Sunday, April 28, 2013

65km Commuting Route in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area

EMU JR East 205 series arrives at Itabashi Station on the Saikyo Line

Tokyo has been expanding both above and underground... and in one more way, horizontally. Tokyo is an exploding city because of housing land development. Currently, the population of the Tokyo metropolitan area is about 30 million. Commuting time for workers never seems to get shorter.

One of the longest commuting routes in Tokyo is the TWR-Saikyo-Kawagoe Line. This route is composed of three sections, namely the Tokyo Waterfront Railway (TWR) Line, the JR East Saikyo Line and the JR East Kawagoe Line. The total length of the route is about 65km.

In the central part of Tokyo, the route shows an urban face. The TWR Line train passes through business centers in the Tokyo Bay Area. Tokyo Harbor Tunnel connects the divided city areas between Shinagawa and the Waterfront Sub-center.

The train, then, passes through large downtown areas such as Shibuya, Shinjuku and Ikebukuro on the Saikyo Line. The route also penetrates suburban residential areas in the northern part of Tokyo Metropolis (see the top photo) and Saitama City. Most of the section is an elevated double track.

Eventually, the train enters the countryside between Omiya and Kawagoe on the Kawagoe Line. You can see paddy fields mixing with residential quarters. The route is partly single track as a local line (see the following photo).

It takes about 90 minutes, if you travel the entire route. It is probably one of the longest commuting routes in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Don't hurt your back!

EMU TWR 70-000 series arrives at Nishi-Omiya Station on the Kawagoe Line