Saturday, May 15, 2010

Train travel in Tokyo

The complexity of the Tokyo rail system is the main challenge - working out where you are, where you want to go and how to get there.

There are 13 different Metro Lines operated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and 36 different lines operated by JR (Japan Railways) East. There are also a couple of other private ones such as the Rinkai Line. After that it's easy, quick & efficient. Every station has a large map with English subtitles. All entrances and exits have dual language signage. All trains have real time video displays showing the destination and next station as well as dual language audio announcements. The trains are also colour coded on the outside to match the lines they operate on.

We all now have a 'SUICA' - it's a stored value card that enables you to travel on the whole Tokyo network, both the JR services and the various metro abd private lines. You wave the card over the gate when you enter the station and the same when you leave - the fare is deducted from the card which you periodically 'top up'. Easy as, but apparently too hard for the geniuses that govern NSW.

Tokyo trains and station are gleaming, clean and unspoilt. I think a typical Tokyo station could well be cleaner than a NSW hospital. The photo shows a rare moment at a Metro station with no one else around. The clinical standard of cleanliness is not unusual.

There are no rubbish bins on the stations, there is no rubbish lying around and I've not seen anyone going around picking rubbish up. People don't drop litter. Same in the trains themselves. Also, there is absolutely no evidence of graffiti or vandalism or wear and tear. Every train we have been in looks brand new!!!

Trains seem to be mostly 11 or 15 carriages long although I've seen shorter ones on occasion. Drivers and conductors are all spotlessly attired in crisp, smart uniforms with spotless white gloves

The following photos were taken on our return from Yokohama to Oimachi on the Keihin Tohoku service as we stood in the front carriage for a driver's view.

Post From Geoff's iPhone

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