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Station in Tokyo to be moved to close 'dangerous' gap between platform, trains

This 2003 file photo shows the platform of JR Iidabashi Station which is placed along a section of curved train tracks, creating a gap as wide as 33 cm between trains and the platform. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- The platform of JR Iidabashi Station, known as one of the most dangerous in Tokyo for its curved shape that creates a large gap between the trains and the platform, will be moved to a new location, set to be used from the first train on July 12.

The station, located in the capital's Chiyoda Ward, currently has a platform that is set up along the sharply curved train tracks. There have been numerous accidents in which passengers have fallen onto the tracks as the space between the platform and the trains is too wide. The new platform will be moved to a section about 200 meters away, where the railroad tracks are laid out in a straight line, closing the gap between the platform and trains.

According to East Japan Railway Co. (JR East), gaps of up to 33 centimeters as well as height differences as large as 20 centimeters are created when trains stop at the current platform at Iidabashi Station. An average of 10 incidents of passengers falling into the open space have been reported annually. A survey was previously conducted by the Japan Federation of the Blind (now the Japan Federation of the Visually Impaired), asking its members about train stations, and Iidabashi Station appeared at the top of the list of stations in Tokyo they considered dangerous.

JR East announced in 2014 that the platform would be relocated to prevent accidents, and began construction in 2015. The new platform is virtually free of any difference in height between the train door step and platform, and will reduce the gap between the platform and trains to 15 cm at most.

The current platform will be used as a connecting passageway to the east exit of the station from July 12 onward, and the two-story station building near the west exit that has undergone renovations will open on the same day.

Besides the JR Sobu and Chuo lines, Tokyo Metro's Tozai, Yurakucho, and Nanboku lines as well as the Toei Oedo Line run through Iidabashi Station. Upon the relocation of the platform, the transfer time from the JR lines to the Tozai and Toei Oedo lines will likely become several minutes longer, while the time needed to transfer to the Yurakucho and Nanboku lines will be shortened.

(Japanese original by Yoshitaka Yamamoto, City News Department)

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