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Old January 10th, 2011, 04:07 AM   #501
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New Year's period ridership statistics: JR East
http://www.jreast.co.jp/press/2010/20110101.pdf

All six JR companies recently released ridership statistics for the New Year's period (2010.12.28 to 2011.01.05), so here's all the details. In general, ridership appeared to be recovering from past year's declines caused by recession, etc.

First up is JR East:

New Year's period ridership on Shinkansen, limited express, and express trains (total of 17 major line sections)
Modest increases above last year, mostly attributable to the Shinkansen.



New Year's period ridership on major line sections
Generally, moderate to high growth all around. Hachinohe ‒ Shin-Aomori section compares newly-opened Tōhoku Shinkansen for this year against limited expresses (Super Hakuchō, Hakuchō, and Tsugaru) for last year.



Ridership on peak day of travel



New Year's period passenger exits at access stations to resort areas



Total passenger exits at stations serving temples / shrines (for three-day period between 2011.01.01 and 2011.01.03, compared to same days last year)



New Year's period short-distance ticket sales (including IC card fare payments) at major stations
43.91 million tickets (103% of last year)

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Old January 10th, 2011, 04:08 AM   #502
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New Year's period ridership statistics: JR Central
http://jr-central.co.jp/news/release/_pdf/000009942.pdf

Next is JR Central:

New Year's period ridership on limited express trains
Shinkansen: 2.924 million (107% of last year)
Zairaisen: 0.178 million (103% of last year)
Total: 3.102 million (107% of last year)

Ridership on peak day of travel
Ridership in outbound (down) direction showed substantial gains, but inbound was lower than last year, perhaps because this year the peak day was a Monday.



New Year's period ridership on regular trains (major line sections, both directions)
3.528 million (103% of last year)

New Year's period ridership on limited express trains (detail)
Generally, moderate to high growth across all lines / services.



New Year's period ridership on regular trains (detail)
Same story.

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Old January 10th, 2011, 04:08 AM   #503
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New Year's period ridership statistics: JR West
http://www.westjr.co.jp/ICSFiles/afi...06_press01.pdf

Finishing up the three main JRs is JR West:

New Year's period ridership on limited express and express trains
Generally up all around, especially Kodama.



Keihanshin area short-distance ticket sales
994,000 tickets per day (102% of last year)

Daily passenger exits at stations serving temples / shrines (for three-day period between 2011.01.01 and 2011.01.03, compared to same days last year)

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Old January 10th, 2011, 04:09 AM   #504
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New Year's period ridership statistics: JR Kyūshū
http://www13.jrkyushu.co.jp/newsrele...0?OpenDocument

Next up are the "island" JRs. First is JR Kyūshū:

New Year's period ridership on Shinkansen and limited express trains on major line sections
Substantial increases across the board. Apparently, weather (snow) wreaked havoc on the expressways, which likely shifted many people to trains.

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Old January 10th, 2011, 04:09 AM   #505
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New Year's period ridership statistics: JR Shikoku
http://www.jr-shikoku.co.jp/03_news/...1-01-06/01.htm

Next is JR Shikoku:

New Year's period ridership on Seto Ōhashi Line and three major line sections
Substantial increases, particularly in outbound (down) direction.



Ridership on Seto Ōhashi Line on peak day of travel



New Year's period ridership on Seto Ōhashi Line and three major line sections (details)



Good to see JR Shikoku doing well... It's often the forgotten one out of the six JRs.
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Old January 10th, 2011, 04:10 AM   #506
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New Year's period ridership statistics: JR Hokkaidō
http://www.jrhokkaido.co.jp/press/2010/100106-1.pdf

Last is JR Hokkaidō:

New Year's period intercity ridership (limited express and express trains on four main line sections, both directions)

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Old January 10th, 2011, 04:11 AM   #507
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JBIC offers financing for Florida high-speed rail project
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/economy/fin...0131000-n1.htm

Quote:
The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) has finalized a plan to help finance the high-speed rail project in Florida, U.S., which a group of Japanese firms including Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) are looking to win. This is the first example of financing the export of infrastructure to a developed country to be included in a bill for strengthening the bank's financial functions, to be submitted at the ordinary session of the Diet. The bank would offer low-interest, low-risk funds for the project. The bank hopes to win the project by offering more favorable conditions than rival European teams, providing impetus for infrastructure export, a pillar of the Japanese government's growth strategy.

However, if the Diet is thrown into chaos as a result of political battles and the bill does not end up passing, it would mean a setback for the funds. It could mean not only a disadvantage in the bidding process for the high-speed rail project, but also a major stumbling block in the government's growth strategy.

High-speed rail has been touted by the Obama administration in the U.S. as part of an economic stimulus strategy. Trains would operate on approx. 500 km of track between Tampa and Miami at a top speed of 270 to 300 kph. The first phase for approx. 135 km between Tampa and Orlando is slated to be put out to bid as early as this summer. The project costs for the first phase are approx. US $3.3 billion (approx. ¥280 billion), of which US $2.05 billion will be offered by the U.S. federal government as funding. Assembling the remainder of the necessary funds has become a major topic of debate.

The Japanese bid for the project will be based on the Shinkansen, featuring a consortium of 11 firms including JR Central, Hitachi, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and Mitsubishi Corporation. The team aims to win the project by stressing the Shinkansen's safety and on-time performance. In addition to the Japanese team, teams from Europe, including Germany and France, are expected to bid, along with teams from China and Korea.

The JBIC has been involved since the planning stages, commissioning a study of the project's financial feasibility in December of last year. The Japanese bid now will make use of financing set aside for infrastructure exports to developed countries. The scale and conditions of the financing will now be hammered out, but there is the possibility that the JBIC will offer the majority of the necessary funds, through cooperative financing with private-sector banks. If financing backed by the Japanese government were to be introduced, there would be benefits in substantial risk reduction for the U.S. side.

The Kan administration has identified the export of infrastructure including high-speed railways, expressways, and nuclear power plants—demand for which is expanding globally—as the cornerstone of its new growth strategy, and set its eyes on expanding the scope of JBIC financing, previously limited only to developing countries. Foreign Minister Maehara Seiji, currently visiting the U.S., stopped by Florida on January 8 (January 9 in Japan) and talked with Florida governor Rick Scott, marketing the Shinkansen.

However, with minority parties controlling a majority of the seats in the House of Concillors, it's unclear whether the bill will pass, and officials say they are hoping that politicans take up the effort as their top priority.
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Old January 10th, 2011, 04:12 AM   #508
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Kyūshū Shinkansen Rail Walk tours: Shin-Ōmuta Station (Part 1)

Next up in the series is Shin-Ōmuta Station, taken 2010.04.04:
Source: http://fastclip.blog62.fc2.com/



West side of the station.



Viaduct near the station



Entering the station from the east side...



Looking towards the main part of Ōmuta City. They are still constructing the main station access road.

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Old January 10th, 2011, 04:14 AM   #509
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Kyūshū Shinkansen Rail Walk tours: Shin-Ōmuta Station (Part 2)

Continued:
Source: http://fastclip.blog62.fc2.com/

South end of the platforms, where they were in the process of installing the platform doors.



Lots of glass to let in light and offer some great views of the outside



The canopy does not stretch completely overhead, as there is a narrow opening running down the length of the station, letting some natural light in.



Towards the ends of the station, the canopy opens up further to let in even more light.



Moving to the north end of the station (closer to Hakata) to drop down to track level...



After receiving a helmet we take a tour of the trackwork, which is the same slab design just like the rest, with a center cut-out that saves on materials cost and reduces vibration and warping stresses generated by thermal variation.

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Old January 10th, 2011, 04:15 AM   #510
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Kyūshū Shinkansen Rail Walk tours: Shin-Ōmuta Station (Part 3)

Continued:
Source: http://fastclip.blog62.fc2.com/

Walking north towards Hakata...







Digital ATC transponder











Emergency button (?) installed along the noise wall.



Returning back to the station...

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Old January 10th, 2011, 04:16 AM   #511
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Kyūshū Shinkansen Rail Walk tours: Shin-Ōmuta Station (Part 4)

Continued:
Source: http://fastclip.blog62.fc2.com/

Walking between the tracks...



Bolts galore.







Some kind of emergency passage (?)



Catenary masts drop from the roof.



Outbound platform (for Kagoshima Chūō). From this angle, the platform height looks fairly tall.



Inbound platform (for Hakata)



Platform edge is basically a cantilever, leaving the space below open.



Manufacturers' plate.
Apparently, the design load for the platform assumes a live load of 6-8 people per 1 sq m.



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Old January 10th, 2011, 04:16 AM   #512
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Kyūshū Shinkansen Rail Walk tours: Shin-Ōmuta Station (Part 5)

Continued:
Source: http://fastclip.blog62.fc2.com/

Climbing back up to platform level, on the inbound platform.



Future station name sign, perhaps?



I like these platform doors, with the transparent glass sections... I'm curious why they didn't use a similar type for the Tōhoku Shinkansen extension.



Future waiting room



Station control office



Track maintenance vehicle was parked on the south end of the station. In the distance, is the connection to Ōmuta Maintenance Yard.





The concrete slabs used for the track come in differing lengths. Here the one on the left has six bolt points while the one on the right has seven.



Down the stairs. Apparently, they were still working on installing the escalators at the time.



Second floor concourse



One final pic of the entire station:
Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/t_jetronic/

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Old January 10th, 2011, 04:17 AM   #513
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JR Shikoku to reconsider new limited express trains, IC card system with new government funding
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/region/shik...0202000-n1.htm

Quote:
After hearing that a financial support plan by the national government worth up to a total of ¥180 billion was included in next year's budget, JR Shikoku (HQ: Takamatsu City) has begun investigating the replacement of aging limited express trains with new rolling stock and the introduction of an IC card system. With the three- to five-year "reprieve" granted by the support plan, the railway will now actively pursue previously-dormant infrastructure investments that it was forced to shelve as a result of declining ridership. The railway hopes to strengthen the stability of its financial footing while improving passenger service and increasing revenues. JR Shikoku says it will include a specific strategy in its business plan to be compiled in March.

The introduction of new limited express trains is likely to draw attention. The 2000 series limited express diesel-powered trains used on a portion of the Dosan Line's Shimanto and Nanpū services (famous for the so-called Ampanman trains running between Okayama and Kōchi) and the Kōtoku Line's Uzushio services are slated to be replaced. Together with the new trains, the railway will also renovate stations and carryout trackbed improvements.

The railway manages a total of 78 2000 series cars, including trains from third-sector railway operator Tosa Kuroshio Railway. All of them have been in service for 20 years and have begun to show signs of aging. JR Shikoku was supposed to have begun design of new trains in FY2009, but the implementation schedule was pushed back due to declining ridership and other factors. With the buzz over introduction of new trains, railway president Izumi Masafumi says, "I think we can expect some benefits (from the new trains) on both the revenue side and the cost side."

In addition, in regards to IC cards, JR Shikoku is the only company out of the six JR companies to have yet to introduce an IC card system. Discussions are proceeding between the other JR companies and the major private railways regarding an interoperability service for transport-related IC cards issued by each of the various operators, aiming for a rollout of the service in FY2012. Izumi appeared eager about introducing an IC card system, saying the news was "powerful motivation."
2000 series trains on the Nanpū service, in the 2009 Anpanman livery:


Source: SA6D125H on YouTube
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Old January 10th, 2011, 04:17 AM   #514
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Shin-Ōsaka Station construction update

A small update on the construction of a new track and platform and two new sidings at Shin-Ōsaka Station to handle increased traffic as part of the completion of the Kagoshima route of the Kyūshū Shinkansen.
Source: http://saitoshika.blog119.fc2.com/

Exterior looks mostly finished. In fact, they don't appear to be doing any construction on the station visible from the outside. The site closest to us is the construction site for the Shin-Ōsaka Hankyū Building.



Shin-Ōsaka Hankyū Building site



Looking west at the construction of the new sidings.



Recently renovated East Exit from the zairaisen (conventional line) part of the station.

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Old January 10th, 2011, 04:18 AM   #515
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Travel time on Hokuriku Shinkansen between Tōkyō and Toyama could be under two hours
Hokkoku Shimbun

Quote:
It was revealed that the fastest travel times between Tōkyō and Toyama are expected to be under two hours after the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen extension to Kanazawa in late FY2014. Toyama Prefecture governor Ishii Takakazu revealed that he had heard from the Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (JRTT) that travel times would "break the two-hour mark when the line opens." Up until now, Toyama Prefecture had pegged the travel time between Tōkyō and Toyama at 2 hours and 7 minutes, but with technological revolutions including improvements to rolling stock and track, it has become possible to reduce the travel time.

According to the Report on Ridership Forecasts for the Hokuriku Shinkansen published by the Hokuriku Shinkansen Promotion Alliance in March 1998, the estimated travel time between Tōkyō and Toyama is 2 hours and 7 minutes. Based on the estimates by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Ishikawa Prefecture had estimated the travel time between Tōkyō and Kanazawa to be 2 hours and 28 minutes. If the travel time to Toyama can be reduced to below 2 hours, the travel time to Kanazawa will also see reductions.

The estimated travel times assume the fastest-type services on a line built to full Shinkansen standards, departing Tōkyō and stopping at Nagano, Jōetsu, Toyama, and Kanazawa.
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Old January 10th, 2011, 04:19 AM   #516
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Training for GranClass attendants underway
http://www.asahi.com/travel/rail/new...101070098.html

Quote:
The new E5 series Hayabusa, the fastest service to debut on the Tōhoku Shinkansen starting in March, is drawing attention not only because of its speed but also because of the GranClass, the Shinkansen's first "first class" seat. Candidates vying to become one of the exclusive GranClass attendants are feverishly studying to learn all the ins and outs of top-class service.

"Your ice cream is ready. When would you like us to bring it?"
"Would you like a refill of your drink?"

In a training office designed to look like the inside of a train, Sakamoto Yūka (26), dressed in uniform, pushes her cart as she addresses staff members acting as customers, preparing drinking glasses and blankets.

If she takes too long doing her tasks, instructor Takahashi Sonoki immediately raises a flag. "You mustn't make the passengers wait so long while you are doing your service rounds. At this rate, the train's already arrived at Sendai."

Takahashi earned her chops as a cabin attendant for an airline company, but was scouted by Nippon Restaurant Enterprise (NRE), a JR East-affiliated company, to train GranClass attendants. "Unlike airplanes, the Shinkansen needs to provide its services even as customers get on and off the train or seats are opened and filled mid-journey. Even for someone like me, everyday is a process of trial and error."

Sakamoto, who has worked cart service on the Hakuchō limited express and other trains ever since joining NRE in 2004, says, "It's my dream to become a GranClass attendant. I want to gain all the skills necessary for such an elegant space as the GranClass." She watches not just her words, but even the way she walks.

The GranClass, touted by JR East as a "premier seat," only has 18 seats per car, with only one car in each train. Spacious seats featuring genuine leather are lined up three to a row inside the car. The GranClass even offers bentō boxes made with local ingredients from areas along the line and free alcohol, including beer and wine. The fare is ¥26,360 between Tōkyō and Shin-Aomori, ¥5,000 more than a green car seat.

In order to create that "special luxury" and "special hospitality," GranClass attendants are needed, one deployed in each car. When the Hayabusa debuts in revenue service, however, only three trains will be running on two daily roundtrips between Tōkyō and Shin-Aomori and one daily roundtrip between Tōkyō and Sendai. Only the very best will be selected to serve as the exclusive GranClass attendants.

There are 19 candidates training for the positions, selected based on their written composition and an interview examination from about 50 initial applicants with a specified minimum amount of service experience on zairaisen and Shinkansen trains all across Japan. Since December of last year, the 19 candidates have been taking courses at the training center in Kawaguchi City, Saitama Prefecture, learning about passenger service in a variety of different scenarios, matched to the actual scheduled times of the new Hayabusa service.

Iimori Yuki (31) has experience as a green car attendant on the Tōhoku Shinkansen. During the course of her training, she's learned how to serve customers in English and gained an all new set of service skills. "I want to offer our passengers the same type of thoughtful service seen on airplanes or in hotels, and live up to their expectations of the GranClass."

The 19 candidates will now conduct training inside a real Hayabusa train conducting test runs, after which 13 of the candidates will ultimately be selected as the first group of exclusive GranClass attendants.
Asahi.com video of candidate training (2011.01.06):

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Old January 13th, 2011, 07:58 AM   #517
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More JR East 253-1000 series testing

These are the former Narita Express units refurbished for use on JR’s Nikkō and Kinugawa through-service limited expresses with Tōbu Railway.

A couple more vids of unit OM-N2 in testing (2011.01.10):
Source: tobu2181 on YouTube

At Ōmiya:



At Kuki. The end of the video shows the 485 series unit that will be replaced.

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Old January 13th, 2011, 07:59 AM   #518
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More JR West 287 series testing

These are the new series of limited express rolling stock to replace aging 183 series units. These will enter revenue service in March.

In 3+4 formation, departing Kyōto (2010.12.25):


Source: JRwehksf on YouTube

A 4-car unit departing from the “new” Platform 11 at Ōsaka Station (2011.01.10):


Source: 32602Fand3060F on YouTube
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Old January 13th, 2011, 08:00 AM   #519
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E5 series unit U3 arrives at Sendai: Part 1

This is the last of the three units in the first order of E5 series trains in preparation for the debut of the Hayabusa in March. The first of the 10 cars were lifted onto land starting 2010.01.08. I believe this one was manufactured by Hitachi.

As a side note, JR East has announced it will offer trial runs open to 4,000 members of the general public for three days between 2010.02.18 and 2010.02.20… So we don’t have long to wait until we get some comprehensive photo tours of the interior, hopefully.

Some pics:
Source: http://traintrain.jp/blog/detail/mid...ate/2011-01-11

















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Old January 13th, 2011, 08:01 AM   #520
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E5 series unit U3 arrives at Sendai: Part 2

Another set:
Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/pokopon184/
Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/pokopon184/







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