Monday, October 31, 2011

Rival Railway Story, JR East vs. Keikyu

EMU Keikyu 1000 series , "Kaitoku (Rapid Limited Express)" near Shinagawa Station

One of the features in railways in the Tokyo metropolitan area is that many companies are being in competition to attract passengers. It might be hard to imagine for foreigners, but I expect you understand that the railway networks in this area are extensive. So, it allows the customers to choose the best line to get to their destination.

For example, let's suppose that you live in the southern part of Tokyo, such as Shinagawa and Kamata, and would like to visit Yokohama, the capital city of Kanagawa Prefecture. Then, you can choose from two lines… JR East and Keikyu.

JR East is the largest railway company in Japan. This company's strength lies in the extensive network in this area. They have lines passing through many downtown areas, such as Tokyo, Shinjuku and Shinagawa. From Shinagawa to Yokohama, it takes 16 minutes on the Tokaido Line (see the bottom photo). The train operates every 8 minutes on average during the daytime. You can choose the Green Car (1st class) as well, if you would like to be able to relax.

Meanwhile, Keikyu is a local railway company in the southern part of the Tokyo metropolitan area. To compete with the giant JR East, Keikyu is putting in a lot of effort. The maximum speed of the trains (120km/h) is faster than those of JR East (110km/h). Secondly, Keikyu operates the luxury train, "Kaitoku (Rapid Limited Express)", without additional fares on the above section (see the top photo).

This competition is going to go on.

EMU JR East 233-3000 series near Tamachi Station, the Tokaido Line