SkyTrain technology declared for 60km outer belt metro in Tokyo

“SkyTrain technology” (linear motor propulsion, with automated operation) has been declared for a major investment in rail rapid transit in the outer boroughs of the city of Tokyo, Japan – the world’s largest metropolitan area with over 38 million people residing.

Map: Proposed "Metro 7" and "Eight Liner" rapid transit line circling outer Tokyo. The Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation wants to use SkyTrain technology to reduce the project costs of this transit line.
Map: Proposed “Metro 7” and “Eight Liner” rapid transit line circling outer Tokyo, which will run under the city’s 7th and 8th Ring Roads. The Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation wants to use SkyTrain technology to reduce the project costs of this transit line.

The proposed lines – initially two separate projects codenamed “Metro Seven” and “Eight Liner” – will be merged into a single project that is 59.7km long, with 42 stations.

There is an additional 13.7km extension to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (bringing the total project length to a whooping 73.4km) under consideration. It has not been finalized as part of this proposal and is pending further study, likely given that other Haneda-oriented rail projects are currently being considered by other operators.

Case study

I was given a link to a study on the Itabashi ward website, which concluded that the use of SkyTrain technology would significantly save costs and improve the project business case, due to significant reductions in tunneling and land acquisition costs.

LINK: 平成25年 – 度区部周辺部環状公共交通に係る調査 – 概報告
English: 2013 Fiscal –Outer Ward Circumferential Public Transit Study – Summary Report

The Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation (Toei) has proposed to build and operate the subway line with public funds, a rarity in a country where most major railways are built and operated by private companies.

Linear Motors Save Costs

The new metro line in Tokyo will use a new specification called “Smart Linear Metro“, which is identical to the 69km SkyTrain technology railway line proposed in Okinawa. Short, 12m long cars – similar to Vancouver’s Mark I SkyTrain vehicles – will enable a further reduction in tunnelling height, curve radius and land costs compared to 16m long “standard linear metro” cars already in use in Fukuoka, Yokohama, Kobe and other cities, which themselves allow for smaller tunnels than standard 20m rotary propulsion metro cars. To enable the high carrying capacity required for a Tokyo metro line, multiple-car, articluated units will be used.

Through the reduction in tunnelling and land acquisition costs – made possible by the key advantages of linear motor propulsion in lower floor heights and tighter curve radii – the use of SkyTrain technology is estimated to save taxpayers the equivalent of $300 million Canadian dollars.

Slides from the case study (tap to enlarge):

Trains will initially operate every 3 minutes during peak times on the higher-demand western segment, whereas a 5 minute frequency will be used on the eastern segment.

Popular in Japan

Japan is one of the world countries that has recognized the benefits of SkyTrain technology and pushes a widespread application of SkyTrain technology in every new railway project. There are now 9 lines in 6 cities running, under construction or under consideration. The new circumferential line will be the 9th such line in Japan, and the 20th such line in the world.

The Toei Oedo subway has been operating since 1991, and had one extension in 2001.
The Toei Oedo subway has been operating since 1991 and is one of the busiest Tokyo subway lines.

Toei has previously demonstrated SkyTrain technology successfully on the Toei Oedo Line, a major Tokyo subway line with a ridership of over 850,000 passengers daily. The Oedo Line has operated successfully for over 23 years. It’s no surprise that with this record, Toei would want to build another such line.

See also: List of Linear Induction Motor Rapid Transit Systems

List of Linear Induction Motor train lines

A concise list of all current and future rapid transit lines using linear induction motor propulsion technology. There are over 20 in-service or proposed systems across 16 cities/metro areas.

Less significant installations (i.e. non-urban rail) are not included. The list is sorted by system length.

Guangzhou Metro (China)

Guangzhou Metro Line 5

LIM system length: 117.5km (future: +65km)
Linear propulsion rolling stock:
– CSR-Sifang/ITOCHU EMU, Bombardier BM-300 bogies (Line 4, 120 cars in 4-car service)
– CSR-Sifang/ITOCHU EMU, Bombardier BM-300 bogies (Line 5, 180 cars in 6-car service)
– CSR-Sifang/ITOCHU EMU, SDB-LIM bogies by CSR-Sifang (Line 5, 192 cars in 6-car service)
– CSR-Sifang /ITOCHU EMU, Bombardier FLEXX Metro 2000 bogies (Line 6, 196 cars in 4-car service)
Systems with LIM propulsion:
– Line 4 (2005) 43.7km / daily ridership: 300,070
– Line 5 (2009) 31.9km / daily ridership: 985,500
Line 6 (2013) 24.3km / daily ridership: 612,300
Line 6 east ext. (OPENED 12/28/2016) 17.6km
– Line 4 south ext. (opening 2017) 12.6km
– Line 5 east ext. (opening 2020) 9.8km (**confirmed Feb 2017, will integrate with Dongguan Line 1)
– Line 23 (opening 2025) 27.1 km (**confirmed in Feb 2017 that this line will integrate with Line 6)
Train control: Automated (SIEMENS system) with backup driver

Okinawa Island Railway (Japan, NEW SYSTEM)

Okinawa Railway System - Urban elevated railway station concept

LIM system length: 69km (future)
Announced: November 2014
Linear propulsion rolling stock:
– FUTURE: 4-car consists
Train control: Unannounced automated system

Vancouver SkyTrain (Canada)

2-car SkyTrain approaches Brentwood Station on the Millennium Line

LIM system length: 60km
Linear propulsion rolling stock:
– ICTS Mark I (150 cars, 75 “married pairs”)
– Bombardier ART 200 (108 cars, 54 “married pairs”)
– Bombardier INNOVIA Metro 300 (28 cars, 7 4-car consists)
Systems with LIM propulsion:
Expo Line (1986) 28.9km
– Millennium Line (2002) 20.1km
Evergreen Extension (OPENED 12/2/2016) 11km
Train control: Fully automated (Thales SELTRAC)

Dongguan Rail Transit (China, NEW SYSTEM)

LIM system length: 58km (future)
Announced:
November 2016
Systems with LIM propulsion:
Line 1 (opening 2020) 58km (** will integrate with Guangzhou Metro Line 5)

RapidKL Rail (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

Kelana Jaya Line

LIM system length: 46km (future +36km)
Linear propulsion rolling stock:
– Bombardier ART 200 (70 cars, 35 “married pairs”)
– Bombardier ART 200 order 2 (140 cars, 35 4-car consists)
– Bombardier INNOVIA Metro 300 (56 cars, 14 4-car consists)
Systems with LIM propulsion:
Kelana Jaya Line (1998) 29km
– Kelana Jaya Line Putra Heights Extension (OPENED 6/30/2016) 17km
“LRT3” Klang Valley Line (UNDER CONSTRUCTION; 2020) 36km
Train control: Fully automated (Thales SELTRAC)

Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway (Japan)

Toei Oedo Subway

LIM system length: 40.7km (future +59.7km)
Linear propulsion rolling stock:
– Nippon Sharyo/Hitachi 12-000 series EMU (408 cars, 51 8-car consists)
– Kawasaki Heavy Industries 12-600 series EMU (16 cars, 2 8-car consists)
– Nippon Sharyo 12-600 series (2015-2016 batch) EMU (48 cars, 6 8-car consists)
– Kawasaki Heavy Industries unnamed NEXT-GEN EMU (88 cars, to replace 12-000 series)
Systems with LIM propulsion:
Toei Subway Ōedo Line (1991) 40.7km; daily ridership: 795,461
Metro 7/Eight Liner (FUTURE) 59.7km
Train control: Automated with backup driver

Beijing Subway and Airport Express (China)

Beijing Airport Express

LIM system length: 28.1km
Linear propulsion rolling stock:
– Bombardier/Changchun Railway Vehicles ART 200 (40 cars, 10 “Married pairs”)
Systems with LIM propulsion:
– Airport Express (2008) 28.1km
Train control: Automated with backup driver (Alstom CBTC)

Osaka Municipal Subway (Japan)

Osaka Subway LIM rolling stock

LIM system length: 26.9km
Linear propulsion rolling stock:
– Kawasaki/Kinki Sharyo 70 series EMU
– Kawasaki/Kinki Sharyo 80 series EMU
Systems with LIM propulsion:
– Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line (1990) 15km
– Imazatosuji Line (2006) 11.9km
Train control: Automated with backup driver

EverLine Rapid Transit System (Yongin, Korea)

Yongin EverLine

System length: 18.1km
Linear propulsion rolling stock:
– Bombardier ART 200 (30 cars)
Train control: Fully automated (Bombardier CityFLO 650)

Sendai Subway (Japan)

Crews oversee a train on powered tracks with linear motor reaction rails installed.

LIM system length: 14 km
Linear propulsion rolling stock:
– Kinki Sharyo 2000 series EMU (60 cars, 15 consists)
Systems with LIM propulsion:
Tozai Line (OPENED Dec 6, 2015) 13.9km

Yokohama Municipal Subway (Japan)

Yokohama Subway LIM train

LIM system length: 13km
Linear propulsion rolling stock:
– Kawasaki 10000 series EMU
Lines with LIM Propulsion:
– Green Line (2008) 13km
Train control: Automated with backup driver

AirTrain JFK (New York, USA)

AirTrain JFK

System length: 13km
Linear propulsion rolling stock:
– Bombardier ART 200 (32 cars)
Systems with LIM Propulsion:
– Current AirTrain system (2002) 13km
Lower Manhattan – Jamaica/JFK Transportation Project via Long Island Rail Road track-sharing (FUTURE)
Train control: Fully automated (Thales SELTRAC)

Fukuoka City Subway (Japan)

Fukuoka Subway

LIM system length: 12km (+1.6km)
Linear propulsion rolling stock:

– Hitachi 3000 series EMU (68 cars, 17 consists)
Systems with LIM Propulsion:
– Nanakuma Line (2005) 12km (1.6km extension to Hakata opening 2020)
Train control: Automated with attendant

Kobe Municipal Subway (Japan)

Kobe Subway

LIM system length: 7.9km
Linear propulsion rolling stock:
– 5000 series EMU
Systems with LIM propulsion:
– Kaigan Line (2001) 7.9km
Train control: Automated with backup driver

Toronto Subway and RT (Canada)

Scarborough RT

LIM system length: 6.4km
Linear propulsion rolling stock:
– ICTS Mark I (62 cars, 31 “married pairs”)
Systems with LIM Propulsion:
– Scarborough RT (1985) 6.4km
Train control: Driver-controlled with partial automation

Detroit People Mover (USA)

detroit20people20mover

System length: 4.7km
Linear propulsion rolling stock:
– ICTS Mark I (12 cars, 6 “married pairs”)
Train control: Fully automated (Thales SELTRAC)