UPDATE : NOVEMBER 30 2015 : At around 15:00 at JR Osaki Station, the first E235 will be officially flagged off and inducted into regular service.
The new Yamanote Line was officially flagged off from JR Osaki Station today.The train was flooded with people, mostly fans who were busy taking snaps inside and outside the train. A few paper commercials still exist. NOT 100% DIGITALA digital signage on the corner of the train with expanded space for passengers with physical disabilities. Crisp new LED screens in the train showing in ENGLISH the route and next stations.The beautiful screens with no paper ads.Regular commercials inside the new crisp LED screens.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE : JUNE 2015 IS BELOW
Those ubiquitous paper ads hanging inside trains across Japan, advertising scandalous magazines, drinks, beauty products whatever , seem to be on their way out in central Tokyo.East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) has begun test runs of a new Yamanote Line train that replaces the hanging ads with digital signage on the walls and I luckily caught one is a pre-evaluation test run at JR Osaki Station yesterday.
The new E235 series JR Yamanote pulled into the JR Osaki Station and the first impression I got was the significant change in the branding and emphasis of the green color on the frontal side of the train. The train looks more pleasing to the eye than the existing green bands but gray metal finish which is more prominent. I love the new design, see the snaps below and take your pick.
Unfortunately, the green is not that emphasized on the sides as you can see the sides retain the existing metal finish. I thought I was the only lucky person to spot the new train, but fans follow the schedules when the test run are conducted and around 30 train and camera fans were already ready with their heavy SLR gear and taking snaps of the shiny new beauty.
The doors are painted green and those alternate metallic grey and green bands spread over the length of the train give an overall positive impression of the design.I peeped into one of the carriages, and noted that green colored seats were already in place, but no digital displays yet set inside. The main point of the Autumn 2015 JR Yamanote train is that it will have NO PAPER ADS hanging around, and complete digital display alone will be provided. You can get nostalgic about that paper ads or feel good about the paper free aspect, but the new trains are not just new color on the outside, but solid technological change on the inside.
I have always loved those paper ads, have been using them to learn reading Japanese on a boring trip to office or way back home. I am not sure how the digital only experience will change this, but am optimistic that it will be more real time, help in information broadcast during disaster (not sure if JR has thought of that angle too, am sure they would have..)
The spic and span clean experience will be like below, well that’s the future we are certainly leaning towards, although I am not sure of the carbon footprint this leaves vis-a-vis paper…I know digital will be a very different use case and the comparison is flawed, but then again, for arguments sake… I think the screens will be costlier proposition in short term, but beneficial(?) in the long run.