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Old April 17th, 2013, 11:50 PM   #5401
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新快速用ホーム増設 大阪・JR高槻駅、16年春までに
http://www.asahi.com/area/osaka/arti...304160134.html

JR West will construct new platforms for shin-kaisoku (新快速) special rapid services at JR Takatsuki Station on the JR Kyōto Line (Tōkaidō Main Line) to help deal with rush hour crowding. An agreement will be signed between JR West and Takatsuki City as soon as today (2013.04.17) and partial funding (two-thirds) for the improvements will be provided by the national and local (i.e., Takatsuki City) governments. The rest will be provided by JR West.

The current layout at the station has two island platforms, which special rapid services share with rapid and local services. The ¥4.8 billion improvements will construct new platforms to the outside for the exclusive use of shin-kaisoku services.

Average daily entries and exits at the station are 123,000, and the current platform design only provides 2.6 m for every 100 passengers. Meanwhile, similarly busy Ibaraki Station and Sumiyoshi Station have much more platform space to work with (4.0 m and 4.8 m for every 100 entries or exits at the station, respectively). The improvements will increase the circulation area at Takatsuki to 4.9 m for every 100 passengers.

I’m curious what the final design and track layout will look like… In addition to the quadruple track, there’s some sidings at the station that I suspect will be removed to make way for the new platforms. I wonder if they will maintain cross-platform transfers between special rapid and rapid / local (sort of like what Hanshin did at Amagasaki post-Namba Line) or if they will completely segregate special rapid and rapid / local. Unlike the JR East’s “rapid” services in Tōkyō, the special rapids aren’t fully segregated on the JR Kyōto Line and JR Kōbe Line, and frequently use the local tracks depending on time of day (I believe mostly because of freight trains and limited express services).
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Old April 17th, 2013, 11:51 PM   #5402
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千葉交通、「酒々井プレミアム・アウトレット」グランドオープンに合わせ、バス4路線の運行を開始
http://response.jp/article/2013/04/17/196160.html

Official press release:
http://www.chibakotsu.co.jp/from_c/13/011.html

Chiba Kōtsū, a private bus operator in Chiba Prefecture will implement a series of service improvements coordinated with the grand opening of a new outlet mall in Shisui. The biggest change will be a new express shuttle bus service connecting Narita Airport Terminals 1 and 2 with the new Shisui Premium Outlets, operating 19 roundtrips on approximately 30-mintue headways (one-way travel time about 20 minutes). A portion of the highway coach buses on their Tōkyō – Chōshi route will also be rerouted to serve the new outlet mall, and they will also establish two weekend-only “shopper shuttle” routes serving the outlet mall, one for JR Narita Station and the other for Yachimata Station (each operating four roundtrips a day).
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Old April 17th, 2013, 11:52 PM   #5403
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More Tōkyō-area taxis to begin accepting Suica

Official JR East press release:
http://www.jreast.co.jp/press/2013/20130404.pdf

Currently, about 10,000 taxis in the metropolis already accept Suica, but another 10,000 taxis will begin accepting Suica for cab fare payments starting as early as mid-April:

日の丸自動車: About 1,000 cabs (starting mid-April)
東京無線: About 4,500 cabs (starting late April)
チェッカーキャブ: About 4,000 cabs (starting early June)

There are about 30,000 corporate-owned taxis running in Tōkyō Prefecture, which means that about 60% will now be accepting Suica.
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Old April 17th, 2013, 11:52 PM   #5404
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西武鉄道の路線存続への協力を要請
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/2013...990641000.html

Representatives from Higashi-Murayama City, Kokubunji City, Higashi-Yamato City, and Kodaira City paid a visit to the MLIT on 2013.04.17 to meet with the MLIT Vice-Minister Tsuruho Yōsuke and submit a letter requesting that MLIT Minister Ōta Akihiro work to establish a new legal framework to ensure the preservation of the Seibu Kokubunji Line and Seibu Tamako Line.

Tokorozawa City officials also begun a petition effort, gathering signatures at Seibu Tokorozawa Station and two other locations on 2013.04.15. Similar efforts are also underway in other jurisdictions along the Seibu network, including Iruma City, Sayama City, and Hannō City. The signatures will be collected and submitted sometime next month.
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Old April 17th, 2013, 11:54 PM   #5405
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定時バス 那覇市が実証実験
http://article.okinawatimes.co.jp/ar...13-04-18_48205

Naha City will begin a trial on-time performance and reliability for a new bus service on the Maaji / Shikina – Kokusai-dōri – Shin-Toshin route (真和志・識名地域-国際通り-新都心) to determine the need for improvements such as bus lanes. The 90-day trial service will be operated by Naha Bus under contract with the city, with a fare of ¥220, regardless of distance. The service will also operate on the Kokusai-dōri transit mall in effect every Sunday, improving access to central Naha.



Okinawa’s transit network is heavily reliant on buses, so any improvements there would be a plus for both locals and visitors. The huge bus terminal near Asahibashi Station:

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Last edited by quashlo; April 18th, 2013 at 09:43 PM.
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Old April 18th, 2013, 09:45 PM   #5406
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JR熊本-川尻間に新駅 2016年春開業へ
http://kumanichi.com/news/local/main/20130418004.shtml

Kumamoto City and JR Kyūshū have agreed to construct a new station on the Kagoshima Main Line between Kumamoto Station and Kawashiri Station, to open in spring 2016. The agreement will officially be signed today (2013.04.19).

The proposed site is a former Kumamoto Prefecture agricultural laboratory in Karikusa 1-chōme, Minami Ward, just to the south of where Prefectural Route 51 crosses beneath the Kagoshima Main Line in an underpass. This will be an elevated station and will feature a parking lot and a new 4,600 sq m station plaza, with bus stops and a taxi zone. The platforms and other railway infrastructure will be constructed by the railway, which will also design the station building. Total construction cost (¥1 billion) will be borne by the city, which has already earmarked ¥1.08 million in its FY2013 budget for station building design and other expenses. The design will be finalized this fiscal year, with groundbreaking next fiscal year.

The area surrounding the station is one of 15 “regional nodes” identified in the city’s master plan for concentration of commercial and public facilities. The new station plaza will serve buses connecting to the Kumamoto East Bypass (東バイパス) and National Route 3.

Master plans approved in 1992 called for the proposed site to serve as a station plaza for a new station. The city acquired the necessary land, but ridership forecasts were not favorable, and the project was shelved for some time. With increased residential development in the area, the city began re-examining the plans in FY2010 and FY2011 and entered into negotiations with JR Kyūshū.





Cab view on the segment in question.
Kumamoto and Kawashiri are 5.2 km distant. The new station should be somewhere around 4:00 in the video.

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Old April 18th, 2013, 09:46 PM   #5407
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大阪地下鉄にも「駅ナカ」 天王寺駅に18日開業
http://www.asahi.com/business/update...304170013.html

The Ōsaka Municipal Subway’s first real ekinaka (station retail) facility opened on 2013.04.18 at Tennōji Station on the Midōsuji Line in Abeno Ward. Similar facilities will follow at Nanba Station in October and Umeda Station next April. Operation of all three facilities, encompassing a cumulative total of 2,000 sq m of space and 42 stores, has been contracted out for 15 years to Nankai Electric Railway and Tōkyū Real Estate. Forecasted annual revenues, including usage fees, are ¥864 million. The necessary renovations cost ¥5.6 billion.

The Tennōji facility is small, with only 9 stores (11 If you include two stores at the East Exit of the station) and 614 sq m of retail space obtained by removing some a commuter pass ticket office and existing retail stores near the station’s faregates. To be 100% accurate, only one of the stores (a bakery) is actually within the paid area of the station.

About 250,000 passengers use this particular station on the Midōsuji Line daily, which offers good connections to the Tanimachi Line, JR Tennōji Station, Kintetsu’s Ōsaka Abenobashi terminal, and the Hankai Tramway’s Tennōji Station. Kintetsu is also set to open Abeno Harukas, Japan’s tallest building, and a new department store at Abenobashi this June.

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Old April 18th, 2013, 09:47 PM   #5408
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A bit more info on JR West’s improvements at Takatsuki Station, now that they have published an official press release.

What wasn’t even mentioned in the article from the other day is that they are constructing new West Exit ticketing entrances and a new transfer passage. The platforms will be 260 m long (almost 13 cars long) to accommodate the 12-car long special rapids. The cross-section provided in the press release also indicates that the sidings at the north and south side of the station will be removed, but that the special rapids will be completely segregated. It will still be possible to transfer cross-platform between locals and rapids, but special rapids will only be accessible from one side.



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Old April 18th, 2013, 09:48 PM   #5409
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As for 24-hour Toei Subway service, the (handful of) comments in this WSJ article are not very supportive of the idea:
http://realtime.wsj.com/japan/2013/0...1%AF%E5%BF%85/

Anyways, night-time bus service is much, much more realistic. As advanced as Japan’s rail network is, it still relies heavily on manpower to operate safely and efficiently (most trains require at least two crewmembers, many stations require platform staff, etc.), so it’d probably be difficult to make a case for 24-hour subway service based on economics alone. They might be able to establish an “owl” fare structure that charges more for the service, similar to what some late night bus services do in Japan, but I imagine this may actually turn off some potential riders, who may just stick with taxis or waiting until the first trains in the morning.
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Old April 19th, 2013, 05:05 AM   #5410
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If the system shuts down in the wee hours of the morning, what happens to sleeper trains and freight trains?

Also, what do the various hand gestures mean, where do they come from, and why are they followed?
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Old April 19th, 2013, 06:51 AM   #5411
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Quote:
If the system shuts down in the wee hours of the morning, what happens to sleeper trains and freight trains?
There are freight and night trains, but only on JR lines- they do run, but only on certain routes in metro areas, and often on bypass routes in the case of freight trains in the Tokyo area. On lines where there is considerable traffic over 24 hours (such as sections of the Sanyo and Tokaido Lines between major metro areas), maintenance windows are scheduled on a weekday shortly after noon (Wednesday in the case of the Sanyo Line, as most department stores are closed on that day in that region). But this is outside the context of metro area 24hr passenger operations.
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Old April 19th, 2013, 06:02 PM   #5412
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 00Zy99 View Post
Also, what do the various hand gestures mean, where do they come from, and why are they followed?
If you could be a bit more specific, that would help, but in general I understand this to be an industrial safety technique.

I'm sure someone will be along shortly with the Japanese term for it, but the overall thought is that pointing and verbalizing a condition makes for improved safety. I don't speak Japanese, but I suspect they're saying the the equivalent of "the light is green" while pointing at the signal light and so on.
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Old April 19th, 2013, 07:09 PM   #5413
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smithrh View Post
If you could be a bit more specific, that would help, but in general I understand this to be an industrial safety technique.

I'm sure someone will be along shortly with the Japanese term for it, but the overall thought is that pointing and verbalizing a condition makes for improved safety. I don't speak Japanese, but I suspect they're saying the the equivalent of "the light is green" while pointing at the signal light and so on.
The practice is called shisakanko (指差喚呼), literally "pointing while voicing (loudly)". Apparently the practice was begun by drivers in the old Japanese National Railways. A common practice, you can hear it done especially loudly during training sessions for rookie drivers. I remember many years ago witnessing such a session on the Sotetsu Line- the driver was especially emphatic with his "shupPATSU SHINKO" before releasing the brakes and applying throttle.

On the Saikyo Line at Omiya, a conductor at work:
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Old April 19th, 2013, 09:49 PM   #5414
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JR直方駅周辺整備:ほぼ終了 駅前広場は年度内完成
http://mainichi.jp/area/fukuoka/news...10403000c.html

Nōgata City says it is almost finished with a series of improvements costing about ¥4.5 billion at and around JR Nōgata Station on the Chikuhō Main Line. Specifically, the improvements called for replacement of an aging station building (built 1910), construction of a new station plaza on the site of the former station building (including a taxi zone and parking facility), relocation of the bus terminal closer to the station, a ¥1.9 billion land readjustment project in Susakimachi (northeast of the station), and design improvements to strengthen the West Exit of the station as a gateway to the city, including a new square. The national government is funding 50% to 55% of the total project cost for the city’s first megaproject, and it’s finally nearing completion, although many residents were opposed to the demolition of the original station building.

The new, fully-accessible station building opened in 2011.04, and the Social Insurance Nōgata Hospital (社会保険直方病院) relocated to a new location east of the station in 2012.08. A new police box at the station will open this month, while the station plaza and bus center are scheduled to open sometime this fiscal year. The new square at the West Exit will be completed in FY2014. A new 12 m wide frontage road paralleling the tracks will also be constructed as part of the land readjustment, improving traffic circulation.

A tour of the construction and new station building:



Scenes on the Chikuhō Electric Railroad, which also serves Nōgata, although it has a separate terminal from the JR station, located about 500 m away.

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Old April 19th, 2013, 09:51 PM   #5415
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朝の通学時間帯の混雑改善、JRに陳情へ 印南駅から田辺方面
http://www.agara.co.jp/modules/daily...storyid=251137

Inami Town in southern Wakayama Prefecture will file a petition with JR to improve service to reduce overcrowding during the morning rush hour on trains on the Kisei Main Line. Specifically, trains departing the Gobō end of the line heading for JR Kii Tanabe Station have become overcrowded with high school students heading to classes, starting at around Inami Station. As a result, students and guardians at four high schools in southern Wakayama are lobbying to have JR West add a third car to the trains, which was removed in 2002 when aging 3-car trains were replaced with newer 2-car formations. After receiving complaints, JR added a special school tripper bound for Kii Tanabe starting from Minabe Station in 2006.06, but passengers from stations north of Minabe still have to board the regular trains. The capacity of the 2-car trains is 226 passengers, but there at least 238 students from the four high schools who come from the Hidaka District of Wakayama, and if you add middle school students and regular passengers, it’s clear that they are over capacity. If they can’t get a third car, they at least want the school tripper extended north from Minabe to Inami.

Cab view on 113 series unit G202 from Kii Tanabe to Gobō (2011.07).
Definitely not a highly urbanized part of Japan, but still interesting to see these types of lines still have their own “mini” rush hours.

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Old April 19th, 2013, 09:51 PM   #5416
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JRおおさか東線に新駅開業へ 長瀬―新加美駅間
http://www.asahi.com/national/update...304190096.html

JR West and the Ōsaka Soto-Kanjō Railway (大阪外環状鉄道), the third-sector railway responsible for operating the JR Ōsaka-Higashi Line, have filed an application with the MLIT’s Kinki Transport Bureau to construct a new station between JR Nagase Station (Higashi-Ōsaka City, Ōsaka Prefecture) and Shin-Kami Station (Hirano Ward, Ōsaka City). Currently, the two stations are 2.8 km distant, but the new station will be roughly in the middle in Kizuri (衣摺), Higashi-Ōsaka City, opening in spring 2018 at a cost of approx. ¥2.2 billion, just in time for the opening of the Shin-Ōsaka – Hanaten extension scheduled to debut in late FY2018.

The new station will be located on an elevated section of the line, and the new station building will be built underneath the tracks. Ōsaka City and Higashi-Ōsaka City will each provide ¥500 million in direct funding and lend an additional ¥600 million each to Ōsaka Soto-Kanjō Railway. The railway, a third-sector operator comprised of JR West, the two cities, Ōsaka Prefecture, and other stakeholders, will pay the loans back to the municipal governments via infrastructure usage fees.

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Old April 19th, 2013, 09:54 PM   #5417
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海老名駅~空港バス運行1年、乗り換え需要に手応え
http://news.kanaloco.jp/localnews/article/1304190006/

It’s been one year since express bus service between Ebina Station and Haneda Airport launched in 2012.03.30, with 13 departures from Ebina and 14 departures from Haneda Airport, connecting the two in as little as 60 minutes. The service is operated jointly by three separate bus companies: Kanagawa Chūō Kōtsū, Sōtetsu Bus, and Keikyū Bus.

Average daily ridership last year was 251 passengers, and while it still fell short of the original forecast of 320 passengers, the bus companies are fairly optimistic about ridership growth potential. Express Haneda service for central Kanagawa Prefecture has in the past been concentrated at Sagami Ōno and Hon-Atsugi Stations, but Ebina does have some distinct advantages over these two stations thanks to being a major interchange for three different rail networks (Odakyū, Sōtetsu, and JR).

Average daily ridership was about 474 passengers on the Hon-Atsugi service and 977 passengers on the Sagami Ōno service last year, about 55 passengers and 18 passengers, respectively, lower than the previous year. It’s likely that some passengers have shifted to the Ebina service, although the numbers seem to indicate that there is sufficient demand to have all three services coexist.



Window view on an Airport Limousine service from Tokorozawa Station to Haneda Airport:

Part 1: Tokorozawa Station East Exit → Higashi-Tokorozawa Station → Kan’etsu Expressway Tokorozawa IC



Part 2: Tokorozawa IC → Ōizumi JCT → Bijogi JCT → Tōkyō Outer Loop Expressway → Shimura Toll Plaza



Part 3: Shimura Toll Plaza → Shuto Expressway 5 (Ikebukuro Route) → Takebashi JCT → Shuto Expressway C1 (Loop) → Hama-Kawasaki JCT → Shuto Expressway 1 (Haneda Route) → Shibaura JCT → Shuto Expressway 11 (Daiba Route) → Ariake JCT → Shuto Expressway B (Waterfront Route) → Haneda Airport

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Old April 19th, 2013, 09:56 PM   #5418
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京成電鉄、行商列車を廃止 利用者減少で長い歴史に幕
http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNZO...10C13A4L71000/

A small bit of railway history passed quietly out of existence at the end of March when Keisei Electric Railway eliminated its last “hawkers’ car” (行商専用車両). This was a special service offered since pre-WWII to farmers out in Chiba Prefecture, who would carry fresh produce onto specially designated trains into Tōkyō in the morning.

The service began back in 1935 between Tsudanuma and Oshiage and become extremely popular after the war, with housewives from farming households on the outskirts of the metropolis bringing in rice and vegetables to sell to city residents, who were faced with a food shortage. Starting in 1949, Keisei operated an exclusive “hawkers’ train” to cater to these passengers, a 3-car formation between Sakura and Keisei Ueno. During its heyday, there were as many as three roundtrips a day, with the service being extended all the way to Narita. The farmers were required to pay both the regular train fare and an additional fee for all their produce.

The service gradually shrunk as usage declined, and starting 1982.02.14, it was no longer an exclusive train—instead, specific cars in regular, in-service trains were reserved for use by the farmers, the end cars of one Ueno-bound train and one Nishi-Magome-bound train. Starting 1998.10.01, the service to Oshiage and beyond was eliminated, and it was down to a single car on an Ueno-bound train. Most recently, the service was operated as the end car of the 7:46 local departing from Shibayama Chiyoda (Shibayama Town, Chiba). Usage of the service was down to about 20 passengers a day, but that reserved car has now been opened to all passengers starting this month, marking the end of what was affectionately known as the なっぱ電車.

A short documentary film of the old ladies:

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Old April 19th, 2013, 09:58 PM   #5419
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東京駅近くに地下鉄「新東京駅」 羽田~成田間、1時間以内
http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNZO...10C13A4L83000/
年金資金で地下鉄建設 都心と羽田直結
20年代開業、基幹交通で初 国交省検討
http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGKDAS...3A410C1EE8000/

With all the recent news about Abenomics and the possibility of 24-hour Toei transit services (really, Toei Bus only), the other major project getting some of the spotlight is the Asakusa Line bypass. As mentioned previously, this “Central Connector” (都心直結線) would link Haneda and Narita Airports in less than one hour and construct a “New Tōkyō Station” (新東京駅), most likely on the Imperial Residence side of the station, running north-south underneath Marunouchi Naka-dōri.

The main element would involve constructing an 11 km deep underground (over 40 m below surface) bypass of the Asakusa Line between Sengakuji Station on the Keikyū Main Line and Oshiage Station on the Keisei Oshiage Line at the cost of ¥400 billion. Besides reducing travel time between the two airports to less than an hour, the new line will also reduce travel times between Tōkyō Station and the two airports… Haneda ↔ Tōkyō Station will go from 27 min to 18 min, while Narita ↔ Tōkyō Station will go from 53 min to 36 min. The MLIT is forecasting annual ridership of 80 million for the new line.

The plan would be a key part of the Abenomics strategy, making Tōkyō more competitive with other Asian cities that have closer airports or faster airport rail links.

The second Nikkei article also has some very interesting details about recent movements on the project… In particular, they are looking at possibly using the investment money from the National Pension Fund and life insurance companies to help fund the construction of the line, which would be a first for a major transport infrastructure investment. The article also says that the MLIT will begin geological surveys at selected locations in May (!) and enter into negotiations with the Tōkyō Metropolitan Government and stakeholder railways.

If things proceed quickly, funds for the environmental assessment could be earmarked in the FY2015 budget, with bidding to construct the line starting some time in 2017. It’s envisioned that the selected firm will be a special purpose company comprised of the NPF, life insurance companies, and general contractors. When construction is complete, the infrastructure would be handed over to the national and local governments. The line would be operated by the selected railway operator, with a portion of the fare revenues being paid back to the government in the form of usage fees.

Obviously, the connection to Narita would be achieved by using the Narita Sky Access Line east of Takasago. Cab view on a Sky Access limited express (✈アクセス特急) from Narita Airport to Aoto.



Maybe we will see these operating all the way to Tōkyō Station, perhaps even Haneda:

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Old April 19th, 2013, 09:58 PM   #5420
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ああ上野、単なる途中駅に…東京と縦貫線で直結
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/ne...OYT1T00849.htm

With the recent completion of the Tōyoko Line – Fukutoshin Line connection, some attention has turned to another very high-profile project—the Tōhoku Through Line (東北縦貫線). Scheduled to open in 2014 slightly behind the original schedule, the new rail link will re-connect the Tōkaidō Line and Jōban Line / Tōhoku Line (Utsunomiya Line) / Takasaki Line between Tōkyō and Ueno, substantially reducing overcrowding on the parallel Yamanote Line and Keihin–Tōhoku Line. The Ueno – Okachimachi section of these two lines are the most crowded in all of Tōkyō and Japan, with 200% crowding on the Yamanote Line and 194% crowding on the Keihin–Tōhoku Line due to all the passengers transferring from the three trunk lines that currently terminate at Ueno.

With the high viaduct gradually taking shape alongside the tracks, Tōkyō Metro is beginning to voice some apprehension about losing passengers on competing sections of the Ginza Line and Hibiya Line. The Tōhoku Through Line will mean drastic changes for Ueno, which will have its status as Tōkyō’s main terminal for rail lines to the north downgraded (it took on this role when the original tracks all the way to Tōkyō Station were replaced with the Shinkansen). The Hibiya Line in particular is expected to see a ridership drop as JR passengers stop transferring at Ueno.



Recent cab view on the Keihin–Tōhoku Line from Ueno to Tōkyō (2013.02). Haven’t been following the project very closely recently, but there seems to be substantial progress being made all up and down the section… I still remember when they were just starting on this (2008.05), and now they’re almost done. The view starting at Akihabara (2:00) is incredible, and I expect you should get some really nice views of Tōkyō from trains on the new line.

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