Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Up in the air

Japan is famous for the sheer amount of nepotism that has gone on between the ruling LDP and the construction industry for years. In fact it's not just a recent phenomenon - even in the Edo era two hundred years ago the government used to take back-handers from contractors.

One consequence of this is that in Japan the contruction industry works at a rate unimaginable in most countries. So many fat contracts to be had!

Take a look here for example - here's the Keio Line built during the late 1980's, mostly on land reclaimed from Tokyo bay. Almost the whole of this thirty mile new line is built elevated like this, and the rest is in tunnels under Tokyo. Around 20 miles of the nearby Sobu line was raised off the ground in the 1970's. Fifty miles of elevated track in twenty years just in one Prefecture. That's a heck of a lot of concrete eh?

Of course it does have the advantage that you can operate an intensive service totally reliably and free from the hassles of traffic and new civil engineering work

And it's quiet too - at least from ground level. You can hear the birdsong even above the rumble of a passing Boso EMU!


At 5:09 PM, June 15, 2006, Blogger Eddie said...

Hi Iain.
This photograph actually reminds Me of the Chicago,South Shore and South Bend railroad in East Chicago Indianna.
There is an underpass vechicle bridge like this on U.S Rt #41 in nearby East Chicago Indianna, where the South Shore railroads electric Interurban / Commuter trains stop at the island style station in the center of the Bridge. The modern south shore cars were made in Japan by Nippon /
Shairo Corporation.

The Chicago,South Shore and South Bend Railroad is America's last surviving electric Interurban railroad, and it is alive and well running between Chicago Illinois and South Bend Indianna. Once You leave Chicago on the C,SS,& S B, the scenery changes from Steel Mill Country, to lovely Sand Dune Country.

Thank You.


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