Wednesday, 15 November 2017

The New 5000 Series: Keio's High-end Commuter Train

EMU Keio 5000 series passes through Hachiman-yama Station

Commuter trains in the Tokyo metropolitan area are terribly crowded during rush hour. The railway companies have been enforcing a transport capacity by increasing the number of trains and providing longer trains. They have also been constructing double-double tracks as drastic measures.

Do they have to continue these efforts forever? No, they don't. The railway companies have to change their strategies in the near future. Why? Because Japan is facing a declining of birth rate and an aging population. In other words, the railway companies have to prepare for the decreasing number of passengers in the future. Each company should survive as a chosen railway line for passengers to use. What is their next strategy? Quality will be more important than quantity. Let's look at an example.

On September 29th, Keio Electric Railway launched a new commuter train, the EMU 5000 series, on their track. This model has multi-purpose seats, which the conductor can change from long seats to cross seats using a remote control system. Currently, the 5000 series is only used as a standard commuter train with the long seat mode; however, it will be also operated as a reserved seat train with a cross seat mode from next March. This state-of-art system is similar to that of the Seibu 40000 series, S-Train. Needless to say, the width and the quality of the seats are much higher than those of previous models.

The new Keio 5000 series is the next generation high-end commuter train.

Passenger seats of the EMU Keio 5000 series (long seat mode)

Official information about the EMU Keio 5000 series (in Japanese):