1000本突破
1000本突破

Riding the trains in Tokyo

コーディ

Rush hour / The squeeze

Generally everyone waiting at the station will form a well organised line, allowing others to exit before attempting to board the train. However from time to time if there is a delay it can resemble this..

There is always room for one more person

Apparently a single train carriage on the ginza line measures about 16m by 2.5m (52ft by 8ft for you American folk) with an official capacity of 106 standing and 40 seated. However I believe these figures to be untrue. A 8:20am departure has as many people waiting as that, and no one seems to alight. Indeed the busiest rush seems to be around 8:20am.

A train at about half capacity. There is always room for one more person.A train at about half capacity.
There is always room for one more person.[/caption]

Perhaps the most crowded train I have ever been on was after a typhoon a couple of years ago which had delayed several lines for the entire morning. I was trying to get on the inbound Toyoko line at Jiyugaoka, as the train arrived the windows were completely fogged by the artificial atmosphere created by the share mass of people inside the train. As the door opened, people bulged out of the train before trying to get back on like some kind of human tetris.

I sometimes find myself at odds with my friends about what is the most crowded line in Tokyo. I believe the distinction, in sheer numbers (if only for a moment) goes to the change at Nakameguro where an already full train (Hibiya line) transfers into another full train (Toyoko line). Though there are many contenders including the often delayed Chuo line and the famous Yamanote.

Super station staff

Some stations seem to have a staff member for every person on the platform, always quick to help you find your way, they take their job very earnestly.

station-staff
Photo by Meredith P.