Secret codes, signals, and a mysterious language All used for a single strict purpose: To master time Yet below the world capital of High-tech, automation is not replacing people Less than half a second out Going behind the scenes of the world’s busiest Metros to explore Japan’s unique relationship with time We’ll show how Tokyo Metro’s reputation for timekeeping is built on a unique alliance between digital precision and intuitive human skills We’ll show how Tokyo Metro’s reputation for timekeeping is built on a unique alliance between digital precision and intuitive human skills What does it take to bring safe efficient and reliable service to Tokyo Metro’s six million daily passengers? “The trains are always on time. It’s amazing, yeah.” By 5:00 a.m. each morning, all Tokyo Metro stations are open for business with the same ritual And after each entrance is raised a finger is pointed as a signal By 8:00 a.m One of the Metro’s busiest stations Ikebukuro is swamped by commuters who know their trains will arrive exactly as scheduled Approximately 300,000 passengers crowd onto the Marounuchi Line during rush hour but everyone waits patiently and this man is on hand ready to pull a low-tech rope trick Crowd control and a compliant public help keep trains running on time Commuters have space to rush out of the carriages since others wait in line before boarding Another batch of passengers move on to the platform. It’s a cyclic slow motion ballet which commuters have performed for decades But it prevents causing overcrowding, accidents, and delays Beyond time gurus are the drivers. They spend their working life on one line and don’t need Speedometers to tell them how fast to go to reach each station on schedule Drivers must pass a rigorous training process along with random checks by Chief instructor, Mr. Hatoba The test requires the driver to travel this [distance] in precisely one minute five seconds The Margin of error is less than a second This stretch must be covered in 1 minute 45 seconds His margin of error was just 0.19 seconds This building is the driving training HQ complete with the simulator loadout scenarios for every emergency from catastrophic earthquakes to a kite on the power lines it’s presiding genius Kazunori Fujishiro
The simulator is just like a real train: the same controls realistic visuals and even the same vibrations and sense of movement This kind of computer game technology sharpens the reflex skills needed to deal with real-life emergencies and minimize disruption At the end of the day tokyo metro gets millions of commuters home on time Yuko Mito is an authority on Japan’s Railways. She wrote a book which connects the Nation’s focus with time to an earthquake in tokyo To cope with the number of commuters from the suburbs Railways started to run trains in units of seconds Passengers soon Learned to behave in an orderly way and the unwritten code about waiting on the platform reflects the unique Relationship between tokyo metro and its passengers based on the shared interest in being on time Once the commuter rush is over the next challenge is to get over-tired stragglers onto the last train The last train has left and the late shift puts the system to bed Large stations have so many entrances that biking is the best way to get around to close thee.One must cover some two kilometers of distance to reach all of the 24 entrances within Otemachi station In the small hours the above-ground City shuts down But tokyo Metro never sleeps. the only time to check the tracks and other hard assets is when the trains aren’t running It takes eight years for this team to check the entire tunnel network for structural problems because this work cannot be done by machine Masanori Noguchi’s skill is his ability to understand different sounds He marks the sections that needs repair to prevent structural collapse disrupting the timetable, aware that keen observant skills are vital for maintaining the infrastructure Coming up: we explore cutting-edge technology that keeps tokyo metro on time Discover the importance of autopilot and how do train drivers gauge their speed by instinct Another day, another crowd of patient satisfied commuters
Today this instinct takes the form of training a chance for Mr. Hakoba to show off his drill The driver continues to accelerate and decelerate as Mr.. Hakoba dictates Precisely 35 km/h 36 Km/h This technique has a colorful history Kookie Yuki’s method involved memorizing the passing scenery and using landmarks as markers for accelerating or slowing down With no instruments drivers were able to gauge time by instinct, allowing trains to run on time. This method is still in use today But speed isn’t everything New train conductors must learn the correct signaling procedure Finger pointing confirmation is a key symbol of Railway and Metro men Japanese Railway workers learn to confirm what they have seen by voicing and pointing a mysterious white glove (?) and the ultimate symbol of Japan’s love affair with time With so many passengers customer service is a big deal for tokyo Metro. No other [metro] gives it greater importance An entire building is devoted to training recruits in the mysterious art of customer service Inside there’s a mock-up station with the same hardware as real stations But the focus is people and today a class of recruits is meeting the director of customer service, Mr. Kamei First steps in hospitality training include learning how to greet customers, Counting out change, Mr. Kamei’s passion for customer service means new technology depends on important people skills
Trains can’t run on time if tracks aren’t maintained and machines do this far better than humans The multiple tight /ampere/ or /mutter type/ is a special train that straightens bench rail tracks Vibrations from the passage of trains loosen the crushed stones, distorting the rails above them the machine lifts up the rails and repacks the crushed stones this corrects the distorted rails It can fix 200 meters of track in half an hour After the /motto tie/ comes the ballast engine complete with a special brush to disperse loose gravel It can clean one kilometre of rail in 30 minutes Tokyo Metro would not run on time without its maintenance yard Every year the wheels of each carriage are skinned so they can roll like new Every four years the body is removed from the flat car and the /bogies/ rolled away for cleaning The man in charge is Mr. Yasuniwa When the /bogle/ emerges it looks new, yet it is deconstructed even further for cleaning and inspection Once fully deconstructed the train becomes this set of minute components Each piece is hand polished, ultimate proof that hard technology relies on a human touch This is certainly true of the train driver. Whose constant companion is: Dead man, an automatic system [that] stops the train safely if the driver is suddenly incapacitated Even though these trains can stop automatically drivers are proud this function is only used in an emergency Yet where necessary technology plays its part high-tech safety features have also been fitted onto platforms staff learn the precise workings of platform doors through a simulator in order to ensure passenger safety It’s the end of the day the last train is left, but another arrives for maintenance duty after midnight It’s loaded with platform doors which the team must install before the metro starts up again in the morning Platform doors prevent accidents, they’re the perfect example of the alliance between technical and human solutions installation was completed within two hours Tokyo lives in fear of another major earthquake Coming up: we see how Tokyo Metro prepares for the worst Japan’s motivation to be precisely on time impresses everyone. “The trains are always on time It’s amazing, yeah.” “I didn’t have to wait at all. The train’s already there.”
New technology is already on its way for the future LEDs will be installed on all trains for the sake of the environment and reliability the Alliance between man and Machine Advances even further Platform doors and movable steps like these are intended to avoid failures and keep trains running on time Doors on new Carriages will be 50 centimeters wider than existing ones making boarding time 3 to 4 seconds faster There are also plans to Introduce Solar power at stations Even in this evacuation drill signs, vocalization of commands, and signals abound That subway system should be a matter of pride shows tokyo metro has cracked the challenge of creating a genuine partnership between the High-Tech and human Perhaps, it’s not just about using new technology to improve safety and reliability but valuing the commitment and skills of its people above all else But what would a train geek /earn/ from the ultimate Rail service?