It might look like brand new technology, but this surprising system is on a train that’s been running for more than forty years.
Japanese trains are well-known around the world for being punctual, clean, and offering a polite and courteous service that’s second to none. This focus on providing a comfortable service for passengers has been in the spotlight again recently with a video posted online by Twitter user @, which shows a seat slowly descending from the ceiling, coming to rest in front of one of the train doors and slotting perfectly in place with other seats on the side of the carriage.
▼ To see the impressive scene in action, check out the short clip below.
雉杤：紅楼夢H-15b (@kijitoti_NV) August 28, 2016
The unique seating can be found on the 5000 series trains run by rail operator Keihan Railways, which services the Osaka, Kyoto, and Shiga regions. During off-peak periods, some of the train doors can be deactivated, which means these seats can then descend from the ceiling to provide extra seating for passengers.
Despite having been around for some time, Japanese Twitter users were still surprised by the unique technology revealed in the video, leaving comments like:
“This is amazing! I had no idea this type of thing existed until now.”
“I absolutely love this!”
“I catch this train during peak hours and never once noticed the overhead seating storage before!”
“This is fantastic technology!”
“It’s like something you’d see on the ‘Thunderbirds’ sci-fi television series!”
This 5000 series train has actually been in operation since 1971, and is the only one in all of Japan to be equipped with the special overhead seating storage. To celebrate the train’s 45 years of service on the the Keihan-Otosen Nakanoshima line, the railway company held an event at Nakanoshima Station on 28 August to show off the unique seating mechanism to interested members of the public, who were able to film the “seat lifting demonstration” at a variety of times with ticketed entry.
▼ The event was announced on the company’s official Twitter account.
京阪電車（電車・駅のご案内）【公式】 (@keihandensha) August 17, 2016
The seats are said to remain down at all times except during peak rush hour periods, when they’re raised to accommodate a greater number of passengers, so it’s a rare event to see the fancy mechanism in action. Even though we might not be able to see it in person, we’ll definitely be adding the clever device to our long list of reasons we love the railways in Japan!