Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Becoming a Train Otaku

Well, not really, but I can see why some people find the train system in Japan so fascinating. This is a picture of the control panel at the back of the train. It's identical to the front so the trains can easily reverse. 
At the back there's a man who watches to make sure everything is safe before closing the doors. When the man at the front of the train wants to depart, he rings a bell twice which the man at the back hears. He checks to make sure no one is in a dangerous position and pulls a lever to close the doors. Once the doors are closed, the man at the back rings the bell twice and the train takes off. 
Being on time is extremely important in Japan. All the employees carry pocket watches which I would guess are closely synced. On the right of the picture you can see a green space recessed into the control panel. That's where the man at the front of the train would set his pocket watch so it's always visible. 
The train moves at different speeds between different stations, the fastest speed I've see is when this picture was taken. The train is moving at around 92km/h (57mph). There's no way you'd ever be able to get going that fast on Japanese streets. 

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