for the second-level concourse and pedestrian bridge leading to the Racecourse.



View of the station from the south (Racecourse) side



From the north side



Construction of the second inbound track involves first demolishing the ground-level inbound platform and tracks.



North-side station plaza under construction

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Old March 8th, 2012, 10:27 PM   #3457
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Kishibe Station construction update

This station on the JR Kyōto Line is getting an elevated concourse / platform bridge. Some pics (2011.10):
Source: http://saitoshika.blog119.fc2.com/

Most of the exterior of the elevated concourse / platform bridge is largely complete, and they are working on the vertical circulation (stairwells / escalators) from the platforms.



A pretty big concourse that will shade a good portion of the platforms.



Perhaps due to lack of space on the platform, up and down escalators are separate.



The northeast end of the station, closer to Kyōto. Can see the platform extensions here.



Last is the north-south public passage that spans the adjacent freight yard and connects into the elevated concourse. The public passage and portions of the new station building will open with the upcoming schedule changes, with the grand opening coming in autumn 2013.



A couple months later (2011.12):
Source: http://saitoshika.blog119.fc2.com/



The Kyōto-bound platform is mostly complete now. In comparison, the Ōsaka-bound platform still needs a bit more work.





JR West appears to be using these translucent railings for escalators more often now. They used the same design for the renovation work at Nada Station on the JR Kōbe Line.



Ōsaka-bound platform

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Old March 8th, 2012, 10:28 PM   #3458
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JR Yamatoji Line Yao Station construction update

Some pics (2011.12) of the construction of an elevated concourse / platform bridge at Yao Station on the JR Yamatoji Line (Kansai Main Line):
Source: http://saitoshika.blog119.fc2.com/

Render
This is a minor station on the Yamatoji Line, with only locals stopping. Configuration is two tracks, side platforms.



A lot of work has been done recently on grade-separations or new elevated concourses at stations on the Yamatoji Line. Recently-improved stations include Kamo, Kizu, Nara, Kōriyama, Yamato Koizumi, Hōryūji, Kashiwara, Kyūhōji, Imamiya, and JR Namba.



There is quite a bit of clearance between the two tracks at the station because there used to be a center track which has since been removed.



In addition to the elevated concourse, they will be redesigning the roads and traffic flow around the station, including at Shibukawa grade crossing adjacent to the station. They will also build a small station rotary on the south side.



The temporary south station building was opened for use on 2011.12.23, with a portion of the north station building and all of the former south station building being closed off. The elevated concourse will be open for use in spring 2013.



Temporary station building beind the opposite platform. The platforms have also been extended to the west (right, in this picture) towards Kyūhōji.



Newly-erected temporary platform bridge at the west end of the station.



In the distance is the Mega City Towers development, a twin-tower condo development with 1,500 units.



Final shot with a 221 series rapid and the older wooden canopies at the station.

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Old March 8th, 2012, 10:28 PM   #3459
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Kawasaki Station East Exit station plaza construction update

This was a project we learned about a long, long time ago (article here), an attempt to implement barrier-free upgrades and improvements to pedestrian access. It’s now complete.

Some pics:
Source: http://building-pc.cocolog-nifty.com/helicopter/

The East Exit now has a large canopy above it.





The canopy also covers the entrance to the underground mall outside the East Exit, Kawasaki Azalea.



Looking from the south side of the station.





The covered pedestrian path connects from the JR station to the nearby Keikyū station.



Thankfully, they kept this tree here and didn’t cut it down.



The Keikyū viaduct has been converted for secondary use as a passage connecting to the East Exit bus stops.



The seven bus stop locations at this exit have been consolidated into two locations, making it easier to use for passengers.







The bus area is also connected by barrier-free access to Kawasaki Azalea.

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Old March 10th, 2012, 07:20 AM   #3460
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
Undergrounded section of Keiō Line to open this August
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/tok...OYT8T00071.htm



We finally have an approximate date… Can’t believe this project is in the home stretch now. This is not just an undergrounding, but also a quadruple-tracking project. Too bad we will have to wait for another 10 years before the “missing link” section the rest of the way to Sasazuka is quadruple-tracked.

Videos of driving alongside the Keiō Line alignment. You get a good view of the scope of the construction involved and the neighborhoods along the line, part of the dense “suburban” swath of western Tōkyō.

Part 1: Kokuryō – Chōfu



Part 2: Around Chōfu Station
The infamous grade crossing just west of the station makes an appearance towards the end… Kind of saddening that we will no longer be able to see Keiō’s cross-platform magic once it all moves underground, spread across two levels.

Are there new underground stations at Kokuryo, Fuda, Chofu and Keio Tamagawa?
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