JR Special Rapid Service, most useful train among Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and Himeji. | – Japan rail and train travel complete guide


Special Rapid Service is operated by 223 or 225 series. 225 is newer but the seat layout and the interior are same.

Added features[edit]

Some rapid transport trains have extra features such as wall sockets and internet connectivity. For example, the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway (MTR) provides mobile data connection in the tunnels for selected service providers.


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Costs, benefits, and impacts[edit]

As of March 2021[update], 212 cities have built rapid transit systems.[68] The capital cost is high, as is the risk of cost overrun and benefit shortfall; public financing is normally required.

Rapid transit is sometimes seen as an alternative to an extensive road transport system with many motorways;[69] the rapid transit system allows higher capacity with less land use, less environmental impact, and a lower cost.[70]

Crew size and automation[edit]

In the early days of underground railways, at least two staff members were needed to operated each train: one or more attendants (also called «conductor» or «guard») to operate the doors or gates, as well as a driver (also called the «engineer» or «motorman»).

The introduction of powered doors around 1920 permitted crew sizes to be reduced, and trains in many cities are now operated by a single person. Where the operator would not be able to see the whole side of the train to tell whether the doors can be safely closed, mirrors or closed-circuit TV monitors are often provided for that purpose.

A replacement system for human drivers became available in the 1960s, with the advancement of computerized technologies for automatic train control and, later, automatic train operation (ATO). ATO could start a train, accelerate to the correct speed, and stop automatically in the correct position at the railway platform at the next station, while taking into account the information that a human driver would obtain from lineside or cab signals.

The first metro line to use this technology in its entirety was London’s Victoria line, opened in 1968. In normal operation, a crew member sits in the driver’s position at the front, but is only responsible for closing the doors at each station.

By pressing two «start» buttons the train would then move automatically to the next station. This style of «semi-automatic train operation» (STO), known technically as «Grade of Automation (GoA) 2», has become widespread, especially on newly built lines like the BART network in the San Francisco Bay Area.


A variant of ATO, «driverless train operation» (DTO) or technically «GoA 3», is seen on some systems, as in London’s Docklands Light Railway, which opened in 1987. Here, a «passenger service agent» (formerly called «train captain») would ride with the passengers rather than sit at the front as a driver would, but would have the same responsibilities as a driver in a GoA 2 system.

This technology could allow trains to operate completely automatically with no crew, just as most elevators do. When the initially increasing costs for automation began to decrease, this became a financially attractive option for employers.

At the same time, countervailing arguments stated that in an emergency situation, a crew member on board the train would have possibly been able to prevent the emergency in the first place, drive a partially failed train to the next station, assist with an evacuation if needed, or call for the correct emergency services and help direct them to the location where the emergency occurred.

In some cities, the same reasons are used to justify a crew of two rather than one; one person drives from the front of the train, while the other operates the doors from a position farther back, and is more conveniently able to assist passengers in the rear cars. An example of the presence of a driver purely due to union opposition is the Scarborough RT line in Toronto.

Completely unmanned trains, or «unattended train operation» (UTO) or technically «GoA 4», are more accepted on newer systems where there are no existing crews to be displaced, and especially on light metro lines. One of the first such systems was the VAL (véhicule automatique léger or «automated light vehicle»), first used in 1983 on the Lille Metro in France.

Additional VAL lines have been built in other cities such as Toulouse, France, and Turin, Italy. Another system that uses unmanned trains is Bombardier’sInnovia Metro, originally developed by the Urban Transportation Development Corporation as the Intermediate Capacity Transit System (ICTS).

Systems which use automatic trains also commonly employ full-height platform screen doors or half-height automatic platform gates in order to improve safety and ensure passenger confidence, but this is not universal, as networks like Nuremberg do not, using infrared sensors instead to detect obstacles on the track.

Conversely, some lines which retain drivers or manual train operation nevertheless use PSDs, notably London’s Jubilee Line Extension. The first network to install PSDs on an already operational system was Hong Kong’s MTR, followed by the Singapore MRT.

As for larger trains, the Paris Métro has human drivers on most lines but runs automated trains on its newest line, Line 14, which opened in 1998. The older Line 1 was subsequently converted to unattended operation by 2021, and it is expected that Line 4 will follow by 2021.

The North East MRT line in Singapore, which opened in 2003, is the world’s first fully automated underground urban heavy-rail line. The MTR Disneyland Resort line is also automated, along with trains on the South Island line.

Elevated railways[edit]

Elevated railways are a cheaper and easier way to build an exclusive right-of-way without digging expensive tunnels or creating barriers. In addition to street level railways they may also be the only other feasible alternative due to considerations such as a high water table close to the city surface that raises the cost of, or even precludes underground railways (e.g.

Miami). Elevated guideways were popular around the beginning of the 20th century, but fell out of favor; they came back into fashion in the last quarter of the century—often in combination with driverless systems, for instance Vancouver’s SkyTrain, London’s Docklands Light Railway,[56] the Miami Metrorail, and the Bangkok Skytrain.[57]

External links[edit]



The opening of London’s steam-hauled Metropolitan Railway in 1863 marked the beginning of rapid transit. Initial experiences with steam engines, despite ventilation, were unpleasant. Experiments with pneumatic railways failed in their extended adoption by cities.


In these above photos, the train is empty. But please see the photo below. This is the real shot. This is not the morning and evening peak times. It is a daytime scene. But this train is very busy even other than the peak hours.


The technology used for public, mass rapid transit has undergone significant changes in the years since the Metropolitan Railway opened publicly in London in 1863.[2][3]

High capacity Monorails with larger and longer trains can be classified as rapid transit systems.[citation needed] Such monorail systems recently started operating in Chongqing and São Paulo.


Light metro is a subclass of rapid transit that has the speed and grade separation of a «full metro» but is designed for smaller passenger numbers. It often has smaller loading gauges, lighter train cars and smaller consists of typically two to four cars.

Light metros are typically used as feeder lines into the main rapid transit system.[50] For instance, the Wenhu Line of the Taipei Metro serves many relatively sparse neighbourhoods and feeds into and complements the high capacity metro lines.

Some systems have been built from scratch, others are reclaimed from former commuter rail or suburban tramway systems that have been upgraded, and often supplemented with an underground or elevated downtown section.[18] At grade alignments with a dedicated right-of-way are typically used only outside dense areas, since they create a physical barrier in the urban fabric that hinders the flow of people and vehicles across their path and have a larger physical footprint.

This method of construction is the cheapest as long as land values are low. It is often used for new systems in areas that are planned to fill up with buildings after the line is built.[51]

Most rapid transit trains are electric multiple units with lengths from three to over ten cars.[52] Crew sizes have decreased throughout history, with some modern systems now running completely unstaffed trains.[53] Other trains continue to have drivers, even if their only role in normal operation is to open and close the doors of the trains at stations.

Power is commonly delivered by a third rail or by overhead wires. The whole London Underground network uses fourth rail and others use the linear motor for propulsion.[54]

Some urban rail lines are built to a loading gauge as large as that of main-line railways; others are built to smaller and have tunnels that restrict the size and sometimes the shape of the train compartments. One example is the London Underground which has acquired the informal term «tube train» due to its cylindrical cabin shape.

In many cities, metro networks consist of lines operating different sizes and types of vehicles. Although these sub networks are not often connected by track, in cases when it is necessary, rolling stock with a smaller loading gauge from one sub network may be transported along other lines that use larger trains.

Most rapid transit systems use conventional standard gaugerailway track. Since tracks in subway tunnels are not exposed to rain, snow, or other forms of precipitation, they are often fixed directly to the floor rather than resting on ballast, such as normal railway tracks.

An alternate technology, using rubber tires on narrow concrete or steel roll ways, was pioneered on certain lines of the Paris Métro, and the first completely new system to use it was in Montreal, Canada.

On most of these networks, additional horizontal wheels are required for guidance, and a conventional track is often provided in case of flat tires and for switching. There are also some rubber-tired systems that use a central guide rail, such as the Sapporo Municipal Subway and the NeoVal system in Rennes, France.

Some cities with steep hills incorporate mountain railway technologies in their metros. One of the lines of the Lyon Metro includes a section of rack (cog) railway, while the Carmelit, in Haifa, is an underground funicular.

For elevated lines, another alternative is the monorail, which can be built either as straddle-beam monorails or as a suspended monorail. While monorails have never gained wide acceptance outside Japan, there are some such as Chongqing Rail Transit’s monorail lines which are widely used in a rapid transit setting.

Most run on conventional steel railway tracks, although some use rubber tires, such as the Montreal Metro and Mexico City Metro and some lines in the Paris Métro. Rubber tires allow steeper gradients and a softer ride, but have higher maintenance costs and are less energy efficient.


They also lose traction when weather conditions are wet or icy, preventing above-ground use of the Montréal Metro and limiting above-ground use on the Sapporo Municipal Subway but not rubber-tired systems in other cities.[55]

Network topologies[edit]

Rapid transit topologies are determined by a large number of factors, including geographical barriers, existing or expected travel patterns, construction costs, politics, and historical constraints. A transit system is expected to serve an area of land with a set of lines, which consist of shapes summarized as «I», «U», «S», and «O» shapes or loops.

Geographical barriers may cause chokepoints where transit lines must converge (for example, to cross a body of water), which are potential congestion sites but also offer an opportunity for transfers between lines. Ring lines provide good coverage, connect between the radial lines and serve tangential trips that would otherwise need to cross the typically congested core of the network.

A rough grid pattern can offer a wide variety of routes while still maintaining reasonable speed and frequency of service.[39] A study of the 15 world largest subway systems suggested a universal shape composed of a dense core with branches radiating from it.[40]


Rapid transit is used in cities, agglomerations, and metropolitan areas to transport large numbers of people often short distances at high frequency. The extent of the rapid transit system varies greatly between cities, with several transport strategies.

Some systems may extend only to the limits of the inner city, or to its inner ring of suburbs with trains making frequent station stops. The outer suburbs may then be reached by a separate commuter rail network where more widely spaced stations allow higher speeds.

Rapid transit systems may be supplemented by other systems such as trolleybuses, regular buses, trams, or commuter rail. This combination of transit modes serves to offset certain limitations of rapid transit such as limited stops and long walking distances between outside access points.

Each rapid transit system consists of one or more lines, or circuits. Each line is serviced by at least one specific route with trains stopping at all or some of the line’s stations. Most systems operate several routes, and distinguish them by colors, names, numbering, or a combination thereof.

Some lines may share track with each other for a portion of their route or operate solely on their own right-of-way. Often a line running through the city center forks into two or more branches in the suburbs, allowing a higher service frequency in the center.

This arrangement is used by many systems, such as the Copenhagen Metro,[33] the Milan Metro, the Oslo Metro and the New York City Subway.[34]

Alternatively, there may be a single central terminal (often shared with the central railway station), or multiple interchange stations between lines in the city center, for instance in the Prague Metro.[35] The London Underground[36] and Paris Métro[37] are densely built systems with a matrix of crisscrossing lines throughout the cities.

The Chicago ‘L’ has most of its lines converging on The Loop, the main business, financial, and cultural area. Some systems have a circular line around the city center connecting to radially arranged outward lines, such as the Moscow Metro’s Koltsevaya Line and Beijing Subway’s Line 10.

The capacity of a line is obtained by multiplying the car capacity, the train length, and the service frequency. Heavy rapid transit trains might have six to twelve cars, while lighter systems may use four or fewer. Cars have a capacity of 100 to 150 passengers, varying with the seated to standing ratio—more standing gives higher capacity.

The minimum time interval between trains is shorter for rapid transit than for mainline railways owing to the use of Communications based train control: the minimum headway can reach 90 seconds, but many systems typically use 120 seconds to allow for recovery from delays.

Typical capacity lines allow 1,200 people per train, giving 36,000 people per hour. The highest attained capacity is 80,000 people per hour by the MTR Corporation in Hong Kong.[38]

Passenger information[edit]

Rapid transit operators have often built up strong brands, often focused on easy recognition—to allow quick identification even in the vast array of signage found in large cities—combined with the desire to communicate speed, safety, and authority.[41] In many cities, there is a single corporate image for the entire transit authority, but the rapid transit uses its own logo that fits into the profile.

Route, schedule and travel time

Special Rapid Service runs the route and stop at these stations in the map below:

In day time, Special Rapid Service train runs every 15 minutes between Yasu and Himeji. Some of this train services are extended service to Mabara, Nagahama, Tsuruga to east, and Banshu-Ako, Aboshi and Kamigori to west.

Hotels in KobeHotels in Himeji

When you move between Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe and Himeji, this train service is a primary choice. If you take Shinkansen from Kyoto to Shin-Osaka, it takes only 13 minutes. It seems to be much faster than Shin-Osaka. But you have to change trains at Shin-Osaka if you go to somewhere in Osaka.

If you go to Kobe, it takes 15 minutes by Shinkansen. But Shin-Kobe station on Shinkansen is not located in downtown. You need to take subway to Sannomiya.

Even in case of going to Himeji, it may be very close. It takes 30 minutes by Shinkansen and takes 1 hour by Special Rapid. But if you take Shinkansen, you must get Shin-Osaka first. And Shinkansen between Shin-Osaka and Himeji does not run very frequently.

Safety and security[edit]

Compared to other modes of transport, rapid transit has a good safety record, with few accidents. Rail transport is subject to strict safety regulations, with requirements for procedure and maintenance to minimize risk. Head-on collisions are rare due to use of double track, and low operating speeds reduce the occurrence and severity of rear-end collisions and derailments.

Fire is more of a danger underground, such as the King’s Cross fire in London in November 1987, which killed 31 people. Systems are generally built to allow evacuation of trains at many places throughout the system.[44][45]

High platforms (usually over 1 meter / 3 feet) are a safety risk, as people falling onto the tracks have trouble climbing back. Platform screen doors are used on some systems to eliminate this danger.

Rapid transit facilities are public spaces and may suffer from security problems: petty crimes, such as pickpocketing and baggage theft, and more serious violent crimes, as well as sexual assaults on tightly packed trains and platforms.[46][47] Security measures include video surveillance, security guards, and conductors.

In some countries a specialized transit police may be established. These security measures are normally integrated with measures to protect revenue by checking that passengers are not travelling without paying.[48] Some subway systems, such as the Beijing Subway, which is ranked by Worldwide Rapid Transit Data as the «World’s Safest Rapid Transit Network» in 2021, incorporate airport-style security checkpoints at every station.

Rapid transit systems have been subject to terrorism with many casualties, such as the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin gas attack[49] and the 2005 «7/7» terrorist bombings on the London Underground.


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Metro is the most common term for underground rapid transit systems used by non-native English speakers.[14] Rapid transit systems may be named after the medium by which passengers travel in busy central business districts; the use of tunnels inspires names such as subway,[15]underground,[16]Untergrundbahn (U-Bahn)

in German,[17] or the Tunnelbana (T-bana) in Swedish;[18] the use of viaducts inspires names such as elevated (L or el), skytrain,[19]overhead, overground or Hochbahn in German.

In most of Britain, a subway is a pedestrian underpass; the terms Underground and Tube are used for the London Underground, and the North East England Tyne and Wear Metro, mostly overground, is known as the Metro.

In Scotland, however, the Glasgow Subway underground rapid transit system is known as the Subway. In most of North America, underground mass transit systems are primarily known as subways.[citation needed] The term metro is a shortened reference to a metropolitan area.

Chicago’s commuter rail system that serves the entire metropolitan area is called Metra (short for «Metropolitan Rail»), while its rapid transit system that serves the city is called the «L».

Rapid transit systems such as the Washington Metro, Los Angeles Metro Rail, the Miami Metrorail, and the Montreal Metro are generally called the Metro.[20] However the Boston subway system is known locally as «The T».


Underground tunnels move traffic away from street level, avoiding delays caused by traffic congestion and leaving more land available for buildings and other uses. In areas of high land prices and dense land use, tunnels may be the only economic route for mass transportation.

Cut-and-cover tunnels are constructed by digging up city streets, which are then rebuilt over the tunnel; alternatively, tunnel-boring machines can be used to dig deep-bore tunnels that lie further down in bedrock.[21]

The construction of an underground metro is an expensive project and is often carried out over a number of years. There are several different methods of building underground lines.

In one common method, known as cut-and-cover the city streets are excavated and a tunnel structure strong enough to support the road above is built in the trench, which is then filled in and the roadway rebuilt. This method often involves extensive relocation of utilities commonly buried not far below street level – particularly power and telephone wiring, water and gas mains, and sewers.

This relocation must be done carefully, as according to documentaries from the National Geographic Society, one of the causes of the April 22, 1992, explosions in Guadalajara was a mislocated water pipeline. The structures are typically made of concrete, perhaps with structural columns of steel; in the oldest systems, brick, and cast iron were used.

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