Saturday, 11 October 2014

Keisei Chiba Line: Secondary Route to the Main City

EMU Shin-Keisei 8800 series arrives at Makuhari-Hongo Station on the Keisei Chiba Line
Chiba, which is located 40km east of downtown Tokyo, is the main city of Chiba Prefecture. This city is famous for heavy industries and a large port. Its population is nearly one million. To get to Chiba City from Tokyo, the JR East Sobu Rapid Line is convenient. It takes about 45 minutes from Tokyo Station. The trains depart frequently from underground platforms 3 and 4.

How else can we get to Chiba City? One of the alternative routes is the Keisei Chiba Line. Connecting Keisei-Tsudanuma and Chiba-Chuo, its total route length is 12.9 km. It is a double track, and the electric system is 1,500 V DC overhead. The gauge size is 1,435 mm.

Some of the trains are directly operated onto the Keisei-Main, Keisei-Chihara and Shin-Keisei Railway lines. So, rail-fans can enjoy seeing both Keisei and Shin-Keisei trains on the track. For instance, the EMU Shin-Keisei 8800 series is my cup of tea. It was launched in 1986 with the then current technologies such as induction motors with VVVF (Adjustable Voltage Adjustable Frequency) inverter control system. Its ivory colored body with brown stripes is also my favorite.

Although, it is a route to the main city of Chiba Prefecture, the Chiba Line seems like just a local one. For instance, the train operation interval is 10 minutes during the daytime, which isn't so often. The 6-car train is the longest train on the line. There is no express train. Has Keisei forgotten about trying to compete with JR East?

EMU Keisei 3000 series arrives at Makuhari-Hongo Station on the Keisei Chiba Line
More information about trains on the Keisei Electric Railway (in Japanese):