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Old October 16th, 2013, 11:10 PM   #1421
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The new Seven Stars in Kyūshū luxury cruise train service began operating on 2013.10.15. Overall, the paint looks very similar to the E655 Nagomi train used for Imperial family excursions.



Between Hida and Yufuin. Quite a few people were out to take pictures.



At Hayato Station:



A new fan-produced JR Kyūshū promo that includes clips of the new train:

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Old October 16th, 2013, 11:12 PM   #1422
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The new Tōhoku Emotion (東北エモーション) restaurant train will debut soon on 2013.10.19. JR East invited members of the press to a test ride on the new service on 2013.10.15:

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Old October 21st, 2013, 09:01 PM   #1423
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The Seven Stars in Kyūshū completed its first full circuit cruise and returned to Hakata Station:



Aso → Ōita → Bungo Mori



Arrival at Ōita on the fourth day of the trip:



Between Kokubu and Hayato:



Sunrise on the Hyūga coast:



Overall, response from the passengers on the first trip was very good, although some wanted less time on the bus and more time inside the train. The next trip was today (2013.10.22), followed by the first 1-night, 2-day course through Nagasaki leaving 2013.10.26.
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Old October 21st, 2013, 09:02 PM   #1424
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The new Tōhoku Emotion dining train began service on 2013.10.19. Local FNN news report:



Another clip from the pre-opening press-only event on 2013.10.15:

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Old October 22nd, 2013, 09:12 PM   #1425
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New Kintetsu sightseeing train complete

Kinki Nippon Railroad (Kintetsu Corporation) recently completed its new “2013 series” Tsudoi (つどい “meeting”) sightseeing train. The new train is intended for the Ise–Shima area, trying to capture tourist demand for the regular rebuilding of Ise Shrine and the rich ocean resources of Shima. It entered service earlier this month on 2013.10.05 between Kashikojima and Ise-shi, primarily operated on Mondays, Fridays, and weekends through to March of next year, as well as every day during winter and spring vacation. Some pictures:
http://rail.hobidas.com/blog/natori/...3/10/21_9.html

The Kashikojima (賢島) end. This is a renovated 3-car commuter EMU set (モ2014-モ2013-ク2107), originally the only 2000 series set to feature restrooms on-board. Here, we can see they’ve removed the destination signs above the gangway connection.



The end of Car 2107. Half of this car has been converted into an open playroom for children, with open windows to allow the sea breeze in. The door openings have been redesigned as view spaces with full-height glass and slat accents.



Among other things, the seating arrangement has undergone some drastic changes. As a commuter set, the train originally came with inward-facing longitudinal seating, but that has now been replaced with window-facing seating and counter tables, as shown here inside Car 2014. Most of the seats are paired up in 2-seat benches, although some benches are paired together due to the location of maintenance hatches underneath the car floor. The moquettes for the 80 seats on the train feature themes related to the Ise–Shima area.



Car 2014 also has a faux operator’s cab for the kids to play with. The master controller (マスコン) and brake valves are real equipment transferred secondhand from other cars, although they are not connected.



The intermediate car, Car 2013. There’s only 8 seats here, as most of the interior is an event space and a bar counter (including a sink and stove). Passengers can purchase beer, soft drinks, and other refreshments, as well as about 30 special products (seafood, sake, etc.) and freshly-made soups featuring locally-harvested produce and seafood such as spiny lobsters (伊勢えび) and sea lettuce (あおさ).



The playroom inside Car 2107. The slats covering the door openings are actually open to the outside, allowing fresh air inside, but can be converted like window blinds to keep out rain.
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Old October 22nd, 2013, 09:13 PM   #1426
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Clips on the first day:



On display at Ōsaka Uehonmachi a few weeks ago (2013.09.29):

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Old October 23rd, 2013, 07:31 AM   #1427
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waw colourfull inside.
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Old October 23rd, 2013, 08:00 PM   #1428
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Japanese firms bid for Yangon Station upgrades
http://www.elevenmyanmar.com/national/3818-japan-singapore-firms-submit-proposals-to-upgrade-yangon-railway-station

Quote:
Four companies from Japan and Singapore have submitted proposals to the Ministry of Rail Transportation to upgrade Yangon Railway Station, including the compound yard, according to the Ministry.

“The proposals, including strong documents, are being reported at the national level,” said head officer Win Naung from the Ministry of Rail Transportation.

“Five companies, including a local company, submitted proposals to improve Yangon Railway Station. But local companies can’t do the construction work because the project must be carried out according to international standards.”

The ministry will invite tenders after permissions from the national government, and once the budget and the quality of the winning companies are confirmed.

Moreover, the ministry will seek suggestions from parliamentary organizations and engineering societies.

Quality assurance boards for the buildings will be appointed during the construction period.

“We are going to construct the buildings to meet international standards because the station is located at a commercial hub in Yangon. The project will have to cost up to a billion to meet those standards,” added Win Naung.

Myanmar reached an agreement with Japan at the end of last year to cooperate in the development of railway systems, including an upgrade of the Yangon-Mandalay railroad and substituting some rail cars in Yangon’s circular train system with new air-conditioned carriages.

Technicians from Japan are now checking the condition of the railroad tracks, according to Yangon Central Railway Station sources.
A documentary on the Yangon Circular Railway:



HD clips:

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Old October 26th, 2013, 06:32 PM   #1429
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Travelling with Super Hakucho train from Shin-Aomori (Honshu) to Hakodate (Hokkaido) via the Seikan Tunnel:



Shin-Aomori Railway Station:











Inside Super Hakucho train:







Aomori Railway Station:





Honshu Coastline:









Kanita Railway Station:







Some food:





Entering Seikan Tunnel:





Hokkaido Coastline:






Hokkaido Shinkansen (between Shin-Aomori - Hakodate):










Hakodate:





Hakodate Railway Station:



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Old October 27th, 2013, 06:47 PM   #1430
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Very nice pictures. By the way, was the train pretty loud when it was running inside the Seikan Tunnel?
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Old October 28th, 2013, 05:26 AM   #1431
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Quote:
Very nice pictures. By the way, was the train pretty loud when it was running inside the Seikan Tunnel?
No, I was mostly taking a nap inside the tunnel.
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Old October 28th, 2013, 08:26 PM   #1432
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Hitachi targets UK in challenge to Europe’s big train builders
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/bu...s-8907758.html

Quote:
Hitachi Rail is targeting lucrative train building contracts in Merseyside, Wales and Scotland as the Japanese group looks to smash the dominance of the European market’s three biggest manufacturers.

Alistair Dormer, chief executive and executive chairman at Hitachi Rail Europe, told The Independent that he wants the big three of Siemens, Bombardier and Alstom to become four within five years.

Hitachi has already made a major statement of intent during the summer, with the confirmation of a £1.2bn Department for Transport contract to build 30 intercity express trains for the East Coast Main Line.

Now Mr Dormer is looking to bid on new train sets for Edinburgh-to-Glasgow, Valleys & Cardiff and Merseyrail. The last contract alone would be worth £400m, while the Scottish and Welsh routes need new trains as part of their electrification programmes.

He said that Hitachi is “knocking on the door” of gate-crashing the big three, but would also have to win work in Germany and Scandinavia to secure a market-leading position.

“We would have to expand our footprint in Europe,” Mr Dormer added. “But the UK is a natural home for Japanese investment: the language is right, plus Nissan, Toyota and Honda are all here.”

Winning any of the British contracts would also secure the long-term future of the factory that Hitachi is about to build in County Durham. Next month Vince Cable and Patrick McLoughlin, the business and transport secretaries respectively, will speak at a ceremony marking the start of construction of the Newton Aycliffe site, where 270 intercity train carriages will be built by 730 workers. Hitachi is also consulting on the proposed £42.7bn High Speed Two railway, which has proved so controversial among Middle Englanders, who argue the project will blight the countryside and lacks a solid business case.

The Prime Minister David Cameron has warned that HS2 could be abandoned if cross-party support is not maintained, after the increasingly sceptical shadow chancellor Ed Balls was given the final decision on whether Labour still backs the project.

Mr Dormer said: “We are advising HS2 because Japan is very similar to Britain and has high-speed rail. There are the hills, it’s an island, and densely populated.”

Providing consultancy services is also a way that could help propel Hitachi to the front of HS2’s thinking when it eventually asks for bids to build the trains for the new line, which will start by linking London and Birmingham and will later be extended to Manchester and Leeds.

Hitachi Rail started working in the UK more than 10 years ago, and is best known for building the 140mph Javelin, Britain’s version of Japan’s Bullet train.

These are used on High Speed One, the line that connects King’s Cross St Pancras to the Channel Tunnel in Kent.

“The Javelins have worked out pretty well,” Mr Dormer said. “All of the Europeans know about them.”
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Old October 29th, 2013, 09:34 PM   #1433
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New car and schedule changes for Kita-Kinki Tango Railway
北近畿タンゴ鉄道、あかまつ・あおまつ運用改正 - コミューター車両も登場

http://news.mynavi.jp/news/2013/10/16/008/

On 2013.11.01, Kita-Kinki Tango Railway (北近畿タンゴ鉄道) will roll-out timetable changes for its two specially-refurbished cars designed by Mitooka Eiji, the Tango Akamatsu (丹後あかまつ号) and Tango Aomatsu (丹後あおまつ号).

Since debuting earlier this year on 2013.04.14, the two cars have been taking turns, with Tango Akamatsu operating on even-numbered days on the Nishi-Maizuru (西舞鶴) – Toyooka (豊岡) route and Tango Aomatsu operating on odd-numbered days on the Nishi-Maizuru – Miyazu (宮津) – Fukuchiyama (福知山) and Fukuchiyama – Ama-no-Hashidate (天橋立) routes. These will now be operated daily. The combined formations featuring both cars coupled together will also be modified, with the Tango Akamatsu instead coupled with a newly-refurbished third car and the Tango Aomatsu operating independently as a single-car train.

The third car is a “commuter car”, intended to serve morning and evening rush-hour use by commuters heading to and from work and school. The car is a refurbished 800 series DMU, also designed by Mitooka Eiji.

The new car:



===

First day of operation of the “commuter car” (2013.10.20):

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Old October 29th, 2013, 09:35 PM   #1434
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Kintetsu to begin operating third Shimakaze set out of Kyōto next autumn
近鉄、京都-伊勢志摩で観光特急「しまかぜ」 来秋

http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNAS...3A021C1LDA000/

Press release:
http://www.kintetsu.co.jp/all_news/n...akazezoubi.pdf

On 2013.10.28, Kinki Nippon Railway (近畿日本鉄道) announced that it would construct a third set of its new Shimakaze limited express series and begin operating it between Kyōto and the Ise–Shima area of Mie Prefecture starting next autumn. The new set will cost about ¥1.5 billion and follows the popularity of the two trains currently in service, which are continually filled to capacity.

The schedule would involve the third train departing Kintetsu Kyōto Station at 10:00 am and arriving at Kashikojima Station in Shima City, Mie Prefecture at 12:50 pm. The return trip would depart Kashikojima at 2:50 pm and arrive at Kyōto at 5:40 pm. One-way fares would be ¥5,420 for adults and ¥2,710 for children, and the train would make intermediate calls at Kintetsu Tanbabashi (Kyōto City), Yamato Saidaiji (Nara City), and Yamato Yagi (Kashihara City).

The Shimakaze sets are 6-car formations, with the first two sets entering service earlier this year in March to coincide with the shrine rebuilding project at ise Jingū, an event that occurs once every 20 years. The sets are operated daily on roundtrips out of Ōsaka Namba and Kintetsu Nagoya, and feature an observation car, a café car, and Japanese-style rooms. The trains have proven particularly popular among passengers, with cumulative ridership surpassing 100,000 earlier this month, recording 107,521 passengers on 2013.10.15, the 178th day of service.

===

Kintetsu 50000 series Shimakaze:



A trip report on the Ōsaka Namba service (2013.03.24):

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Old November 4th, 2013, 09:02 PM   #1435
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End of the road for Akebono sleeper
http://www.kahoku.co.jp/news/2013/11/20131102t75005.htm

It was revealed that JR East’s Akebono (“Dawn”) sleeper service, which does a daily roundtrip between Ueno and Aomori via the Uetsu and Ōu Lines, will be discontinued at the end of this fiscal year. The source, close to the railway, cited declining ridership and aging rolling stock as the primary factors. The discontinuation of the Akebono will mark the final blow to sleeper services in the Tōhoku region.

The Akebono began service in 1970, connecting Ueno and Aomori (772.6 km) via Sakata and Akita in a bout 12 hours. In the past, there were as many as two roundtrips a day, with an additional roundtrip between Ueno and Akita, but the service was downsized to a single daily roundtrip with the 1990 autumn timetable.

The opening of the Yamagata and Akita Shinkansen dramatically changed the transport situation between the Tōhoku region and Greater Tōkyō, and the 24 series passenger cars, mass produced in the 70s, are showing their age. The railway has been considering elimination of the service since 2010, although there has been tangible demand along the Sea of Japan coast, where the [i]Akebono[i] is the only direct service connecting with Tōkyō.

After the March 2012 elimination of the Nihon-kai (“Sea of Japan”) sleeper service connecting Aomori and Ōsaka, the Akebono has been the last surviving sleeper service for the Tōhoku region, and will be the next victim of the nationwide decline in sleeper services.

===

A ride on the Akebono:

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Old November 4th, 2013, 09:03 PM   #1436
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Groundbreaking for Hitachi’s first overseas rolling stock plant, in the UK:

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Old November 4th, 2013, 09:04 PM   #1437
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JR East Group released their new business vision, and it contains some interesting new objectives:
http://www.jreast.co.jp/press/2013/20131019.pdf

Specifically:

新幹線車両を使ったリゾート列車の導入
Introduction of a “resort” train using Shinkansen rolling stock

首都圏特急列車の競争力強化
Strengthening competitiveness of limited express trains in the Greater Tōkyō area.

豊かな自然環境を活かした北東北の「再生可能エネルギー基地」化(太陽光・風力・地熱・バイオマス)
Taking advantage of the rich natural environment in the northern Tōhoku region to introduce renewable energy facilities (solar, wind, geothermal, biomass)

鉄道向け変電所の自営電力化(中央線・総武線・横浜線の4変電所/2016~2017年度)
Converting railway transformer substations to company-owned and generated power (four substations on the Chūō Line, Sōbu Line, and Yokohama Line by FY2016-17)

「線路設備モニタリング装置」の本格導入に向けた開発の推進
Continued development in preparation for introduction of track infrastructure monitoring equipment.

触車事故防止に向けた無線を活用した列車接近警報装置の開発
Development of wireless devices to alert passengers to arriving trains and prevent accidents at platforms.

ロンドン事務所の新設に向けた準備を推進
Continued preparations towards establishment of an overseas office in London.

交流区間乗入れ用の蓄電池駆動電車の開発、「架線レス化」の実現に向けた検討
Development of a battery-powered train for use on AC-powered track, and investigation towards realizing catenary-less operations.
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Old November 5th, 2013, 08:40 PM   #1438
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Hitachi to begin offering railcar inverters with SiC power semiconductors in FY2015
日立、SiCパワー半導体搭載の鉄道車両用インバーターを15年度に商用化

http://www.asahi.com/tech_science/ni...311050010.html

Hitachi will begin offering new energy-efficient railcar inverters in FY2015. The next-generation models will feature silicon carbide (SiC) based power semiconductors, which help reduce electricity loss by over 30% compared to current inverter models. Hitachi also builds railcars, and hopes to expands its presence in the railway market through synergies with key electrical components such as inverters.

The new “hybrid” inverter uses silicon-based diodes for the semiconductors and SiC for the insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT), and is designed for 1500 V AC, featuring 40% less volume and mass than existing models. The SiC power semiconductors were developed by group subisidary Hitachi Power Devices (日立パワーデバイス). They are currently considering whether to handle mass-production of the chips internally or to contract it out to an outside party.

The inverters will be manufactured at Hitachi’s Mito Plant in Hitachi Naka City, Ibaraki Prefecture. While SiC is garnering attention industry-wide as part of the next step in the evolution of inverter technology, material costs are still high, and there is a possibility that introduction of new inverter and propulsion equipment using the compound will slightly increase costs above current off-the-shelf models. However, Hitachi believes there is demand, particularly from railway operators, who will recoup the added capital costs through reductions in electricity and maintenance costs.

Industry competitor Mitsubishi Electric (三菱電機) is already providing SiC-based railcar inverters to clients both domestically and globally, while Tōshiba will begin doing so this fiscal year. As a railcar manufacturer, Hitachi will market holistically, offering the next-generation inverters as part of its rolling stock lineup. The company is also looking into development of a full-SiC system that includes transistor elements.
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Old November 6th, 2013, 02:42 AM   #1439
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With the end of Akebono, how much longer will Casseiopea, Hokutosei, and Twilight Express last? Will they be phased out before the Hokkaido Shinkansen starts service in March 2016?
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Old November 6th, 2013, 08:11 PM   #1440
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Well, I think they will last a bit longer than that... The first Shinkansen segment opening will only be to Hakodate, so I think they may run into difficulties if they try to kill it off before they open everything to Sapporo. It's sort of the same reason that the Sunrise Izumo and Sunrise Seto have still managed to survive despite the Tōkaidō and San'yō Shinkansen, although Sapporo probably has far better air service than the Sea of Japan coast and Shikoku.

The other thing is that the Cassiopeia and Twilight Express are somewhat special trains, offering better service than some of the regular sleepers like Akebono, Nihon-kai, etc. There very well may be enough demand from railfans and leisure travelers to keep these services alive, even after the Sapporo extension opens, particularly with the recent rebirth of leisure travel on long-distance trains.
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