Heart of gold: The Ginza Line celebrates its 90th birthday

The Japan Times

Born of disasters, war and massive infrastructure projects, 21st-century Tokyo has plenty of ghosts buried underground. If you ride the subway these days, you can catch a fleeting glimpse of two of them but, if you blink, you'll miss them. The Ginza Line is marking 90 years since its opening with the illumination of two "ghost stations" abandoned long ago. Manseibashi and Jingumae stations have been brought back from the dead as part of a tribute to the Ginza Line, which was the first subway line built in Japan and East Asia.


Bad track strands 99,000 on Ginza Line during rush hour

The Japan Times

A broken rail delayed subway trains on the Tokyo Metropolitan Ginza Line for 4 hours and 40 minutes Monday, stranding some 99,000 commuters. The broken rail was discovered near Shibuya Station at around 8 a.m., canceling subway runs between Shibuya and Tameike-Sanno stations. One train got stuck between Omotesando and Shibuya stations for an hour. Tokyo Metro said one of the two tracks between Shibuya Station and its train garage, which is used for route changes, was found damaged. The tracks, however, are not used to carry passengers, metro officials said, noting that out-of-service cars pass by once every several minutes.


Hurdles abound as Japan's railway stations install platform-edge barriers

The Japan Times

Platform-edge doors are appearing at many of Japan's busier railway stations to keep passengers from falling onto the tracks, but installation is taking time. Problems range from the cost -- up to 1 billion per station -- to lack of space on platforms that need heavy structural remodeling. The transport ministry aims to have platform barriers set up at 800 stations by the end of fiscal 2020. But installation can only take place at night when trains are not running, and some stations simply do not have the space for teams to work. The doors were seen as a solution after a blind man fell from a platform and was killed by a train at Tokyo's Mejiro Station on the Yamanote Line of East Japan Railway Co. in January 2011.


Modern needs, crowds outgrow historic Harajuku Station

The Japan Times

For more than 90 years, the European-style Harajuku Station building has been part of the Tokyo urban landscape -- bearing witness to the Great Tokyo Air Raid during World War II, the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and the district's rise as a mecca of Japanese youth culture. Despite calls to retain the historic Shibuya Ward landmark, cherished by visitors and locals alike, East Japan Railway Co. announced last month it will build a new station building in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the extra visitors expected ahead of the event. JR East said it will build the new station adjacent to the current building with no plans yet on what it will do with the existing station structure. The original Harajuku Station opened in 1906 about 500 meters north of the current location, according to the Railway Museum in Saitama Prefecture. The current structure, built in 1924, a year after the Great Kanto Earthquake, is believed to be the oldest wooden station building in Tokyo.


Tokyo Metro says new station will be called Toranomon Hills, as trend of mixing Japanese and English draws satirical pushback

The Japan Times

Following a recent naming trend that mixes Japanese and English words, Tokyo Metro Co. has announced that a new station set to open ahead of the 2020 Games will be called Toranomon Hills. Toranomon Hills is the name of a skyscraper housing a business complex in the namesake district of Minato Ward. The station is under construction in an area between Kasumigaseki and Kamiyacho Stations on the Hibiya Line, seven minutes on foot from the supermodern, 52-story structure, which opened in June 2014. The announcement Wednesday came a day after East Japan Railway Co. announced that a new station on the Yamanote Line between Shinagawa and Tamachi stations would be called Takanawa Gateway. JR East's new station is scheduled to partially open in the spring of 2020, with full operations beginning in 2024.