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Old December 21st, 2010, 07:56 PM   #441
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chornedsnorkack View Post
How many trains daily travel Sanyo Shinkansen Hakata-Osaka? Out of these, how many are fewer than 16 cars, how many are 16 cars that end in Osaka and how many are 16 car trains that continue to Tokaido Shinkansen?
Using the schedule, you can come up with a quick estimate.

Departure schedule from Hakata:
http://time.jr-odekake.net/cgi-bin/m...b3&DITD=%33%35
  • Orange is Nozomi, all of which are bound for Tōkyō with the exception of the 20:00 (for Nagoya) and 21:11 (for Shin-Ōsaka) departures. Obviously, all the Tōkyō ones are 16 cars, but not sure about the last two.
  • Red are Hikari Rail Star, all 8 cars.
  • Blue are Kodama, in various formations 4 to 16 cars.
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Old December 21st, 2010, 09:24 PM   #442
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Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
  • Orange is Nozomi, all of which are bound for Tōkyō with the exception of the 20:00 (for Nagoya) and 21:11 (for Shin-Ōsaka) departures. Obviously, all the Tōkyō ones are 16 cars, but not sure about the last two.
  • Red are Hikari Rail Star, all 8 cars.
  • Blue are Kodama, in various formations 4 to 16 cars.
19:30 is for Nagoya, too. Last Nozomi for Tokyo departs 18:54 and arrives 23:45.

Roughly half the trains on Sanyo Shinkansen are Nozomis, all bound for Tokyo, and some Kodamas are 16 cars as well.
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Old December 22nd, 2010, 07:17 AM   #443
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Kyūshū Shinkansen Rail Walk tours: Shin-Tamana Station (Part 1)

Second installment is a short set at Shin-Tamana Station in Tamana City, Kumamoto Prefecture (2010.03.14). Unfortunately, weather was pretty lousy on this particular day, and it appears that access to the Shinkansen viaduct was more restricted than at the Shin-Tosu event.
Source: http://kuroki1984.blog69.fc2.com/

Walking towards the station...





Upon entering the station building...
Actual seats from an 800 series Shinkansen



Climbing up the stairs to platform level...



As always, the wood is good... They should really use it more often.
At the time of the tour, it looks like many of the platform doors and this waiting room had already been erected.



Looking northwest from the station, in the direction of Hakata.



Walking down the emergency stairs at the platform end and onto the aerial structure... A good look at the slab design from the side.

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Old December 22nd, 2010, 07:18 AM   #444
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Kyūshū Shinkansen Rail Walk tours: Shin-Tamana Station (Part 2)

Walking along the passage underneath the platform. There's actually quite a bit of space to move around in.





Looking southeast towards Kumamoto and Kagoshima Chūō. A short distance away, the Shinkansen aerial structure crosses over the Kikuchi River.



Zoom of the tunnel on the northwest end.



Back in the concourse area...





West Exit station plaza under construction.

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Old December 22nd, 2010, 07:19 AM   #445
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JR Shikoku chairman calls for new bypass between Saijō and Matsuyama
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/region/shik...0210002-n1.htm

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On December 8, JR Shikoku chairman Matsuda Kiyohiro gave a speech at the Saijō City General Cultural Center in Saijō City, Ehime Prefecture and proposed a plan to speed up trains by constructing a bypass line between Saijō and Matsuyama through the mountains. At a lecture session held by the city in celebration of the third anniversary of the opening of the Shikoku Railway Culture Museum, Matsuda gave a speech on the theme of "Building the Future of the Seto Inland Sea Area through High-Speed Rail."

Chairman Matsuda explained that Shikoku's trains are currently "faced with declining ridership due to expressway extensions." He also added, "The conventional lines are already being operated at their speed limits, and the keys to increasing speed are curves, waiting time at double-track passing points, and line shortenings."

Matsuda also stressed, "If we can construct a double-track bypass connecting Saijō and Matsuyama in a straight line, the travel time between Matsuyama and Takamatsu can be reduced by approx. 50 minutes to one hour and 25 minutes. This could also be a step towards the Shinkansen." Matsuda suggested, "Trains are more efficient than expressways or airplanes... We should expand our rail network as a means of revitalizing our local economies."
Currently, the JR Yosan Line connects Matsuyama and Saijō, following the northern coastline of Ehime Prefecture along the Seto Inland Sea and skirting the Takayama Mountains. The proposed line would cut through the mountains, improving travel times between Takamatsu and Matsuyama, two major metropolitan areas on the island.

There are two major (mostly dormant) proposals for Shinkansen in Shinkoku. The first is an east-west line from Shin-Ōsaka via Awaji Island, Tokushima, Takamatsu, and Matsuyama to Ōita in Kyūshū. The second is a north-south line connecting Okayama on the main island with Kōchi.

Window view on the Yosan Line, taken from a Sunrise Seto sleeper limited express:
Source: syaso on YouTube

Part 26: Iyo Saijō to Nyūgawa http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sb0yv8itwEA&hd=1
Part 27: Nyūgawa to Iyo Sakurai http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0bMIuHn2wo&hd=1
Part 28: Iyo Sakurai to Imabari http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2zfLpVYRX8&hd=1
Part 29: Imabari to Asanami http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8azlHPJSzig&hd=1
Part 30: Asanami to Iyo Hōjō http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WefzoNKlri8&hd=1
Part 31: Iyo Hōjō to Awai http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EV8pHxrO1aM&hd=1
Part 32: Awai to Matsuyama http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0cCaTeS5y0&hd=1
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Old December 22nd, 2010, 07:20 AM   #446
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Sneak peek inside new JR Central maglev / railway museum

JR Central is working fast to prepare its new museum of railway and maglev trains (SCMAGLEV and Railway Park) at Kinjō Pier in Minato Ward, Nagoya City. Over 35 trains on display, but some of the highlights are a C62 series steam locomotive, the 955 series (300X) experimental Shinkansen unit, and the MLX01 series experimental maglev unit. The museum is scheduled to open on 2011.03.14.

Nagoya TV feature with a couple of idols touring the new museum under construction. They spend most of their time looking at a 0 series Shinkansen, but there's some clips of the building and train lineup.


Source: celockable on YouTube
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Old December 22nd, 2010, 07:21 AM   #447
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JR Central to introduce additonal N700 units onto Nozomi services
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/economy/bus...1927019-n1.htm

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On December 17, JR Central announced that it will increase the number of Nozomi runs operated using the latest N700 series trains as part of the Tōkaidō Shinkansen timetable revisions in March of next year. Including the San'yō Shinkansen sections, approx. 90 percent of Nozomi services will be operated with N700 series trains.

On the Tōkaidō Shinkansen, 48 of the total 66 Nozomi trips between Tōkyō and Shin-Ōsaka (a portion start and terminate at Nagoya instead) will be operated with the N700 series. At the end of next fiscal year, the railway plans to operate all Nozomi services between Tōkyō and Hakata (through-servicing via the San'yō Shinkansen) with the N700 series.

The smoking-permitted seats in Car No. 3 on 300 series and 700 series running on Nozomi services will be eliminated.
Timetable changes will take effect starting March 12, 2011 and bring the share of N700 trips to 144 out of 162 Nozomi arrivals and departures at Tōkyō Station. The changes will also allow for increased Nozomi services arriving at Tōkyō Station during the 8:00 hour: up to a maximum of five Nozomi trains (currently four) when boarding from Shin-Ōsaka and Kyōto and a maximum of six Nozomi trains (currently five) when boarding from Nagoya.
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Old December 22nd, 2010, 07:21 AM   #448
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San'yō / Kyūshū Shinkansen through-services not included in JR Central Internet reservation service
http://www.asahi.com/travel/rail/new...012200221.html

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Starting next spring, a portion of tickets will no longer be available for purchase starting through the Tōkaidō / San'yō Shinkansen's Express (EX) Reservation service, which allows passengers to purchase Shinkansen tickets via mobile phone or personal computer. The system is lauded for its ease of access and convenience, but this latest news is a result of a delay in coordination with other JR companies over the service's content. Even within JR, some doubtful voices say the news only means inconvenience for passengers.

An average of approx. 55,000 passengers at JR Shinagawa Station (Minato Ward, Tōkyō) use the Shinkansen daily. During weekday mornings, many office workers and other passengers tap their cards to the faregate readers and hop aboard trains, one after another. These passengers are members of the Tōkaidō / San'yō Shinkansen's Express Reservation service.

Express Reservation launched on JR Central's Tōkaidō Shinkansen in 2001, later expanding to JR West's San'yō Shinkansen in 2006. Passengers can use their mobile phone or personal computer to choose their desired seat and can switch trains for free up to six minutes before the scheduled departure. In 2008, the EX-IC service debuted, replacing the tickets with cards, and passengers who make reservations up to three days in advance receive a special discount. In the midst of a prolonged recession, the service has earned popularity among office workers and other passengers who frequently go on business trips, and the number of members has reached approx. 1.79 million, centered up and down the line around Tōkyō, Nagoya, Ōsaka, and Fukuoka. Approx. 96,000 passengers use the service daily.

However, starting March 12 of next year, Express Reservations members will no longer be able to purchase tickets for the Mizuho and Sakura trains that through-service from the San'yō Shinkansen onto the Kyūshū Shinkansen. The Mizuho, the fastest through-service, is the flagship train, reducing travel time between Shin-Ōsaka and Kagoshima Chūō by 1 hour and 17 minutes to 3 hours and 45 minutes.

While passengers will be able to purchase tickets on Nozomi, Hikari, and Kodama trains to as far as Hakata, they will not be able to purchase tickets past Hakata. In addition, when changing reservations originally made for Nozomi, Hikari, and Kodama trains between Shin-Ōsaka and Hakata, members will not be able to switch to Mizuho and Sakura trains, even if those trains work out better time-wise.

In preparation for the San'yō and Kyūshū Shinkansen through-services, JR West has decided that it will launch the eReservation service, an expansion of its eReservation plus online reservation service. Up until now, passengers were only able to purchase tickets on JR West's Shinkansen trains, but the railway will now allow customers to purchase tickets for Kyūshū as well. However, it passed up on coordinating with JR Central's Express Reservation service.

JR East's Mobile Suica service, which uses mobile phones to reserve tickets, will also not be accepted for Mizuho and Sakura trains because it is only linked up with Express Reservations. JR East spokespersons argue, "Well, we're not really in a position to tell JR Central to extend the service all the way to Kyūshū."

On online message boards, Internet users are venting their criticisms of JR, saying the problem is an "inconvenience" and a "backwards move."

However, all of JR West's Express Reservations members (approx. 360,000) are already members of eReservation plus and will be able to use the revamped eReservation service starting next spring to reserve seats on Mizuho and Sakura trains. In addition, JR Kyūshū's Train Reservation Service is slated to continue to offer tickets on both the Kyūshū and San'yō Shinkansen, as well as the Tōkaidō Shinkansen. However, even if members of Express Reservations or Mobile Suica attempt to use JR West or JR Kyūshū's membership service to reserve tickets on Mizuho and Sakura trains, they still won't be able to make ticketless reservations—the selling point of Express Resevation and similar services—and will still be required to pick up their tickets at the ticket counter of their origin station.

JR Central explains, "Our top priority is safe and reliable through-service operations. We are hoping to take another look at coordination between Internet reservation services when things have settled down." JR West also says, "It's difficult for us to request that JR Central invest money into systems improvements."

Understanding all this, both companies say they understand that the news is inconvenient for passengers, and will make other efforts, such as directing passengers to discounted tickets available for purchase at station ticket counters.
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Old December 22nd, 2010, 07:23 AM   #449
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Shizuoka Prefecture governor pushes forward with proposed Shizuoka Airport station on Tōkaidō Shinkansen
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/region/chub...0157004-n1.htm

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On December 17, Shizuoka Prefecture governor Kawakatsu Heita revealed that a Shinkansen station at Shizuoka Airport is becoming more and more feasible, and that the airport will become a hub that even VIPs would have no qualms about using. The comments come after receiving a request from the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Fujinokuni Prefectural Assembly Group to compile the proposed budget for FY2011.

After news of the midterm assessment released by the national government's Chūō Shinkansen Subcommittee, Governor Kawakatsu explained a detailed plan to establish a new station at the airport on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen.

The airport station would be constructed at ground level at the west end (closer to Hamamatsu) of the Shinkansen tunnel running directly underneath the airport. As bodyguards could be deployed on the train, the airport would serve VIPs who arrive by Shinkansen. In the past, there were proposals for an underground station inside the tunnel, but due to terrain, those plans are no longer feasible. It's forecasted that the cost of establishing the new station would be ¥20 billion to ¥30 billion. Up until now, JR Central representatives have been cautious about establishing a new station.
Shizuoka Airport has been struggling in any event, so this could be a plus for them if they can get it to happen.
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Old December 22nd, 2010, 07:23 AM   #450
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Tōhoku Shinkansen extension off to a good start
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/aom...OYT8T00182.htm

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In regards to the Hachinohe ‒ Shin-Aomori section of the Tōhoku Shinkansen, which recently celebrated the completion of its full length, on December 13 JR East announced that average daily ridership for the first week of service was 6,500 passengers—a 16 percent increase over ridership on limited expresses between Hachinohe and Shin-Aomori last year.

Ridership on the weekend, including the first day of service, was strong, while weekday ridership trended slightly above last year's numbers. Ridership on December 10 was similar to last year's numbers. Average passenger loading (compared to train capacity) on the section is 23 percent. Average daily ridership at Shichinohe Towada Station for December 4-10 was approx. 900 passengers.

At a press conference on December 13, Fukuda Yasushi, president of JR East's Morioka Branch Office, commented, "Opening day was a Saturday, so we were off to a good start. We have no idea how ridership will trend in the future, so we want to keep a close eye on the line's performance."

Meanwhile, New Year's period seat reservations were going strong, and according to a December 10 announcement by the Morioka Branch Office, the number of reservations on the Tōhoku Shinkansen between December 28 and January 5 is at 244,000 seats, a 14 percent increase over last year. On December 30, the peak day in the outbound direction, Hayate trains are full until 4:00 pm, while on January 3, the peak day in the inbound direction, the trains are full from 9:00 am until the end of service.
Amateur video compilation of the first day of operations and tribute to the completion of the Tōhoku Shinkansen:


Source: aidusl on YouTube

JR East promo video for the E5... Only 2½ months left.


Source: Sukasen on YouTube

E5+E6:


Source: http://denshawotorou.blog73.fc2.com/


Source: http://denshawotorou.blog73.fc2.com/
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Old December 22nd, 2010, 07:24 AM   #451
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Tōhoku Shinkansen extension (redux): Part 6

It's been over two weeks since the opening, so time for some comprehensive video walkthroughs of the new facilities:
Source: ene15007 on YouTube

First, a walk through the public area of the station and the station plaza:



Next, a tour of the Shin-Aomori Station concourse (paid area):



Finally, the platforms at Shin-Aomori Station:



Walkthrough of Shichinohe Towada:



And the final installment in the MY FIRST AOMORI CM series:


Source: nkmrsun on YouTube
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Old December 22nd, 2010, 11:54 AM   #452
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awesome update as usual
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Old December 23rd, 2010, 12:55 AM   #453
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a little bit OT...

is the "My First Aomori" a drama series or is it just a group of commercials??
looks interesting...

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Old December 23rd, 2010, 03:58 AM   #454
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Fundamentally, it's just a CM series... But it's crafted to play out like a drama miniseries with a storyline and some big-name actors. The guy from Tōkyō (Miura Haruma) becomes one of the station staff at a small station in Aomori. Then the Shinkansen extension opens and he gets transferred to the new Shin-Aomori Station, all while falling in love with a local girl and experiencing all of the things that Aomori has to offer. In the last episode, the girl is leaving him to go to Tōkyō for university. I suppose the "hint" is that the two can still see each other now that the Shinkansen is open. I thought I read somewhere they were going to continue to the series, so there's probably more to come.

Currently, the 8-episode set is the main storyline, and then there's a bunch of other CMs that are like side stories:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnY0wXG3jvU
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Old December 25th, 2010, 01:43 AM   #455
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JR Central is also pretty stubborn (although they have their reasons)... They have a "golden rule" that only 16-car trains with exactly 1,323 seats (1,123 regular class and 200 green car) can operate on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen. This is to preserve capacity on the line and allow flexibility (and save time reassigning passengers to seats) when trains need to be rerouted due to service disruptions, etc.
How are these 200 divided between cars?
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Old December 26th, 2010, 06:53 AM   #456
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Originally Posted by chornedsnorkack View Post
How are these 200 divided between cars?
On a Nozomi N700 16 car trainset: Car 8: 68 seats + Car 9: 64 seats + Car 10: 68 seats = 200 green car seats
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Old December 26th, 2010, 10:47 PM   #457
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On a Nozomi N700 16 car trainset: Car 8: 68 seats + Car 9: 64 seats + Car 10: 68 seats = 200 green car seats
If the 64 seats of car 9, meaning 16 rows of 4 abreast, were replaced with 14 rows of GranClass at 3 abreast, 42 total, that would mean 1123 ordinary seats, 136 green car seats and 42 GranClass seats. 1301 total, losing just 22. Would it be a serious loss of capacity on Tokaido Shinkansen?
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Old December 28th, 2010, 10:33 AM   #458
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Perhaps not. Not sure it's really worth it from a business perspective, though.

I believe GranClass partly works on Tōhoku Shinkansen because the green car on the Hayate is frequently full or close to full, indicating there is demand for higher-quality seats and service. The few times I've ridden the green car on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen, it's been pretty empty (and very relaxing because of it). In that respect, a GranClass-type service on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen may not offer much added value over a green car.
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Old December 28th, 2010, 10:34 AM   #459
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Maehara may pay visit to Florida to market Shinkansen
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-b...0101227a4.html

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WASHINGTON (Kyodo) Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara might visit Florida as part of his trip to the United States in mid-January to urge the state to adopt the shinkansen system for its high-speed rail project, sources close to Japan-U.S. relations said Sunday.

While Maehara is trying to meet with Rick Scott, who is due to take office as governor on Jan. 4, it is still not clear whether the project will go forward because the governor-elect has not explicitly backed the plan, the sources said.

Scott won the gubernatorial poll after backing by the Tea Party movement, which is opposed to spending excessive taxpayer money on the rail project.

Maehara is thinking of visiting Florida during his trip to Washington, where he hopes to meet with Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to promote the shinkansen system and discuss the Japan-U.S. security alliance with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The plan being pushed by the U.S. calls for inaugurating a 135-km rail line between Tampa and Orlando at a cost of $2.6 billion (about ¥21 billion), in 2015 and then building another line between Orlando and Miami.

The Japanese consortium faces stiff competition from Europe and China in its bid for the Florida project.
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Old December 28th, 2010, 10:35 AM   #460
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Japanese railcar industry structured around highly-skilled craftsmen, complex inter-company relationships
http://www.tdb.co.jp/report/watching...df/k101202.pdf

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In its June 2010 New Growth Strategies, the government announced it would promote and strengthen exports in eleven major fields of infrastructure-related industries, including railways. Faced with saturation in the domestic market, the entry of firms into overseas markets has become an urgent matter. According to UNIFE (Union of the European Railway Industries), the global railway-related market—estimated at ¥15.9 trillion (yearly average for FY2005 to FY2007)—is estimated to expand to ¥22.0 trillion in 2020, but the fact is that Japanese railway manufacturers are playing second fiddle to the European "Big 3" of Bombardier (Canada, Germany), Siemens (Germany), and Alstom (France).

Teikoku Databank (TDB) has anaylzed the trade sctructures of railcar and railway equipment manufacturers and explored the current state of the industry. This is the first time TDB has conducted such a study.

Study Conclusions (Summary)
Railcar equipment manufacturers are concentrated near railcar manufacturers' factories
Looking at the headquarters locations (by prefecture) of the 569 railcar equipment manufacturers, Tōkyō Prefecture comes out on top with 111 firms, followed by Ōsaka Prefecture (83 firms) and Kanagawa Prefecture (59 firms).

By cities / wards, Tōkyō's Ōta Ward, also home to many airplane equipment manufacturers, came out on top. In addition, railcar equipment manufacturers are concentrated in the vicinity of railcar manufacturers' factories, starting with Yamaguchi Prefecture's Kudamatsu City, home to Hitachi's railcar plant.

Railcar manufacturing supported by craftsmanship; "manual"-ization and automation are key for the future
When railway operators place large-volume orders for railcars of the same type, many typically rely on multiple railcar manufacturers to produce the trains. In Japan, many portions of the railcar manufacturing process are dependant on craftsmanship, and the railcar manufacturers have some discretion at their hands. As a result, even the same trains manufactured according to the same set of specifications may have differences in exterior appearance or performance based on the original manufacturer. Meanwhile, typical cases overseas feature detailed instructions within the specification documents to ensure that trains produced by separate manufacturers will still produce identical vehicles. The cultural concept of "constructing something better through craftsmanship" does not fit these paradigms. With the trend to construct factories locally in each market, there is now a need to create written manuals and automate these skills.

By product lines and sales
After examining the company credit reports from 1,510,000 firms in the possession of TDB and extracting the firms dealing in the manufacture of railcars and railcar equipment, a total of 569 companies were found to be listed nationwide.

Categorizing these 569 companies by product lines, twelve firms deal with railcars (including railway systems manufacturers and firms subcontracted by manufacturers of finished railcars), 245 firms deal with mechanical components (bearings, bogies, brake shoes, etc.), 207 firms deal with materials (metalworks, glass, rubber, seat materials, etc.), and 105 firms deal with electrical equipment (signaling and safety devices, primary electrical equipment, etc.).

Separating out the 569 firms by sales, approx. 40 percent of railcar manufacturers saw sales of ¥100 billion or more each. The study also revealed that the mechanical components and materials fields are composed of comparatively smaller-scale companies, with about half of firms in these fields generating under ¥500 million in annual sales. In the electrical equipment field, firms with less than ¥500 million in annual sales account for the highest share of the total firms (compared to other fields), but there are also many firms in this field that are comparatively larger than counterparts in the mechanical components and materials fields, with approx. 30 percent of firms generating between ¥1 billion and ¥10 billion in annual sales. It's believed that this trend materialized because manufacturers of electrical equipment, including major components such as motors and control units, are primarily large-sized ("brand-name") and medium-sized appliance makers.

By product lines and sales:

Code:
Sales               Railcar      Mechanical      Materials    Electrical   TOTAL
                     Firms       Components        Firms       Equipment
                                   Firms                         Firms
¥100 B or more     5  (41.7%)     8   (3.3%)     5   (2.4%)    4   (3.8%)    22
¥10 to ¥100 B      4  (33.3%)    18   (7.3%)    18   (8.7%)   13  (12.4%)    53
¥1 to ¥10 B        3  (25.0%)    59  (24.1%)    38  (18.4%)   36  (34.3%)   136
¥500 M to ¥1 B     0   (0.0%)    41  (16.7%)    34  (16.4%)   13  (12.4%)    88
Less than ¥500 M   0   (0.0%)   119  (48.6%)   112  (54.1%)   39  (37.1%)   270

TOTAL             12 (100.0%)   245 (100.0%)   207 (100.0%)  105 (100.0%)   569
By headquarters location (prefectures, city wards)
Looking at the headquarters location by prefecture, Tōkyō Prefecture comes out on top with 111 firms, followed by Ōsaka Prefecture (83 firms) and Kanagawa Prefecture (59 firms). Even when breaking the firms down by product lines, Tōkyō Prefecture comes out on top of virtually all product lines and has a particular "monopoly" in the electrical equipment field.

Looking at cities / wards, Tōkyō Prefecture's Ōta Ward came in first, with 17 firms. Ōta Ward is one of the top agglomerations of small neighborhood industrial uses in all of Japan, and is also home to a large number of firms manufacturing airplane components. Just as for airplane components, there is some redundancy in the types of components offered due to the high product quality demanded of manufacturers of finished railcars. While the #2 spot—Tōkyō's Chiyoda Ward, home to 16 firms—features a lineup of big-name appliances manufacturers including HItachi and Mitsubishi Electric, Ōta Ward is home to a large number of small-scale firms (less than ¥1 billion in annual sales) which still offer advanced skills.

By headquarters location (top 10 prefectures):

Code:
Prefecture   Railcar  Mechanical  Materials  Electrical   TOTAL
              Firms   Components    Firms    Equipment
                        Firms                  Firms
Tōkyō           5         35         35          36        111   
Ōsaka           3         37         32          11         83
Kanagawa        1         21         18          19         59
Hyōgo           1         25         17           8         51
Saitama                   15         21           5         41
Aichi           2         17         14           5         38
Gifu                      11          8           2         21
Shizuoka                   7          6           4         17
Yamaguchi                 13          4                     17
Ibaraki                    6          5           2         13
By headquarters location (top 10 cities / wards):

Code:
Prefecture                             Railcar  Mechanical  Materials  Electrical   TOTAL
                                        Firms   Components    Firms    Equipment
                                                  Firms                  Firms
Ōta Ward, Tōkyō                                     9           4          4          17
Chiyoda Ward, Tōkyō                       1         3           7          5          16
Minato Ward, Tōkyō                        2         5           2          4          13
Kudamatsu City, Yamaguchi                          10           2                     12
Higashi-Ōsaka City, Ōsaka                 1         4           5          1          11
Nishi-Yodogawa Ward, Ōsaka City, Ōsaka              8           2                     10
Kawaguchi City, Saitama                             6           2                      8
Shinagawa Ward, Tōkyō                               4           2          2           8
Nishi Ward, Kōbe City, Hyōgo                        3           5                      8
Katsushika Ward, Tōkyō                              2           3          3           8
Yamaguchi Prefecture's Kudamatsu City, the headquarters for 10 mechanical components manufacturers, is home to the Kasado Plant, a Hitachi railcar factory. Even on the prefectural level, Yamaguchi Prefecture is home to a concentration of railcar-related firms, and in other prefectures, components and electrical equipment manufacturers are concentrated in prefectures that are home to railcar manufacturers' factories (Fig. 1).

Railcar-related manufacturers have not developed like automobile manufacturers, which feature a pyramid structure with the manufacturer / assembler of the finished railcar at the top. As a result, it is not uncommon for primary component manufacturers to have dealings with virtually all of the railcar manufacturers. Manufacturers of motors and other electrical equipment such as Tōshiba, Hitachi, and Mitsubishi Electric fit this model, as does Sumitomo Metal Industries, which has almost a 100% share of the domestic market for train wheels and axles. However, firms responsible for manufacturing or processing detailed components are concentrated in areas surrounding the factories of railcar manufacturers, and while there is no direct capital participation, there is a trend towards dealing with specific railcar manufacturers as part of a "cooperative firm" relationship.

Fig. 1: Prefectures by number of firm headquarters


Trade structures
Considering the above analysis, we depicted the trade structures between railcar manufacturers and railcar equipment manufacturers (Fig. 2). When railway operators place large-volume orders for railcars of the same type, many typically rely on multiple railcar manufacturers to produce the trains. The reasons behind this approach include capacity issues at railcar manufacturers' factories, the distribution of risk associated with disasters such as earthquakes, and the desire to reduce costs through competition over price. After the railway operator has placed an order, the equipment manufacturer typically acts as a "parts provider" for primary components in these situations. The manufacture of other, more detailed components or processing will frequently be handled by the cooperative firms concentrated near the railcar manufacturers' production plants. For the final assembly conducted at the railcar manufacturers' plants, advanced technological expertise is required that goes beyond simple "assembly." As a result of this trade structure and production process, even the same trains manufactured according to the same set of specifications may have differences in exterior appearance or performance based on the original manufacturer.

Fig. 2: Trade structures between railcar manufacturers and equipment manufacturers


Conclusion (Future Needs)
Japan's railcar manufacturing industry is supported by craftsmanship. As a result, specifications documents do not feature very detailed specifications, and many portions are left to the manufacturer's discretion. On the other hand, most overseas specifications documents feature thorough and detailed instructions to ensure that separate manufacturers will still produce identical trains, and the cultural concept of "constructing something better through craftsmanship" does not apply. In addition, if the volume of overseas orders increases in the future, it's expected that more and more projects will include construction of local factories, such as Kawasaki Heavy Industries' North American plants in New York and Nebraska. We are already beginning to see this trend, such as with the decision of Nippon Sharyō to construct a railcar assembly plant in Illinois, U.S.A. If localization continues, relying on craftsmanship will likely become more and more difficult, but regardless of the outcome, the manualization and automation of these skills is certainly an issue for railcar manufacturers.

This trend of railcar manufacturers constructing local plants overseas and supplying a portion of components locally works against small- and mid-sized firms concentrated outside railcar manufacturers' plants. Excepting methods such as switching to other industries or exporting to overseas markets on their own, the survival of these firms depends on their ability to became indispensible in the production of railcars. As a result, the most obvious solution is to possess advanced technology and skills that cannot be reproduced by other firms, but the ability to supply a variety of products at low volumes and in a short amount of time could also become a strength. It will also likely become necessary to jointly develop prototypes together with railcar manufacturers in order to meet the needs of overseas orders.
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