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Old July 15th, 2013, 06:42 AM   #1361
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By the way, I read the JR Hokkaido has suspended all KiHa 183 operations due to a recent fire caused by an oil line leak. I'm a little surprised those trainsets--built in the early 1980's just before JNR broke up--are still around and not been replaced by now with more KiHa 261, 281 or 283 trainsets.
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Old July 15th, 2013, 07:14 AM   #1362
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sacto7654 View Post
By the way, I read the JR Hokkaido has suspended all KiHa 183 operations due to a recent fire caused by an oil line leak. I'm a little surprised those trainsets--built in the early 1980's just before JNR broke up--are still around and not been replaced by now with more KiHa 261, 281 or 283 trainsets.
They will be replaced eventually, likely by more kiha261 units, but JR Hokkaido is not a rich company (it's in the red- it has only one profitable route, the airport service)- so it doesn't have the wherewithal to undertake an aggressive rolling stock replacement program like JR East.
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Old July 18th, 2013, 07:51 PM   #1363
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Hitachi wins £1.2bn train carriage contract
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23353962

Quote:
A £1.2bn deal to build new UK trains has been won by Hitachi Rail Europe.

The firm will build 270 carriages at a new factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, which will start production in 2016.

The carriages are part of the class 800 series and will go into operation on the East Coast Main Line from 2019.

CGI footage of the 800 series from Hitachi Rail’s YouTube channel:

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Old July 18th, 2013, 07:52 PM   #1364
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On 2013.07.18, the first four passenger cars (Cars 4 through 7) for the new Seven Stars in Kyūshū luxury cruise train arrived at JR Kyūshū’s Kokura Rolling Stock Center from the Hitachi plant in Kudamatsu City, Yamaguchi Prefecture. The cars were wrapped in black film to protect them from damage. This particular delivery includes Car 7, which contains the deluxe suites and the panorama window. The other three cars are being manufactured in-house by JR Kyūshū at Kokura.

Only a few more months until the start of service on 2013.10.15. They’ve already closed reservations from October through to March of next year, and the only slots open now are for April through June of next year.

Kyōdō video report (2013.07.18):



They’ve also unveiled the design of the crew uniforms, also created by Mitooka Eiji:
http://response.jp/article/2013/07/18/202445.html

Winter will be black, summer will be white, plus a third design for the tour guides at each of the stops along the way. Gold buttons, lining, and pocketwatches, plus cap and chest “star” emblems of the Seven Stars in Kyūshū logo.



Shoulder bags for the cabin crew, developed jointly with established bag maker Yoshida & Co. (吉田カバン), featuring Ōshima-tsumugi (大島紬) silk from Kagoshima.
http://kyushu.yomiuri.co.jp/entame/r...OYS8T00872.htm

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Old July 21st, 2013, 07:03 PM   #1365
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Hitachi to push into Europe rail market
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/1cb37...44feabdc0.html

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Hitachi is looking to make a push into the continental European rail market after securing the second part of a large UK train order, as a result of which the company will build a factory in northeast England.

The Japanese group is targeting Germany, Scandinavia and the Benelux countries, according to Alistair Dormer, chief executive of its European rail business.

Hitachi has so far only secured a position in the UK and is facing resistance from rivals to its attempts to expand into other European markets. Canada’s Bombardier and Germany’s Siemens, which both have train-making units based in Germany, have lobbied against Hitachi gaining access to the EU market because the Japanese market is closed to foreign bidders.

“I just don’t buy that argument,” dormer said. He said it took five years for Hitachi to break into the UK market after setting up an office in London and getting to understand how everything worked. Hitachi Rail opened an office in Berlin 18 months ago.

...
Thanks to k.k.jetcar for the find. Nothing new, but a bit more info on their strategy in the European market.
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Old July 21st, 2013, 07:38 PM   #1366
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Good! Alstom have been providing good products to Sweden, but it'll be great to have increased competition here. Shame we can't get some Japanese subway car manufacturers to bid for the new Stockholm Tunnelbana rolling stock.
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Old July 25th, 2013, 01:44 AM   #1367
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JICA to provide support for express Myanmer express train
JICA、ミャンマー鉄道事業を支援 ヤンゴン~マンダレー間に急行列車運行へ

http://myanmarnews.jp/?p=3951

On 2013.07.22, Myanmar’s Ministry of Railway Transport revealed that it is considering a plan to use funding and technical assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to operate a new 120 km/h express train service connecting Yangon and Mandalay in eight hours. Work is already underway on a separate rail line between Yangon and Bago with a targeted completion in 2015, but this new service would require refurbishing track along the 620 km between the two former capitals.
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Old July 25th, 2013, 01:46 AM   #1368
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RTRI successful in world’s first train running test using superconducting cable
超電導ケーブルの電車走行実験公開 鉄道総研、世界初

http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNAS...3A720C1CR8000/

On 2013.07.24, the Railway Technical Research Institute (鉄道総合技術研究所) invited members of the press to its research facility in Kokubunji City, Tōkyō to witness a test to power and operate trains using zero-resistance superconducting cable, a world’s first. If the technology can be harnessed for practical applications, it would reduce electricity consumption by about 5%. The RTRI will continue R*D efforts with domestic cable manufacturers, with the aim of developing it for introduction on actual railway lines in about five years.

The superconducting cable takes advantage of the unique properties of special ceramics—when cooled using liquid nitrogen, the cable’s electrical resistance drops to zero. Compared to copper cables, the new materials don’t emit heat and vastly improve the efficiency of power transmission. Currently, transformer stations are placed every few kilometers along rail lines, but superconducting cable maintains the line voltage over longer distances, which would allow them to eliminate unneeded transformer stations.

This particular test involved a two-car train, which accelerated to 45 km/h by drawing power from a 10 cm diameter superconducting cable.
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Old July 26th, 2013, 11:49 AM   #1369
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Quote:
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cool =) i I really like design of japan trains and trams
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Old July 26th, 2013, 02:54 PM   #1370
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I believe that is the new livery for the JR East E653 trainsets that used to run on the Fresh Hitachi service, but now being transferred to the Inaho limited express service between Niigata and Akita. Better start riding those 485 Series trainsets soon, because once the Hokkaido Shinkansen opens in 2016, I expect JR East to quickly retire the 485's now running on the Hakuchō or Super Hakuchō service between Aomori and Hakodate.
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Old July 27th, 2013, 06:56 PM   #1371
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The Japanese passenger railroad industry grasped the concept back in the 1950s that train design needed to be cool, neat, even sexy. They realized that keeping youth appeal was the key to their long term survival.

Even today, new trains are promoted with very enticing videos. When a new Shinkansen variant is role out, thousands turn out to look at the latest best train in the world. This filters down to slower trains too.
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Old July 28th, 2013, 07:28 AM   #1372
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Originally Posted by billfranklin View Post
The Japanese passenger railroad industry grasped the concept back in the 1950s that train design needed to be cool, neat, even sexy. They realized that keeping youth appeal was the key to their long term survival.

Even today, new trains are promoted with very enticing videos. When a new Shinkansen variant is role out, thousands turn out to look at the latest best train in the world. This filters down to slower trains too.
Just wait until the first E7/W7 trainsets--now under construction--are rolled out this fall. There's going to be huge crowd of railfans watching when the first trainset is set up at (likely) Omiya Station and initially, start doing test runs on the Tokyo to Nagano route initially, then probably all the way to Kanazawa by late 2014.

Even the Limited express trains are going to get major upgrades. I expect the 381 Series tilting EMU's now in JR West service will be replaced by 287 Series EMU's with active suspension that allows the train to "tilt" into curves. Don't be surprised that the Yakumo between Okayama and Izumoshi Stations are switched to the 287's by 2017.
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Old July 30th, 2013, 12:32 AM   #1373
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Fate of Hokuetsu Express post-Shinkansen uncertain
北越急行:絶好調に影 2年切った北陸新幹線延伸、ドル箱「はくたか」廃止必至 沿線自治体、薄い危機感

http://mainichi.jp/feature/news/2013...20017000c.html

The ultimate fate of the Hokuetsu Express (北越急行) (HQ: Minami-Uonuma City, Niigata Prefecture), the shining star of Japan’s third-sector private railways, is uncertain, less than two years before the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen extension to Kanazawa. The line is the posterchild of a successful third-sector private railway—it’s financial statement at FY2012 close marked the railway’s 16th straight year of profits (¥4.691 billion, a ¥425 million year-over-year increase) and set record highs in regular profit (¥1.840 billion, a ¥709 million increase) and annual ridership (3.926 million, an 11.9% increase).

The breadwinner for the line is, of course, the Hakutaka limited express connecting Echigo Yuzawa Station in Niigata Prefecture with Kanazawa, Fukui, and Wakura Onsen Stations via the railway’s Hokuhoku Line and through-service onto JR tracks, which carried 2.802 million passengers in FY2012 (13.5% increase). The company’s local trains carried 1.124 million passengers (7.9% increase).

While the Shinkansen extension to Kanazawa will mean the demise of the Hakutaka, and a potential black cloud for Hokuetsu Express, local jurisdictions that provide funding for the railway don’t appear to be too concerned—they’ve already amassed ¥10.47 billion in the railway’s internal reserve account, exceeding their target of ¥10 billon. Even if the railway records annual losses of ¥300 million to ¥500 million, the reserves are expected to be enough to keep service running for 20 to 30 years.

In particular, the president of the railway has expressed some concern over the future state of the company, saying its cumulative tax payments on fixed assets already exceeds the funding it receives from local governments, and that the municipal governments should set aside some of their tax revenues to directly fund the railway. The railway also says that a public-private structure may eventually be necessary to reduce the railway’s fixed asset tax liability, with the private sector responsible for train operations and the local jurisdictions owning the land and infrastructure.

Perhaps the one bright point is the increase in ridership on the railway’s local services, which averaged 3,080 passengers daily in FY2012, just edging out the original forecasts made when the line opened (2,924 passengers).

===

Various clips of the Hakutaka:

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Old July 30th, 2013, 08:55 PM   #1374
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Renovated Bungo Mori Station to open in late September
JR九州、豊後森駅も"水戸岡デザイン"に! 9月下旬リニューアルオープン予定

http://news.mynavi.jp/news/2013/07/30/095/index.html

On 2013.07.29, JR Kyūshū announced that they will open the renovated Bungo Mori Station on the Kyūdai Main Line in Kusu Town, Ōita Prefecture (大分県玖珠町) in late September in time for the start of operations of the railway’s Seven Stars in Kyūshū luxury train service.

Limited expresses on the Kyūdai Main Line, including the Yufuin no Mori and Yufu, currently stop at the station, and in August of last year, the former locomotive house and roundtable at the station were designated by the national government as registered cultural properties. The renovation is part of a plan to develop Kusu Town’s tourism resources, including Mt. Kirikabu (伐株山) and the former castle town (城下町) of the Mori domain (森藩).

The design of the renovation is being overseen by Mitooka Eiji, and includes painting the station’s exterior walls and roof, installing a lattice-work exterior, and improving the platform bridge and station waiting room. The design will make use of wood logs and retain the portions of the 84-year-old station building that are still in good shape. New trees will also be planted at the station plaza.

===

Official JR Kyūshū press release:
http://www13.jrkyushu.co.jp/NewsRele...E?OpenDocument





A walk-through of the station (2012.05). The station opened in 1929 and currently sees about 700 riders a day.



The former locomotive house and turntable (2013.07.09). The entire renovation is estimated to cost ¥50 million.

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Old July 30th, 2013, 08:56 PM   #1375
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Portions of JR Jōban Line in Fukushima exclusion zone to reopen in March
福島の避難区域 鉄道一部再開目指す

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/2013...389181000.html

It has been revealed that JR East has notified local governments that it hopes to reopen portions of the JR Jōban Line within the exclusion zone around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant as early as March of next year. In particular, the section in question is between Hirono Town (広野町) and Naraha Town (楢葉町) in Fukushima Prefecture, where the railway is working on decontamination of the tracks. This is the first time that any announcement has been made regarding the reopening of railway lines within the exclusion zone.

Trains have not been in service on about 55 km of the Jōban Line within the exclusion zone, between Hirono Station (Hirono Town) and Haranomachi Station (Minami-Sōma City 南相馬市). Naraha Town is one of the jurisdictions targeted for an early reopening, and residents can already enter the area during the daytime. They had been petitioning JR East to open the closed sections of the Jōban Line as early as possible to help speed up recovery from the disaster. In response, JR East says that decontamination and reconstruction work has been proceeding on about 8.5 km of between Hirono Station and Tatsuta Station in Naraha Town, and that it aims to reopen the segment together with the annual schedule changes in March of next year.

The article also has a video report.

===

The Jōban Line is the main line linking Mito and Sendai. Traffic between Tōkyō and Sendai is concentrated on the Tōhoku Main Line and Tōhoku Shinkansen, which are running just fine, but travel between Mito (capital of Ibaraki Prefecture) and Sendai is still hampered by the closed sections of the Jōban Line. A new highway express coach service linking Mito and Sendai began operation on 2013.07.23 to help satisfy demand on this section.

FNN news report:

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Old July 31st, 2013, 10:14 AM   #1376
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I wonder has JR Freight thought about using the Hokuetsu Railway line--updated appropriately, of course--to become part of a new freight route from Tokyo to Toyama? After all, there aren't significant grades, and being all-electrified they could easily use the latest JR Freight locomotives.
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Old July 31st, 2013, 09:54 PM   #1377
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Domestic railcar equipment manufacturers carve out share of global market
鉄道ビッグ3に食い込め、世界20兆円市場争奪戦

http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNAS...3A720C1000000/

Japanese manufacturers of railcar equipment are breaking away from the domestic business model of reliance upon JR and other railway companies and are instead embarking on their own efforts to market their products in overseas markets, taking advantage of internal R&D efforts and geographical efficiencies.

In particular, Tōyō Electric (東洋電機製造) won an order in June to provide railcar electrical equipment including motors and power systems for the extension of Chengdu Metro Line 1 in Sichuan Province, Japan’s first railcar equipment order in China in close to two years. While unexpected delays and cancellations come with the territory when it comes to Chinese railway orders, but Tōyō Electric’s president, who makes more than 30 trips a year to China, says things have been running smooth thus far, and that there is still latent demand remaining, despite the political risks of the Chinese market. The company first provided electrical equipment for Chengdu Metro Line 1 in 2007, followed by orders for Phase 1 and Phase 2 of Line 2 in 2010 and 2011, respectively, as well as orders for the Beijing Subway. The company has fulfilled approx. ¥30 billion of contracts for the Chinese market over the past 15 years, achieving local production through a JV with a Chinese manufacturer.

Orders had died down following the Wenzhou high-speed rail accident in 2011, a general drop in urban rail investment, and geopolitical conflicts related to Okinawa and the Senkaku (Diaoyu) Islands. Tōyō Electric wasn’t immune from these trends, but says that orders for HSR equipment have begun to pick up this year.

Nabtesco (ナブテスコ), which manufacturers railcar brakes and door equipment, is also taking advantage of a northern European railway market struggling with service disruptions caused by snowfall. The company’s Airjet (エアージェット) equipment, which uses air to blow away snow on tracks, has found its way to railway tracks in Sweden and the Netherlands. Nabtesco developed the Airjet 20 years ago in cooperation with East Japan Railway Company (JR East) in an effort to keep trains running smoothly in high-snowfall areas of Japan such as the Tōhoku region, taking advantage of a niche that wasn’t met by any European railcar manufacturers.

Nabtesco’s president says that it isn’t an easy task for a company to enter the European market on its own, thanks to competition from Siemens, Alstom, and Bombardier. In fact, Nabtesco gained a footing in the market by purchasing an Italian manufacturer already doing work with Siemens and others. Nabtesco now hopes to expand its market share by pushing its door equipment.

While Japanese manufacturers have strong products in brake and signaling equipment, obstacles such as cost and a slower start on the business and marketing side also make it difficult for Japan-based consortiums involving government, railway companies, and railcar manufacturers to win orders in developing countries. As a result, some companies have been teaming with foreign firms in an effort to expand their global reach. In particular, JR East has announced it will introduce a signaling system provided by Alstom, while JR East group company and railcar manufacturer J-TREC announced that it will team with Alstom to jointly develop and market LRVs.

Perhaps the best example of this emerging strategy is Mitsubishi Electric (三菱電機), which has been working extensively with Rotem (Korea) and CAF (Spain) on providing railcars in the global market. The company has also won an order to provide energy-efficient inverter equipment for upgrades to aging railcars in Russia.

Tōyō Electric’s Yokohama plant:



Nabtesco’s Airjet equipment:

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Old August 3rd, 2013, 03:05 AM   #1378
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New station building at Naganohara–Kusatsu-guchi Station opens
長野原草津口駅 吾妻の顔に

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/gun...OYT8T00026.htm

The new station building at Naganohara–Kusatsu-guchi Station (長野原草津口駅) (Naganohara Town, Gunma Prefecture) on the Agatsuma Line has been completed and opened for service on 2013.08.01. The new station building was built adjacent to the existing station, and is part of the controversial Yanba Dam (八ツ場ダム) project, an effort to revitalize the mountain towns and villages surrounding the dam. The station is the closest rail access to the famous Kusatsu Onsen (草津温泉), one of Japan’s most famous hot springs resorts. It’s only 20-30 minutes by bus from the station to Kusatsu Onsen, and most of the station’s passengers are headed to or from the hot springs. There were originally plans to change the name to “Kusatsu Onsen Station” or “Kusatsu Onsen-guchi Station”, but those never materialized.

It’s currently a little over one hour to the station from Takasaki by limited express, and average daily ridership is a little under 700 passengers. While the dam itself has yet to really start construction, but is part of a package of local improvements being coordinated with the dam. As part of those improvements, the original station building has been replaced at a cost of approx. ¥1.43 billion through funding from JR East, the national government, Gunma Prefecture, and downstream jurisdictions including the Tōkyō Metropolitan Government, although the original station building was not planned to be submerged, unlike Kawarayu Onsen Station (川原湯温泉駅). Construction work on the two-story station building began in August of last year.



===

Window view from a 115 series on the Agatsuma Line, from Naganohara–Kusatsu-guchi to Kawarayu Onsen:

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Old August 3rd, 2013, 03:06 AM   #1379
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JR Hokkaidō considers closing undersea stations in Seikan Tunnel
青函トンネルの海底駅、廃止を検討 JR北海道

http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNAS...3A800C1CC1000/

It has been revealed that JR Hokkaidō is considering abandoning Tappi Kaitei Station (竜飛海底駅) and Yoshioka Kaitei Station (吉岡海底駅) next spring. The stations have formal addresses in Sotogahama Town (外ケ浜町), Aomori Prefecture and Fukushima Town (福島町), Hokkaidō Prefecture, but they’re actually located 135 m and 149.5 m below sea level inside the Seikan Tunnel crossing the Tsugaru Strait. The permanent closures are being considered as part of construction work for the Hokkaidō Shinkansen.

The two stations were established in 1988 to serve as evacuation routes during emergencies, but are currently used by tourists on sightseeing courses thanks to their popularity among railfans and the general populace. Two roundtrips on the Hakuchō limited express (Aomori – Hakodate) stop at the station each day to bring in visitors taking tours of the station, but the last day will be November 10 this year.

The first segment of the Hokkaidō Shinkansen from Shin-Aomori to Shin-Hakodate will open in spring 2016. JR Hokkaidō is also considering permanently closing Shiriuchi Station (知内駅).

===

The terminology used (haishi 廃止) implies a permanent closure, as opposed to a temporary one (kyūshi 休止), so I suspect they won’t be reopened. Eliminating the stops is also probably for safety and operational flexibility once the Shinkansen begins service.

Apparently, ridership at Tappi Kaitei peaked at about 40,000 annual visitors in FY1989, but dropped to a mere 4,300 or so last fiscal year. It’s only open between April and November each year. Yoshioka Kaitei at one point had a Doraemon train, but that was also dropped for Shinkansen construction in August 2006. This news means that three of the five stations on the Tsugaru Kaikyō Line will be abandoned—the only remaining stations will be Kikonai (Kikonai Town, Hokkaidō Prefecture) and Tsugaru Imabetsu (Imabetsu Town, Aomori Prefecture), both of which will be Shinkansen stations. Shiriuchi opened in 1990 and is served by two roundtrips on the Hakuchō.

Arrival at Tappi Kaitei Station, the only undersea rail station open to passengers:

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Old August 3rd, 2013, 08:58 AM   #1380
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