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Old November 7th, 2010, 04:45 AM   #181
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Shin-Ōsaka Station construction update: Part 2

Next, a series of posts following the past few months of construction of the new Platform 27 and track sidings.

First is from 2010.03.05, focusing mostly on the station work:
Source: http://building-pc.cocolog-nifty.com/map/

Good look at the insides of the new platform area. Can clearly see some of the vertical circulation elements taking shape. The work will widen the existing station by an additional seven meters on the north side (and as much as 14 m or so on the sections with the two new sidings).





Column base. Before this, we were able to clearly see the bolts anchoring down the column, but they have encased the base in concrete.



This was what the base looked like 2010.01.10.



There is a need to design around the existing columns and beams supporting the existing elevated platforms and station facilities. This part in particular sweeps out to accomodate ground-level freight tracks (the Hoppō Freight Line). Perhaps the older, slightly rusted beams here may be reused to support the new platform and track.



Standing on the road just north of the station. Between here and the building face of the expanded station will be the Shin-Ōsaka Hankyū Building.



Construction notice for Shin-Ōsaka Hankyū Building. The building will be 17 stories tall, with top six floors for a hotel and below that, nine floors of office space.



The view from the Hoppō Freight Line connecting Suita and Amagasaki Stations, as it angles in to join the Shinkansen ROW at ground level.



View from near the ground-level JR West zairaisen platforms



This is on the west side of Shin-Midōsuji, a major road that carries a lot of traffic as well as the Ōsaka Municipal Subway Midōsuji Line beneath. Shin-Midōsuji is actually elevated at this location, so the Shinkansen tracks are actually two levels above ground level. Because of this, they need to build a short-span bridge over Shin-Midōsuji to support the new platform and track.



Here, temporary beams (in green) are in place to support the permanent box girder section to be constructed on top of it, as well as the special equipment to slide the girder section in.



Temporary supports. You can see they are designed for easy assembly and disassembly, not unlike tower cranes.



Outrigger crane to lift the elements.



Further west, the design switches from steel to reinforced concrete. The construction continues about 1.3 km all the way to the intersection with the Hankyū Takarazuka Line, but that part is to accomodate the two additional track sidings.

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Old November 7th, 2010, 04:48 AM   #182
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Shin-Ōsaka Station construction update: Part 3

Next is Part 2 from March (2010.03.12):
Source: http://building-pc.cocolog-nifty.com/map/

Shin-Midōsuji is fairly wide, and due to the fact that it is already elevated and carries much traffic, they decided to use a special construction method to "slide" the platform girder in. This minimizes the disruption to Shin-Midōsuji. They will basically assemble much of the girder off to the side and then slide it in above Shin-Midōsuji, then using jacks to lower the girder into place.



Looking just next to the temporary frame, we can see where the permanent support structures will be built. The anchor rods here will connect to the bolts keeping the future columns in their place.



The girder will be slid into this area above Shin-Midōsuji.



Pretty impressive steelwork for all-temporary construction.



Permanent column structure that will be west anchor for the overpass.



Part of the platform box girder.



Another all-terrain crane, manufactured by Germany company Liebherr.

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Old November 7th, 2010, 04:49 AM   #183
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Shin-Ōsaka Station construction update: Part 4

Continuing from 2010.03.12, but looking at the track siding construction:
Source: http://building-pc.cocolog-nifty.com/map/

Starting from the west end, where the Shinkansen tracks pass over the Hankyū Takarazuka Line, which are at ground level on a small embankment.



They seem to have gotten a head start at this one location.





The sections directly above roadways will be constructed with steel. The rest will be built with reinforced concrete.



Getting closer to the station... The building in the back is actually a shed built on top of the existing viaduct, housing the two existing Shinkansen sidings at the Hakata end. Behind this at ground level, out of view, is Miyahara General Yard, which houses some of JR West's zairaisen fleet.





Lots of scaffolding...





A good example of just how much seismic design standards have changed. The columns on the existing viaduct constructed in the early 1960s look pencil thin compared to the columns for the new viaduct. The columns in the older structure have been reinforced using steel jackets a few mm thick anchored into the concrete, then cast in an additional layer of concrete.



Lots of rebar...





Back at Shin-Ōsaka.

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Old November 7th, 2010, 04:50 AM   #184
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Shin-Ōsaka Station construction update: Part 5

Next is from 2010.05.02:
Source: http://building-pc.cocolog-nifty.com/map/

We now have a better view of the interior.





Parts of the platform canopy are already being assembled.



Looks like the old columns and beams at this location aren't going to be reused to support the new track, as they aren't connected at all. The new platform girders jog just above it by a couple feet.





Further east, near where the Hoppō Freight Line cuts in.



The sheet piles that were previously here keeping the earth in place to support the column have now been removed and will be replaced by a reinforced concrete wall.



Site of the future Shin-Ōsaka Hankyū Building. This was taken a few days after the official start of construction on 2010.05.01, so there's not much to see yet.



Temporary jack structure on the east end of Shin-Midōsuji, which will be used to lower the overpass into place.



I'm guessing the yellow stuff at top will hook into the east end of the overpass and "pull" it in.



On the west side of Shin-Midōsuji.



Further west, looks like some temporary supports for the catenary have been erected.

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Old November 7th, 2010, 04:51 AM   #185
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Shin-Ōsaka Station construction update: Part 6

First is from 2010.06.21:
Source: http://building-pc.cocolog-nifty.com/map/

Piledriver on the Shin-Ōsaka Hankyū Building site. Meanwhile, behind it they are already assembling the exterior of the station.



The east end. It seems like maybe they won't remove the older support structure, but hopefully they will give it a good painting to blend in with all the new stuff.



Exterior looks a little bland, but I suppose it's not too bad, since the Hankyū building will be built directly in front of this.



A better view of the east end jack.



On the west side of Shin-Midōsuji, where the box girder section for the overpass is already raised in preparation to be slid above the roadway. They've got some temporary sections (in green) attached to the end to aid in sliding it into place.



The platform canopy is already taking shape even before they've slid it over.



Construction continues far into the distance on the west end.



The full 105 m section. They will slide it in a bit at a time, closing off parts of Shin-Midōsuji for five hours at a time in the late evening / early morning on six days in June and July. The girder height shrinks a bit in the middle as this is the portion that will be connected to supports midspan.





Some construction equipment atop the sections on the east side of Shin-Midōsuji.

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Old November 7th, 2010, 04:52 AM   #186
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Shin-Ōsaka Station construction update: Part 7

Next is from 2010.07.20:
Source: http://building-pc.cocolog-nifty.com/map/

Overpass is in place.



Section over northbound Shin-Midōsuji.



Over southbound Shin-Midōsuji.



New roadway signage already installed.



East end, where the new Platform 27 is quickly taking shape.



The temporary end sections used to slide the girder over have been removed.



Some aerial work platforms lined up... Don't know if these were used in the sliding or if they're needed for upcoming work.



Exterior is being filled in.



With the sliding completed, they will likely dismantle these temporary structures and begin work on the permanent structure.



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Old November 7th, 2010, 04:53 AM   #187
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Shin-Ōsaka Station construction update: Part 8

Next is from 2010.08.26:
Source: http://building-pc.cocolog-nifty.com/map/



At the east end, the overpass is being joined to the parts of the structure already complete.



Lots of activity on the Shin-Ōsaka Hankyū Building site.



West of Shin-Midōsuji, they are already beginning to dismantle the temporary beam sections that supported the sliding equipment.



They don't seem to have gotten very far, so perhaps they intend to reuse this somehow...





From the zairaisen platforms, looking up at the Shinkansen platforms. They've closed off the center portions of the platform probably to allow them to do foundation and column work to support the new Shinkansen platform and track that will be constructed directly above.



However, there's some strange work going on here. JR Central is leading the construction of the new Platform 27 work, and their existing platforms are on the right. The space in the middle here is where the new platform and track are supposed to go, but it appears that JR West is constructing another structure to the left. Upon further investigation, I believe this is for the JR Ōsaka-Higashi Line, which is planned to terminate at Shin-Ōsaka. This was completely off my radar when first looking at this image.



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Old November 7th, 2010, 04:54 AM   #188
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Shin-Ōsaka Station construction update: Part 9

Final update from 2010.10.12:
Source: http://building-pc.cocolog-nifty.com/map/

Gives new meaning to the term "blank wall"... :lol



Work continues on the adjacent Shin-Ōsaka Hankyū Building site, where it looks like they are casting expanded base piles.



East end



All vestiges of the sliding equipment have disappeared and workers are quickly constructing the scaffolding to allow them to work on the permanent structure.





At the west end, the gantries supporting the overhead catenary have been connected to the temporary supports erected outside the envelope of the new viaduct.

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Old November 7th, 2010, 07:12 AM   #189
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Thank you quashlo! You always give the best rail updates.
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Old November 7th, 2010, 01:16 PM   #190
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Nice work Quashlo.
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Old November 8th, 2010, 09:30 AM   #191
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Design concepts for new Hokuriku Shinkansen stations revealed: Part 1

In October 2010, the Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (JRTT), which is responsible for constructing the Hokuriku Shinkansen extension, revealed design concepts for four of the new stations to be constructed on the extension to Kanazawa: Shin-Kurobe (provisional name), Shin-Takaoka (provisional name), Itoigawa, and Jōetsu.

====================

First up is Shin-Kurobe Station (provisional name) in Kurobe City, Toyama Prefecture. Basic design concept is "Station that blends in, attractive station." This is slated to be a future transfer station with the Toyama Chihō Railroad Main Line (a new station would be built on the Main Line).
Source: Kurobe City

Plan A
A station that reflects the intimate pristine landscape woven together by people and nature.
  • With a design motif of the diverse and rich pristine scenery of sankyo-son, where farmhouses pepper the landscape outside Kurobe City endlessly in a mix of paddy fields and homes, the design harmonizes with the surrounding scenery.
  • By placing windows and walls in a random pattern, the design gives a soft impression reminiscent of mirages or summer haze. The design is also based on horizontal lines, expressing the swiftness of the Shinkansen.
  • Designing the exterior glass with gradations of light and dark allows for variation in the outside scenery visible from inside the station.



Plan B
A station that reflects the natural elements of Kurobe, brimming rich with water.
  • The design expresses Kurobe's natural landscape (wind and water, the drifting of clouds, the peak of Mount Tate) through a series of multi-layered wave lines.
  • With white as a base color, representing the snow still left atop the mountain peaks, the design uses variations in material and color to subtlely express Mount Tate's overlapping ridges and an open arms.
  • The wave lines overlap with the peak of Mount Tate visible from the platform level, allowing visitors to enjoy a more profound scenery rich in variation.



Plan C
A station that blends in with its surroundings, an attractive station that depicts the changing seasons.
  • By breaking the exterior wall into pieces that mirror the silhouette of Mount Tate, the design blends the entire station building into the surrounding scenery.
  • Drawing from the tranquil image of the Kurobe Gorge etched into Mount Tate and the Kurobe River flowing through it, the station will exude a chic but composed impression.
  • Windows will be placed in series along the platforms, creating a station that impressively shows off the pristine landscape of Kurobe (the seasonally-changing peak of Mount Tate, the scenery of farmhouses stretching off endlessly).

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Old November 8th, 2010, 09:31 AM   #192
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Design concepts for new Hokuriku Shinkansen stations revealed: Part 2

Next up is Shin-Takaoka Station (provisional name) in Takaoka City, Toyama Prefecture. This is slated to be a future transfer station with the JR Jōhana Line (a new station would be built on the Jōhana Line).
Source: Takaoka City

Plan A
A station that continues the history of the Hietsunō area.
  • With historic Zuiryūji Temple's cloisters and vertical lattices (samanoko (vertical screens), sasara (bamboo whisk) doors) as design motifs, the station expresses a design emphasizing vertical lines in a rhythmical pattern.
  • The exterior wall uses a color scheme reminiscent of gasshō-zukuri (Japanese sloped-roof architecture), Takaoka copperware, and Noto's suzuyaki-style ceramics.
  • At night, the light seeping out from the station will resemble the lanterns of Noto's Kiriko-matsuri festival and the paper lanterns of the Tonami area's Yotaka-matsuri festival.



Plan B
A station that mirrors the natural beauty, pristine landscapes, and history of the Hietsunō area.
  • Through an exterior wall that features variations of the color white, the design for the middle of the station will expreess the whitecaps of the Sea of Japan and the peaks of Mount Tate and the Hida Mountains, rich in natural beauty.
  • The emphatic vertical lines draw to mind images of Zuiryūji Temple's cloisters and vertical lattices (samanoko (vertical screens), sasara (bamboo whisk) doors).
  • The exterior walls to the left and right will feature large and small windows, expressing the unique scenery of the sankyo-son farmhouse villages.



Part C
A station that combines the Hietsunō area's beauty with the future.
  • With the varied and bucolic scenery of sankyo-son farmhouse villages and terraced ricefields as design motifs, the station expresses the "future" in a mosaic-style layout. In addition, by emphasizing horizontal lines, the design futuristically expresses the swiftness of the Shinkansen.
  • The color scheme expresses the lead-colored roofs of Zuiryūji Temple and the white colors of Mount Tate in the winter as motifs.
  • By placing columns and beams in an orderly fashion, the design for the ground-level area of the station's middle will be reminiscent of the cloisters of the historical Zuiryūji Temple.



More Renderings

North Exit station plaza and short-term parking lot





South Exit station plaza and park





Park





There's more renderings and animations here:
http://www.city.takaoka.toyama.jp/to...nekidesign.htm
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Old November 8th, 2010, 09:33 AM   #193
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Design concepts for new Hokuriku Shinkansen stations revealed: Part 3

Next up is Itoigawa Station in Itoigawa City, Niigata Prefecture. This will be a transfer station with the Hokuriku Main Line and Ōito Line (with the opening of the extension, the Hokuriku Main Line will be abandoned by JR and converted to a third-sector railway funded by local governments).
Source: Itoigawa City

Quote:
Basic design principles:
Sea of Japan, the Northern Alps, and jade as symbols
  • The exterior design of the station should draw from the Sea of Japan for the north side and the Northern Alps for the south side
    • Passengers on the platforms should be able to look out to the Sea of Japan and the Northern Alps, enjoying their rich expressions that change with the seasons
    • For the public passage, the North Exit should be called the "Sea of Japan Exit" and the South Exit should be called the "Alps Exit"
  • The station design should be reminiscent of Itoigawa
    • The design should be devised to include specific elements of Itoigawa's natural beauty, culture, and history in focused locations.
  • The design should strive for harmony with Itoigawa's urban townscape, as well as reduce the oppressiveness that comes from the (height of the) Shinkansen infrastructure.

Plan A



Plan B



Plan C

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Old November 8th, 2010, 09:34 AM   #194
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Design concepts for new Hokuriku Shinkansen stations revealed: Part 4

Next up is Jōetsu Station in Jōetsu City, Niigata Prefecture. This will be a transfer station with the Shin'etsu Main Line's Wakinoda Station (with the opening of the extension, the Shin'etsu Main Line will be abandoned by JR and converted to a third-sector railway funded by local governments).
Source: Jōetsu City

Plan A
Cherry blossoms and snowy plains
A comfortable casualness and subtlety
  • The themes of the design are the fluttering cherry blossoms of Takada Park and the wintertime scenery of the Takada Plain.
  • By printing designs for the glass surfaces reminiscent of cherry blossom whirlwinds and snowfields and aligning cherry-blossom pink panels for the decorative mullions in a series to form a gentle curve, the design expresses cherry blossom petals fluttering in the wind.
  • The design allows clear view over the station plaza from the central part of the platforms and is harmonized with the urban facilities, which are planned to be dynamic structures.



Plan B
Sanjū-yagura (Three-Story Watchtower) and history
The composure and dignity of a castle town
  • The theme of the design is the composure and dignity that comes with history, based on the motif of the Sanjū-yagura (Three-Story Watchtower) of Takada Park.
  • By installing white panels and glass surfaces on the upper portions and dark-colored louvers and weatherboard-like panels on the lower portions, the design powerfully expresses the clear structure of the Sanjū-yagura, with its white walls, black weatherboards, and latticed windows.
  • The windows at the ends are designed for daylighting, matching the vertical aperture of the middle part of the station. The chicly colored walls in the middle area highlight the urban facilities, which are planned to have a light color scheme, and the station is designed to give presence to both buildings.



Plan C
The wind through the plateau
A refreshingly cool breeze that brings nature
  • The theme of the design is based on images of tree groves on the plateau and the refreshing wind passing between trees.
  • Specially-designed panels placed in random locations on the giant glass surface vividly express the tree groves on the plateau. By raising these panels slightly off the surface of the exterior, the design is reminiscent of wind passing between the trees and creates a sense of three-dimensionality.
  • The randomly-placed panels create variation in the scenery from inside the central part of the platforms. The design is harmonized with the urban facilities, planned to feature dynamic structures and light color schemes.

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Old November 8th, 2010, 09:35 AM   #195
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JR West announces name for fastest San'yō / Kyūshū Shinkansen through-service
http://www.westjr.co.jp/news/newslis...75022_799.html

Quote:
With the opening of the full length of the Kyūshū Shinkansen (Kagoshima route) starting March 12, 2010, we will launch operations of the Sakura through-service (Shin-Ōsaka — Kagoshima Chūō) for the San'yō and Kyūshū Shinkansen lines. However, we have also recently selected Mizuho as the name for trains which, like the Nozomi, will offer the fastest service on the San'yō Shinkansen section.

Details
Mizuho services, stations, and journey times
Number of services: four round-trips daily (in the morning and evening periods)
Stations: Shin-Ōsaka, Shin-Kōbe, Okayama, Hiroshima, Kokura, Hakata, Kumamoto, Kagoshima Chūō
Fastest journey times (shown for primary sections only):
  • Shin-Ōsaka — Hakata: 2h23m
  • Shin-Ōsaka — Kumamoto: 2h59m
  • Hakata — Kagoshima Chūō: 1h20m
  • Shin-Ōsaka — Kagoshima Chūō: 3h45m
Reasons for selection of Mizuho as train name
  • "Mizuho" is a word expressing "fresh ears of rice," and the phrase "Mizuho no Kuni" has historically been used to refer to Japan as a land of bounty. We have selected Mizuho as the name, in the hopes of providing our customers with a bountiful journey on the direct-service trains to be launched with the opening of the full length of the Kyūshū Shinkansen (Kagoshima route).
  • Like the name "Sakura"—expressing the cherry blossoms that are a symbol of Japan—which has already been selected as a train name, we believe "Mizuho" is a name with a long history.
Use of the names Mizuho, Sakura, and Tsubame on the San'yō and Kyūshū Shinkansen
Use of the Shinkansen train names for the San'yō and Kyūshū Shinkansen will be defined as follows:
  • Mizuho: "Fastest-type" trains operating across both the San'yō / Kyūshū Shinkansen
  • Sakura: "Fast-type" trains across both the San'yō / Kyūshū Shinkansen or only within the Kyūshū Shinkansen
  • Tsubame: "Local-type" trains operating only within the Kyūshū Shinkansen
Basically, this is a parallel to the Nozomi, Hikari, and Kodama hierarchy on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen. Will be interesting at major stations along the San'yō Shinkansen, which will now have a slew of different train names.
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Old November 8th, 2010, 09:36 AM   #196
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JR West reveals further details on service plan for the San'yō / Kyūshū Shinkansen
http://www.westjr.co.jp/news/newslis...75023_799.html

This is an excerpt from JR West's October regular press conference.

Quote:
News regarding the opening of the full length of the Kyūshū Shinkansen (Kagoshima route)
Regarding establishment of a "fastest-type" through-service train
In regards to the Kyūshū Shinkansen, after discussions with stakeholders we have selected Mizuho as the train name for the fastest-type through-service trains. Two Mizuho roundtrips are planned for each of the morning and evening periods. In regards to the establishment of the Mizuho as the fastest service, we selected the morning and evening periods in the hope of securing as much time as possible for business and leisure passengers to spend at their destinations and improving convenience.

Journey times are as shown in the following table. We are hoping to promote these journey time reductions to customers, helping to encourage more use of the service.

Code:
Trip Ends                       Mizuho  Existing  Savings
Shin-Ōsaka - Kumamoto           2h59m    3h57m     0h58m
Shin-Ōsaka - Kagoshima Chūō     3h45m    5h02m     1h17m
Okayama - Kumamoto              2h14m    3h06m     0h52m
Okayama - Kagoshima Chūō        3h00m    4h11m     1h11m
Hiroshima - Kumamoto            1h37m    2h29m     0h52m
Hiroshima - Kagoshima Chūō      2h24m    3h34m     1h10m
Regarding the service plan details for the San'yō / Kyūshū Shinkansen
The general service plan for the San'yō / Kyūshū Shinkansen is summarized in the following chart. Nozomi and Hikari Rail Star services will terminate at Hakata Station, and in order to allow customers using these trains to transfer smoothly at Hakata Station to Sakura and Tsubame services, we are considering to the greatest extent possible cross-platform transfers, eliminating the need to move up or down stairs.

  • (Blue) Shin-Ōsaka — Kagoshima Chūō
    San'yō / Kyūshū Shinkansen through-service trains: 1 tph
    • Fastest-type Mizuho: 4 roundtrips daily in morning and evening periods
    • Fast-type Sakura: All other time periods
  • (Pink) Kyūshū Shinkansen services, Hakata — Kagoshima Chūō
    Hakata — Kagoshima Chūō: 1 tph
    Hakata — Kumamoto: 2 tph
    • Fast-type Sakura
    • Local-type Tsubame
  • (Yellow) Nozomi, Shin-Ōsaka — Hakata
    Tōkyō — Hakata: 2-3 tph
  • (Grey) Hikari Rail Star, Shin-Ōsaka — Hakata
    Shin-Ōsaka — Hakata: 0-1 tph
Regarding the start of new train reservation services
We will take the opportunity of the new Kyūshū Shinkansen to improve our train reservation services.
  • We will offer a new "e5489" (means "ii go-yoyaku" or "good reservation"), replacing the current "e5489plus."
  • J-WEST Card members will be able to purchase discounted tickets offered jointly with JR Kyūshū when reserving online.
  • Tickets reserved through e5489 will be retrievable at JR West's and JR Kyūshū's major stations. The start of service is slated for spring 2011.
The new reservation service will offer tickets for San'yō / Kyūshū Shinkansen Mizuho, Sakura, and Tsubame services; San'yō Shinkansen Nozomi, Hikari, and Kodama services; and JR West's and JR Kyūshū's major limited express trains. However, tickets for the San'yō / Kyūshū Shinkansen Mizuho, Sakura, and Tsubame services will not be offered on the Tōkaidō / San'yō Shinkansen's members-only online reservation service Express Yoyaku.
JR Kyūshū's portal site for the Kyūshū Shinkansen opening:
http://www.kyushu-shinkansen.jp/

JR West's site for the opening:
http://sanyo-kyushu.jp/

Basic details of the Kyūshū Shinkansen "extension"

Solid red line is the first phase that opened March 13, 2004 between Shin-Yatsushiro and Kagoshima Chūō. The parallel thin orange line was a part of the former Kagoshima Main Line abandoned by JR and converted to the third-sector Hisatsu Orange Railway when the Shinkansen section opened.
Dotted red line between Hakata and Shin-Yatsushiro is the new phase opening in March 2011, connecting the Kyūshū Shinkansen to the existing network (solid blue line) and completing the Kagoshima route. There is an additional Nagasaki route (the other red dotted line), which seems to be moving towards variable-gauge train technology.


Source: JR Kyūshū

Structural composition of the lines:
  • Hakata — Shin-Yatsushiro
    • Tunnel: 37 km (23%)
    • Viaduct: 70 km (54%)
    • Bridges: 17 km (13%)
    • Cut and fill: 6 km (5%)
  • Shin-Yatsushiro — Kagoshima Chūō
    • Tunnel: 88 km (69%)
    • Viaduct: 16 km (12%)
    • Bridges: 9 km (7%)
    • Cut and fill: 15 km (12%)

Renderings of a few new stations. Missing are Shin-Tosu and Shin-Tamana.
Source: JR Kyūshū

Hakata Station


Kurume Station


Chikugo Funagoya Station


Shin-Ōmuta Station
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Old November 8th, 2010, 09:37 AM   #197
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Saga Prefecture disappointed that Mizuho trains will skip Shin-Tosu
http://www.asahi.com/travel/rail/new...010200057.html

Quote:
News that Mizuho services—the fastest through-service trains that will connect Shin-Ōsaka and Kagoshima Chūō with the opening of the full length of the Kyūshū Shinkansen's Kagoshima route—would not stop at Shin-Tosu Station was formally announced on October 20. Saga Prefecture and Tosu City officials who had been hoping the trains would stop were disappointed, but some say it was a foregone conclusion for the Shinkansen, whose main selling point is speed. The tug-of-war to increase the number of Sakura services and other trains stopping at the station is now set to become even more heated.

At a regular press conference on October 20, Governor Furukawa Yasushi confided his feelings about the news that Mizuho trains wouldn't stop at Shin-Tosu Station, announced the same day by JR Kyūshū along with other basic details of the Mizuho service plan: "It's disappointing, but given that the Mizuho is aiming for point-to-point speed, I think it was bound to end up this way. Instead, I hope we can get as many Sakura trains as possible to stop at Shin-Tosu Station." The Governor says he received a notification from JR Kyūshū officials on the morning of October 20, and afterwards requested that as many trains as possible on the other through-service, the Sakura, be allowed to stop at Shin-Tosu Station.

The introduction of the fastest-type Mizuho trains was revealed this summer. In response Saga Prefecture officials have requested multiple times to have the Mizuho stop at Shin-Tosu Station, including visits to JR Kyūshū's headquarters by the Saga Prefectural Transport Policy Department chief on August 25 and Vice-Governor Sakai Hiroki on October 12. In the end, the campaign failed.

The financial analysis of the economic impacts of the opening of the full length of the Kagoshima route published by Saga Prefecture in March, before news of the Mizuho surfaced, will now likely need to be revised to account for Mizuho trains skipping Shin-Tosu Station.

At the time, Saga Prefecture had assumed a total of 32 through-service trains daily across both directions, with 24 of these stopping at Shin-Tosu Station, as requested by officials. The resulting effect was an increase in annual ridership of approx. 80,000 and an economic benefit of approx. ¥1 billion. Given that eight Mizuho through-service trains across both directions will not stop at the station, in order to meet the assumptions of the financial analysis, all remaining 24 trains will need to stop at the station. Murayama Hitoshi, chief of the Saga Prefecture Shinkansen Promotion Section remarked, "It's no longer a simple task (to meet our goals)."

Local Tosu City officials were also disheartened. Mayor Hashimoto Yasushi commented, "It's disappointing that Shin-Tosu Station wasn't included as a stop. I'll be requesting that they stop all Tsubame trains and as many Sakura trains as possible. I also hope to work towards increasing the number of passengers after the opening, with the goal of eventually adding the station as a stop on the Mizuho services in the future."

Similar to the Sakura services, the city has been requesting that "all trains in the outbound direction stop at the station between morning and midday." Spokespersons for the Tosu City Tourism Association were hopeful: "We'll need to retool our PR efforts in the Kansai area, but if the Sakura trains stop, I'm sure we'll have no problems getting tourists to use the train."

In regards to stations on the Kyūshū Shinkansen, Shin-Tosu Station and Kurume Station—among two of the closest stations on the Shinkansen network anywhere in Japan—are in a fierce battle to secure stopping trains. Matsuda Kazutoshi, chief of the city's Shinkansen Strategy Section, remarks, "We're now hoping to continue our efforts by focusing on having Sakura trains stop," indicating that the tug-of-war between the two stations is likely to heat up even further.
Shin-Tosu and Kurume are only 5.7 km apart. This is due to the fact that Shin-Tosu is supposed to be the junction with the Kyūshū Shinkansen's future Nagasaki route.

I believe the only station-to-station distances on the Shinkansen network that are shorter are the Tōhoku Shinkansen's Tōkyō — Ueno section (3.6 km) and the Jōetsu Shinkansen's Echigo Yuzawa — Gala Yuzawa section (1.8 km), but the former is a given since it's in Tōkyō and they need an additional terminal, and the latter is only for seasonal service during the winter ski season.
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Old November 8th, 2010, 09:38 AM   #198
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Railfans and Kagoshima politicians question Mizuho / Sakura naming scheme
http://mainichi.jp/select/today/news...40016000c.html

Quote:
Complaints are coming in over the selection of Mizuho (provisional name) as the name for the fastest trains scheduled for direct-service between Shin-Ōsaka and Kagoshima Chūō with the opening of the full length of the Kyūshū Shinkansen on March 12 of next year. Citing that the name is the same as the former "blue train" sleeper limited expresses that used to connect Tōkyō and Kumamoto, the governor of Kagoshima Prefecture expressed his displeasure: "If they had discussed it with us beforehand, I would have refused to accept it." Railfans are also claiming that the name "is not 'fit' for the fastest trains (on the line)." Perhaps in response to the critics, JR officials have left the door open: "In cases of strong opposition, we will need to sit down and discuss the issue." The fate of the name for the fastest trains on the line, scheduled to be formally decided on by the end of the year, is uncertain.

The trains that will run through-service with the San'yō Shinkansen are new units based on the N700 series. After JR West and JR Kyūshū launched a public naming competition in fall 2008, Sakura, the most popular suggestion, was selected in February 2009 as the name for the trains. Afterwards, JR West revealed that it is considering the name Mizuho for the fastest trains, which use the same rolling stock as the Sakura services but have fewer station stops and faster journey times.

In regards to the name Mizuho, Kagoshima Prefecture governor Itō Yūichirō made the following remarks at a September press conference: "It's strange to see that the name of the new service is the same as the name of the sleeper train that terminated at Kumamoto. We went so far as to hold a public naming competition, so why not just use Sakura?" The governor expressed his displeasure: "JR never consulted the local governments."

Railfans are also criticizing the names. Besides being used as the first nickname for a limited express in Japan in 1929, Sakura was also used for the sleeper limited express connecting Tōkyō and Nagasaki after World War II, before being abandoned in March 2005. Meanwhile, Mizuho was the name of a sleeper limited express from Tōkyō bound for Kumamoto and Nagasaki, beginning operations in 1961, much later than the Sakura service, before being abandoned in 1994. In short, the name is more a supporting actor than the star of the show. Railway critic Kawashima Ryōzō (60) commented, "The 'pedigree' of a train is based on the depth of its history and its role. Sakura has a much longer history and has a higher status than Mizuho. And yet, there's a discrepancy where the the Mizuho trains will be faster than the Sakura trains. Many railfans will undoubtedly feel the same way."

JR West president Sasaki Takayuki, who had operated the Mizuho sleeper limited express trains when he was young, replied, "It's common to see public response split like this. In cases of strong opposition, we will need to sit down and discuss the issue, but up until now, we've been planning everything around using the name Mizuho..." JR Kyūshū president Karaike Kōji commented, "Things are still being sorted out, and nothing has been finalized."
Taking the name of discontinued limited express trains that used to operate the same route is the traditional method for naming Shinkansen services. In this case, the railfans argue that the two names are reversed, because the faster service should be named Sakura and the slower service should be named Mizuho, as Sakura has a longer history and pedigree as a train name. Meanwhile, the Kagoshima Prefecture governor is dissatisfied because the name Mizuho is associated with Kumamoto but has no relation to Kagoshima, which is the terminus of the Shinkansen line.

Scenes on a Mizuho train, 1985. First is departing Tōkyō Station, then changing locomotives at Shimonoseki Station (the southernmost station on the Honshū side), and then at Moji on the Kyūshū side.


Source: mayahnd on YouTube

A coupled Sakura / Hayabusa sleeper train, 2000.


Source: NIMFA2828 on YouTube

The last regular-service Tōkyō-bound Sakura sleeper train departs Nagasaki (2005.02.28). Not just railfans but lots of regular people waving goodbye both from the station platform and all up and down the track as the train passes through the city.


Source: pontadepon on YouTube
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Old November 8th, 2010, 09:38 AM   #199
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Response to Shinkansen on Ōsumi Peninsula is lackluster
http://mainichi.jp/area/kagoshima/ne...70632000c.html

Quote:
The full length of the Kyūshū Shinkansen will open March 12 next year. Compared to the festive welcoming mood in Kagoshima City and the Satsuma Peninsula, the mood on the Ōsumi Peninsula seems lackluster at best. But despite the difference in reaction, the private sector is beginning efforts to capitalize on the new line to revitalize areas and increase the number of visitors.

For one, there is the Ōsumi Wazze Yokado Expo 2 (November 6-28), a project that offers experiential sightseeing. "Wazze yokado" means "It's great" in Kagoshima dialect. The expo prepares 93 "experiences" exploring the peninsula's natural beauty, history, agricultural and fishing industries, and cuisine, and is currently looking for participants from within and outside of Kagoshima Prefeture.

A little over six years have passed since the opening of the first phase of the Shinkansn line, but it's a fact that the peninsula wasn't able to capture as much of the secondary benefits as it had hoped. When thinking of the time needed just to get to the Shinkansen, it's not hard to feel the place is another "landlocked island." Even in terms of goods movement, hopes seem directed more at the Higashi-Kyūshū Expressway, which will connect the peninsula to major consumption areas.

If the peninsula can shed its preconceptions, the opening of the Shinkansen extension could be a big chance. Now is the time to get innovative.
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Old November 8th, 2010, 09:39 AM   #200
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Relay Tsubame trains will be shifted to Nippō Line
http://www.asahi.com/airtravel/SEB201010200039.html

Quote:
On October 20, JR Kyūshū revealed its intention to shift trains (787 series) primarily operating on Relay Tsubame limited express runs between Hakata and Shin-Yatsushiro and Ariake runs between Kokura / Hakata and Kumamoto / Higo Ōzu to the Nippō Line after the full length of the Kagoshima Route of the Kyūshū Shinkansen opens in March of next year.

With the opening of the full length of the Shinkansen line, JR plans to eliminate all of its limited express services on the Kagoshima Line, which parallels the Kagoshima route of the Shinkansen. The railway plans to use the excess trains as replacements for older rolling stock that has primarily been running on the Nippō Line on Kirishima services between Miyazaki and Kagoshima Chūō and Nichirin services between Beppu and Miyazaki Airport.

The 787 series trains debuted in 1992, featuring high-performance specs such as a maximum speed of 130 kph and a composed car body design painted in a base color of gray.

The top speed of the trains is 10 kph faster than the older trains they are replacing, but JR Kyūshū president Karaike Kōji says, "The Nippō Line has a lot of curves, so the time savings between Miyazaki and Kagoshima Chūō is limited to only a few minutes." The railway plans to reduce the travel time further by improvements to the switches and trackbed.
Cross-platform transfer at Shin-Yatsushiro between 787 series Relay Tsubame and 800 series Tsubame Shinkansen:
Source: jtrain6767 on YouTube



Window view from a 787 series Relay Tsubame limited express, Hakata to Shin-Yatsushiro. This is an older video, so you can still see a lot of the Kyūshū Shinkansen construction in many places.
Source: seigen120kaihin on YouTube

Part 1: Hakata to Tosu



Part 2: Tosu to Ōmuta



Part 3: Ōmuta to Kumamoto



Part 4: Kumamoto to Shin-Yatsushiro

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