Living in Japan, I got to appreciate the public transportation, especially the trains. As noted here previously, over 70% of rail services are electrified, and since the Shinkansen started operating in 1964, this country has enjoyed fast, reliable trains that pollute a lot less than if everyone was driving their own car. JR East even has its own hydroelectric power supply, and this city just wouldn't be the same without it.
The Yamanote line (left photo) loop was completed in 1925 and now carries an average of 3.55 million passengers a day, which translates to a patronage figure of 1.3 billion passengers a year. Amazing.
Videos below the fold:1. Yamanote Line
The Yamanote Line will take you around central Tokyo in exactly one hour. It is a loop line connecting Tokyo station to Ueno, Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Shibuya and Shinagawa - and back to Tokyo station again. The trains keep coming at rush hour at brief intervals of just minutes. The E231 series trains from Kawasaki Heavy Industries are real work-horses which everyone living in this city will be very familiar with.
At Tamachi station, you get to see a lot of passing high-speed trains, including the 500 and 700 Shinkansen, bound for Osaka and Hiroshima in western Japan. Great video!
This new, driver-less train connects central Tokyo to the Odaiba islands in Tokyo Bay. Smooth, futuristic, and very popular with young couples who like the fun fares at Venus Fort, Tokyo Big Site, and the Odaiba Beach, just minutes from the city. Tokyo wants the Olympics in 2016, and this is where some of the events may be hosted.
The Yurikamome trains run with rubber-tyred wheels on elevated concrete track guided by the side walls.
4. Haneda Airport Monorail
Haneda is Tokyo's domestic airport, with some flights to Korea and China as well. The Tokyo Monorail was inaugurated in 1964, just in time for Tokyo Olympics, and is still the most efficient way to get from the city to the airport, although not as smooth as the Yurikamome.
Some 127,000 passengers ride this every day, from 5:30 AM to midnight with over 500 trains.
5. Odakyu Line
In 1957, the Odakyu Line, a private railroad, proved that high-speed trains were not only technically possible, but also economically feasable: they actually set the world speed record in that year, quite an achievement. And that was 52 years ago!
They run from Shinjuku station to Hakone, near Mt Fuji, and the Romance Car is just that - a great service for people who are heading for the hot springs, hiking, golf courses, ryokans (and love hotels) for the day off. The video shows how the 7000 LSE has seats that turn so that passengers always face forward. Note how the driver's seat is above the passengers in the front. A nice touch.
More on Trains:
Realizing The Potential of High-Speed Rail: For Climate Protection; Business Productivity; and Security
5 High Speed Trains that are Changing the Face of Rail
Project Transit: Restoring the Romance of Public Transportation
Trainspotting: New Subway Line Opens In Tokyo
MagLev Trains by 2025 In Japan
High-Speed Trains Coming To California
Brought to you by Martin Frid at greenz.jp