after a lightening strike on the main signal box at Mitaka, all of the Chuo Line came to a halt early last week. A few months ago, a fire at the same Mitaka signal box caused a suspension of Chuo Line operations for more than seven hours, making it nearly impossible for many people living near this line to go to work. It really is incredible that this one and only railway line that serves so many people to the west of Tokyo is so vulnerable.

Despite the renewal of various stations, elevation of platforms and new trains put into service, it appears that Mitaka’s signal boxes should be singled out for urgent renovation and renewal, since all the rest of the improvements for which we have been waiting for so long are meaningless without better signal operations!

ian robertson