Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 50 (photostories)


Opening of New Lines

Nippori-Toneri Liner

The Nippori-Toneri Liner is an automated guideway transit (AGT) system that entered service on 30 March 2008 and is operated by the Transportation Bureau of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. The 9.7-km line connects Nippori Station in Tokyo’s Arakawa Ward with Minumadai-shinsuikoen Station via Nishiaraidaishi-nishi and other stations. The decision to construct the line was made in 1985 to alleviate the shortage of public transport in Arakawa and Adachi wards in northeast Tokyo; construction started in 1997. Transport convenience in the area has been greatly improved by the opening, which shortens the travel time from Minumadaishinsuikoen to Nippori to 20 minutes compared to the 1-hour bus journey.

A green zone that includes Kohoku Hokubu Greenway Park, Tokyo Metropolitan Toneri Park, and Minumadai-shinsui Park extends alongside the line and shopping districts, temples, and other sites are located nearby.
Arakawa Ward and other organizations are redeveloping the area around Nippori Station in anticipation of possible increased passenger flows following the opening.

Photo: Exterior (above) and interior (below) views of Nippori-Toneri Liner (Bureau of Transportation, Tokyo Metropolitan Government)

Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line

The Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line opened between Zoshigaya and Shibuya stations on 14 June 2008. It connects to the Tobu Tojo, Seibu Yurakucho, and Seibu Ikebukuro lines, making the 20-km journey from Wako City in southern Saitama Prefecture to Shibuya in 35 minutes. Approximately 500,000 passengers used the line on its first day and around 150,000 passengers are expected to use it daily. The line was planned to alleviate congestion on lines of other companies running through the major centres of Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, and Shibuya as well as to alleviate traffic on Meiji-dori avenue heading towards Shibuya. Construction started in 2001. The Fukutoshin Line uses series 10000 cars and an improved version of the older series 7000 as its stock. The series 10000 has higher ceilings, offering a more open feel.

Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, and Shibuya are major shopping districts for Tokyo with a concentration of department stores and other shops, so there is concern that the opening may intensify competition between stores. In anticipation of fierce competition, many have already taken countermeasures, such as making renovations, extending opening hours, and establishing information booths to attract new customers. All eyes will be on the Fukutoshin Line to see how its opening will impact passenger flows in Tokyo.
Photo: Fukutoshin Line train (Tokyo Metro. Co., Ltd)
Photo: Exterior of Fukutoshin Line train (left: series 7000 upgraded for Fukutoshin Line, right: series 10000) (Tokyo Metro. Co., Ltd)

Osaka Higashi Line

The Osaka Higashi Line is about 20-km long and connects Shin-Osaka Station with Kyuhoji Station in Yao City. The 9.2-km section between Kyuhoji and Hanaten opened on 15 March 2008. The rest of the line, extending through to Shin-Osaka, is expected to be completed in 2012.

The line was one of the lines identified in the 1963 Report 13 of the Urban Transport Advisory Council as requiring construction. In 1981, the project was assigned to Japanese National Railways and then to JR West, following JNR privatization. To manage the line as a two tiered system, JR West and 57 other companies as well as trackside municipal governments established Osaka Soto-Kanjo Railway Co., Ltd. in 1996; construction started in June 1999.

Transport convenience in eastern Osaka is greatly improved by the line’s opening and there are hopes that it will stimulate the trackside economy.
Photo: Exterior of train on Osaka Higashi Line
Photo: Close-up of train plate commemorating opening of Osaka Higashi Line