A long stretch of the Yamanote Line is taking a break while construction crews get ready for its newest station.

Thanks to snarled traffic, trains are by far the best way to get around Tokyo, and you can hit up the vast majority of the downtown sights using just one line. The JR Yamanote Line forms a loop around the city center, and can take you to the high-fashion boutiques of Yurakucho, otaku paradise of Akihabara, Ueno’s spacious park, museums, and zoo, and also the Shinkansen access points of Shinagawa and Tokyo Stations (the latter of which is also the closest stop to the permanent Pokémon Cafe).

The Yamanote Line is so crucial to life and leisure in Tokyo that it’s never once been shut down for construction since the founding of East Japan Railway in 1987. That streak is coming to an end, though, as the company has announced that roughly a third of the Yamanote Line will be out of service starting on the morning of Saturday, November 16.

The reason for the disruption is the ongoing preparation for Takanawa Gateway Station, scheduled to open in the spring of 2020 and the first new Yamanote Line Station since 1971. After the last Yamanote Line train pulls into the depot on Friday night, construction crews will begin installing necessary track-switching equipment related to the new station, but will be unable to finish the project by the time of the first morning train. Because of that, on Saturday morning the Yamanote Line will be shut down between Osaki and Ueno Stations, with the following 11 stops inaccessible:
● Osaki
● Shinagawa
● Tamachi
● Hamamatsucho
● Shimbashi
● Yurakucho
● Tokyo
● Kanda
● Akihabara
● Okachimachi
● Ueno

Yamanote service for those stations is expected to resume at around 4 p.m. on November 16. In addition, JR’s Keihin Tohoku Line, which will also run through the new station, will be out of operation between Shinagawa and Tamachi Stations, the two stops adjacent to Takanawa Gateway, for the entire day on November 16.

During the shutdown, JR will be increasing the frequency of trains on its Saikyo and Ueno-Tokyo lines, which provide alternate access to the stations affected by the Yamanote/Keihin Tohoku shutdown.

Source: NHK News Web via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
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