The Ueno Tokyo Line train has opened for service, linking the Joban, Tohoku and Takasaki lines with the Tokaido Line to facilitate transport between the capital and prefectures to the north, including Fukushima, Tochigi and Gunma.
East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) began operating the new line on Saturday by linking the three lines with Shinagawa Station in Tokyo via the Tokaido Line. Some of the trains on the new line will go beyond Shinagawa.
The three lines used to run only as far as Ueno Station in Tokyo, but the completion of a 3.8-km route linking it with Tokyo Station made the new line possible.
Hopes are high that the Ueno Tokyo Line will alleviate rush hour traffic near Ueno, one of the busiest areas in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
A ceremony at Shinagawa Station commemorated the departure of the line’s first direct express train to Iwaki Station in Fukushima Prefecture.
“We are hoping the line will carry many people and help revitalize (areas in the disaster zone),” said Yasuyoshi Umehara, head of JR East’s Tokyo branch, referring to the March 2011 disasters.