Yamanote Line closed all days on this weedend – Final stage of Shibuya improving work

JR East has been progressing with Shibuya Station improvement work in stages since 2015, and will cancel the Yamanote Line trains in some sections for the entire days from the first train on November 18 (Sat), 2023 to the last train on 19 (Sun), in order to carry out tracks switching work.

JR East E235 series EMU operated on the Yamanote Line (たろとれ/PhotoAC)
JR East E235 series EMU operated on the Yamanote Line (たろとれ/PhotoAC)

Use Saikyo Line or Shonan-Shinjuku Line instead

The construction work will continue for approximately 52 hours from after the last train on November 17 (Fri) until before the first train on November 20 (Mon). The Yamanote Line services will be suspended from Osaki Station to Ikebukuro Station across Shibuya Station, with all clockwise trains to Ikebukuro Station on the 18 (Sat) and all counter-clockwise trains to Osaki Station on the 19 (Sun). The number of trains running in other sections on the Yamanote Line will also be reduced.

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During the tracks work period, one-way Yamanote Line trains will be available at Shibuya Station, but almost half of the platform will be in the construction area, so some stairs and escalators from each ticket gate will be out of service. In particular, there is a possibility that admission to the Hachiko Gate may be restricted depending on the congestion on the platform, so it is recommended to use the “Central Gate” and “South Gate” separately.

On both days, the Saikyo Line and Sotetsu Line direct trains that run parallel between Osaki Station and Ikebukuro Station will be increased or extended, and the Shonan-Shinjuku Line will also operate as usual. Rapid service on the Keihin-Tohoku Line will be canceled and trains will stop at all stations throughout the day. In addition to disseminating information about detour routes, JR East will also urge those with tickets or commuter passes to use alternate transportation to other railway operators, such as Tokyo Metro, Toei Subway or Tokyu Corporation.

In the event that construction cannot be carried out due to bad weather, backup dates will be December 16 (Sat) to 17 (Sun). Even if it is postponed, the all-day suspension of service on November 18 (Sat) to 19 (Sun) will be carried out as originally planned.

(See the chart below for details such as the route map of the Yamanote Line suspension section due to track switching work at Shibuya Station, image of the implementation of this improvement work.)

[Chart] The route map of the Yamanote Line suspension section due to track switching work at Shibuya Station, image of the implementation of this improvement work

Shibuya Station will be reborn with spacious passageways

Before improvement work began at Shibuya Station, the Saikyo Line platform was located far away in the direction of Ebisu Station, making it inconvenient to transfer to the Yamanote Line or other lines. Additionally, the height of the viaduct was not sufficient, and the passage connecting the east and west plazas under the railroad tracks had steep slopes and low ceiling heights in some areas. In order to resolve these difficulties in using this station, tracks switching work has been carried out in four steps since May 2018.

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In the first and second tracks works phases, the Saikyo Line platform was relocated to a position parallel to the Yamanote Line, and the height of the Saikyo Line’s tracks and platform was raised. Through the subsequent third and forth phases, the platforms that had been separated for the closkwise and counter-clockwise routes of the Yamanote Line were unified.

This will be the last of five track changes phases at Shibuya Station, and the Yamanote Line tracks and platforms will be raised up to 20 cm to create a more comfortable station space. After that, construction work will begin in earnest to create two free east-west passageways with no difference in elevation, each 22 to 23 meters wide and 2.6 meters high, under the railroad tracks. The city of Shibuya used to be divided by rails, but it is expected that the ease of getting around will be greatly improved.

Construction of the second phase of “Shibuya Scramble Square” will also begin in earnest, a jointly developed building with Tokyu Corporation, Tokyo Metro and JR East, which will be the core of the surrounding town development. A central building is planned to be built above JR Shibuya Station, and a west building will be constructed on the site of the former Tokyu Department Store Toyoko Building. When completed and integrated with the currently operating East Building, it will provide the largest office and commercial facility in the Shibuya area.

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