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New shinkansen to use revolutionary simple stations


JR Central has released station design plans for their upcoming Chuo Shinkansen running from Tokyo to Nagoya and later Osaka. In the words of JR, these stations were designed “not to rely on traditional styles” and “to boldly pursue functionality and efficiency.”

However, when the details emerged to a train station loving public, the reaction was less than enthusiastic with comments along the line of “too bold.”

The Chuo Shinkansen is called a “Linear Line” which is the Japanese term for a maglev (magnet propelled train). It will begin shuttling people between Tokyo and Nagoya in 2027. By 2045, the line should be extended to Osaka.

The plans show a set of elevators, escalators and stairs. There are also some lavatories, a gate, and a “facilities management office.” For Japanese people, this is a far cry from the bento stands, temperature controlled waiting areas, and station workers popping out of secret doors by the ticket machines that they’re used to.

In fact, JR said that there will be no full-time staff working at these types of stations. This is all in an effort to reduce the burden of operating, property, and construction costs for local governments that the Chuo Shinkansen passes through.

Tickets for this line will be by reservation only, but the system by which tickets can be reserved and purchased hasn’t been sorted out yet.

Looking at the Spartan diagrams, netizens chimed in saying, “that’s too primitive to even be called a station.” Another net user commented that this was JR getting revenge on local governments.

There is still a long time before the station opens in 14 years and JR had announced that these designs could be built upon. So, it could very well be that this is simply a negotiation tactic reminding the governments of the revenue and job creation a station brings to communities.

Source: JR Central

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Good on JR for putting function over wasteful form.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I cannot believe JR is putting function over wasteful form. I also imagine that these stations would be unbearably noisy with endless recorded messages.

Admittedly, having a few lavatories is a good idea. Whoever thought of that? No dounbt they would be heralded with, "The toilet on the left is for men. The toilet on the right is for women." repeated ad nauseum.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Shinkansen stations are already pretty utilitarian, compared with the grand stations of Europe and elsewhere.

If the local governments want them expanded for local job creation, then fine: they - and not the central gov't - can pay for it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Agree with gaijintraveller and JeffLee. As long as JR pays for job creation (which means the consumer pays for it through ticket sales anyway), I'm all for seemingly useless jobs. I remember when I first came to Japan, I was amazed at how many useless jobs there seemed to be, but that's the beauty of it; a job is a job, as long as it keeps someone employed, whether it's greeting people or handing out tissues, it's better than unemployment.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

So these new stations won't have 3 workers pop out and say thank you, as if I had a choice of which train I use?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

They can't take away the bento stands can they?! That's probably the part I look forward to most with shinaknsens..

3 ( +3 / -0 )

They can do whatever they want with the stations, I'm just pumped for how amazing this new line is going to be. If I'm not still in Japan when it opens, I'm definitely going to schedule a trip back just to ride this bad boy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The knew shinkansen ??????

0 ( +1 / -1 )

As long as they serve beverages off of trolleys, that I can buy from my seat, I'll be a happy passenger.

The rides won't be really be long enough to require a bento. (Which I admit, is my second favorite thing about traveling by shink, after the train beer.)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Don't suppose there will be any trash cans? Don't suppose the prices will go down?
0 ( +2 / -2 )

1000x better than the American Amtrak.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

What's the beef? You go to the platform, you get on the train. You don't need much more than that (though I do love a bento on all my shinkansen rides). I look at people every time I go on the train, there's facilities abound, but people just transit between gate to platform anyways. No harm in cutting out the middle if it makes sense economically or helps smooth out the boarding processes.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Tokyo and Nagoya in 14 years, but 32 years to get it to Osaka, Japan's second-most-important business city?

What a punch to the gut for Osakans. I hope it at least stops in Kyoto by 2045.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Eh. Bustling stations crammed with little shops are part of the fun of traveling. Kinda takes a lot of the charm out of it.

1000x better than the American Amtrak.

Everything is better than Amtrak.... and probably less expensive.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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