Monday, 5 March 2012

Rival Railway Story, JR East vs. Keisei

EMU JR East E231-900 series arrives at Makuhari-Hongo Station, Sobu Local Line

As I introduced in my blogs on April 15th and September 13th, 2011, JR East and Keisei are in fierce competition in terms of passenger acquisition between downtown Tokyo and Narita Airport.

But, there are other competitions. One of them is Tokyo - Chiba section. Chiba is located 40km east of Tokyo and is a main city of Chiba Prefecture. Many commuters, who live in Chiba urban area, commute to their offices in Tokyo. At the moment, JR East has the advantage over Keisei because of the travel time between the two cities. Configuration of the railway track is mostly straight on the JR Line; meanwhile there are many tight curves on the Keisei Line which means that trains on the Keisei Line cannot gather speed. That's why many passengers take the JR East line on this section. It takes about 40 minutes on the JR East trains, whilst nearly one hour from Chiba to Nippori (in downtown Tokyo) on the Keisei line.

On the other hand, Keisei has the upper hand on the section between the western part of Chiba Prefecture and Narita Airport. This is because the configuration of the Keisei line is straighter than that of JR east. Consequently, it takes less than 50 minutes from Funabashi (a major city in the western part of Chiba Prefecture) to Narita Airport on the Keisei line, as opposed to nearly one hour on the JR East line.

As seen from the above, railway companies in the Tokyo metropolitan area are facing mega-competitions here and there.

EMU Keisei 3000 series arrives at Makuhari-Hongo Station, Chiba Line