JR East has confirmed reports that it would be renovating three stations on its Tokyo rail network, with upgrades planned for Harajuku Station on the Yamanote loop line and Sendagaya and Shinanomachi stations on the company’s Chuo-Sobu Line. The work, which will include the introduction of new barrier-free facilities and expansion of concourses and ticket gates, is expected to be completed by 2020 at a total cost of 250 billion yen.
The new plans are designed to improve passenger flow, which is expected to increase dramatically during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, and alleviate congestion, which, especially in the case of Harajuku Station, can prove dangerous as passengers spill out onto the road from the narrow walkway during peak periods on weekends and public holidays.
The new design planned for Harajuku Station involves the construction of a modern-looking two-storey building above the existing tracks (see image below). The temporary platform currently used to accommodate large numbers during special events like New Year’s Day, will now become a new platform for the outer tracks, while a new entrance will be built on the Meiji-Jingu side of the station. Inside, there will be a brand new, wider concourse and ticket gate area, along with elevators and new, more spacious amenities.
The new-look Sendagaya Station, located close to the National Stadium and Tokyo Gymnasium, will convert an existing temporary platform into a permanent structure for the exclusive use of Shinjuku-bound trains.
Ticket gates will be relocated to accommodate the change and improve passenger flow while doors on platform barriers will be improved to increase security. There will also be upgrades to elevators and amenities.
Shinanomachi Station will receive new doors on platform barriers and new amenities and elevators.
Following the announcement of the station upgrades, Japanese television news reports focused heavily on the changes planned for Harajuku Station. Built in 1924, the wooden building is the oldest of its kind in the Tokyo area, and has a distinctive facade that evokes an atmosphere of nostalgia within its modern environment.
JR East has said it will make a decision on whether to demolish the current structure or incorporate it into the new design after listening to views from the local municipality.
While the new plans will provide much-needed improvements to passenger flow ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games, many people in Japan will be sad to say goodbye to the old building if it does have to go.
Source: East Japan Railway Company
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