The Takasaki line which originates in Gunma prefecture, the Utsunomiya line, which orginates in Tochigi prefecture and the Joban line which comes down from Fukushima and Ibaragi now go through to Tokyo, whereas before they terminated at Ueno. (Perhaps not all - esp. on the Joban line - but most if not all on the lines coming down through Omiya.)
This is huge. Previously the lines coming down from the bedroom suburbs in Saitama, Tochigi, Gunma, Ibaragi terminated at Ueno and masses fo people getting off the terminating trains would cram into the Yamanote line and Keihin Tohoku line. The Ueno- Akihabara section could be unbelievably crowded. Now, passengers will be able to get off at Ueno, or Tokyo and in many cases the trains will go through to Shinbashi and Shinagawa with some going through all the way to the bottom of Kanagawa prefecture. It should now be that people getting on these trains north of Tokyo can now go through to Kanagawa (Kawasaki, Yokohama etc) on a single train rather than with 2 transfers. Hiro and I caught it yesterday, just for history's sake.
The second major achievement, and the one getting more media coverage is the opening of the Shinkansen line through to Kanazawa, a charming historical city on the Japan Sea coast in Ishikawa prefecture. The new line takes about 2 hours off the journey and will hopefully help to open the Japan Seaside to more tourism.
|Tokyo Station. The Hokuriku Shinkansen in the background.|
Rather than the train terminating and all the passengers getting out
and changing, the drivers change.
|The train was going through to Zushi.|
|Crowds of people photographing the trains|
|The Hokuriku Shinkansen|
|The Railway Museum in Omiya is having a special exhibition on|
the Ueno-Tokyo line.
|A catchy poster that has been promoting the extension.|
The statue of Saigo Takamori (which lives in Ueno Park)
photoshopped to be inside Tokyo Station.
Very very cool.