Since the night of Friday the 6th, work has been underway at Shibuya Station to shift the track 2.7m to the side. Shibuya Station is one of Japan’s largest terminal stations, with 3.3 million passengers annually. This number is the second in the world. The station with the most passengers in the world is Shinjuku Station, which is used by 3.5 million. At the second busiest station in Japan and in the world, a major operation is underway for 53 hours only.
The reason for the limited time is that this work will be done by suspending service on the Yamanote Line, the most heavily used line in Japan. 11 million people use at all stations on the Yamanote Line every day. This line is a circular line with a double track, an outer and an inner route. The inner route is closed on 1/7 and 1/8. The outer is operated with reduced trains, due to the hight impact on users.
It is noteworthy that the tracks are moved by human power. Heavy machinery cannot be used because there are outer route trains running right next to it. The workers inserted a crowbar under the rails, and with shouts of “yokkoi, yokkoi, (in English heave-ho, heave-ho,)” they shifted the tracks sideways little by little.
4,000 people is participating in this work. Japanese trains should never be delayed. People expect it. The construction supervisor said, “We rehearsed many times for this day and confirmed the work procedures, and we hope to have a safe first train on 1/9.
It was said that 530,000 people would be affected by this, but so far there has been no major disruption. This was due to the careful preparation in advance by those involved in the construction, the quickness of the work, and the understanding and cooperation of the users.
Shibuya is one of the most developed towns in the capital city Tokyo. The Shibuya station line could only be expanded in an underground direction due to its existence in the valley bottom terrain. Currently, 9 lines run for 5 underground floors. The station has become so complicated that it is called a labyrinth. The purpose of this is to organize it and make it easier for users movement. Can’t wait to see what’s next for this town that’s always coming up with something new!