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Old March 7th, 2014, 08:54 PM   #2581
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Some recent Suica stats (2014.01):
http://www.jreast.co.jp/press/2013/20140304.pdf

Cards issued: 45.57 million (e-money compatible: 43.33 million)
Mobile Suica membership: 3.30 million
Suica Points Club membership: 1.79 million

Stores accepting Suica e-money: 244,960
Record high daily e-money transactions: 4.06 million (2013.07.12)
Record high monthly e-money transactions: 104.35 million (2013.07)
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Old March 7th, 2014, 08:55 PM   #2582
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Some recent racing…

San’yō Electric Railway 5030 series vs. JR West 223 series rapid (6+6 formation), Maiko Kōen to Akashi:



JR East E233 series (Tōkaidō Line) vs. JR East E233 series (Keihin – Tōhoku Line) vs. JR East E217 series (4+11 formation), Kawasaki to Yokohama:



JR East E233 series (Utsunomyia Line) vs. JR East E233 series (Shōnan–Shinjuku Line), Ōmiya to Akabane.
I suppose parallel running here got more interesting after Shōnan–Shinjuku Line trains also began stopping at Urawa last year. The real racing begins around 4:30.

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Old March 8th, 2014, 06:18 AM   #2583
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A mildly entertaining news report on Yokohama Station, Japan’s version of the Sagrada Família. Basically, regular users always say there is always some construction or another going on at the station.

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Old March 8th, 2014, 06:11 PM   #2584
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Some video updates on various projects...

New platform bridge and elevated concourse under construction at JR Hiroshima Station (2014.02).



Double-tracking of the JR Yosan Line in Shikoku. This is part of the grade-separation (elevation) of the JR tracks near Matsuyama Station, which will require the relocation of the adjacent yard (操車場) to a new location, together with the double-tracking of the line between the station and the new yard.



Hanshin Kōshien Station (2014.03.07). This is the main station for the home stadium of the Hanshin Tigers baseball franchise, and Hanshin is completely redesigning the track and platform layout to increase queuing space and improve passenger flow. The platform under construction right now is a temporary platform for passengers alighting trains.

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Old March 8th, 2014, 06:12 PM   #2585
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Two continuous grade-separation projects on the Hanshin Main Line (2014.02.13), Uozaki (魚崎) to Ashiya (芦屋) and Kōshien (甲子園) to Mukogawa (武庫川).



Grade separation of the JR Hanwa Line near Higashi-Kishiwada (東岸和田) Station (2014.02.11), where new bridge girders have been erected and set into place.



Renovation of Hankyū Umeda terminal (2014.02.13):

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Old March 10th, 2014, 09:32 PM   #2586
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Next, a couple videos on the work to extend the JR Ōsaka Higashi Line to Shin-Ōsaka Station… First, the new platforms under construction at Shigino Station (2014.02.13). A temporary passage has been completed to secure passenger flow.



There was also a track switchout between Hanaten and Kyōbashi on the Gakken Toshi Line (Katamachi Line) that was completed on 2014.02.23. Not the best video, but the switchout point is at 2:25.



New transfer “gates” at Atsugi Station between the JR Sagami Line and Odakyū Odawara Line (2014.01.24):



Tsukuba Express trackwork at Moriya Station. If you remember, this involves double-tracking the yard lead.

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Old March 10th, 2014, 09:33 PM   #2587
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There was a track switchout for the continuous grade-separation (elevation) of 3.3 km of the Shin-Keisei Line in Kamagaya City, between Kamagaya Daibutsu (鎌ケ谷大仏) and Kunugiyama (くぬぎ山). This project is a Chiba Prefecture urban planning project that will eliminate 10 grade crossings and replace the stations at Hatsutomi (初富), Shin-Kamagaya (新鎌ケ谷), and Kita-Hatsutomi (北初富) with new elevated stations. This particular track switchout was completed on the early morning of 2014.02.23, and involved switching track near Kita-Hatsutomi Station, from the Kita-Hatsutomi No. 6 crossing (北初富6号踏切) to the Kunugiyama No. 3 crossing (くぬぎ山3号踏切), as well as completing a temporary headhouse at Kita-Hatsutomi to last until the completion of the permanent station building to serve the elevated tracks.

Nighttime track switchout:



Video report after the switchout. The first switchout point is at 0:45, as the line passes underneath the Hokusō Line.

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Old March 10th, 2014, 09:34 PM   #2588
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Nagoya City considers infill station on Higashiyama Line subway
名古屋市、幻の「柳橋駅」設置検討 地下鉄・東山線

http://www.chunichi.co.jp/s/article/...790014521.html

Nagoya City is considering constructing a new infill station on the city’s subway network between Nagoya and Fushimi (伏見) Stations on the Higashiyama Line, tentatively called Yanagibashi (柳橋) Station. At the regular February session of the City Council on 2014.03.16, the city’s mayor, in response to a question from a councilmember, indicated he was open to the idea of a new station at the proposed location.

The Higashiyama Line opened in 1957, and the current route 1 km section between Nagoya and Fushimi Stations travels underneath Nishiki-dōri (錦通). The proposed Yanagibashi Station was included in the original plans for the line in 1955, and stretched 120 m long east–west underneath Nishiki-dōri between Nishi-Yanagichō (西柳町) and the Nishi-Yanagi Park East (西柳公園東) intersection. The councilmember in question obtained the original plans and walked the underground tunnels at the location of the proposed station. A decision was not made on whether or not to construct the station when the line was being built, but the column spacing and track infrastructure at the location were designed and built with a future station in mind.

With the opening of the Chūō Shinkansen maglev in 2027, funding from the national government is now available for infrastructure improvements in the Yanagibashi district. While a new station would increase travel times operating and maintenance costs for the subway, the Transportation Bureau is open to the possibility of a private-sector redevelopment centered around the new station.

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Old March 10th, 2014, 09:35 PM   #2589
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Sōtetsu to introduce new limited express services to schedule
相鉄、4月27日ダイヤ改正で「特急」導入

http://response.jp/article/2014/03/10/218835.html

On 2014.03.10, Sagami Railway (相模鉄道) (Sōtetsu) announced new schedule changes primarily for the midday periods to take effect starting 2014.04.27. The biggest change to be instituted by the railway is the establishment of a new limited express (特急) service.

The new limited express services will operate 2 trains per hour (tph) between 10:00 and 16:00 on both the Sōtetsu Main Line (Yokohama – Ebina (海老名)) and Izumino Line (Yokohama – Shōnandai (湘南台)). The Main Line services will make intermediate stops at Futamatagawa (二俣川) and Yamato (大和), while the Izumino Line services will stop at Futamatagawa and Izumino. Travel times will be 26 minutes for Yokohama – Ebina and 24 minutes for Yokohama – Shōnandai. In contrast, the railway will modify express services, removing them from the midday period and focusing them primarily during the morning and evening rush hours.

Rapid services currently operating on the Izumino Line between Yokohama and Shōnandai will instead be modified to operate as Main Line services between Yokohama and Ebina during the midday (10:00 to 16:00). Instead of the current 3 tph on weekdays and 2 tph on weekends and holidays, the revamped rapid services will see more frequent trips, operating 4 tph on both weekdays and weekends. The stopping pattern between Yokohama and Futamatagawa will remain the same as currently (stops at Hoshikawa (星川) and Tsurugamine (鶴ヶ峰), operating all-stop between Futamatagawa and the Main Line terminus at Ebina.

Travel times between Futamataawa and Hiranumabashi (平沼橋) will also be reduced. Currently, the midday schedule calls for cross-platform transfers between rapid and local services at Hoshikawa Station, resulting in delays to trailing express services. The elimination of this timed transfer will save as much as 90 seconds for express services between Futamatagawa and Yokohama, while locals will save as much as 3 minutes between Futamatagawa and Hiranumabashi. The completion of construction work near Seya (瀬谷) Station will also eliminate temporary slow zones, saving about one minute for trains passing through Seya.

New stopping patterns:

Orange = limited express (特急)
Red = express (急行)
Blue = rapid (快速)
Black = local (各停)



Weekday stopping pattern detail by time period (current on left, future on right), with trains per hour in the numbered bubbles:

Top row = morning rush (0720 to 0820)
Center row = midday (1000 to 1700)
Bottom row = evening rush (1700 to 2200)



===

Press release:
http://www.sotetsu.co.jp/news_release/pdf/140310_01.pdf

Construction updates on the Sōtetsu network (2013.12.05):

Continuous grade-sep at Hoshikawa Station. The new elevated station at Hoshikawa is shaping up nicely.



Upgrades at Nishiya Station, part of the Sōtetsu–JR Link and Sōtetsu–Tōkyū Link:

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Old March 10th, 2014, 09:36 PM   #2590
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Regional railways buy popular trains secondhand to lure enthusiasts
http://ajw.asahi.com/article/economy/AJ201403100003

Quote:
TOYAMA--An orange and red bilevel train zooms past the snowcapped 3,000-meter peaks of Toyoma Prefecture’s Tateyama Mountains as a crowd of train enthusiasts snaps photos from alongside the tracks. But looking at the license plates of the parked cars, it's apparent that many have come all the way from the Kansai region.

That should please Toyama Chiho Railway, which unlike many regional railway operators plagued by falling ridership, is trying to attract urban train buffs with the once-popular passenger rail cars of city lines.

The company, based in the city of Toyama, hoped to cash in on the fame of the Double-Decker when it purchased the train from Keihan Electric Railway in Osaka.

According to a Keihan spokesperson, the train, built in 1995, was so popular that "many passengers stayed waiting on the platform until the Double-Decker would arrive." Despite its hordes of fans, the train was put out of service in March 2013.

Last August, the train was reincarnated as the Double-Decker Express, a limited express service catering to tourists.

Toshio Ishiguro, a 60-year-old resident of Tateyama, who has followed Toyama Chiho Railways for 40 years, said half-bewilderedly, "As a local, it pleases me to hear that our regional railway is making news outside the prefecture, too."

Another popular train operated by the railway is the Alps Express, which is loved for its warm, wood-grain interior. Originally a Red Arrow Limited Express for the Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture-based Seibu Railway, it was purchased in 1996. Two years ago, Eiji Mitooka, the renowned industrial designer whose work includes the design of the Kyushu Shinkansen bullet train, oversaw the train's renovation project.

With the Hokuriku Shinkansen scheduled to open in 2015 linking Toyama with Tokyo, Yuji Inada, Toyama Chiho Railway's senior managing director, is enthusiastic about new business opportunities.

"Urban trains are appealing because it's easier to generate buzz due to their existing fan base. We want to turn used rail cars into tourism resources to attract riders from outside the prefecture," he said.

SEEKING ESCAPE FROM LOSSES

According to the transport ministry, the operators of 69 of Japan's 91 regional railways had pretax losses in the fiscal year ending March 2013. Among them was Toyama Chiho Railway, which recorded its sixth year of losses in a row with a loss of 460 million yen ($4.48 million).

To reduce costs, the company began looking at used rail cars. The 30 or so rail cars Toyama Chiho Railway has bought from the likes of Keihan have cost more than 10 million yen apiece. That’s under a tenth of the price of a new one, which can run up to several hundreds of millions of yen.

Naturally, other regional railways are also moving to purchase used rail cars from the big private companies.

Fuji Kyuko, based in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi Prefecture, purchased the 20000 Series "Romance Car," retired in March 2012, from Tokyo-based Odakyu Electric Railway. Takamatsu-Kotohira Electric Railroad in Takamatsu and Nagano Electric Railway in Nagano also operate used trains from big private companies.

By actively trying to lure one-time train enthusiasts from the cities, however, Toyama Chiho Railways is unique in that it is turning the "hand-me-down" image on its head and putting it to its advantage.

Nobuyuki Sato, a transportation commentator and instructor at Asia University, commends the strategy.

"It's a positive purchase because it makes for news (that promotes the trains)," he said.

One major issue, however, still troubles the company. Most train enthusiasts tend to use personal vehicles to get around instead of riding the trains, as they are unable to photograph a passenger rail car if they are riding in it.

To tackle that problem, Toyama Chiho Railway held a special promotional event last autumn giving rides on the Double-Decker. The company said the response from those who attended was positive, although it’s too soon to assess the overall impact on business.

Noriko Yagasaki, a former counselor at the Japan Tourism Agency and currently a research associate professor at Tokyo Metropolitan University, pointed out, "It's important to keep stimulating interest in a variety of ways."

Toyama Chiho Railway's Double-Decker Express, using Keihan Electric Railway's former express trains, runs past the Tateyama Mountains in Kurobe, Toyama Prefecture. (Takeshi Terawaki)


Toyama Chiho Railway's Alps Express uses trains that were formerly used for Seibu Railway's Red Arrow Limited Express. (Takeshi Terawaki)
Scenes on the Toyama Chitetsu:

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Old March 11th, 2014, 07:42 PM   #2591
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The refurbished ex-Kyōto tram in Umekōji Park (梅小路公園) in Kyōto City began regular service again. This is N-27 (N電27号), a historic tram that began running in 1895, and has since been carrying park visitors since 1995. As part of a redesign of the park in preparation for the opening of JR West’s new railway museum, the city constructed two new squares inside the park and realigned the tram tracks to connect the two spaces. The new 230 m track is unelectrified, and local electronics manufacturer GS Yuasa (GSユアサ) donated new lithium-ion batteries to power the vehicles.
http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASG3855TBG38PLZB00H.html

Video report:

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Old March 11th, 2014, 07:43 PM   #2592
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Pictures:
http://rail.hobidas.com/blog/natori/.../03/10_18.html

No overhead, and the trolley pole is normally locked down.





Despite the lack of overhead, the operator will still step out to reverse the pole direction at the terminals, though.



One of the terminals, serving the indoor exhibit space regarding the city’s former tram system. You can see the dual guage track, designed to handle both 3 ft 6 in for the N-27 and standard gauge for the “Broad-Gauge 1 series” (広軌1形) tram on display inside the building.



Charging up. Batteries are located underneath the passenger seats.



Broad-Gauge 1 series tram



One of the two new squares inside the park is devoted to the history of the former tram system. The two trams resting under the canopy have been converted into a souvenir shop and café.



Inside #505, which has been converted into a café:



#935 and #2001 here have been converted into visitor information centers.

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Old March 11th, 2014, 07:45 PM   #2593
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Scene at Utsunomiya Station for the public test ride on JR East’s new “ACCUM” battery-powered trains (officially the EV-E301 series) for the Karasuyama Line in Tochigi (2014.03.09). Revenue service will begin in a few days on 2014.03.15.



Tochigi TV video report from a while ago. You can see the interior in this.

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Old March 11th, 2014, 07:47 PM   #2594
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A few how-to videos from JR East regarding the new mobile app…

Real-time status of train service:



Station maps:



Registering a “home station”:



GPS data for Keihin–Tōhoku Line trains:

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Old March 11th, 2014, 07:48 PM   #2595
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Another one to file under “strange”…

There’s a new smartphone app that does a pretty decent job of recreating Shinjuku Station to serve as the setting for an action RPG game. The goal is to find the treasure hidden in the TMG Building, solving puzzles and avoiding traps along the way.
http://www.inside-games.jp/article/2.../11/75068.html









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Old March 13th, 2014, 02:54 AM   #2596
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New JR Kyūshū railyard at Haiki opens
早岐駅にJR新車両基地

http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nnp/nagasaki/article/75323

A ceremony was held on 2014.03.12 to celebrate the completion of the new Sasebo Rolling Stock Center (佐世保車両センター) at JR Haiki (早岐) Station in Haiki 1-chōme, Sasebo City. The new ¥5 billion facility will serve as JR Kyūshū’s new inspection and maintenance hub for trains in Nagasaki Prefecture, and will be commissioned on 2014.03.15.

The yard occupies about 30,000 sq m of area, and includes a 4,500 sq m inspection and maintenance building. A new fully-automated railcar washing machine will substantially save the time required to wash trains.

A total of 67 railcars, including Midori limited expresses serving Sasebo Station and Seaside Liner rapid trains on the Ōmura Line will officially be on the new yard’s rolling stock roster. A total of 75 railway employees will work at the new facility, which is part of the continuous grade-separation of the Nagasaki Main Line and redevelopment of JR Nagasaki Station in conjunction with the FY2022 opening of the West Kyūshū (Nagasaki) route of the Kyūshū Shinkansen. As part of these efforts, Nagasaki Rolling Stock Center (長崎車両センター) adjacent to Nagasaki Station will be decommissioned, and its Inspection and maintenance duties will be transferred to the new facility in Haiki.



===

Farewell event for the depot at Nagasaki Station, which has been in service for 117 years, although it only moved to its current location in 1935.

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Old March 13th, 2014, 02:55 AM   #2597
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JR West announces additional platform door installations

Press releases:
http://www.westjr.co.jp/press/articl...page_5329.html
http://www.westjr.co.jp/press/articl...page_5331.html

Following permanent installations at Kita-Shinchi (北新地) and Ōsaka Tenman-gū (大阪天満宮) on the JR Tōzai Line, JR West has announced that it will install its third platform door installation, this time at Kyōbashi Station. As can be expected, this will only be for the Tōzai Line, where the rolling stock is all four-door cars. The installation will consist of 1.3 m tall (chest-high) platform doors with 2.9 m openings, covering 140 m along both tracks at the station.

The second piece of news involves JR West’s decision to begin the second phase of their trial program with rope platform doors. The first installation began operating at Sakurajima (桜島) Station on the JR Yumesaki Line in December and will last through to the end of this month, but have now announced that they will also install the system on a trial basis to Platform 3 (inside inbound track) at Rokkō-michi (六甲道) Station on the JR Kōbe Line (Tōkaidō Line). The doors will be installed along the full length of the platform, which handles 12-car trains.

The station is served by both three- and four-door rolling stock, is not a turnback station (trains arrive and depart, in sequence), and has a relatively high ridership, making it an ideal choice for the second phase of the trial program.
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Old March 13th, 2014, 02:56 AM   #2598
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Kusatsu City to test articulated buses
長~いバス導入で行列解消!? 県内初 草津市が検討、秋にも試走 滋賀

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/region/news...2060001-n1.htm

Kusatsu City is considering introducing high-capacity articulated buses. In FY2014, the city will carry out a simulation of the service, running between JR Minami-Kusatsu (南草津) Station and Ritsumeikan University’s Biwako–Kusatsu Campus (立命館大びわこ・くさつキャンパス), and will commission some systems design work for the project. Actual trial service with articulated buses will begin this fall. The project is designed to increase capacity on fixed-route bus services, and could make Kusatsu the first city in Shiga Prefecture to operate articulated buses.

Minami-Kusatsu Station is the second busiest station in Shiga Prefecture after JR Kusatsu Station, and the closest station to the Ritsumeikan University campus and production plants for several major corporations. As a result, bus ridership is relatively high during the commute periods, when some riders are left stranded and waiting at bus stops because there is no room on board buses.

As a result, the city began looking at articulated buses, which have higher capacity than standard buses. Because of the size of the buses and the resulting differences in turning radius, the city will run computer analyses to determine whether the vehicles can still safely follow existing bus routes. The city will also consider a signal preemption system that will give buses the green light as they approach intersections.

If the computer analysis shows no fatal flaws in using the articulated buses, the city will begin field trial service as early as this autumn. The city would lease one vehicle from either Gifu City or Sanda City (Hyōgo Prefecture), where the buses already operate in regular revenue service.

The distance between Minami-Kusatsu Station and the Ritsumeikan University campus is about 5 km at its shortest, with Ōmi Railway Bus (近江鉄道バス) operating four separate routes. The city is also considering subcontracting out operations of the articulated bus to the private sector.

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Bus ride from the Ritsumeikan campus to Minami-Kusatsu Station:

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Old March 13th, 2014, 02:57 AM   #2599
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The design for icsca, the new IC card for the Sendai area, has been finalized. The system will be rolled out first on the Namboku Line subway starting in December, and gradually expanded to the city’s publicly- and privately-operated bus systems, as well as the under-construction Tōzai Line. The bird caricature is supposed to be a swallow, coming from the “bamboo and swallows” (竹に雀) crest of the Date (伊達) clan of daimyō lords.
http://news.mynavi.jp/news/2014/02/27/420/

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Old March 13th, 2014, 02:58 AM   #2600
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Odakyū commissions solar plant at rolling stock depot
電車基地の太陽光発電稼働 小田急電鉄が東京・世田谷で

http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNZO...4A220C1L83000/

On 2014.02.28, Odakyū Electric Railway (小田急電鉄) commissioned a new solar power plant constructed at Kitami Depot (喜多見電車基地) in Setagaya Ward, Tōkyō. The facility is capable of generating about 58 kWh annually—enough to power 160 households—and is Setagaya Ward’s largest solar power plant. The railway is also considering introducing similar power plants at its other facilities in and around Tōkyō.

The project is Odakyū’s first venture into the solar power business. Kitami is one of the railway’s three largest yards, located about three minutes on foot from Kitami Station.

The railway installed about 2,600 solar panels on approx. 8,400 sq m of rooftop space on the depot’s administrative building and training center. All of the electricity generated by the facility will be sold at a fixed price to Tōkyō Electric Power Co. (TEPCO). The annual power generated is expected be worth about ¥23 million.

Odakyū is eager to introduce similar power generation facilities at other potential locations in an effort to reduce environmental impacts and create profit from unused land owned by the railway.

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Press release:
http://www.odakyu.jp/program/info/da...3_7476331_.pdf
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