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Old November 10th, 2010, 11:45 PM   #221
quashlo
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MY FIRST AOMORI posters

Campaign posters. Tourism is always big business for Shinkansen, so the JR’s put a lot of effort into getting people to do leisure trips. JR East’s campaign for the Shin-Aomori extension is geared at trying to get Tōkyōites to visit Aomori, but other examples include JR Central’s “Let’s Go to Kyōto” campaign, JR West’s “DISCOVER WEST” campaign featuring Nakama Yukie, and JR Kyūshū’s campaign featuring Konishi Manami (a Kagoshima native).

“Ikarugaseki Station”


“Shiriyazaki Lighthouse”


Nebuta Festival”


“Lake Towada”


“Suwa Ranch”


“Tsugaru Shamisen”
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Old November 12th, 2010, 12:53 AM   #222
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
Infrastructure-wise, they would just need to physically connect the tracks and get some new rolling stock that are compatible at both 50 Hz and 60 Hz electrification…
Er, Tokyo-Osaka-Hakata-Kagoshima Shinkansen is 60 Hz throughout!
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Old November 12th, 2010, 12:55 AM   #223
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Tōhoku Shinkansen Hayabusa service and E5 series to debut March 5
http://www.jreast.co.jp/press/2010/20101107.pdf

Quote:
On March 5, 2011, we will debut the new high-speed Shinkansen E5 series as the Hayabusa service, beginning operations at 300 kph, the highest operating speed in Japan. The new train is an amalgamation of cutting-edge technologies, and features improved environmental performance, running performance, and comfort. We will also introduce our GranClass seat class, providing a high-grade service and a high-quality and casual private travel space that has yet to be seen in railways.

Regarding the Hayabusa
  • Start of revenue service: Saturday, March 5, 2011
  • Number of services and range:
    • Tōkyō — Shin-Aomori: 2 roundtrips
    • Tōkyō — Sendai: 1 roundtrip
  • Maximum speed: 300 kph (Utsunomiya — Morioka)
  • Journey time: The fastest train will make it between Tōkyō and Shin-Aomori in 3h10m
    Travel time comparison from Tōkyō:
    Code:
    Time Period            To Shin-Aomori   To Hirosaki     To Hakodate     Notes
    Current                3h59m            4h40m           5h58m           Includes transfer time at Hachinohe
    2010.12.14-2011.03.04  3h23m (-0h36m)   4h13m           5h45m (-0h13m)  Time reduction is compared to current; Times to Hirosaki and Hakodate include transfer time at Shin-Aomori
    2011.03.05-            3h10m (-0h49m)   3h55m (-0h45m)  5h32m (-0h26m)  Time reduction is compared to current; Times to Hirosaki and Hakodate include transfer time at Shin-Aomori
  • Other:
    With the start of Hayabusa services, we will modify the origin / destination of some Hayate trains starting March 5:
    • Hayate 12 will begin at Morioka instead of Shin-Aomori.
    • Hayate 36 will begin at Shin-Aomori instead of Morioka.
      The Shin-Aomori — Morioka section of Hayate 36 will operate daily between December 4 and March 4 as a “seasonal” service.
Regarding the new high-speed Shinkansen E5 series
  • Formation: 10 cars (Cars 1-8 are regular cars, Car 9 is a green car, Car 10 is the GranClass car)
  • Capacity: 731 pax (658 regular seats, 55 green-car seats, 18 GranClass seats)
  • Maximum speed: 320 kph (slated for late FY2012)
  • Cutting-edge technologies: Incorporated throughout the train, dramatically improving comfort, environmental performance, and running performance. For passenger comfort, the train is the first Shinkansen train to feature a new type of full-active suspension on all cars of the train, further improving ride comfort. For environmental performance, the train features a low-noise pantograph, bogie covers, a long nose, and other features to reduce noise.
Regarding GranClass
Through a variety of amenities, the GranClass seats offer a comfortable travel environment.
Code:
                                      GranClass           Green car
Capacity (pax)                           18                  55
Seat pitch (mm)                         1,300               1,160
Effective seat width (mm)                520                 475
Armrest width (side/center) (mm)       94/240              70/140
Partitions?                               Y                   N
Reading light                          Movable             Movable
Tray table (mm)                        500x250             400x250
                                   (slides fwd/back)     (no sliding)
Seat back (reclining angle)          Electric, 45°        Hand-op, 31°
Seat sliding / tilting                 Eletric             Electric
                                                        (tilting only)
Legrest                                Electric            Electric
Footrest                               Electric              None
Headrest                               Hand-op              Hand-op
Manipulation of seat shape        Back, seat, and leg    Seat and leg
                                  can move in concert   move separately
                                     or separately
Looks like they are going all guns blazing with the GranClass to compete against the airlines, a necessity given the distances and travel times. This will be the highest quality seat class anywhere on the Shinkansen network, more akin to first-class airplane seats.

Hayabusa schedule (and connecting Super Hakuchō trains)

Outbound (for Shin-Aomori, Hirosaki, Hakodate):
Code:
                     Hayabusa 1   Hayabusa 3   Hayabusa 5
Tōkyō                   08:12       09:36        21:36
Ueno                      ↓           ↓            ↓
Ōmiya                   08:37       10:01        22:01
Sendai (arr)            09:48       11:12        23:12
Sendai (dep)            09:50       11:14        =====
Furukawa                  ↓           ↓
Kurikama Kōgen            ↓           ↓
Ichinoseki                ↓           ↓
Mizusawa - Esashi         ↓           ↓
Kitakami                  ↓           ↓
Shin-Hanamaki             ↓           ↓
Morioka (arr)           10:32       11:56
Morioka (dep)           10:33       11:57
Iwate Numakunai           ↓           ↓
Ninohe                    ↓           ↓
Hachinohe                 ↓           ↓
Shichinohe Towada         ↓           ↓
Shin-Aomori             11:22       12:46
                        =====       =====

                        Super       Super
                      Hakuchō 15  Hakuchō 19
Shin-Aomori             11:35       13:03
Aomori (arr)            11:42       13:10
Aomori (dep)            11:51       13:17
Kanita                  12:20       13:41
Tsugaru Imabetsu          ↓           ↓
Tappi Kaitei              ↓           ↓
Shiriuchi                 ↓           ↓
Kikonai                 13:08       14:34
Goryōkaku                 ↓           ↓ 
Hakodate                13:44       15:10
                        =====       =====
Inbound (for Shin-Aomori, Morioka, Tōkyō):
Code:
                                                 Super
                                               Hakuchō 40
Hakodate                                         15:55
Goryōkaku                                          ↓
Kikonai                                          16:31
Shiriuchi                                        16:39
Tappi Kaitei                                       ↓
Tsugaru Imabetsu                                   ↓
Kanita                                           17:22
Aomori (arr)                                     17:45
Aomori (dep)                                     17:51
Shin-Aomori                                      17:56
                                                 =====

                     Hayabusa 2   Hayabusa 4   Hayabusa 6
Shin-Aomori                         06:10        18:14
Shichinohe Towada                     ↓            ↓
Hachinohe                           06:34          ↓
Ninohe                                ↓            ↓
Iwate Numakunai                       ↓            ↓
Morioka (arr)                       07:03        19:03
Morioka (dep)                       07:04        19:04
Shin-Hanamaki                         ↓            ↓
Kitakami                              ↓            ↓
Mizusawa - Esashi                     ↓            ↓
Ichinoseki                            ↓            ↓
Kurikama Kōgen                        ↓            ↓
Furukawa                              ↓            ↓
Sendai (arr)                        07:47        19:47
Sendai (dep)            06:25       07:49        19:49
Ōmiya                   07:35       08:59        20:59
Ueno                      ↓           ↓            ↓
Tōkyō                   08:00       09:24        21:24
                        =====       =====        =====
the Hayabusa service will skip Ueno completely.

JR East also just released the fare structure for the Hayabusa service (see here). Fares for primary trip ends:


Source: JR East

The limited express fare is about ¥500 more for the Hayabusa than for the Hayate, and then the special car fee for GranClass seats is about ¥5,000 more than the green car fee (Hayabusa or Hayate).

For Tōkyō to Shin-Aomori, as an example:
  • Hayate
    • Regular seat: ¥16,370
    • Green car: ¥20,860
  • Hayabusa
    • Regular seat: ¥16,870
    • Green car: ¥21,360
    • GranClass: ¥26,360
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Old November 12th, 2010, 12:58 AM   #224
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chornedsnorkack View Post
Er, Tokyo-Osaka-Hakata-Kagoshima Shinkansen is 60 Hz throughout!
Yes, I misread your question. I was talking about a full north-south line, carrying it north past Tōkyō.
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Old November 12th, 2010, 02:28 AM   #225
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Those seats look nice What is the cost?
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Old November 12th, 2010, 10:53 AM   #226
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Hachinohe, Shichinohe disappointed with Hayabusa stopping patterns
http://www.asahi.com/travel/rail/new...011110497.html

Quote:
The Hayabusa service will debut next year on March 5. On November 11, JR East made an announcement that the start of service had been decided for the new E5 series Hayabusa trains to be introduced after the full opening of the Tōhoku Shinkansen. At the start, the there will be two roundtrips daily between Shin-Aomori and Tōkyō, completing a one-way journey in as little as three hours and ten minutes. In an effort to maximize point-to-point speed, of the total four trains across both directions, only one will stop at Hachinohe Station, and none will stop at Shichinohe Towada Station. Locals couldn't hide their disappointment.

In addition to the two roundtrips between Shin-Aomori and Tōkyō, there will also be one additional Hayabusa roundtrip between Sendai and Tōkyō. The trains will operate at 300 kph (Morioka — Utsunomiya), joining the San'yō Shinkansen as the fastest in Japan. The journey time for the fastest trip between Shin-Aomori and Tōkyō will be three hours and ten minutes—ten minutes faster than the Hayate services that will debut with the opening of the full line on December 4.

In addition, starting March 5, the departure time for the first train departing from Shin-Aomori will be pushed forward to 6:10 am, and with the addition of the Hayabusa services, passengers doing daytrips will be able to stay in Tōkyō for a total of ten hours and 40 minutes—27 minutes longer than before. Overall convenience will also improve, as trips between Hirosaki and Tōkyō, which require a transfer to conventional trains, will take as little as three hours, 49 minutes (inbound to Tōkyō).

With the start of Hayabusa services, the number of trains connecting Shin-Aomori and Tōkyō will increase from 15 trains in each direction after the opening of the full Shinkansen line to 17 trains in each direction. Meanwhile, only one Hayabusa train, in the inbound direction, will stop at Hachinohe, at least for the time being. No Hayabusa trains will stop at Shichinohe Towada. While the number of trains stopping at the station won't have changed from when the full line opens in December, the news is a tough pill to swallow for local governments around the station, which had been hoping the Hayabusa would stop at the station.

Ishida Tōru, Transport Department chief at JR East's Morioka Office, explained, "We made the decision by balancing point-to-point speed between the Greater Tōkyō area and Aomori with local requests to have the train stop." The railway will now gradually begin increasing the number of Hayabusa services and plans to begin revenue service operations at 320 kph (the fastest speed in the country) in spring 2013. In regards to stops, the railway says it will make decisions as the time comes to revise train schedules.

According to the Hayabusa fare structure also released the same day, between Shin-Aomori and Tōkyō, tickets for the Hayabusa will cost ¥16,870 (distance fare + limited express fee, non-peak reserved seat), ¥500 more than the Hayate. The Hayabusa features a special GranClass (capacity: 18 pax) that is an additional rank above the traditional green car seats. The GranClass section is designed for luxury and features electronically-controlled seat backs and other features, costing ¥26,360 between Shin-Aomori and Tōkyō.

Sighs of disappointment
Hachinohe City, which will be served by only a single Hayabusa train, bound for Tōkyō, couldn't hide its disappointment. In place of Mayor Kobayashi Makoto, who was on overseas business, Vice-Mayor Naraoka Shūichi commented, "I'm sure JR East weighed all the factors when making the decision, but for our city, which has been asking to have all trains stop, it's a disappointing outcome."

Chairman Fukushima Tetsuo of the Hachinohe Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which had stood by the city in lobbying for all trains to stop at the station, said, "I had a feeling things might turn out like this, and they finally did." Fukushima says that the railway never gave a definite response to his requests, and he got the impression that having all trains stop was going to be difficult. Given the "need for speed," Fukushima sucked up his disappointment, saying, "To some extent, it was unavoidable."

Mayor Komata Tsutomu of Shichinohe Town, home to Shichinohe Towada Station, was also dejected: "It's a huge disappointment." However, the Mayor remarked, "Shichinohe Towada Station is the gateway to Shimokita, and there'll be a lot of passengers coming through for business related to the nuclear power industry. I hope we can create a station that will make JR think twice about skipping us the next time they have to revise the schedules."

Meanwhile, Aomori Prefecture Governor Mimura released his comments praising the news: "The high-speed transport network will expand further, and we anticipate benefits in a wide variety of areas. We want to make the best of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I hope to further strengthen coordination with local jurisdictions and related groups." The Governor did not make any remarks regarding the trains skipping Hachinohe and Shichinohe Towada.
TV Tōkyō news report on the announcement of the start date:


Source: senna5706 on YouTube
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Old November 12th, 2010, 10:54 AM   #227
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Replacement of overhead catenary picks up pace in preparation for Hokkaidō Shinkansen
http://mainichi.jp/hokkaido/seikei/n...20226000c.html

Quote:
In preparation for the FY2015 opening of the Shin-Aomori — Shin-Hakodate section of the Hokkaidō Shinkansen, replacement of overhead catenary on track sections shared with JR Hokkaidō’s conventional lines is picking up pace.

On November 9, work began at Omonai Tunnel No. 2 (1,218 m in length) in Shiriuchi Town and at other locations starting at 12:00 am, when train operations end for the day. Workers used a special railcar to replace approx. 1,200 m of the catenary supporting the live wire that supplies the electricity to pantographs. Shinkansen catenary is stiffer and lighter than the catenary for conventional lines, ensuring improved contact with the pantograph to provide a stable supply of electricity.

JR Hokkaidō was retained by the Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (JRTT) for the replacement of overhead catenary on 30 km of the approx. 84 km section between Kikonai and Shin-Nakaoguni Signal Station (Aomori), and has been carrying out the work since March of this year. JR Hokkaidō will not be replacing overhead catenary on the remainder of the section, which is comprised of the Seikan Tunnel. The rewiring will continue until 2014.
Hokkaidō Shimbun video (2010.10.22).



The Hokkaidō Shinkansen is the extension of the Tōhoku Shinkansen from Shin-Aomori to Hokkaidō. The basic plan for the first phase to Shin-Hakodate is to lay dual-gauge track on the Tsugaru Kaikyō Line (including the Seikan Tunnel), which was built to Shinkansen standards (but with conventional narrow gauge), between Kikonai in Hokkaidō and Shin-Nakaoguni Signal Station in Aomori. From there, the line will likely continue as a full-standard Shinkansen line all the way to Sapporo. Construction on the Shin-Aomori — Shin-Hakodate section began in 2005. Construction on the Shin-Hakodate — Sapporo section was originally slated to start in FY2009, but that has since been delayed. There are additional proposals to extend the line past Sapporo to Asahikawa.

Map:

Source: Wikipedia

An abridged cab view from a 789 series Super Hakuchō limited express between Kanita Station in Aomori and through the Seikan Tunnel to Kikonai in Hokkaidō.


Source: syaso on YouTube
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Old November 12th, 2010, 10:54 AM   #228
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Tour participants get a sneak peek at Hokkaidō Shinkansen construction
http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=soc_30&k=2010111000258

Quote:
Construction work is proceeding on the Hokkaidō Shinkansen with a target opening date of FY2015, and a tour of the construction sites was recently held in Hokuto City. The Hokkaidō Government Oshima General Subprefectural Bureau organized the event in an effort to increase public interest and support for the Hokkaidō Shinkansen.

Approx. 30 participants visited three construction sites for a general car yard, a bridge, and a tunnel. The participants learned about the importance of temperature management of concrete materials due to Hokkaidō's cold climate, and experienced the surprisingly narrow width of one of the tunnels, where they have yet to lay down the rail.

One man who came from Hakodate City to participate was surprised: "I never knew that they had made it this far in construction. Japan's technology is really something."
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Old November 12th, 2010, 10:56 AM   #229
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National government reveals JR's track usage fees to operate Hokuriku Shinkansen
http://mainichi.jp/area/niigata/news...20029000c.html

Quote:
In regards to the Shinkansen lease fees (track usage fees) to be paid to the national government by JR as part of operating the Hokuriku Shinkansen (Nagano — Kanazawa) scheduled to open in FY2014, Niigata Prefecture governor Izumida Hirohiko held a press conference on October 22, announcing that after scrutizing administrative documents partially revealed to him by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), the estimated fees (at the time the calculations were conducted in 2008) were ¥49.4 billion annually. Up until now, the number being circulated was ¥24.7 billion annually, which the national government submitted in November 2008 to the ruling party at the time.

In order to reveal the assumptions behind the calculation of the estimated lease fees, Niigata Prefecture had requested that the MLIT disclose the information, later receiving a notice of publication in September and carefully scrutinizing the approx. 600-page document. The information disclosed was for the estimates at the time the analysis was conducted in 2008, and no later data was revealed. At the time, it's believed that the national government conducted discussions with JR and showed hard numbers to the ruling party, but the reasons behind why the two numbers are different is unknown.

The lease fees include necessary funds to cover the operating deficits of the parallel conventional lines whose management and operations will be transferred from JR to local prefectural governments, and Niigata Prefecture, which is likely to get stuck with an additional financial burden, is asking the national government to reallocate the lease fees locally.

After estimating the Prefectural Government's contribution to the operating deficit based on the disclosed information, Governor Izumida said that the Prefectural Government must ask the National Government to return a cumulative total of over ¥126 billion for the 30-year period after the Shinkansen opens.
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Old November 12th, 2010, 10:56 AM   #230
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Niigata Prefecture makes first payment for this year's Hokuriku Shinkansen construction costs
http://mytown.asahi.com/areanews/nii...010210453.html

Quote:
On October 21, Niigata Prefecture signed a tentative agreement with the Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (JRTT) to pay to the JRTT a portion (approx. ¥2.6 billion) of its share of this year's construction costs for the Hokuriku Shinkansen (scheduled opening in late FY2014). On October 12, Niigata Prefecture governor Izumida Hirohiko met face-to-face with JRTT director Ishikawa Hiroki and agreed to make the payment.

Of the approx. ¥16.3 billion in total requested by the JRTT as payment for work during this fiscal year, the Prefectural Government will submit the first installment of approx. ¥2.6 billion. The Prefectural Government plans to continue negotiations with the JRTT regarding the upcoming installments.

The Prefectural Government had been requesting that all trains stop at Jōetsu Station, but citing that the JRTT's construction plans have the station designed such that trains can pass without stopping, has been pushing to have the phrase "The construction plans are invalid" included in the agreement. No compromise was reached at the November 12 meeting, but Director Ishikawa requested execution of a tentative agreement. Accepting that it was only a tentative solution, Governor Izumida compromised and did not include the wording in the tentative agreement.
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Old November 12th, 2010, 10:57 AM   #231
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Ex-Hisatsu Orange Railway president tapped to head third-sector railway after Hokuriku Shinkansen opens
http://mainichi.jp/area/niigata/news...20240000c.html

Quote:
On October 29, it was revealed that Niigata Prefecture advisor and previous president of Hisatsu Orange Railway (HQ: Yatsushiro City, Kumamoto Prefecture) Shimazu Tadahiro will serve as president of the railway company to operate the parallel zairaisen (conventional line) that will be transferred out of JR management after the scheduled opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen (Nagano — Kanazawa) in FY2014. On November 1, Niigata Prefecture governor Izumida Hirohiko and other officials held a sponsors' meeting and elected Shimazu as director, and Shimazu will formally enter his post as president at the directors' meeting later in the month, marking the official establishment of the new railway company.

The new company, the Niigata Prefecture Parallel Zairaisen Company, is a third-sector company funded by the Prefectural Government and the three cities of Jōetsu, Myōkō, and Itoigawa located along the subject rail lines, and the Prefectural Government has been advancing the selection process for the president of the new company, primarily focusing on candidates who have had experience in railway management.

The Hisatsu Orange Railway connecting Yatsushiro City in Kumamoto Prefecture and Satsuma ‒ Sendai City in Kagoshima Prefecture is a parallel zairaisen created with the opening of the Kagoshima route of the Kyūshū Shinkansen. Shimazu served as president of the railway between 2005 and 2009.
The Niigata Prefectural Government and three city governments will invest a total of ¥150 million in the new company. Besides Shimazu, there are eight other people serving on the board of directors for the compay, including Niigata Prefecture vice-governor Ōno Hiroo, the vice-mayors of the three cities involved, and four individuals from the private sector, including the presidents of Sado Kisen (a ferry operator) and Hotel Toki Messe.

Cab view from an HSOR 100 series dieseul unit on the Hisatsu Orange Railway, between Shin-Yatsushiro and Sendai... A great way to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Kyūshū.
Source: SuperExpress1 on YouTube

Part 01 (Shin-Yatsushiro to Yatsushiro): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aue8aBVv03A&hd=1
Part 02 (Yatsushiro to Hinagu Onsen): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceevABMraPo&hd=1
Part 03 (Hinagu Onsen to Higo Tanoura): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeOwdZ7Vd8g&hd=1
Part 04 (Higo Tanoura to Sashiki): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7L03G5fWwI&hd=1
Part 05 (Sashiki to Minamata): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYBmJBS9OLw&hd=1
Part 06 (Minamata to Izumi): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FwyJYJpl48&hd=1
Part 07 (Izumi to Nodagō): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XiE8egjPnc&hd=1
Part 08 (Nodagō to Akune): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmsCMMtkYgg&hd=1
Part 09 (Akune to Nishikata): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPNfJmwPnsQ&hd=1
Part 10 (Nishikata to Kusamichi): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUOZIchkaHU&hd=1
Part 11 (Kusamichi to Sendai): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qm1bNyOEtAU&hd=1
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Old November 12th, 2010, 10:58 AM   #232
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New third-sector railway for post-Shinkansen parallel zairaisen in Niigata Prefecture faces dilemma
http://mainichi.jp/area/niigata/news...20031000c.html

Quote:
Dilemma of stable business and passenger convenience
The new company that will operate the parallel conventional lines to be transferred out of JR ownership with the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen (Nagano — Kanazawa) in FY2014 will be inaugurated in late November. The management team has already been assembled for the third-sector railway operator funded by Niigata Prefecture and the three cities of Jōetsu, Myōkō, and Itoigawa, and the company's inauguration process has entered the final stages. It will be a start fraught with questions, including just how the company will be able to secure both stable business operations and passenger convenience.

At the startline
On November 1, an inaugural sponsors' meeting for the new company, the Niigata Prefecture Parallel Zairaisen Company, was held, and the company statute and executive team were finalized. The Board of Directors' meeting will be held on November 19, and after a formal application for registry on November 22, the company will officially be in business.

Niigata Prefecture governor Izumida Hirohiko was did not take the moment lightly: "There are many questions to resolve, including fares, stations, and rolling stock, but the process of taking these elements and incorporating them into a specific business plan can finally begin. We've finally reached the start line."

Prefectural Government advisor Shimazu Tadahiro (65), who has experience serving as president of Kyūshū third-sector railway Hisatsu Orange Railway (HQ: Yatsushiro City, Kumamoto Prefecture), is expected to enter his post as president of the new company. The Board of Directors also includes Niigata Prefecture vice-governor and former Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) official Ōno Hiroo, vice-mayors from the three cities along the lines, and four individuals from the private sector.

A complicated set of circumstances
All across Japan, the parallel zairaisen (conventional lines) that have been transferred to local management with the opening of the planned extensions to the Shinkansen network are all faced with a tough financial situation. Even Hisatsu Orange Railway, where Shimazu served as president between 2005 and 2009, has been troubled by poor ridership performance and unable to get itself out of the red.

In April of this year, Shimazu was brought in by the Prefectural Government as an advisor, assisting in the creation of a business plan for the parallel zairaisen in Niigata Prefecture. Shimazu points out, "Niigata's parallel zairaisen are under a complicated set of circumstances, and the environment is more difficult than for other prefectures."

The complicated situation is caused by two factors. First, the new company will inherit management of the Shin'etsu Line from JR East and the Hokuriku Line from JR West. The lines have different track design and electrification, and the new railway must coordinate diligently with both JR companies in order to establish a business structure as a single company.

The second factor is the lack of population along the lines, as Niigata's sections of the Hokuriku and Shin'etsu Lines don't pass through the prefectural capital. Over half of the passengers on these sections are high-school students and the elderly. According to estimates by the Prefectural Government, there were 2,160 average daily passengers on both lines in 2007, but it's expected that this will drop to 1,960 in 2015 and 1,720 in 2024 after the Shinkansen opening due to declining birth rates.

¥78 billion deficit?
After inauguration, the new company will begin investigations into specific issues that have up until now been pushed off to the side, including retention of personnel with specialized skills and knowledge; improvements to stations, command centers, and other facilities; discussion of the number of train services and fare structure; and procurement of rolling stock. Governor Izumida stresses, "We can't have high-school students' commuter passes doubling in price or other things like that... It's a given that we will make this an easy-to-use transport mode for locals." However, the issues above are rife with difficulties.

According to the parallel zairaisen business plan compiled in July by the Prefectural Government together with experts, the railway was expected to operate at a cumulative deficit of ¥30 billion to ¥60 billion for the 30-year period after opening. In October, the Prefectural Government later released a new financial analysis based on information disclosed by the MLIT, estimating that the cumulative deficit would surpass ¥78 billion for the 30-year period. The critical element in resolving the deficit is whether or not the Prefectural Government's proposal to the MLIT to locally reallocate the Shinkansen lease fees paid by JR to the national government will go through or not.

Parallel zairaisen
Since limited expresses and other high-speed trains will be shifted to the Shinkansen lines after the opening of planned extensions to the Shinkansen network, the original zairaisen (conventional line) is taken out of JR management and entrusted to local jurisdictions. For the Hokuriku Shinkansen, the parallel zairaisen within Niigata Prefecture consist of the section of JR West's Hokuriku Line between Naoetsu and the border with Toyama Prefecture (60.6 km) and the section of JR East's Shin'etsu Line between Naoetsu and the border with Nagano Prefecture (38.1 km).
TV Asahi news feature on the Hokuriku Shinkansen (Japanese only).
This is a good introduction to the significance of this line, which is the extension of the already opened "Nagano" Shinkansen, eventually connecting Tōkyō, Nagano, Toyama, and Kanazawa (eventually Ōsaka as well, but that part isn't covered in this report).

Part 1
A general overview of the Hokuriku Shinkansen and what effect the opening of the first phase (Nagano Shinkansen) has had on Karuizawa, particularly on the Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza (a giant outlet mall) and demand for homes in the area.


Part 2
More on Karuizawa, focusing on the visitor landmarks and tourism aspects. One of the largest draws for this line will be tourism.


Part 3
A look at how the Nagano Shinkansen has switched fates for Sakudaira Station (Saku City) and Komoro Station (Komoro City). While Sakudaira boomed due to the Shinkansen connection, with farmfields turning into malls, Komoro saw its former influence decline as business and residents moved to Sakudaira. Also some discussion of Shinkansen commuters who take the train to their job in Tōkyō. This ability to completely turn the tables on the vitality of local jurisdictions is frequently cited as one of the problems with the Shinkansen extensions.


Part 4
A tour of Kanazawa and Ishikawa Prefecture landmarks and tourist spots.


Part 5
More on Ishikawa Prefecture tourism.
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Old November 12th, 2010, 10:59 AM   #233
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Ishikawa Prefecture debates zairaisen plan after Hokuriku Shinkansen opening
http://www.asahi.com/travel/rail/new...010300129.html

Quote:
With the opening of the Kanazawa extension of the Hokuriku Shinkansen approaching in late FY2014, a meeting sponsored by the Ishikawa Prefecture Federation of Workers' Committes and others to discuss the issues surrounding the Shinkansen and the parallel zairaisen (conventional rail line) was held inside Kanazawa City on October 30.

The Prefectural Government's transport policy officials explained the benefits of the opening of the Shinkansen and the upcoming schedule. The Prefectural Government revealed demand and revenue-cost forecasts assuming that approx. 21 km of the parallel zairaisen from the border with Toyama Prefecture leading all the way to Kanazawa Station were transferred out of JR management and operated by a third-sector railway company. Compared to FY2007, passengers such as commuters to work and school would be seven percent lower in the opening year FY2014 and 16 percent lower in FY2023. Forecasts were also revealed that indicate that the cumulative deficit will grow to approx. ¥2.5 billion in a ten-year period, even assuming that the third-sector railway does not assume any investment burden in the acquisition of railway infrastructure and assets.
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Old November 12th, 2010, 11:00 AM   #234
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Land acquisition in Ishikawa Prefecture for Hokuriku Shinkansen complete
http://www.toyama.hokkoku.co.jp/subp...0101103101.htm

Quote:
For the Nagano — Kanazawa (Hakusan General Car Yard) on the Hokuriku Shinkansen targeted for an opening in late FY2014, land acquisition for the Kanazawa — Hakusan General Car Yard section is now complete. The Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (JRTT) signed contracts with landowners by November 2. Land acquisition for the section from the border with Toyama Prefecture all the way to Kanazawa Station is already complete, and the Ishikawa Prefectural Government has now acquired all the approved land within Ishikawa Prefecture. The Prefectural Government and other officials plan to make determined steps towards the construction and opening of the Shinkansen line to Kanazawa.

The land acquired consists of 45.5 ha along the 11.8 km section between Kanazawa and Hakusan General Car Yard. The land stretches across Kanazawa City, Nonoichi Town, and Hakusan City, with a total of 1,022 landowners. The total cost for the land acquisition, including compensation for the cost of relocating factories, homes, and signs, is approx. ¥34.1 billion.

After the construction implementation plan for the Toyama — Kanazawa (Hakusan General Car Yard) section was approved by the National Government in April 2005, Ishikawa Prefecture was contracted by JRTT and began negotiations for the land.

At the time, Ishikawa Prefecture was aiming for completion of the acquisition process by the end of FY2009, but negotiations stalled due to a condominium parking facility in Kanazawa City and a land inheritance issue in Hakusan City. As a result, at the end of FY2009, 99.93% of the approved land had been acquired. This fiscal year, the JRTT made preparations for land expropriation, given that the discussions had reached a stalemate.

Of the ¥170 billion in project costs this year for planned Shinkansen extension projects, ¥14.9 billion has been allocated as Ishikawa Prefecture's share and construction is underway at all eleven construction segments that have already broken ground.
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Old November 12th, 2010, 11:00 AM   #235
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Hokuriku Economic Federation and Japan Business Federation push for Hokuriku Shinkansen extension to Ōsaka
http://www.sankeibiz.jp/business/new...1928012-n1.htm

Quote:
At a panel discussion held in Toyama City on October 26, the Hokuriku Economic Federation (Hokkeiren) and the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) both agreed that the Hokuriku Shinkansen extension beyond the already under construction Nagano — Kanazawa section should begin as quickly as possible.

At a press conference, Keidanren chairman Yonekura Hiromasa stressed, "The most important thing is connecting it to the Kansai area. If we only do a half-decent job, we can't harness the full economic benefits of the line." Hokkeiren chairman Nagahara Isao also stressed his intention to strengthen lobbying efforts to work towards a speedy extension: "I hope to lobby the national government to break ground as soon as possible."

At the panel discussion, the Hokkeiren declared its positions on environmental issues and infrastructure improvements such as port facilities. The Keidanren reported on the CEO summit at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference to be held in November.
Hokuriku Shinkansen alignment. Black is the Nagano Shinkansen already opened. Red is the section under construction and scheduled for an opening in FY2014. The solid blue line all the way to Tsuruga is the section that has been requested for approval, but only the elevated structure at Fukui Station has been approved and constructed. The dotted blue line is the last segment connecting to Ōsaka, for which no official alignment has been determined.


Source: Hokuriku Shinkansen Construction Promotion Alliance
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Old November 12th, 2010, 11:01 AM   #236
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N700 Sakura does maximum-speed test run on Kyūshū Shinkansen
http://kyushu.yomiuri.co.jp/news/nat...OYS1T00220.htm

Quote:
During test runs between Kumamoto and Shin-Tosu on November 4, the N700 series to be used on Sakura and other services when the full length of the Kyūshū Shinkansen's Kagoshima route opens in March of next year achieved the line's maximum operating speed of 260 kph for the first time. Around 2:35 pm during the fourth roundtrip, the N700 series train reached 260 kph inside the Shin-Tabaruzaka tunnel approx. 10 km from Kumamoto Station. Afterwards, the train sprinted across the Chikugo Plain. The train will now conduct test runs at 260 kph on the Kumamoto — Shin-Yatsushiro and Shin-Tosu — Hakata sections.

Kagoshima Television (KTS) news report (2010.11.04):


Source: senna5706 on YouTube
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Old November 12th, 2010, 11:02 AM   #237
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Free-Gauge Train project to look at track improvements to resolve curve negotiation issues
http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/wordbox/display/7727/

Quote:
The situation for practical development of the Free-Gauge Train (FGT, a variable-gauge train), which will become the lifeline of the Kyūshū Shinkansen's West Kyūshū (Nagasaki) route, has become such that officials are not sure whether the technology will make it in time for the target opening date of spring 2018. Running on curves has been identified as a problem for the FGT, and at a September meeting, the Variable Gauge Technology Assessment Committee revealed a new development plan that incorporates track improvements, saying "overcoming the issue through rolling stock development alone is difficult." However, there is no guarantee that the issue can be resolved with track improvements, and Saga Prefecture, which is spearheading the effort to construct the Shinkansen, is getting worried that the opening may be delayed.

"Full-standard" Shinkansen such as the San'yō Shinkansen have wider track gauges and tunnel diameters than conventional lines. However, the West Kyūshū route (Hakata — Nagasaki) will be constructed as a "super limited express" that runs on conventional lines.

In order to make use of the full-standard Kyūshū Shinkansen's Kagoshima route between Hakata and Shin-Tosu, trains will need to switch gauge to conventional gauge at Shin-Tosu. According to the Saga Prefrecture Shinkansen Promotion Section, "Introduction of rolling stock that can through-service onto both Shinkansen and conventional lines despite the track gauge differences is a major prerequisite to the opening of the line."

Work on the first-generation bogies of the FGT began in 1997. At the time, the plan was to finish development by 2007, but overcoming problems with vibration and when negotiating curves has proven difficult. Even as the project enters its 13th year with a total of ¥24 billion in National Government funding already invested, practical development of the technology still remains uncertain.

===========

Why does the train's operating performance on curves get worse?

According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) Technology Development Office, Shinkansen trains are heavier than conventional-line limited expresses in order to provide them with enough horsepower for high-speed running, and as a result, the distance between the wheels (the wheelbase) becomes longer. The lighter the train and the shorter the wheelbase, the easier and faster it can negotiate small curves. For a heavy train with a large wheelbase, however, the centrifugal forces on the train become larger and the train must lower its speed to negotiate the curve.

In other words, the FGT must overcome two issues at opposition with each other—the need for high-speed running like the Shinkansen and the need to negotiate conventional-line track curves like a limited express. These two factors are the primary reasons for the delay in the development of the technology.

The train, which has gone through multiple improvements, achieved the goals of stable running: (1) 270 kph running on Shinkansen sections, and (2) 130 kph running on straight sections of conventional-line track. However, when negotiating conventional-line curves the train must lower its speed to 40 kph slower than existing limited expresses, negating the "Shinkansen effect" that would otherwise mean a reduction in journey times over limited expresses.

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) administration, which is cautious about large public works projects, had originally said at the budget review process for major projects in November of last year that "a decision on whether or not to continue development of the technology would come in summer 2010" (Mikazuki Taizō, at the time Parliamentary Secretary for Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism). However, a budget appropriation of approx. ¥1.9 billion for FGT development costs was included in the DPJ budget proposal for next fiscal year, and the project was allowed to continue.

But will the issues be resolved by conversion to continuous welded rail (reducing the joints in the track) and trackbed improvements at grade crossings and bridges? The MLIT's Technology Development Office says, "We have no specific data on how much the situation will improve through the (track) improvements." In other words, the track improvements will require additional technology development.

Vice-Chief of the Saga Prefecture Development Department Sakamoto Yōsuke was optimistic: "We've already achieved our goals for straight-track high-speed running, and the only remaining technology development is curve negotiation." However, Sakamoto was also anxious: "All we can do is pray that practical development of the FGT will make it in time for the Shinkansen opening."
Recent pictures of the second-generation experimental FGT, in transport on the San'yō Main Line, being hauled by electric locomotive. The train was bound for Kawasaki Heavy Industries' Hyōgo plant in Kōbe.
Source: http://blog.qlep.com/blog.php/tetsu-sha/

At Fukugawa Station:







At Hatsukaichi Station:



GCT01-203. GCT stands for "Gauge Convertible Train."



GCT01-202



GCT01-201. Apparently, the train's real bogies have been temporarily switched out.





At Kaitaichi Station:



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Old November 12th, 2010, 11:02 AM   #238
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JRTT surplus profits could go towards Shinkansen construction, parallel conventional lines
http://www.shinmai.co.jp/news/201011...0009000022.htm

Quote:
As part of a new support strategy for parallel conventional lines across Japan—including the section of the Shin'etsu Line north of Nagano scheduled to be transferred out of JR management after the opening of the Nagano — Kanazawa section of the Hokuriku Shinkansen—a plan is surfacing within the current administration and ruling party to establish a fund using a portion of the ¥1 trillion in surplus profits under the possession of the Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (JRTT), an Independent Administrative Corporation. The news was revealed on November 2.

When the national railways were privatized in 1987, a special "Business Stability Fund" was established for the three "island railways" (JR Hokkaidō, JR Shikoku, and JR Kyūshū), which were expected to have difficulties staying afloat. The fund set aside between ¥200 billion and ¥600 billion for each of the three railways, which are using the money from the fund to cover operating deficits. The current administration and ruling party are currently considering ways to increase funding sources, including increasing the fund money using the JRTT's surplus profits or establishing a similar fund for parallel conventional lines.

Meanwhile, also on November 2, a lobbying association formed of the 18 prefectures involved in the remaining planned extensions to the Shinkansen network issued an emergency proposal calling for the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to use the surplus profits towards Shinkansen construction, as well as a safety net for parallel conventional lines. Director Okuda Ken (Lower House, Ishikawa District 1) of the DPJ's Diet Members Association for Promoting the Planned Shinkansen Extensions (Representative: Former Prime Minister Hata Tsutomu) said the administration was "receptive" to using the surplus money to help stabilize the business of the three island railways and JR Freight, as well as for funding support for parallel convetional lines.

In the April budget review of major projects, it was determined that the JRTT surplus should be returned to the National Treasury, and the Board of Audit of Japan pointed out that the money amounted to approx. ¥1.2 trillion. Minister of Finance Noda Yoshihiko expressed his intentions to reuse the surplus as a general fund in next fiscal year's budget proposal, and discussions are underway with the MLIT. In order to return the money to the National Treasury, a legislative change is needed, and discussions with opposition parties such as the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which is considering submitting it's own proposal, have become critical.
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Old November 12th, 2010, 11:03 AM   #239
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Kiha 181 series Hamakaze retired

These are JNR-era DMUs manufactured between 1968 and 1972. Over the years, they've been used on various services, but their last stronghold has been JR West's Hamakaze limited expresses between Ōsaka and Kasumi (Hyōgo Prefecture), Hamasaka (Hyōgo Prefecture), and Tottori (Tottori Prefecture) via the Tōkaidō Line, San'yō Line, Bantan Line, and San'in Main Line. Last day of regular service was 2010.11.06, replaced by the new Kiha 189 series trains the following day.

First, some classic clips of the trains, particularly the older scenes with the older Amarube Viaduct. This was a famous spot for railfans nestled between the mountains and the ocean, but the red steel viaduct was replaced with a concrete version in August 2010.


Source: ISO8 on YouTube

Another assortment of scenic shots.


Source: TripletSilylene on YouTube

Some clips at Kasumi Station on the San'in Main Line... While technically part of Hyōgo, this is on the opposite coast of Japan from Kōbe, and has a very small-townish / rural flavor.


Source: ayokoi on YouTube

Farewell at Ōsaka, where many fans gathered to catch the last few units in service.


Source: marumayaeetetsudou on YouTube
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Old November 12th, 2010, 11:04 AM   #240
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Kiha 189 series enters service

New series of trains (21 cars total in seven three-car formations) to replace the now-retired Kiha 181 series on the Hamakaze limited express.

Clips from the first day (2010.11.07) at Ōsaka Station:


Source: panacealand on YouTube

Between Hase and Ikuno on the Bantan Line:


Source: tikyuutekutonikusu on YouTube

Pictures:
Source: http://rail.hobidas.com/blog/natori/

Three-car unit. All seats are regular class.



Lightweight stainless steel body, but ends are steel and borrow from Kiha 122 and Kiha 127 series design to absorb energy in offset collisions. The trains are wide-bodied to secure as much passenger space as possible. Trains can be coupled together, frequently in six-car formations on the Hamakaze services, so the end doors allow for unrestricted passage between the units.



Color is akane-iro (madder red) and designed to match the natural environment along the line, which has a lot of green.



Right door is for staff only.



Interior design incoporates many of the basic barrier-free elements, including multi-function toilet and multi-purpose room. Other amenities include larger LED information displays and electrical outlets for laptops and other electronic devices.



Wheelchair area is designed as a single stand-alone seat.



Pretty standard design for the operator's cab.



Each car is equipped with a diesel engine. The trains are designed to be able to keep up with JR West's "urban network" EMUs on the Ōsaka — Himeji section, and can operate at 130 kph when three or more cars are coupled together.



Lightweight bolsterless bogies, single powered axle.



Sink



Multi-function toilet

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