Meiji-era railway ruins shown to public

The ruins of Japan's first railway line construction project have been shown to the public. People who applied for an on-site briefing in advance gathered for the event at the heart of Tokyo on Sunday.

The Takanawa Embankment is a mound that was built over shallow waters in the Tokyo Bay so tracks could be laid for a line connecting Tokyo's Shimbashi with Yokohama. The line opened in 1872 during the Meiji era.

The ruins were discovered by chance during redevelopment work in the area. Part of the ruins will be preserved as a national historical site representing modernization during the Meiji era.

Visitors were shown a cross-section of the embankment and given an explanation about new findings on how workers piled soil layer upon layer.

They were also shown rails and railroad ties that had been unearthed. They were allowed to take pictures during the briefing.

Saito Susumu, an education board member of Tokyo's Minato Ward, conducted the briefing. He says he hopes he gave visitors some idea of the sheer scale of the project and the sophisticated skills required of Meiji era artisans.