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Old August 22nd, 2013, 05:52 AM   #5941
quashlo
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Some pictures along the alignment of the proposed Yūrakuchō Line extension (branch) to Sumiyoshi:
http://kenplatz.nikkeibp.co.jp/artic.../628674/?bpnet

First, we start off in Toyosu, where passengers currently transfer to and from the Yurikamome:



The Edagawa (枝川) exit of the No. 9 (Fukagawa (深川)) Route of the Shuto Expressway. Based on maps of the alignment published thus far, one of the two all-new stations on the branch would be located down this road, a bit further down (into the picture). Edagawa is one of the minor man-made islands in Tōkyō Bay, currently without a train station (although Shiomi Station on the JR Keiyō Line is nearby).



At right is one of the exits from Tōyōchō Station on the Tōzai Line. The extension would likely be located underneath the road on the left, Prefectural Route 465 (Yotsume-dōri 四ッ目通り).



Further north along Prefectural Route 465, near Sengoku in Kōtō Ward, the proposed area for the second all-new station on the extension.



Further north, the Sumiyoshi 2-chōme (住吉2丁目) intersection. There are existing exits for Sumiyoshi Station on the Hanzōmon Line and Toei Shinjuku Line at this intersection.



Hanzōmon Line platforms at Sumiyoshi Station. The platforms are on separate levels, with one side of each platform currently fenced off. Currently, the second pair of tracks is used to store trains.

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Old August 22nd, 2013, 06:34 AM   #5942
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Construction progress on the Tōhoku Through Line (2013.08). Not much longer to go.



The busy morning rush hour at Ueno Station, Yamanote Line and Keihin–Tōhoku Line platforms (2013.07.30). This is the most overcrowded segment of rail in Japan and the primary impetus behind the Tōhoku Through Line, as the Utsunomiya Line (8-9 tph), Takasaki Line (9-10 tph), and Jōban Rapid Line (17 tph), virtually all of them 15-car formations, dump all of their passengers at this station, where many transfer to the Yamanote Line and Keihin–Tōhoku Line to continue further south.

Part 1 (8:00 am~), focusing on the Keihin–Tōhoku Line:



Part 2 (8:20 am~), focusing on the Yamanote Line:



Train action at Kanda (latter half of 08:00 hour to first half of 9:00 hour). Unfortunately, you won’t get a very good view of the Tōhoku Through Line trains, since they’re just too high up, elevated an additional level above the other lines.

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Old August 22nd, 2013, 06:16 PM   #5943
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
Construction progress on the Tōhoku Through Line (2013.08). Not much longer to go.

The busy morning rush hour at Ueno Station, Yamanote Line and Keihin–Tōhoku Line platforms (2013.07.30). This is the most overcrowded segment of rail in Japan and the primary impetus behind the Tōhoku Through Line, as the Utsunomiya Line (8-9 tph), Takasaki Line (9-10 tph), and Jōban Rapid Line (17 tph), virtually all of them 15-car formations, dump all of their passengers at this station, where many transfer to the Yamanote Line and Keihin–Tōhoku Line to continue further south.
Has the schedule or even rough service plan been released yet for the Tohoku Jukan Line? (I may have missed it.)

Will some trains be likely to continue to turn at Ueno? Of the trains that do proceed onto the Tohoku Jukan line, will any of them turn at Tokyo and/or Shinagawa? Or will they all proceed onto the Tokaido Main Line?

Last edited by orulz; August 22nd, 2013 at 06:22 PM.
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Old August 23rd, 2013, 06:53 AM   #5944
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No, the schedule probably won't be released for a while, although it's been a hot topic of debate on 2ch for the longest time.

Current layout at Ueno:



The Tōhoku Through Line (yellow with dotted will be removed, red is the new track being constructed).



There are plenty of operational issues with putting Jōban Line trains on the new line, not the least of them being the track conflicts with the Utsunomiya Line and Takasaki Line trains. Then there’s the issues with the Jōban Line rolling stock... The Tōkaidō Line stock all feature the two double-decker green cars in every train, but the inner-suburban trains (近距離電車) on the Jōban Line, operated with E231 series, don’t have them. The longer-distance suburban trains (中距離電車), operated with E531 series, do have them, but these are special dual-voltage trains designed to cope with the change from DC to AC east of Toride, so if you operate them too far onto the Tōhoku Through Line or Tōkaidō Line during the peak hours, you may end up increasing your fleet demand and needing to manufacture a new train or two just to maintain the existing service levels on the Jōban Line east of Toride. In comparison, the Utsunomiya Line and Takasaki Line are far more natural for interlining, as the rolling stock is already uniform and you already have plenty of through-services via the Shōnan–Shinjuku Line.

For sure, some will continue to terminate at Ueno, as you simply wouldn't be able to carry the peak hour traffic from all three lines (well over 30 tph) on a single double-track line, especially given the passenger flows at stations. For sure, some trains will also terminate at Shinagawa, as they've been doing lots of minor trackwork there, including installing new crossovers, track realignment, platform improvements, etc. expressly for the project. Not sure how much further they would go, though.

Definitely makes the mind wander, though... The connection means you could also potentially have some of the limited expresses and other special services that currently terminate at Ueno terminate at Tōkyō or even Shinagawa instead (Hitachi, Cassiopeia, etc.).
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Old August 23rd, 2013, 06:54 AM   #5945
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Hiroshima City unveils layout alternatives for Hiroshima Station South Exit improvements
駅前大橋線レイアウト公表

http://www.chugoku-np.co.jp/News/Tn201308230024.html

On the evening of 2013.08.21, Hiroshima City held an outreach session with residents to present two layout alternatives for the South Exit station plaza at JR Hiroshima Station. One alternative is based on the Ekimae Ōhashi Line (駅前大橋線), the proposed realignment of the Hiroshima Electric Railway (Hiroden) Main Line to reduce travel times between the station and central Hiroshima. Almost all of the 40 residents who participated, however, expressed concern about the elimination of three stops—Enkōbashichō 猿猴橋町, Matobachō 的場町, and Danbara Itchōme 段原一丁目—as part of the realignment. A total of 3,900 passengers use these three stations daily.

The new alignment would save approximately four minutes on trips to and from Kamiyachō / Hatchōbori and JR Hiroshima Station when compared against the current route, which detours to the east. Instead, trains would travel along the main street leading south of the station and rise on an elevated structure to tie into the second floor of the station. The bus terminal bays, currently scattered at the South Exit station plaza and surrounding streets, would be consolidated on the west side, with pick-up and drop-off zones for private autos and taxis going on the east side.

A separate layout alternative for the station plaza assumes the current Hiroden alignment remains, proposing to widen the tram platforms to optimize passenger flows. With limited space at the plaza, however, there would be no consolidation of bus stops. The station plaza improvements would cost ¥13.5 billion with the Hiroden realignment and ¥8 billion without the realignment.



===

5× scenes on the Hiroden system between Takanobashi (鷹野橋) and Hon-dōri (本通り):



Rest:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkrcVoUQViM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74OlRBPellE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRoiuApwmjg
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Old August 23rd, 2013, 06:56 AM   #5946
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Sendai IC card to launch on subway starting next fiscal year
仙台で「IC乗車券」名称募集-来年度、地下鉄南北線から導入予定

http://sendai.keizai.biz/headline/1484/

Starting 2013.08.22, a joint authority formed of representatives from the Sendai City Transportation Bureau (仙台市交通局), private bus operator Miyagi Kōtsū (宮城交通), and the Sendai Urban Planning Bureau (仙台市都市整備局) began accepting names for Sendai’s new contactless IC farecard to debut on the Namboku Line subway in FY2014, followed by the Tōzai Line subway and city buses in FY2015.

The name must be easy to remember and easy to pronounce, and must not infringe on third-party copyrights or trademarks. The deadline is 2013.09.17.

===

Didn’t realize they were so far along… The article doesn’t mention anything about interoperability, but hopefully the card will, at the very least, be interoperable with Suica within the Sendai area.



They are also accepting nominations for the names on the stations. Deadline is 2013.08.31:

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Old August 23rd, 2013, 06:57 AM   #5947
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Railbus in final testing stages before revenue service
JR北海道、DMVの試験再開 27日から、営業運転へ最終段階

http://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/news/donai/486965.html

The Dual-Mode Vehicle (DMV) being developed by JR Hokkaidō, capable of running on both rails and rubber tires, will restart running tests on 2013.08.27. The technology is in its final stages before revenue service, with the railway confirming that a specially developed train control and protection system, engineered specifically for the DMV, operates according to spec.

The DMV has been in on-and-off testing on the Yūbari branch of the JR Sekishō Line since FY2009, logging a cumulative distance traveled of 9,668 km this spring. This is the first time in three years that the vehicle will be testing during the summer season. The tests will take place on the Yūbari – Numanosawa section of the Yūbari branch, and will last from 2013.08.27 through to 2013.10.31. Tests will be conducted during the wee hours of the morning on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays every week to confirm that the train control and protection systems installed on the car body operate properly. On Mondays and Fridays, the DMV will be tested on public roads and expressways, deadheading back to the railway’s Naebo Works in Sapporo for inspection and maintenance over the weekend.

Because of its lightweight design, the DMV is not compatible with rail-based train protection systems using track circuits and current transmitted through the rails. As a result, the railway the DMV transmits its location to the train control center via a dedicated mobile phone line, with the specially designed system controlling the operation of grade crossings and other track features. The system is capable of operating trains at 10-minute headways during the morning rush hour.

===

DMV on display at a railfan event (2013.07.15):

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Old August 23rd, 2013, 06:58 AM   #5948
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Inbound track for Keisei Oshiage Line to be elevated on 2013.08.24
京成押上線:24日から高架線化 押上−八広駅間の上り線 /東京

http://mainichi.jp/area/tokyo/news/2...40228000c.html

The inbound track of the Keisei Oshiage Line will soon be switched out to 1.5 km of newly elevated track as part of the continuous grade-separation of 2.3 km of the line in Tōkyō’s Sumida Ward between Oshiage Station and Yahiro Station. Inbound trains will begin using the elevated track starting on 2013.08.24. The switchout is expected to reduce grade crossing closure times at six crossings including Loop Road No. 4 (Meiji-dōri 明治通り) and the Keisei Hikifune No. 1 crossing by about 40%.

The Tōkyō Metropolitan Government and Sumida Ward have been carrying out the grade-separation project since FY2000, and have recently completed the new elevated inbound track. Switchout work will begin after the last inbound train on 2013.08.23 at 00:15 on 2013.08.24 and be completed before the start of service at 05:00. The inbound platform will switch to a new platform located at the third level of the station. Completion of the grade-separation project, including elevation of the outbound track, is scheduled for FY2016.

===


Recent view from an outbound train between Oshiage and Yahiro, showing the mostly complete inbound trackj:



The other half of the Oshiage Line from Yotsugi to Aoto is also scheduled to begin grade-separation work soon, with Katsushika Ward in the final stages of land acquisition. This is the current scene at Tateishi Station, one of many grade crossings that will be eliminated:

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Old August 23rd, 2013, 09:44 AM   #5949
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Quote:
For sure, some will continue to terminate at Ueno, as you simply wouldn't be able to carry the peak hour traffic from all three lines
Arguably, the need is less for through trains off the Joban Line, due to the run-through arrangement for local services with the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line.

Quote:
The connection means you could also potentially have some of the limited expresses and other special services that currently terminate at Ueno terminate at Tōkyō or even Shinagawa instead (Hitachi, Cassiopeia, etc.).
In JNR days, before the building of the Tohoku and Joetsu Shinkansen platform at Tokyo Station, there was an additional platform for Tokaido Line services, which provided the capacity for a few services such as the Hitachi and Nikko to terminate there.
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Old August 23rd, 2013, 04:56 PM   #5950
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
Inbound track for Keisei Oshiage Line to be elevated on 2013.08.24
京成押上線:24日から高架線化 押上−八広駅間の上り線 /東京

http://mainichi.jp/area/tokyo/news/2...40228000c.html
Looks like Keisei is getting pretty close to having everything inbound from Aoto grade separated. Glancing at aerials, on the Keisei Main Line it seems there is one grade crossing just west of Senju Ohashi station, and five in the immediate vicinity of Ohanajaya station.

The project underway will complete the Oshiage line between Oshiage and Yotsugi. The Yotsugi-Aoto gap is still there, but as you mention most of the land is already acquired and cleared so construction can't be too far off.

Heading outbound from there, Keisei Takasago station looks like a giant mess - one that will need to be cleaned up someday, but I have no idea how they would do that. I wonder why they grade separated the Kanamachi line there rather than a line that actually matters... like the Hokuso line or the Keisei Main Line. The recently completed elevation of the Kanamachi line now seems like it would stand in the way of elevating the whole station complex.
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Old August 24th, 2013, 01:07 AM   #5951
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A couple of comments:

1. I wonder has JR Hokkaido thought about using this railbus on the Esashi Line between Kikonai and Esashi? Or is it that JR Hokkaido will just rip up the line altogether?

2. It will be VERY interesting to see what trains will use the new Tohoku Through Line. My guess is that it will be trains coming down the Takasaki and Utsunomiya Lines only, and they will initially terminate a Shinagawa Station and eventually terminate at Yokohama Station. Trains from the Jōban Line will continue to terminate at Ueno Station.

Last edited by sacto7654; August 25th, 2013 at 04:24 AM. Reason: correct spelling
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Old August 24th, 2013, 06:55 PM   #5952
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The Japanese Wiki lists some of the railways and local governments that are interested in the DMV technology, but oddly enough, there's nothing listed for Hokkaidō. Now that you mention, I don't recall anything that mentions where exactly in Hokkaidō they want to operate the technology, although I would assume the Esashi Line would be a very good candidate.

As for the Tōhoku Through Line, I almost think JR East is obligated to operate at least a handful of through-services with the Jōban Line. They've been selling the project as benefitting all three lines, and I expect that the backlash from passengers in Ibaraki and northern Chiba if they eventually only interlined the Takasaki Line and Utsunomiya Line would be fierce. Besides, through-services in Tōkyō have been trending towards more and more complexity (e.g., Shōnan‒Shinjuku Line, Hanzōmon Line, and Fukutoshin Line), so I don't expect this to be any different.

Perhaps it'll be 6 / 6 / 4 or something during the peak (Takasaki Line / Utsunomiya Line / Jōban Line).
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Old August 24th, 2013, 07:10 PM   #5953
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orulz View Post
Heading outbound from there, Keisei Takasago station looks like a giant mess - one that will need to be cleaned up someday, but I have no idea how they would do that. I wonder why they grade separated the Kanamachi line there rather than a line that actually matters... like the Hokuso line or the Keisei Main Line. The recently completed elevation of the Kanamachi line now seems like it would stand in the way of elevating the whole station complex.
The elevation of the entire station is still the ultimate goal, at least for Katsushika Ward: http://www.city.katsushika.lg.jp/30/134/002574.html

The elevation of the Kanamachi Line was a stop-gap measure to deal with the increased train traffic through the station from the opening of the Narita Sky Access. The thinking was probably along the lines of "something needs to give", else the main crossing just east of the station would never open during the rush, plus they probably didn't have enough track / platform capacity at the station to handle everything plus the Sky Access. So the Kanamachi Line was the obvious choice.

If you look at the Kanamachi Line platforms, they are built with the bare minimum, so I think we can safely conclude that future plans (however long they may take to reach fruition) will still fully grade-separate the passenger tracks. Not sure about the leads to and from the railyard... We may end up with a solution like at Moto-Sumiyoshi on the Tōkyū network.
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Old August 25th, 2013, 04:31 AM   #5954
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As for the Tōhoku Through Line, I almost think JR East is obligated to operate at least a handful of through-services with the Jōban Line. They've been selling the project as benefiting all three lines, and I expect that the backlash from passengers in Ibaraki and northern Chiba if they eventually only interlined the Takasaki Line and Utsunomiya Line would be fierce. Besides, through-services in Tōkyō have been trending towards more and more complexity (e.g., Shōnan‒Shinjuku Line, Hanzōmon Line, and Fukutoshin Line), so I don't expect this to be any different.

Perhaps it'll be 6 / 6 / 4 or something during the peak (Takasaki Line / Utsunomiya Line / Jōban Line).
I think due to capacity constraints on the Tokaidō Main Line between Tokyo and Yokohama Stations, JR East may limit operations on the new Tōhoku Through Line to trains from Takasaki and Utsunomiya until line improvements are made that will allow more trains from north of Tokyo Station all the way to Yokohama Station. Once that happens, expect all trains from the Takasaki, Tōhoku and Jōban Lines to terminate at Yokohama Station.
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Old August 25th, 2013, 03:36 PM   #5955
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until line improvements are made that will allow more trains from north of Tokyo Station all the way to Yokohama Station
What line improvements? There is no room.

Quote:
Once that happens, expect all trains from the Takasaki, Tōhoku and Jōban Lines to terminate at Yokohama Station.
Ah, no. Do you really think JR-E will terminate their services at Yokohama, then run deadhead/non-revenue all the way to Kozu or Odawara, where the trains can reverse? (the trains can't reverse at Yokohama, the facilities/capacity doesn't exist). Trains will run as revenue services as far as Odawara/Atami, just like current Shonan Shinjuku/regular Tokaido Line trains do. If there are no pathings available at certain times south of Tokyo, services will terminate at Shinagawa.

Last edited by k.k.jetcar; August 25th, 2013 at 03:47 PM.
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Old August 25th, 2013, 08:03 PM   #5956
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Colleges open campuses near train stations in battle to attract students
大学:JR駅近にキャンパス続々 「利便性」生き残りかけ

http://mainichi.jp/select/news/20130...40240000c.html

Private universities have been opening campuses near stations on the JR Tōkaidō Line in northern Ōsaka Prefecture, taking advantage of the convenience and fast commute times of the Keihanshin region’s most critical rail corridor. Three years ago, Kwansei University (関西大学) opened a new campus outside Takatsuki Station (Takatsuki City, Ōsaka Prefecture), while Ritsumeikan University (立命館大学) and the newly-established Yamato University (大和大学) have opened campuses along the line. Ōtemon Gakuin University (追手門学院大学) is also considering opening a campus along the line. The closure of factories and plants near stations on the line has opened large plots of land for reuse, while the high accessibility afforded by proximity to rail lines is a plus for attracting students in the face of a declining birthrate.

In particular, Kwansei University’s Takatsuki Muse Campus (高槻ミューズキャンパス) opened in April 2010 as part of a station area redevelopment after the closure of a GS Yuasa (GSユアサ) plant, at a location seven-minutes walking distance from JR Takatsuki Station. The station faregates and the campus—housing the university’s Faculty of Safety Science and its affiliated elementary, middle, and high schools, with a total campus population of about 2,200 people—are connected by pedestrian bridge. JR Takatsuki Station is served by special rapid (新快速) services putting it within a 15-minute commute from Ōsaka and Kyōto Stations and less than 40 minutes from Kōbe’s city center terminal, Sannomiya Station. The convenient rail access also makes it possible for students to maintain relationships with friends and acquaintances at other colleges.

Kwansei University will be followed by Ritsumeikan University, which will be opening a new campus on a former Sapporo Beer factory near Ibaraki Station in April 2015. A total of two faculty departments and four graduate school research divisions will relocate to the new campus from the university’s Kinugasa Campus (Kyōto City), Biwako–Kusatsu Campus (Kusatsu City, Shiga Prefecture), and other locations. The university is also considering establishing a new faculty department related to psychology. Meanwhile, Panasonic is considering selling off a portion of its factory site outside Settsu Tonda Station (Takatsuki City) between Takatsuki and Ibaraki Stations, and Ōtemon Gakuin University has indicated interest in purchasing the site.

Finally, Nishi-Yamato Academy (西大和学園), the corporation managing the famous Nishi-Yamato Academy High School and other schools, selected former JR company housing located about 400 m from Suita Station for the campus of the newly-established Yamato University to debut in April 2014. The company looked at over 200 candidate locations, and while a central-city location was preferred, the high cost of land around Ōsaka Station complicates the issue. A location along the Tōkaidō Line between Ōsaka and Takatsuki offered the perfect balance between cost and convenience, allowing the university to capture students from as far as Shiga Prefecture in the east and Akō City in Hyōgo Prefeture in the west.

The new Yamato University campus under construction in Suita City:



===

While it’s not on the Tōkaidō Line, Wakayama Daigaku-mae Station opened on the Nankai Main Line in April 2012, with the big attractor being a new campus of Wakayama University (和歌山大学):

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Old August 25th, 2013, 08:04 PM   #5957
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ekimo Namba to open on 2013.10.31
大阪府大阪市、御堂筋線なんば駅に駅ナカ商業施設「ekimoなんば」10/31開業

http://news.mynavi.jp/news/2013/08/24/011/

Official Tōkyū Land press release:
http://www.tokyu-land.co.jp/news/2013/pdf/20130823.pdf

ekimo Namba, the new ekinaka (station retail) facility on the B1 concourse of Namba Station on the Ōsaka Municipal Subway Midōsuji Line, will open on 2013.10.31. The 1,047 sq m facility is being developed and managed by Nankai Shōji (南海商事) and Tōkyū Land (東急不動産), and will include a total of 19 retail spaces spread across a north zone (11 stores near the north faregates) and south zone (8 stores near the south faregates), with forecasted annual revenues of ¥1.9 billion.

A variety of stores will be leasing space, including ranKing ranQueen (ランキンランキン), a popular retailer that will be opening its first Kansai-area location at ekimo Namba. Other tenants include Atelier Haruka (beauty salon) and Sweets Box (confectionary), as well as fashion houses and accessories shops. Taking advantage of the Namba area’s rich array of cultural facilities and high volume of domestic and foreign tourists, cafes offering multilingual menus and bookstores offering tourist guides and Ōsaka-related reading material will also lease space.



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Old August 25th, 2013, 08:06 PM   #5958
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Last Tanimachi Line 30 series to be retired
大阪市交通局、地下鉄谷町線に残る30系が引退 - 特別運転では中央線も走行

http://news.mynavi.jp/news/2013/08/23/206/

Starting 2013.08.25, the Ōsaka Municipal Transportation Bureau will inaugurate festivities to celebrate the pending retirement of the Tanimachi Line’s 30 series. In addition to operating trains with special headmarks, a special event and run will be held on 2013.10.06.

The 30 series has supported the expansion and growth of the Ōsaka Municipal Subway over the years, including serving as the workhorse during the Ōsaka Expo in 1970. Between 1967 and 1984, a total of 400 cars have been produced, with earlier 7000 and 8000 series, which served as the train’s models, eventually being converted to 30 series trains. Now, only two sets remain, on the Tanimachi Line, but these will be decommissioned in early October. These two sets were actually “new” 30 series, an improved model manufactured starting in 1973 and later.

===

These trains were replaced by the new 30000 series sets:



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Old August 25th, 2013, 08:08 PM   #5959
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Kyōto Municipal Subway to grow advertising business
京都市交通局、地下鉄駅広告を強化 四条に電子看板

http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNZO...20C13A8LDA000/

Teaming with Ōsaka-based advertising agency Kinsen (近宣), the Kyōto City Transportation Bureau will strengthen the advertising business inside the city’s subway stations. The Bureau will increase the number of digital advertisement displays at Shijō Station, as well as the number of standard ad panels at Imadegawa Station, in the hopes of boosting ad revenues and eliminating the subway’s annual operating losses.


In particular, Kinsen will install 4.3 m wide, 2.9 m tall displays outside the paid area of the concourse at Shijō Station in September, turning them on starting in October. The displays run on six-minute cycles broadcasting corporate advertisements and passenger information. Up until now, there was only one such display, inside the paid area of the stastion’s concourse.

At Imadegawa Station, the Bureau will install several new ad panels on support columns outside the station’s paid area. With the consolidation of the Dōshisha University (同志社大学) Faculty of Letters in the Imadegawa area, daily entries and exits at the station for April through July has increased by an average of 5,000 passengers compared to last year, and the Bureau hopes to take advantage of the increased foot traffic to grow its ad business

After the subway recorded a regular loss (経常赤字) of ¥4.8 billion in FY2012, the Bureau is hoping to increase revenues from ads and other side businesses from the current ¥1 billion (FY2012 combined total for bus and subway operations).
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Old August 25th, 2013, 08:09 PM   #5960
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88 year old dies on 40 m grade crossing in Tsurumi
鶴見の踏切88歳死亡 高齢者 横断困難な40メートル

http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/na...502000131.html

On 2013.08.23, an 88-year-old man with his walking cane was struck by a train and died when attempting to cross the Keihin–Tōhoku Line’s Umio (生見尾) crossing in Namamugi 3-chōme in Yokohama City’s Tsurumi Ward. Activist groups surveyed the scene of the accident on 2013.08.24 and lobbied to make the crossing barrier-free immediately.

The particular crossing in question is about 40 m long and crosses six tracks, but features waiting areas in between tracks, with emergency stop buttons to halt trains and automatic sensor devices to detect obstructions. The buttons, however, require someone else to be present at the scene to recognize a safety issue, and in this case, the sensors failed to detect any obstructions. The victim was unable to cross the 22 m distance to the waiting area in the middle and was struck by a train.

JR spokespersons noted that the sensors are designed according to government standards and can detect large obstructions such as stranded cars, but do not activate for objects the size of people. There was also a pedestrian bridge constructed adjacent to the crossing, but it was not improved for barrier-free access, forcing users to ascend and descend stairs. The activist group has called for the undergrounding of the tracks or installation of elevators on the pedestrian overpass, but JR East says they currently do not have any plans for improvements at the crossing.

According to data compiled by the MLIT, many grade crossing accidents involve the elderly—of the 902 incidents between FY2010 and FY2012, 448 cases (49.7%) involved victims 60 years of age or older. In 2007, the MLIT inspected the approx. 36,000 grade crossings nationwide and identified 1,960 crossings in need of immediate improvement. Of these, 589 crossings stayed closed for a cumulative total of 40 minutes or more during peak hours and were classified as akazu no fumikiri (開かずの踏切), “grade crossings that never open”. While the MLIT acknowledges the need for critical improvements to solve the issue, progress at many locations is taking longer than hoped due to financial difficulties.

There were 295 grade crossing accidents in FY2012, a 10.9% year-over-year decrease, although the number of fatalities increased 1.9% to 121, with 2 involving persons with physical disabilities.

The crossing and pedestrian overpass in question:



===

The crossing in question, walking in the northbound direction. The photo in the article is taken facing southbound. This is just the JR crossing though, as there’s a separate crossing for the parallel Keikyū Main Line, which has a nearby station at this location (Namamugi).



For sure, the Tōkaidō Main Line between Tōkyō and Yokohama has some of the nastier crossings, as there’s simply too many tracks in many of the places, what with the Tōkaidō Line, Keihin–Tōhoku Line, and Yokosuka Line / Shōnan–Shinjuku Line (2 tracks each), plus a pair of freight tracks and a pair of tracks nearby for the parallel Keikyū Main Line. These are dense neighborhoods, too, so there is a lot of pedestrian and bike flow at these crossings. This particular section between Namamugi and Tsurumi may be one of the worst sections, as there’s something like 5-6 pedestrian bridges spaced at intervals of 100 m to 200 m. I think because of these overpasses, and the fact that there’s usually sufficient dead space between track pairs to include waiting zones to split the crossing into more manageable parts, that these locations don’t strictly qualify as 開かずの踏切, so improvements here probably don’t seem as urgent as at other locations.
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