Bringing commuters to Tokyo from neighboring Saitama Prefecture, the Saikyo Line, operated by the East Japan Railway Company (JR East), is one of the busiest in the metropolitan area. During morning rush hour its trains are packed to 200 percent capacity. On June 30, however, E233 Series trains were introduced to the line, and officials are hoping the new carriages, which are a whole 15cm wider, will reduce crowding by ten percent.

That’s right. Now instead of having to endure bone-crushing, suffocating, sucking-the-will-to-live commutes in trains packed to 200 percent capacity, riders will be able to breathe, and perhaps move just a little, while enjoying the relative luxury of a train crammed to just 190 percent capacity!

Praising the introduction of the E233 Series, Nobuo Tsukuba, the station master at Omiya Station, said, “Finally we are able to bring in these wonderful trains which should help alleviate congestion with their added width.”

Said a fourth-grader who had ridden on the new train from Kasukabe City, “The train looks very cool. I am happy the E233 has been introduced to the Saikyo Line.”

One another positive development is the fact that the new trains use LEDs for lighting, meaning they can operate using about 30 percent less electricity than previous models, and are thus kinder to the environment.

JR officials said they hope to replace all trains on the line with the new series by the end of the year.

Has congested been alleviated with these new trains, or has JR just figured out how to cram more sardines into the can? What do you think?

Source: NHK Newsweb