Wednesday, March 18, 2015

They've changed the train schedule

Station

This is not a tech post.

I've been deployed to a new site from the end of last year and there is one problem. I don't have flexible working hours anymore. So, now I have to be at work by 8:30 or I will have to take the morning off. However we are expected to arrive by trains as there isn't any parking space for the employees, thus delay in trains will be excused if we can produce the chit proving that there really has been a delay. (Why can’t they show this info on a website?) We can get them from the station master and usually they distribute them when there is an abnormal delay. (I don't think they distribute them for small delays like couple of minutes.)

Luckily for me, I still haven't required to collect that chit during the entire almost-5-years that I've been in Japan. That is not to say that there haven't been delays, but in all those occasions, I've managed to get to the workplace in time. It usually takes about 15 minutes to get from the station to the current office, however once I was forced to get there in just 8 minutes which I managed without much issue. Of course I had to run.

At the beginning, I used to take the 7:35am train bound for Kawasaki. This got me to work way too early. I was at my seat by 8:10am, by walking as slowly as I could to the office from the station. We don't get paid for starting working before 8:30am, so that was highly inefficient. I changed to the 7:45am train and now I take the 7:52am one. But on most days, I miss the 7:52am train and have to go by the 7:55am or 7:57am train. 7:57 train is dangerous because if there is a 10 minute delay, I'm screwed. 7:55 one is OK as it gives me 18 minutes to walk from the station to the office, if the trains are on time.

I once wrote about my dissatisfaction about the arrangement of the Nakanoshima station. I live on the side of the town where I have to cross the railway first to get into the station. If there is a train heading Tachikawa direction, the gates will be closed and I cannot cross. Sometimes - many times - the train which I want to get on board would arrive on the other track while the train heading the opposite direction hasn't left the station. Thus I will miss my train because the gates are closed and I cannot get into the station. If I lived on the other side of the town, this wouldn't have been a problem.

This used to happen often with the 7:55am train bound for Kawasaki. The 7:52am train heading the same direction would arrive at around 7:51am and the gates close to let the train pass the crossing. The train would stop as soon as it passes the crossing. The 7:53am train heading the other direction would arrive before the previous train leaves the station. Next is the 7:55am train, the one I want to get aboard. It should arrive at around 7:54am. The 7:53am train that arrived earlier should leave before this train arrives and there is a few second window for the gates to open up. However, this window is so short that more often than not, the 7:55am train would arrive before the gates open up. The trigger point for the gates is a far away, so there are people who sneak through the gates and cross the railroad. The railroad is in a straight line so an approaching train is visible from a long distant, so it is quite safe. However seldom there can be a police officer close by, stopping people from doing this. I have also sneaked through the gates few times in the past, but I don’t feel like doing that often. Anyways, the chances of me getting aboard that 7:55am train is pretty slim.

Since last Monday, it seems that they have changed the train schedule for the ones heading Tachikawa direction. The 7:53am train is no more. It's been changed to 7:55am. AWESOME! This allows me to catch the 7:55am train without any issues as I arrive at the station by around 7:53 am, at the time which the gates will be open. However,  I probably won't be able to catch the 7:57am train anymore and this is dangerous as the next train is at 8:01am. So, to be on the safer side, I should leave the apartment so that I can always catch the 7:52am train, leaving the 7:55am train as a backup. This means I will have to leave for work at around 7:46am.

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