SL Crossing the Hino Railway Bridge During the Taisho Era (Chuo Main Line)/ Courtesy of: TAMASHIN Culture Foundation
- The Creation and Development of Kobu Railways, the Predecessor of the Chuo Line
- The first railway in the Tama area opened in April 1889, connecting Shinjuku to Tachikawa. This private railway connecting the land of Kobu in Kofu (present-day Yamanashi Prefecture) with the land of Musashi in Hamura (present-day Tokyo) serves as the predecessor for the current JR Chuo Line. It was extended to Hachioji in August 1889, and, in the direction of the city center, was expanded to Ochanomizu in 1904. It then became a state-owned railroad in 1906 under the Railway Nationalization Act, becoming part of the Chuo Line. As housing and schools along the railway eventually increased, the line became a vital presence, connecting commuters from the Tama area to the city center on weekdays and acting as a train for getaways to Okutama and Mount Takao on the weekends. The population in Tokyo skyrocketed in the post-war era. Along with the economic recovery, the population jumped from 8.11 million in 1956 to 9.41 million in 1960, making housing a serious issue. To prevent chaotic development, Tama New Town was created as a planned city straddling the four municipalities of Hachiōji, Machida, Tama, and Inagi. The plan for the city was created in 1965, and people began moving in 1971. The opening of the Keio Line and Odakyu Line between 1974 and 1975 led to an improvement in transportation, and the Tama Monorail opened in 2000, connecting the Tama area from north to south. Developed as a multifunctional city complex – complete with housing, schools, hospitals, and shopping – the area has various zones where residents can interact with nature on their days off, such as parks where traces of the forests of Tama hills remain and a promenade which stretches along a 41 km route.