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Old December 13th, 2010, 03:37 AM   #401
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JR Kyūshū files for approval of Kyūshū Shinkansen fare structure
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/economy/bus...1020008-n1.htm

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On December 10, JR Kyūshū filed with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) for approval of its proposed regular fares and limited express fares for the Kagoshima route of the Kyūshū Shinkansen, the full length of which will open on March 12 of next year. Fares for Sakura trains running direct service between Shin-Ōsaka and Kagoshima Chūō will be set at ¥21,300 to ensure competitiveness—¥5,000 less than the ¥26,800 airfare. Mizuho and Nozomi trains will be ¥300 more.

The same morning, JR Kyūshū president Karaike Kōji visited the Kyūshū Transport Bureau (Hakata Ward, Fukuoka City), handing the application for approval to Bureau Chief Tamaki Yoshitomo.

The proposed fare for Hakata ‒ Kagoshima Chūō is ¥10,170. A trip between Tōkyō and Kagoshima Chūō across the Tōkaidō, San'yō, and Kyūshū Shinkansen would cost ¥29,050 (¥600 more for Mizuho and Nozomi trains), ¥10,000 cheaper than the ¥39,000 airfare.

At a press conference, Karaike commented, "We considered airfare when setting the fare for through-service trips with the San'yō Shinkansen. Trips between Kagoshima Chūō and Shin-Ōsaka, which will see travel time reductions of approx. one hour, will only see a ¥300 increase."

In addition, Karaike also said that the railway hopes to implement an "early-bird" discount and other programs, aiming to further improve its position in the battle with airlines to secure passengers. "If approved, we'd also love to apply for a discounted fare program that will further increase competitiveness."

After the opening of the full length of the line, there will be a total of four roundtrips daily during the morning and evening periods on the fastest trains—the Mizuho service—between Shin-Ōsaka and Kagoshima Chūō, making the journey in 3 hours and 45 minutes. During other time periods, one Sakura train each hour will run direct service on these trips.

In addition, there will be Sakura and Tsubame trains operating only within Kyūshū.

Meanwhile, some within JR are saying that discounted tickets are needed to compete against airlines, and the railway is now considering introducing a discounted fare program that keeps one-way fares between Shin-Ōsaka and Kagoshima Chūō below ¥20,000.

The Shin-Yatsushiro (Yatsushiro City, Kumamoto Prefecture) ‒ Kagoshima Chūō section (approx. 127 km) of the Kyūshū Shinkansen opened as the first phase of the line in March 2004. Currently, operator training is underway in preparation for the opening of the Hakata ‒ Shin-Yatsushiro section (approx. 130 km) on March 12 of next year.
NHK news report (2010.12.10):


Source: sala5706 on YouTube

Full proposed fare structure is here:
http://www13.jrkyushu.co.jp/newsrele...3?OpenDocument

These are only maximum fares, though, and hopefully we'll see some further discounts to keep the prices down.

News feature on tourism efforts in preparation for the Shinkansen opening. The story follows visitors from mainland China who are part of a group tour.


Source: CONTINENTALTRADE on YouTube
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Old December 13th, 2010, 03:38 AM   #402
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Kyūshū Shinkansen Rail Walk tours: Shin-Tosu Station (Part 1)

In April and May of this year, JR Kyūshū offered "Rail Walk" tours along the new section of the Kyūshū Shinkansen to open in March 2011. Members of the public were allowed a sneak peek into new stations and given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to walk alongside the Shinkansen track. The first in this series of posts is Shin-Tosu Station (Tosu City, Saga Prefecture).

Set 1: (2010.05.15):
Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/daichimoyu/

Arrival at JR Tosu Station. Shin-Tosu Station is an all-new station being constructed for the Shinkansen, and is a 3-km walk from Tosu Station. When the Shinkansen opens, however, Nagasaki Main Line will also begin serving Shin-Tosu Station.



Shin-Tosu Station



Arrival at check-in to receive safety helmets.









Switch. Track is continuously welded rail (you can see some of the weld points at top).



Walking towards the Chikushi Tunnel.





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Old December 13th, 2010, 03:39 AM   #403
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Kyūshū Shinkansen Rail Walk tours: Shin-Tosu Station (Part 2)

Continued:
Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/daichimoyu/

The tunnel is approximately 12 km long and constructed primarily using the New Austrian method. Groundbreaking was in July 2002, completion in July 2007 at a total cost of ¥33 billion. Grades in the tunnel are as high as 3.5%. The tunnel is 7.7 m tall and 9.5 m wide.



The portal is designed to mitigate the "tunnel boom" effect. The windows at the outer section of the portal allow air to escape. Some of them are shuttered right now, but the idea is to experiment with which window configuration works best to reduce the boom when they do running tests on the line.







Explaining about the ballast...



Walking back towards Shin-Tosu



The north end of the station closer to Hakata has a double crossover.



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Old December 13th, 2010, 03:40 AM   #404
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Kyūshū Shinkansen Rail Walk tours: Shin-Tosu Station (Part 3)

Set 2:
Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/daichimoyu/

Shin-Tosu is built as a four-track station in order to accomodate the future Nagasaki Shinkansen.



Siding behind the soundwalls for track maintenance vehicles. The soundwalls are 3m tall concrete panels.



A small storage yard



Builders' plate for the aerial structure:
No. 1 Harukoga Aerial Structure
Designed by: Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (JRTT), Kyūshū Shinkansen Construction Bureau
Constructed by: Nishimatsu / Matsuo / Morinaga Special Construction Joint Team
Groundbreaking: March 2004
Completion: August 2008



Lots of people lining up...



Taking a tour of the station...



At the time, the first floor was still being worked on although much of it looked finished.



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Old December 13th, 2010, 03:40 AM   #405
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Kyūshū Shinkansen Rail Walk tours: Shin-Tosu Station (Part 4)

Continued:
Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/daichimoyu/

Climbing up to platform level



Looking back at the Chikushi Tunnel





The markings on the floor are probably for the platform doors, which they hadn't yet installed at the time.



Moving outside to take pictures of the exterior, just as a Kamome limited express passes underneath.



Easily my favorite station in the new bunch. It has a nice color scheme, and the exterior has a little bit more punch than the glass box that is typical for a new Shinkansen station.

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Old December 13th, 2010, 03:41 AM   #406
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Kyūshū Shinkansen Rail Walk tours: Shin-Tosu Station (Part 5)

Set 3.
More shots from platform level.
Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/tessanhome/

Outbound platform.
No platform doors yet.



Only just beginning installation of the platform railings.
Some sections were still missing the glass.



Elevator and future station sign.



Platform doors waiting to be installed. These look to be painted in the standard white.



Set 4.
Source: http://kyokucho.cocolog-nifty.com/blog/

Line stretched well outside the station, and it was two hours just to get a helmet.





The elevator and railing glass features these creative imprints of bird feathers, perhaps drawing from the name of the city, Tosu (鳥栖), which translates as "bird's nest."



Restrooms are pretty standard.

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Old December 13th, 2010, 03:42 AM   #407
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Kyūshū Shinkansen Rail Walk tours: Shin-Tosu Station (Part 6)

Set 5.
One final, artsy set.
Source: http://nabephoto.exblog.jp/

This section uses a special "frame" type of slab track that offers several advantages:
  • Reduction in warping due to thermal variation
  • Reduction in costs (10-15% cheaper than solid slab track)
  • Reduction in noise and vibration
  • Reduction in weight
This type of track appears to be the favored choice for the recent extensions to the Shinkansen network.





Definitely a good publicity event to get the general public excited about the Shinkansen.







One video:


Source: manjyuu12 on YouTube
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Old December 13th, 2010, 03:43 AM   #408
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Nakamura Station wins Japan Railway Award
http://www.asahi.com/travel/rail/new...010010131.html

Quote:
The station building at Nakamura Station on the Tosa Kuroshio Railway in Shimanto City has been selected for the Ninth Annual Japan Railway Awards "Local Railway Station Building Renovation Award" by the Railway Day Organizing Committee (Chairman: Tōkyō City University president Nakamura Hideo). The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) Railway Bureau made the announcement on October 1. The news follows the selection of the station building for one of this year's Good Design Award for Small and Medium Enterprises, a special award under the Good Design Awards sponsored by Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization).

The Japan Railway Awards were established in 2002 to annually recognize railway operators or groups who have made noteworthy contributions, such as improving passenger convenience. This year, there were 22 nominations from across Japan.

The renovation of Nakamura Station, the first for the station in 40 years, was designed by architect Kawanishi Yasuyuki (34) from Bunkyō Ward, Tōkyō Prefecture and two colleagues, and was completed on March 20. Visitors can freely move through the faregates in and out of the station, and a welcoming waiting room featuring locally-produced hinoki cypress wood was constructed. The committee recognized the renovation's goal of creating a relaxing space for users and use of directional signage that is easy-to-understand for the elderly and others.

The awards ceremony will be at the 17th Annual Railway Day Celebration scheduled for Railway Day (October 14) in Tōkyō Prefecture.
Couple collages:
Source: nextstations





More pics:
Source: Wikipedia







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Old December 13th, 2010, 03:44 AM   #409
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Restoration of steam locomotive C61 20: Part 1

This C61 series steam locomotive was manufactured in 1949 and primarily hauled trains in the Tōhoku Region, including Hatsukari limited expresses, before being transferred to Miyazaki Prefecture, Kyūshū in southern Japan. After being decommissioned in 1973, it was placed on display at the Kezōji Park Amusement Park in Isesaki City, Gunma Prefecture for 36 years.

Restoration work began when the locomotive was transported to JR East's Ōmiya General Rolling Stock Center on 2010.01.17, where it was disassembled and has been undergoing a comprehensive refurbishment program at the total cost of approx. ¥300 million. Restoration of the boiler is being handled by Sappa Boiler of Ōsaka Prefecture.

After completion of the restoration program, the unit is scheduled to be deployed to Takasaki Car Center, running approx. 110 days a year on special runs on the Jōetsu Line between Takasaki and Minakami and other lines in the Takasaki area.

Some pics of the restoration at Ōmiya General Rolling Stock Center (2010.12.10), where most of the work has already been completed and they began assembling the unit back together.
Source: http://rail.hobidas.com/blog/natori/

Chassis. In the foreground are the driving wheels and leading wheels. Apparently, the #2 leading wheels were hand-me-downs from another unit (C60 9) and featured large holes, but they have now been replaced with solid plate wheels.



Outer firebox. The firehole is placed high up on C61 series locomotives, as there was an automatic stoker to feed fuel into the firebox. The water gauges have also been replaced with newer, safer equipment.



Looking at the leading section of the chassis from beneath the motion plate.





Sheet metal work on the cab is complete, and they are now adding all the fixtures and smaller components.



Ashpan hopper waiting to be lifted and installed. The W-shape required a two-axle trailing bogie for support.

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Old December 13th, 2010, 03:45 AM   #410
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Restoration of steam locomotive C61 20: Part 2

Bogies are also done and waiting.
Leading bogie



Trailing bogie



The finished tender also includes an oil tank inside.



Leading wheels, driving wheels, and trailing wheels lined up.



Boiler being carefully lifted onto the chassis. At right, the ashpan hopper has already been affixed to the unit.



When C61 20 is back up and running, it will mark the return of "Hudson"-type 4-6-4 locomotives to revenue service in Japan.

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Old December 13th, 2010, 03:46 AM   #411
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JITI to hold HSR seminar in Los Angeles

The Japan International Transport Institute, USA (JITI) will hold a high-speed ail seminar in Los Angeles, California on Friday, January 14, 2011:
http://www.japantransport.com/seminar/2010/11/hsrla.php

Big-name attendees:
  • Sumio Mabuchi, Minister, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
  • Norman Y. Mineta, Former Secretary of Transportation and Vice Chairman, Hill & Knowlton (invited)
  • Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, Speaker pro tempore, California State Assembly
  • Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles (invited)
  • Curt Pringle, Chairperson, California High-Speed Rail Authority (invited)

JITI has done a couple of previous seminars around the U.S. to market Shinkansen technology, attended by bigwigs from various JR companies and Japanese manufacturers. There's also some informative presentations available from the previous seminars, all in English:
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Old December 13th, 2010, 07:47 AM   #412
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Thanks, quashlo, as always for the reports. I'm glad JR East has a main line passenger steam locomotive under restoration, ever since the C62 ceased operating in Hokkaido on the Niseko route, there hasn't been any Hudson types in steam. One problem with the Niseko operation was too few people were riding the trains, and all the fans would only take lineside pictures(coming by car), which earned no revenue for the railway. At least with operations out of Takasaki, you can draw on the Kanto (non-railfan) market to fill the trains to capacity on the weekends.

I envy the people down in Kyushu who were able to walk the new shinkansen tracks. Something I'd like to do once- perhaps when they finally extend the shinkansen to Sapporo there may be a chance. Thankfully in Japan people are granted supervised access to infrastructure like this (also depot open days) which would likely be next to impossible in liability-sensitive places such as the U.S. I suppose the generally well-behaved manner of the public also helps.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 07:49 AM   #413
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absolutely loving your updates quashlo!!
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Old December 13th, 2010, 08:27 AM   #414
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k.k.jetcar View Post
Thanks, quashlo, as always for the reports. I'm glad JR East has a main line passenger steam locomotive under restoration, ever since the C62 ceased operating in Hokkaido on the Niseko route, there hasn't been any Hudson types in steam. One problem with the Niseko operation was too few people were riding the trains, and all the fans would only take lineside pictures(coming by car), which earned no revenue for the railway. At least with operations out of Takasaki, you can draw on the Kanto (non-railfan) market to fill the trains to capacity on the weekends.

I envy the people down in Kyushu who were able to walk the new shinkansen tracks. Something I'd like to do once- perhaps when they finally extend the shinkansen to Sapporo there may be a chance. Thankfully in Japan people are granted supervised access to infrastructure like this (also depot open days) which would likely be next to impossible in liability-sensitive places such as the U.S. I suppose the generally well-behaved manner of the public also helps.
They have had public tours of sites u/c stateside.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 09:36 AM   #415
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They have had public tours of sites u/c stateside.
Any pics??
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Old December 14th, 2010, 08:32 AM   #416
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JR East unveils GranClass to press

On 2010.12.14, JR East unveiled the new GranClass car on the E5 series Hayabusa ("Falcon") to reporters at the Shinkansen General Rolling Stock Center in Rifu Town, Miyagi Prefecture. This is the most luxurious class of Shinkansen seat yet to be offered and features a lot of elements designed to help the Tōhoku Shinkansen compete against airlines, including all-leather reclining seats by German car- and airplane-seat manufacturer Recaro, exclusive GranClass cabin attendants, and gourmet bentō with all-you-can-drink alcohol.

Couple pics:
(Hopefully I'll get more, higher-res ones later)


Source: Nihon Keizai Shimbun


Source: Jiji Press

An interesting article below that delves into the painstaking process of designing just the seats for the GranClass. Overall, a solid effort from JR East.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 08:34 AM   #417
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Development of the GranClass seats a lengthy process of trial and error
http://www.sankeibiz.jp/business/new...0503003-n1.htm

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Seats that don't laeve you tired, the finest space around
"Why don't Shinkansen trains have first-class seats like airplanes?"

This simple question was the starting point. It was just at that time that green car passengers began asking JR East for an even quieter ride and an even more relaxing interior space.

The answer was the GranClass first-rate seats, to be introduced on the E5 series Hayabusa trains debuting in March of next year on the Tōhoku Shinkansen, which celebrated the completion of its full route on the 4th of this month.

The Hayabusa is slated for revenue service at 300 kph—the fastest in Japan—before ratcheting up to 320 kph at the end of FY2012.

The best service in Japan for the fastest Shinkansen train in the country... It was only natural to introduce a Shinkansen version of first class on an airplane.

The unique structure of high-speed rail became a further impetus for the introduction of the GranClass, located inside the end car of the train. The Shinkansen end cars feature low, elongated noses, required to cut down on air resistance and noise. For the Hayabusa, the fastest train in Japan, the nose is approx. 15 m long, alone taking up more than half of the end car. As a result, the stronger the need for speed, the harder it is to secure cabin space. The GranClass takes this cramped and wasted area and turns the tables, converting it into a first-rate space.

Capacity is a mere 18 passengers. There are only three seats per row, in 2+1 configuration, and only six rows. The capacity of green cars on current Hayate trains is 51 passengers a car. Since the nose of the train takes up over half of the car's length, a simple comparison is difficult, but the space per passenger in GranClass far exceeds that in a green car. In addition, being located in the end car means you won't find passengers trying to move between cars, making it the perfect place for a quiet passenger space.

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

The project to create the GranClass quietly launched within JR East's headquarters at the start of 2008 as the "Super Green Car" (provisional name). Endō Tomoyuki, the group leader for Shinkansen trains at the Rolling Stock Technology Center and the man placed in charge of the project, steeled his resolve: "We vowed to create top-rate luxury and a relaxing space." In the fall of that year, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Hitachi, and German seatmaker Recaro jumped aboard, and it was decided that the project would continue moving forward with the joint team.

Development of the seats was the number-one priority. In addition to the high quality befitting of the Shinkansen's version of first class, Endō says it was an absolute necessity that the seat "never leave you tired, even when sitting for long periods, and regardless of the passenger's body type." The debut of the Hayabusa has already been set for March 2011. It's often said that development of seats is a "ten-year process," but Endō and his team had a mere two years.

Recaro has supplied seats for automobile makers such as Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, as well as airline companies such as Japan Air Lines. What caught JR East's attention was Recaro's knack for the best in seat design, rooted in ergonomics.

But for Recaro, this was their first time making passenger seats for trains. Recaro engineering director Ōshima Masatoshi says that when they finally got into it, "They had far less freedom to work with than with airplanes or automobiles."

The obstacles were far more difficult than originally envisioned. Shinkansen seats must be able to rotate and change orientation when the train changes direction—a problem unique to trains. At congested Tōkyō Station, Shinkansen trains need to cycle in as little as 12 minutes. In those situations, there's only seven minutes to clean the train. If cleaning staff rotate the seats in a rush, the seats may be placed under unforeseen stresses. Recaro ran test after test, gradually strengthening the seats.

The seats are a luxurious 130 cm long and 52 cm wide. "We wanted to take the reclining ability in the rear seats of Mercedes-Benz' top-class Maybach models and recreate it on the Shinkansen," says Ōshima. As a result, the seats feature an automatically-controlled reclining function.

On a running train, however, the amount of available electricity for use is limited. Of the four motors embedded in the seat, only two are used at a time to move the seat. "We struggled to find a position that allowed passengers to relax no matter what angle they oriented the seat," confides Ōshima. Using computers and models, Recaro studied the seat angles and the movement of the seat back and cushion over the course of eight months.

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

After repeating the process through trial and error, Recaro finished the prototype version, already in the fifth-generation model, at the beginning of this year. In order to show off the seat to JR East executives, the company recreated a two-seat configuration mockup of the GranClass car inside the railway's headquarters.

JR East president Seino Satoshi gave the go sign as he relaxed into the seat, a satisfied look on his face: "Good enough for me." And from this moment, the GranClass was born.

In May, the team brought the prototype seat into the Hayabusa test train, confirming the actual ride comfort while the train ran between Ōmiya and Morioka. "It's so comfortable to sleep in, you never need to turn in the seat," boasts a proud Saitō Hiroyuki, part of JR East's Shinkansen train group. Tokumitsu Shūichi, chief of the railcar seat department at Kawasaki's Devices and Construction Business Department, was also proud of the product: "You will never feel tired in this seat." The Hayabusa will link Tōkyō and Shin-Aomori (713.7 km) in about 3 hours, 20 minutes (3 hours, 5 minutes starting in March of next year). And the GranClass has the potential to dramatically change the experience of traveling through the Michinoku region of Japan.

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

Talent from multiple disciplines, an uncompromising professionalism
From Nissan Motor's GT-R to benches for the Tōhoku Rakuten Golden Eagles baseball team, Recaro's Ōshima has designed countless number of seats. But if you think he's always been about seats, think again: as a student, he majored in the completely unrelated field of applied chemistry.

Ōshima's first job was with a chemical plant manufacturer, but after his company struggled financially as a result of a downturn in the economy, he found another job with a company affiliated with Toyota Motor Corporation, and began working in seat design. Recaro caught wind of his extraordinary talent and scouted him about ten years ago. Watching Ōshima argue the theory of seat design using data and ergonomic principles, JR East's Endō Tomoyuki remarked, "Being with a German firm, he's well-versed in the seating culture of Europe."

What held the fixation of Hitachi's Kumagaya Kenta was the lighting system for the GranClass car. Standard pratice in railcar design is to align ceiling lighting parallel to the direction of the train, but Kumagaya oriented the lighting transverse, a refreshing concept that left the other team members in awe.

Development of the GranClass, a joint team effort across four companies including JR East, kept each company stimulated by a vast array of ideas and openions. But at the same time, the motivational force behind the project was a professionalism that didn't allow for compromise when it came to each company's respective field of expertise.

The mediator responsible for keeping these multidisciplinary talents in balance was Kawasaki Heavy Industries' Tokumitsu Shūichi. According to JR East's Endō, Tokumitsu's "intimate knowledge of railcar manufacturing" and his understanding of manufacturability and cost performance allowed him to mediate team members with conflicting opinions.

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

Tired of always trying to save money, a relaxing hospitality
GranClass fares between Tōkyō and Shin-Aomori, including the distance-based fare and limited express surcharge, will be ¥26,360, a good ¥5,000 more than green-car seats. The target passenger market is business passengers and middle-age and senior passengers looking for a memorable travel experience. Eyes are locked on the GranClass to see whether or not it can succeed in carving out a new market.

The Hayate Shinkansen trains running on the same line only feature 51 green-car seats out of a total of 814 seats. While ridership is on a slight decline, there is a strong demand for high-priced seats, with green-car seats being filled to capacity in approx. 30 percent of trains.

The GranClass not only features a luxurious and polished interior design, but also seats equivalent to first class on an airplane and the unique hospitality of exclusive cabin attendants. Industry experts say the GranClass project is a rare effort, even worldwide.

While the Japanese economy continues its deflationary trend, a movement is growing among some consumers who have grown tired of constantly trying to save money, and are demanding true high quality. In March of next year, we will know one way or another whether the GranClass can meet these types of passenger needs.
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Last edited by quashlo; December 14th, 2010 at 08:41 AM.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 09:27 AM   #418
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Very informative article. Next year I plan to splurge a bit and reserve a Gran Class seat on the Shin-Aomori-Tokyo route when I travel from Sapporo to the Kanto area. I normally fly (as do the vast majority), but this should be worth it.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 12:59 PM   #419
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Restoration of steam locomotive C61 20
any more info on this restoration? or other restorations?
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Old December 14th, 2010, 01:32 PM   #420
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jr east is really pulling some punches these days, great stuff

hopefully these trains will one day run 360 all the way to sapporo
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