Tsukuba Express

The Tsukuba Express (つくばエクスプレス, Tsukuba Ekusupuresu), or TX, is a Japanese railway line of the Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company which links Akihabara Station in Chiyoda, Tokyo and Tsukuba Station in Tsukuba, Ibaraki. The route was inaugurated on August 24, 2005.

Tsukuba Express
Tsukuba Express logo.svg
A Tsukuba Express train (TX-2000 series)
Native nameつくばエクスプレス
OwnerMetropolitan Intercity Railway Company
LocaleKanto Region
TypeCommuter rail
Rolling stockTX-1000 series / TX-2000 series
Daily ridership431,060 (daily 2015)[1]
Opened24 August 2005
Line length58.3 km (36.2 mi)
Track gauge1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Electrification1,500 V DC overhead catenary (Akihabara – Moriya)
20 kV AC, 50 Hz (Moriya – Tsukuba)
Operating speed130 km/h (80 mph)
(video) Tsukuba Express line train


The line has a top speed of 130 km/h. Rapid service has reduced the time required for the trip from Akihabara to Tsukuba from the previous 1 hour 30 minutes (by the Jōban Line, arriving in Tsuchiura, about 15 km from Tsukuba) or 70 minutes (by bus, under optimal traffic conditions) to 45 minutes; from Tokyo, the trip requires 50 – 55 minutes. The line has no grade crossings.

An automatic train operation system allows a single individual to operate the train.

Electrification and rolling stockEdit

To prevent interference with the geomagnetic measurements of the Japan Meteorological Agency at its laboratory in Ishioka, the portion of the line from Moriya to Tsukuba operates on alternating current. For this reason, the trains include TX-1000 series DC-only trains, which can operate only between Akihabara and Moriya, and TX-2000 series dual-voltage AC/DC trains, which can operate over the entire line.

Volume production of the rolling stock began in January 2004, following the completion in March 2003 of two (TX-1000 and TX-2000 series) six-car trains for trial operation and training. The full fleet of 84 TX-1000s (14 six-car trains) and 96 TX-2000s (16 six-car trains) was delivered by January 2005.

New TX-3000 series trains built by Hitachi Rail are scheduled to enter service in March 2020.[2]


  •   : Local (普通, Futsū)
  •   : Semi-Rapid (区間快速, Kukan Kaisoku)
  •   : Commuter-Rapid (通勤快速, Tsūkin Kaisoku)
  •   : Rapid (快速, Kaisoku)

Trains stop at stations marked "●" and pass stations marked "|"(some trains stop at stations marked "▲").

No. Station name Distance (km) Elec. Local Semi-Rapid Commuter
Rapid Transfers Location
Japanese English Ward / City Prefecture
01 秋葉原 Akihabara 0.0 DC Chiyoda Tokyo
02 新御徒町 Shin-Okachimachi 1.6   Toei Oedo Line (E-10) Taitō
03 浅草 Asakusa 3.1   Tokyo Metro Ginza Line (at Tawaramachi (G-18))
04 南千住 Minami-Senju 5.6 JJ Joban Line (Rapid)
  Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line (H-21)
05 北千住 Kita-Senju 7.5 Adachi
06 青井 Aoi 10.6 | | |
07 六町 Rokuchō 12.0 |
08 八潮 Yashio 15.6 | Yashio Saitama
09 三郷中央 Misato-chūō 19.3 | | Misato
10 南流山 Minami-Nagareyama 22.1 JM Musashino Line Nagareyama Chiba
11 流山セントラルパーク Nagareyama-centralpark 24.3 | | |
12 流山おおたかの森 Nagareyama-ōtakanomori 26.5 TD Tobu Urban Park Line
13 柏の葉キャンパス Kashiwanoha-campus 30.0 | Kashiwa
14 柏たなか Kashiwa-Tanaka 32.0 | | |
15 守谷 Moriya 37.7 Jōsō Line Moriya Ibaraki
16 みらい平 Miraidaira 44.3 AC | | Tsukubamirai
17 みどりの Midorino 48.6 | | Tsukuba
18 万博記念公園 Bampaku-kinenkōen 51.8 | |
19 研究学園 Kenkyū-gakuen 55.6 |
20 つくば Tsukuba 58.3


Platform level of Tsukuba Station

The Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company (首都圏新都市鉄道株式会社, Shuto-ken Shin Toshi Tetsudō Kabushiki-gaisha) was founded on 15 March 1991 to construct the Tsukuba Express, which was then provisionally called the Jōban New Line (常磐新線, Jōban Shinsen). The new line was planned to relieve crowding on the Jōban Line operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East), which had reached the limit of its capacity. However, with the economic downturn in Japan, the goal shifted to development along the line. Also, the initial plan called for a line from Tokyo Station to Moriya, but expenses forced the planners to start the line at Akihabara instead of Tokyo Station, and pressure from the government of Ibaraki Prefecture resulted in moving the extension from Moriya to Tsukuba into Phase I of the construction.

The original schedule called for the line to begin operating in 2000, but delays in construction pushed the opening date to summer 2005. The line eventually opened on 24 August 2005.

From the start of the revised timetable on 15 October 2012, new "Commuter rapid" (通勤快速, tsūkin kaisoku) services were introduced in the morning (inbound services) and evening (outbound services) peak periods.[3]

In September 2013, a number of municipalities along the Tsukuba Express line in Ibaraki Prefecture submitted a proposal to complete the extension of the line to Tokyo Station at the same time as a new airport-to-airport line proposed as part of infrastructure improvements for the 2020 Summer Olympics.[4]

The line made worldwide news in November 2017 when an apology was issued by Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company due to a train departing 20 seconds earlier than scheduled.[5]

Ridership figuresEdit

Fiscal year Passengers carried
(in millions)
Days operated Passengers per day
2005 34.69 220 150,000
2006 70.69 365 195,000
2007 84.85 366 234,000
2008 93.21 365 258,000
2009 97.79 365 270,300
2010 102.22 365 283,000
2011 104.89 366 290,000
2012 110.66 365 306,000
2013 117.17 365 324,000


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "平成27年 大都市交通センサス 首都圈報告書" (PDF). P.93. 国土交通省.
  2. ^ Barrow, Keith (June 12, 2018). "Hitachi to supply extra trains for Tsukuba Express". railjournal.com. Simmons-Boardman Publishing. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  3. ^ 10月15日(月)にダイヤ改正を実施いたします。 [15 October Timetable Revision]. News Release (in Japanese). Japan: Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company. 26 July 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  4. ^ "TX東京駅延伸で茨城の沿線自治体市議会が意見書". 日本経済新聞. 21 September 2013. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  5. ^ "Apology after Japanese train departs 20 seconds early". 16 November 2017. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  6. ^ "開業3周年を迎えるつくばエクスプレス(TX)" (Tsukuba Express Celebrates its 3rd Anniversary). Tetsudō Daiya Jōhō Magazine, August 2008 issue, p.63
  7. ^ 平成21年度 輸送実績のお知らせ [Transportation Figures for 2009] (PDF). News Release (in Japanese). Japan: Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company. 25 May 2010. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  8. ^ 首都圏新都市鉄道(株)の平成22年度営業実績 [Business Performance of Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company for 2010] (PDF). News Release (in Japanese). Japan: Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company. 6 June 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  9. ^ 首都圏新都市鉄道(株)の平成23年度営業実績 [Business Performance of Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company for 2011] (PDF). News Release (in Japanese). Japan: Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company. 4 June 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  10. ^ 平成24年度営業実績 [Business Performance for 2012]. News Release (in Japanese). Japan: Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company. 7 June 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  11. ^ 平成25年度営業実績 [Business Performance for 2013]. News Release (in Japanese). Japan: Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company. 6 June 2014. Retrieved 8 November 2014.

External linksEdit