Tsukuba Express
Tsukuba Express logo.svg
Tsukuba-Express-TX-2000.jpg
A Tsukuba Express train (TX-2000 series)
Overview
Native nameつくばエクスプレス
StatusIn operation
OwnerMetropolitan Intercity Railway Company
LocaleKanto Region
Termini
Stations20
Service
TypeCommuter rail
Operator(s)Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company
Depot(s)Moriya
Rolling stockTX-1000 series / TX-2000 series / TX-3000 series
Daily ridership431,060 (daily 2015)[1]
History
Opened24 August 2005
Technical
Line length58.3 km (36.2 mi)
CharacterUrban
Track gauge1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Electrification1,500 V DC overhead catenary (Akihabara–Moriya)
20 kV AC, 50 Hz (Moriya–Tsukuba)
Operating speed130 km/h (81 mph)
(video) Tsukuba Express line train

The Tsukuba Express (つくばエクスプレス, Tsukuba Ekusupuresu), or TX, is a Japanese railway line operated by the third-sector company Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company, which links Akihabara Station in Chiyoda, Tokyo and Tsukuba Station in Tsukuba, Ibaraki. The route was inaugurated on 24 August 2005.[2]

History

Platform level of Tsukuba Station
Platform level of Tsukuba Station

The Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company (首都圏新都市鉄道株式会社, Shuto-ken Shin Toshi Tetsudō Kabushiki-gaisha) was founded on 15 March 1991 to construct the Tsukuba Express, which was then provisionally called the Jōban New Line (常磐新線, Jōban Shinsen). The new line was planned to relieve crowding on the Jōban Line operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East), which had reached the limit of its capacity. However, with the economic downturn in Japan, the goal shifted to development along the line. This was facilitated by the enactment of the Special Measures Law in September 1989 which allowed the expedition of large housing projects as well as the expansion and construction of new and existing railway lines.[2]

During the early stages of construction, the construction company (Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency, or JRTT) as well as associated keiretsu and associates in the public sector purchased land situated on the alignment of the route. Eventually, all the lots would be joined continuously, completed or not, and their ownership transferred to the eventual railway operator, MIRC.[2] Construction of all stations were centered around the theme of universal design.[2]

Also, the initial plan called for a line from Tokyo Station to Moriya, but expenses forced the planners to start the line at Akihabara instead of Tokyo Station, and pressure from the government of Ibaraki Prefecture resulted in moving the extension from Moriya to Tsukuba into Phase I of the construction.

The original schedule called for the line to begin operating in 2000, but delays in construction pushed the opening date to summer 2005. The line eventually opened on 24 August 2005.

From the start of the revised timetable on 15 October 2012, new "Commuter rapid" (通勤快速, tsūkin kaisoku) services were introduced in the morning (inbound services) and evening (outbound services) peak periods.[3]

In September 2013, a number of municipalities along the Tsukuba Express line in Ibaraki Prefecture submitted a proposal to complete the extension of the line to Tokyo Station at the same time as a new airport-to-airport line proposed as part of infrastructure improvements for the 2020 Summer Olympics.[4]

The line made worldwide news in November 2017 when an apology was issued by Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company due to a train departing 20 seconds earlier than scheduled.[5]

Driving

The Tsukuba Express is operated as a one-man train. The driver opens and closes the doors manually, but the operation is automatic. (ATO : Automatic Train Operation) The line has a top speed of 130 km/h (81 mph). The Rapid service has reduced the time required for the trip from Akihabara to Tsukuba from the previous 1 hour 30 minutes (by the Jōban Line, arriving in Tsuchiura, about 15 km from Tsukuba) or 70 minutes (by bus, under optimal traffic conditions) to 45 minutes. From Tokyo, the trip takes 50–55 minutes. The line has no level crossings.

Electrification and rolling stock

To prevent interference with the geomagnetic measurements of the Japan Meteorological Agency at its laboratory in Ishioka, the portion of the line from Moriya to Tsukuba operates on alternating current. As a result, three train models are used on the line; TX-1000 series DC-only trains, which can operate only between Akihabara and Moriya, TX-2000 series and TX-3000 series dual-voltage AC/DC trains, both of which can operate over the entire line.[6]

Volume production of the line's initial rolling stock began in January 2004, following the completion in March 2003 of two (TX-1000 and TX-2000 series) six-car trains for trial operation and training. The full fleet of 84 TX-1000s (14 six-car trains) and 96 TX-2000s (16 six-car trains) was delivered by January 2005. New TX-3000 series trains built by Hitachi Rail entered service on 14 March 2020.

Operation

Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company offers four types of train services on the Tsukuba Express:

Overview of service patterns on the Tsukuba Express
Overview of service patterns on the Tsukuba Express

Station list

Trains stop at stations marked "●" and skip stations marked "|".

During the morning rush hour on weekdays, Semi Rapid trains bound for Akihabara make an additional stop at Rokuchō (marked "▲").

No. Station name Distance Elec. Local Semi-Rapid Commuter
Rapid
Rapid Transfers Location
Japanese English Ward / City Prefecture
TX01 秋葉原 Akihabara 0.0 km (0 mi) DC Chiyoda Tokyo
TX02 新御徒町 Shin-Okachimachi 1.6 km (0.99 mi)
Subway TokyoOedo.png
Toei Oedo Line (E-10)
Taitō
TX03 浅草 Asakusa 3.1 km (1.9 mi)
Subway TokyoGinza.png
Tokyo Metro Ginza Line (at Tawaramachi (G-18))
TX04 南千住 Minami-Senju 5.6 km (3.5 mi) JJ Joban Line (Rapid)
Subway TokyoHibiya.png
Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line (H-21)
Arakawa
TX05 北千住 Kita-Senju 7.5 km (4.7 mi)
Adachi
TX06 青井 Aoi 10.6 km (6.6 mi) | | |
TX07 六町 Rokuchō 12.0 km (7.5 mi) |
TX08 八潮 Yashio 15.6 km (9.7 mi) | Yashio Saitama
TX09 三郷中央 Misato-chūō 19.3 km (12.0 mi) | | Misato
TX10 南流山 Minami-Nagareyama 22.1 km (13.7 mi) JM Musashino Line Nagareyama Chiba
TX11 流山セントラルパーク Nagareyama-centralpark 24.3 km (15.1 mi) | | |
TX12 流山おおたかの森 Nagareyama-ōtakanomori 26.5 km (16.5 mi) TD Tobu Urban Park Line
TX13 柏の葉キャンパス Kashiwanoha-campus 30.0 km (18.6 mi) | Kashiwa
TX14 柏たなか Kashiwa-Tanaka 32.0 km (19.9 mi) | | |
TX15 守谷 Moriya 37.7 km (23.4 mi) Jōsō Line Moriya Ibaraki
TX16 みらい平 Miraidaira 44.3 km (27.5 mi) AC | | Tsukubamirai
TX17 みどりの Midorino 48.6 km (30.2 mi) | | Tsukuba
TX18 万博記念公園 Bampaku-kinenkōen 51.8 km (32.2 mi) | |
TX19 研究学園 Kenkyū-gakuen 55.6 km (34.5 mi) |
TX20 つくば Tsukuba 58.3 km (36.2 mi)

Ridership figures

Fiscal year Passengers carried
(in millions)
Days operated Passengers per day Source
2005 34.69 220 150,000 [7]
2006 70.69 365 195,000
2007 84.85 366 234,000
2008 93.21 365 258,000
2009 97.79 365 270,300 [8]
2010 102.22 365 283,000 [9]
2011 104.89 366 290,000 [10]
2012 110.66 365 306,000 [11]
2013 118.22 365 323,900 [12]
2014 118.84 365 325,600 [13]
2015 124.14 365 340,100 [14]
2016 129.64 366 354,200 [15]
2017 135.12 365 370,200 [16]

See also

References

  1. ^ "平成27年 大都市交通センサス 首都圈報告書" (PDF). P.93. 国土交通省. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 August 2018. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Yamada, Kazunobu (December 2005). "Tsukuba Express – Introduction to Stations" (PDF). Japan Railway & Transport Review. 42: 50–59. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 March 2017 – via East Japan Railway Culture Foundation.
  3. ^ 10月15日(月)にダイヤ改正を実施いたします。 [15 October Timetable Revision]. News Release (in Japanese). Japan: Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company. 26 July 2012. Archived from the original on 30 July 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  4. ^ "TX東京駅延伸で茨城の沿線自治体市議会が意見書". 日本経済新聞. 21 September 2013. Archived from the original on 24 August 2021. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  5. ^ "Apology after Japanese train departs 20 seconds early". 16 November 2017. Archived from the original on 16 November 2017. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  6. ^ Barrow, Keith (12 June 2018). "Hitachi to supply extra trains for Tsukuba Express". railjournal.com. Simmons-Boardman Publishing. Archived from the original on 29 October 2019. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  7. ^ "開業3周年を迎えるつくばエクスプレス(TX)" (Tsukuba Express Celebrates its 3rd Anniversary). Tetsudō Daiya Jōhō Magazine, August 2008 issue, p.63
  8. ^ 平成21年度 輸送実績のお知らせ [Transportation Figures for 2009] (PDF). News Release (in Japanese). Japan: Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company. 25 May 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  9. ^ 首都圏新都市鉄道(株)の平成22年度営業実績 [Business Performance of Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company for 2010] (PDF). News Release (in Japanese). Japan: Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company. 6 June 2011. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  10. ^ 首都圏新都市鉄道(株)の平成23年度営業実績 [Business Performance of Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company for 2011] (PDF). News Release (in Japanese). Japan: Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company. 4 June 2012. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  11. ^ 平成24年度営業実績 [Business Performance for 2012]. News Release (in Japanese). Japan: Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company. 7 June 2013. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  12. ^ 平成25年度営業実績 [Business Performance for 2013]. News Release (in Japanese). Japan: Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company. 6 June 2014. Archived from the original on 3 July 2014. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  13. ^ 平成26年度営業実績 [Business Performance for 2014]. News Release (in Japanese). Japan: Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company. 2 June 2015. Archived from the original on 18 June 2015. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  14. ^ 2015年度営業実績 [Business Performance for 2015]. News Release (in Japanese). Japan: Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company. 8 June 2016. Archived from the original on 15 August 2021. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
  15. ^ 2016年度営業実績 [Business Performance for 2016]. News Release (in Japanese). Japan: Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company. 1 June 2017. Archived from the original on 15 August 2021. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
  16. ^ 2017年度営業実績 [Business Performance for 2017]. News Release (in Japanese). Japan: Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company. 3 June 2018. Archived from the original on 15 August 2021. Retrieved 10 August 2021.