Japanese railways have a history of more than 140 years, and a number of technologies have developed in that. I focused on the occupation of the railway industry, which can be said to be such a treasure box of Japanese science and technology. In this blog, I would like to introduce some of the jobs that support the essential means of transportation every day.
１．Driver and Conductor
The driver and the conductor are an important task to take care of the safety of the passengers. They need to be familiar with all things of railway, so they get trained after accumulating on real experience. They always point and call because they have to be aware of the safety of diamonds, the vehicle and tracks. This sly behavior is often a chance to long for the driver and conductor.
By the way, as we can say for all the railway jobs, if they were working at the last train time, how would they go home? In general, in the case of last train time work, it seems to take a nap in the accommodation of the company, work a little again from the first departure, and clock out. Because of this mechanism, we can have a feast until the very last minute when the date changes.
The station staff is the face of the station and manages the details of the facility every day. There are dozens of main types of work, such as ticketing, order maintenance, cleaning, platform safety, inflow arrangement, peripheral guidance, barrier-free support, etc. These jobs are basically rotated depending on the time of day. Also, the number of station staff varies depending on the size of the station.
In recent years, an increasing number of companies have introduced “concierge” and “attendant” systems, where the main business is to respond to passengers. “Station Concierge Tokyo” in Tokyo Station is one of the largest information centers in Japan. It is said that the guide here never says that “we don’t know.” for the requirement of the visitor.
Look at the image above. This is a diagram showing the railway operation plan. With time as the horizontal axis and the station on the vertical axis, you can see at a glance how the train is moving. Railway companies conduct a “Passenger Flow Survey” that examines the usage status of routes every year. The diagram is adjusted based on this result and is rewritten periodically.
Some trains run directly with other companies’ railways. In that case, it is required to adjust the schedule between companies. The purpose of the diamond creation is to reduce congestion during rush hour as much as possible while ensuring the safety of the train, and to improve the convenience of transfer and transportation speed. In Japan, the craftsman who creates the diagram is called “Sujiya”.
４．Workers protecting the safety of equipment
Railway rails and vehicles gradually deteriorate as you use them. Therefore, if you do not regularly track and inspect, the rail will be distorted, and the vehicle will become aging. As shown in the figure below, railway companies perform track construction work to adjust the condition of the track at night.
In addition, the vehicle is put in the vehicle base after the last train time, and when it does not run even in the daytime, inspection and maintenance of the vehicle are carried out. People who do these jobs don’t miss small scratches on any part. With regard to vehicles, the frequency of inspections and investigations is decided by law, and the contents of the survey are different every day, every week, every month, every four years, and every eight years. It is thorough enough to decompose all parts of the vehicle into pieces when it is investigation every eight years.
Railway companies and vehicle manufacturers are separate. For example, JR East, a railway company, has Japan Transport Engineering Company in its subsidiary. We are also involved in the manufacture of the E7 series of JR East shown in the figure below. Of course, this company also manufactures JR vehicles, but since it is only one manufacturer, it also makes vehicles from other companies. However, many vehicle manufacturers, including Japan Transport Engineering Company, are often subsidiaries of some kind of railway company.
In addition, almost all Japanese vehicles are from domestic manufacturers, except for some, but we also have factories overseas and manufacture local railway vehicles. In fact, Kawasaki Heavy Industries Rolling Stock Company has a factory in Lincoln, USA, and is also in charge of New York City Subway cars.
There are many other railway jobs. Although it is a big public transportation system, each one is a company, so of course there are clerical jobs, and there are people who are involved in urban development in the surrounding area. I hope you will be interested in Japan railway networks which is one of the safest in the world.
・図解入門業界研究 最新 鉄道業界の動向とカラクリがよ～くわかる本[第３版],p.190~209,佐野 信之
All images by いらすとや, フリー写真素材フォトック, and Creative Commons by Microsoft