The Fukutoshin line opened up on June 14, 2008. My husband took pictures and explored the line on June 17, 2008.
Tokyo is notorious for overcrowded trains. By now, anyone who isn't familiar with the fact that part of the job of a rush hour train conductor is to cram people into cars like sardines has not been paying attention. In fact, the way in which people allow themselves to be crammed in would be considered cruelty to animals if it were done with any animal other than a human.
The Fukutoshin line is a new subway meant to relieve some of the congestion of one of the major lines, the Yamanote line. It starts in Saitama, which can be considered a suburb of Tokyo in terms of being a cheaper place to live which isn't so far away from the central areas that a commute is still possible. It leads into some the most heavily-trafficked shopping and work districts in Tokyo.
The line has both "local" (stopping at all stations) and "express" (stopping at only the most popular stops and bypassing others) trains. This is nothing new, but the uncommon thing is that the express trains are 10 cars long and the local ones only 8 cars in length. I'm guessing that the express trains stops are the only stations with platforms long enough to accommodate the longer trains. There are signs specifically explaining the car length issue and messages flashing at regular intervals on the displays in the stations.
New stations like these are always a fascinating contrast to the older ones. They are pristine, clean, and their designs appear fresh and cutting edge. This week's shiny new station is next year's dingy, dirty, and dated look.
There are two aspects to every train line in Tokyo. One is how you go and the other is where you go. My husband bought a day pass for about $7 (¥740) and took the camera and investigated the lines, stations, and the areas that the stops lead to. Sometimes, they opened into vast shopping areas. At others, they opened into a whole lot of nothing. He took nearly 200 pictures and you can view them in a Picasa album here. Be forewarned though that the pictures are not picked over and some may not be all that interesting or recognizable.