Monorail Serving Tokyo's Haneda Airport Marks 50th Anniversary

Monorail serving Tokyo's Haneda airport marks 50th anniversaryThe monorail linking Tokyo's Haneda airport with the downtown area marked its 50th anniversary on Wednesday, with six types of rail cars previously and currently in service featured at a commemorative event.

Tokyo Monorail connecting the airport and Hamamatsucho Station launched its service on Sept. 17, 1964, ahead of the Tokyo Olympics later that year. The 17.8-kilometer monorail of the straddle-beam system had carried a total of 1.83 billion passengers by the end of March this year.

In the event, the latest 10000 series car, which debuted in July, departed Hamamatsucho Station at 10 a.m., followed by the other types including the 2000 series car with big windows introduced in 1997.

"I am deeply moved that we have overcome hard times and marked the 50th anniversary of service without any accident causing injury or death," said Mahito Kikuchi, a senior official of the operator Tokyo Monorail Co., referring to a sharp decline in the number of passengers since the transfer of international flights from Haneda to Narita airport that opened in 1978.

The oldest monorail route currently in operation in Japan is at Tokyo's Ueno Zoo, which was constructed as a suspension system monorail in 1957.