Jam packed trains can be a fact of life when living in Tokyo, particularly during morning rush hour. They can also be quite crowded on Friday nights as more people stay out after work rather than going home right away. However, when trains are delayed, the first train to run after service has been resumed can be particularly crowded.
This is exactly what happened recently on the JR Chuo Rapid line in Tokyo. I was riding from Tokyo Station with a plan to get off at Tokyo. I didn’t notice that the train had left, but with each passing station, Kanda, Ochanomizu and Yotsuya, I noticed that not everyone was able to get on the train. Being Friday night I didn’t really think much of it as I assumed that this was standard fair for trains approaching last train on a Friday night.
Upon arriving at Shinjuku, the conductor apologised for the 10 minute delay, my first clue that the crowdedness was not normal. As usual, most people wanted to get off at Shinjuku. As I was stuck in the middle of the car between the doors, I would be one of the last people off the train. I was only just able to squeeze off the train as the platform was already full of both an above average number of people waiting for the train (as it was late) and the large number of people who had already gotten off. Once off the train, there was a significant amount of pushing taking place, I was worried both that people would start falling on top of each other as well as falling off the other side of the platform onto the tracks (Yamanote Line).
This was easily the most crowded train platform that I have been on throughout my time in Japan
After I managed to get myself away from the door, I managed to get some photos of the door area where I had just gotten off. As they were taken with my cellphone, the quality is not the best. It was clear that there was no chance in everybody being able to get on the train and the conductor was requesting that people wait and take the next train.