Tokyo to get two new subway lines amid redevelopment boom

TOKYO —

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has announced plans to construct two new subway lines in line with the city’s development after the 2020 Summer Olympics.

One of the proposed new lines will connect Tokyo Station to the Rinkai waterfront area, and include Ginza, Harumi and Ariake, Fuji TV reported. The other line will connect Shinagawa, a starting station for the Linear Chuo Shinkansen which is scheduled to open in 2027, and central Tokyo. The existing Tokyo Metro Nanboku Line may be extended from Shirokane-Takanawa Station.

The Rinkai area is undergoing a major redevelopment boom ahead of the Olympics with many high-rise apartment blocks expected to open in the next few years, boosting the area’s population.

No date for the expected completion of the subway lines or how much they will cost has been announced yet.

The metropolitan government will ask the Transport Ministry’s policy council to include the two new lines in its national policy on rail expansion, a spokesman said.

JR East has already announced plans to build three new train lines linking Haneda airport to stations at Tokyo, Shinjuku and Shin-kiba. The new lines will cut the travel time from Tokyo station to Haneda to just 18 minutes (from 28 minutes), and from Shinjuku to Haneda to 23 minutes (from the current 41 minutes).

One line, the West Yamanote line, will travel to Haneda from Shinjuku station via Osaki. The East Yamanote line will travel from Tokyo station through a new six-kilometer underground tunnel to be built beneath Tamachi and Shinagawa. The third proposed new line will go from from Shin-kiba via Tokyo Teleport station, along the seaside route.

The total estimated cost for the new railway project is 320 billion yen. Layout design and logistics planning are expected to take three years, and construction is estimated to take about seven years, meaning the new lines will not be ready in time for the 2020 Olympics.

Japan Today

  • 9

    dbsaiya

    New lines not ready for the Olympics? So lots of construction to add to the confusion during arguably the most congested period Tokyo has experienced since the last Olympics? Lots going on but not ready for prime time, just like the roof on the stadium...go figure.

    Sorry Tohoku, we'll catch up with you in the next century.

  • 4

    Schopenhauer

    I wish the new Tokyo metropolitan government subways do not become like other Tokyo metropolitan government subways which are inconvenient to use. The worst is the Oedo line which runs deep under the ground taking long time to get to the platforms. Also cars of the Oedo Line are small. Subways running in Tokyo are mostly private Metropolitan Subways and transferring from the lines to the Tokyo metropolitan government subways takes long walks.

  • 17

    jcapan

    With the present leadership and vision in place, I reckon the remaining 90 million Japanese in 2050 will all be living in Tokyo.

  • 0

    Ali Khan

    jcapan, it depends on where the old aged homes are more in numbers.

  • 4

    jerseyboy

    The Rinkai area is undergoing a major redevelopment boom ahead of the Olympics with many high-rise apartment blocks expected to open in the next few years, boosting the area’s population.

    Exactly what Tokyo needs, more development. Clearly the dropping population in Japan is not going to lessen Tokyo's urban sprawl any time soon.

    The metropolitan government will ask the Transport Ministry’s policy council to include the two new lines in its national policy on rail expansion, a spokesman said.

    Translated this means they'll be asking the whole country to foot the bill for Tokyo's new lines, and almost certainly by adding more debt to do it. Just keep spending you "drunken sailors".

  • 6

    Speed

    Can we get one Shinkansen line connected to Shikoku? Just one?

  • 4

    sighclops

    Check the map of Greater Tokyo - there's a MASSIVE hole in Edogawa / East Chiba. 2m+ commuters in that area alone, yet very few options. Trains are beyond packed all day & unbearable in rush hour. What about the rumoured Shin-Kiba - Oshiage extension even?

    Ah yes but the Olympics takes priority, right?

  • 6

    Reckless

    I got crushed in my commute today in blazing heat and almost felt lightheaded with heat stroke as a healthy man on the train. I think they need to also address the undignified and intolerable morning commute on trains that come from outside Tokyo. Once you are in the inner area it seems that you can avoid crushes by waiting a few minutes. Truly unbearable situation and below standards for a dignified business person.

  • -3

    Brainiac

    I wish they would connect Roppongi and Shibuya with a subway line.

  • 0

    gogogo

    Shesh.... Spend more money

  • 4

    ulysses

    The line to the Rinkai waterfront is definitely a good idea as the population in this area is going to grow in the coming years. The lines running through Edogawa and East Chiba are growing more and more crowded and if this line can help ease that I say good thinking.

    The worst is the Oedo line which runs deep under the ground taking long time to get to the platforms.

    Building a subway line,or for that matter any real train line, is much different from building one out of a toy train set. There has to be enough separation between the levels to make them safer. This is down to just 11 cms at places on the Fukutoshin line.

    Some people might get inconvenienced by riding the escalator a bit more longer then that's a price they need to pay for the convenience of having a subway closer to where they live or work.

    Also the extensive network in Tokyo means that people have more options which also means having to walk more to get to the most convenient line.

    I would suggest understanding things better before shooting barbs.

  • 2

    JeffLee

    "Some people might get inconvenienced by riding the escalator a bit more longer..."

    "might"? LOL. I have an Oedo station near where I live. But I rarely take it, because my journey planner app rarely recommends it, due to the long connecting times. The other lines tend to get me to my destinations faster.

    The Japanese tabloids slammed the Oedo line when it was unveiled for its inconvenience and discomfort.

  • 4

    ulysses

    I have an Oedo station near where I live. But I rarely take it

    And I take it everyday because it is the only line which allows me to get to where I work from where I live.

    For one person riding the escalator for an extra 1 minute is an inconvenience and for another having to walk an extra 15 minutes. Doesn't take a genius to figure out which should get priority.

  • 1

    Wakarimasen

    Nice notion but i think the money could be better spent around Fukushima or in other rural areas....

  • 3

    Brainiac

    I really wish some readers would learn how budgets are disbursed before making clueless comments, as Wakarimasen does above. The funding for subways is not being taken away from Tohoku reconstruction.

  • 3

    ulysses

    Nice notion but i think the money could be better spent around Fukushima or in other rural areas

    Sure, we can divert all infrastructure budgets to Fukushima. Then we will have a city with the finest roads, subway, airports but with a minor problem that barely anybody will use them.

  • 6

    Guy_Jean_Dailleult

    The funding for subways is not being taken away from Tohoku reconstruction.

    Seems the standard comment any time money is being spent in Japan is to bring up Fukushima and / or Tohoku, with some variation of "why is this money not being spent there?". Reality is that more than enough money has been set aside for Tohoku reconstruction and that much of it is still sitting in bank accounts. The problems are caused by real world issues such as lack of real resources to physically get the work down, legal issues about property rights and ownership, difficulty in reaching agreement on plans, etc., not some imaginary "lack of money". All been covered in the media, and easily found.

    • Moderator

      That is correct. From here on, please stay on topic.

  • 1

    DiscoJ

    Having three 'Yamanote' lines is just going to be confusing for newcomers and infrequent users. Is there some reason they must name them that?

  • -3

    Mocheake

    Wait until all these come in way over budget too. Japan, say hello to your little friend, Greece.

  • 5

    Raymond Chuang

    I think what Tokyo really needs is more commuter rail lines in the eastern wards of Tokyo and northern Chiba Prefecture. The JR East Sobu Main Line and Keiyo Line are already running at capacity, Keisei's service from Chiba Prefecture funnels everyone into the bottleneck that is Nippori Station (mostly because the Keisei Main Line bypasses the critical Kita-Senju Station that could have off-loaded many passengers to the Tobu Skytree Line, JR East Joban Line and Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line), even the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line with the Toyo Rapid Railway LIne extension only covers a small part of northern Chiba Prefecture.

    In short, while the new lines now planned for JR East and Tokyo Metro are nice, they don't address the severe passenger rail capacity issues of the eastern wards of Tokyo and northern Chiba Prefecture.

  • 0

    Brian Wheway

    has work started on the stadium yet? so that leaves 5-6 years to design, plan, fund and build this tunnel .... good luck because i can't see it being completed on time.

  • 2

    DiscoJ

    5-6 years to build what? These new lines have no projected completion date yet (according to this article) and there's no intent stated for it to be done before the Olympics.

  • 1

    ThonTaddeo

    @Ulysses - As an Oedo line user -- I live right near an Oedo line station myself -- surely you have noticed that the problems with the Oedo line go further than just their depth underground. That is unavoidable given that previous lines got to the shallower depths first.

    What makes the Oedo line infuriating is its penny-pinching design that adds even further inconvenience rather than trying to mitigate its problems. When I lived on the Chiyoda line, even on one of the less-used stations, there were two exits, one on each end, with a ticket gate at each. At my Oedo line station there is only one ticket gate, right in the middle of the station, so if you live at the east end of the station and want to be in the easternmost car, you still have to walk all the way to the middle of the station, enter, then walk all the way back to the east end of the station to get on.

    There really is no excuse for not having more than one ticket gate in an already-deep station. Leave it unmanned during the off-peak hours if you're worried about personnel costs; my Chiyoda line station did this.

    I'm left with the impression that rather than trying to offer better service to offset the unavoidable natural obstacles that come with this line, they instead decided to anticipate fewer customers and thus to cut costs wherever they could.

  • 0

    ulysses

    @ThonTaddeo: I have never faced any of the problems you mentioned. The place where I live has around 6 exits , where I work around twice the number.

    But have you thought that the reason it has fewer exits might be due to space limitations. A congested residential area might not have that much space for multiple exits. But rather than not having a station at all, dont you think it is better to have one, even though it has a single exit.

  • 2

    ThonTaddeo

    A congested residential area might not have that much space for multiple exits.

    @Ulysses - It's not the number of exits (those are abundant, thankfully); it's the number of ticket gates to reach the platform after you have entered the underground area of the station. The three stations I use regularly each only have one gate despite having many exits. This means that someone in the frontmost or hindmost car has to get off the train, walk to the center of the station, then double back to reach the exit, instead of getting off the train, exiting right there, and then going up the escalator/stairs.

    Even whether it's better to have a train line or not is not so clear. Imagine (sorry to get so Tokyo-specific here) someone who lives between a Metro station and an Oedo station, and works in the famous Roppongi Hills complex. Their employer will presumably have them commute using the Oedo line, which will leave them with about a 10-15 minute walk from the train platform to their office, after climbing many escalators. They could have taken the Metro and had the Hibiya line exit deposit them right at their office door. This is a contrived example, but that person is ruing the day the Oedo line was completed.

  • 3

    lucabrasi

    Man, I'm happy to be a country boy. The only capital city I've ever lived in was Lima; a peaceful village compared to the swarms of miserable commuters that seem to make up the bulk of the Tokyo population....

  • 1

    SenseNotSoCommon

    Is there some reason they must name them that (Yamanote)?

    How about Pork and Barrel?

  • 0

    ulysses

    @ThonTaddeo

    Looks like I did not read the post properly. But the issue with ticket gates is not limited to the Oedo line. There are so many stations on the Tokyo Metro also which have only a single ticket gate. It definitely has to do with the economics of running the system .

    But again as I said before inconvenience is relative. Having to walk an extra 2 minutes is definitely better than having to do it for 15 minutes.

    The place where I live now is 15 minutes walk away from the station. Tomorrow if they build a subway 5 minutes walk away, I am not going to care too much about the extra minute it takes me to get to the ticket gates.

  • 2

    kchoze

    jerseyboy

    Exactly what Tokyo needs, more development. Clearly the dropping population in Japan is not going to lessen Tokyo's urban sprawl any time soon.

    1- Yes, though Japanese population is going down, Tokyo remains extremely attractive because of the opportunities and services it offers. As a result, Tokyo is growing rapidly in population even as rural areas decline.

    2- I'm sorry, but you clearly have no idea what urban sprawl means. Urban sprawl means that a city's borders keep growing, that more and more land is being absorbed by it. The borders of Tokyo are now 45+ km away from central Tokyo. The Rinkai area is about 10 km away from Tokyo Station. Developments in Rinkai are the DIRECT OPPOSITE of sprawl. It means development by increasing the density of an area already deep inside the city.

    Translated this means they'll be asking the whole country to foot the bill for Tokyo's new lines, and almost certainly by adding more debt to do it. Just keep spending you "drunken sailors".

    Last I checked, both Tokyo Metro and Toei subway are PROFITABLE operations. Considering Tokyo probably accounts for more than 50% of the Japanese government revenues due to its size (1/3 the population of Japan) and its wealth, it is certainly entitled to some infrastructure investment from the government that it largely funds.

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