EMU JR East E657 series (left) and the E233-3000 series (right) travel on the Ueno-Tokyo Line
I was asked a question from one of my blog readers regarding the opening of the Ueno-Tokyo Line. In answer to his question...
Along with the Hokuriku Shinkansen, the opening of the Ueno-Tokyo Line was big news, when a new timetable started on the JR lines on March 14th. What is the Ueno-Tokyo Line? It is JR East's fourth double track between Ueno and Tokyo stations. Its length is only 3.6 km, but the form of train operation has drastically changed in the Tokyo metropolitan area after the opening of it.
Curently, most trains on the Tokaido Main Line are directly operated onto the northern routes such as the Takasaki, Utsunomiya and Joban lines via the Ueno-Tokyo Line. So, we can embark on the Joban Line limited express train (the E657 series), Hitachi and Tokiwa from Shinagawa Station on the Tokaido Main Line. It looks convenient for passengers.
Please wait a moment. The Ueno-Tokyo Line is not all good. For instance, one of my colleagues complains that it became difficult to get a seat on the train to travel home in Yokohama City on the Tokaido Main Line. Before the new timetable started, he could easily secure a seat from Tokyo Terminal, as it was a starting station of the Tokaido Main Line; however, it has become difficult, since the origin of the trains has changed to the northern routes, after the new timetable started.
Commuters in the Tokyo metropolitan area have mixed feelings about the Ueno-Tokyo Line.
EMU Izukyu 2100 series (left) and the JR East E657 (right) series stand at Tokyo Station