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Old January 16th, 2011, 07:01 PM   #2081
starrwulfe
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Nagoya Manaca IC card update

With less than a month now before rollout, I can say that the infrastructure is being placed in at a rapid clip now.

Meitetsu has started installing their turnstiles and TVMs; I'll get some pix later this week when I use them on my commute. Also all the busses have additional IC tap-pads installed; they're covered with a plastic sign saying "tap me on 2/13". Ads and posters are everywhere and they're talking about the new point system for using Manaca.

Here's something else I thought would happen later than sooner:

This is a IC tap-pad that was just installed at the Mr. Donut outside Ikeshita station in my area. When I asked what it was for, the clerk said "Manaca!". Awesome! So now I'm checking all stores nearby to see if they're also installing them there.
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Old January 17th, 2011, 11:14 AM   #2082
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Efforts to increase Kyōto Municipal Subway ridership proceeding apace
http://www.kyoto-np.co.jp/local/article/20110112000182

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A meeting of Kyōto City’s Council to Increase Subway Ridership by 50,000 Passengers, where attendees discussed strategies to increase ridership on the Kyōto Municipal Subway, was held on January 12 at Kyōto City Hall in Nakagyō Ward. Of the 210 measures planned for this fiscal year, officials reported that 95 percent had been accomplished or been launched, and other attendees proposed new strategies to increase revenue, including introduction of naming rights for station restrooms.

With the Municipal Subway in dire financial straits, the Kyōto City established the council in April of last year. With Vice-Mayor Yuki Fumihiko as council chairman, approx. 40 ward mayors and top city officials have considered revenue-boosting strategies.

At the January 12 meeting, officials reported that 100 measures had already been implemented, including the opening of Kotochika Shijō and other retail facilities along the subway network, sponsorship of special events in areas around stations, and production of stuffed animals of the subway’s mascot character. Average daily ridership between April and November was 338,000 passengers, a year-over-year increase of 1.2 percent.

A team of young city employees also proposed their own set of strategies to increase revenue, including unique proposals such as selling station restroom naming rights and maintenance duties to private corporations, and special cosplay trains designed to get cosplay hobby groups to ride the subways. The council will now consider these new proposals.
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Old January 17th, 2011, 11:15 AM   #2083
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Tōkyū Den’en Toshi Line, Odakyū Odawara Line most popular lines to live along
http://www.j-cast.com/mono/2011/01/13085364.html

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Results of a poll by the Home4U home rentals service and published on December 15, 2010 revealed that the most popular neighborhoods in the Kantō Region (by train line) are along the Tōkyū Den’en Toshi Line. The Den’en Toshi Line travels from the Hanzōmon Subway Line, via Shibuya, and passes through popular stations including Sangenjaya, Futako – Tamagawa, and Tama Plaza, and it’s believed that the number-one reason behind the popularity of the line is its convenience for commuting to work and school.

Coming second in the poll was the Odakyū Odawara Line from Shinjuku to Odawara. From Shinjuku, the line connects towns that are magnets for the younger generations, including Shimo-Kitazawa, Seijō Gakuen-mae, and Machida. The line is also convenient for recreation and shopping, and the easy transfers to the Chiyoda Line, Marunouchi Line, and Inokashira Line also helped earn it high points. In third place in the poll was the JR Keihin-Tōhoku / Negishi Line, linking Ōmiya and Ōfuna and covering Tōkyō, Saitama, and Kanagawa in one sweep. No doubt some riders also enjoy that the line’s last trains are scheduled comparatively later than for other lines. The JR Sōbu Line came in fourth and the JR Yamanote Line came in 5th.

In addition, among areas for which the company received inquiries about properties in November 2010, Setagaya Ward, Shinjuku Ward, and Suginami Ward came out on top. These areas are convenient for commuting to work or school, but also have large parks and rich natural scenery such as Komazawa Olympic Park, Kinuta Park, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, and the Tamagawa Jōsui (an aqueduct), making them popular among not just single residents but also families.
No surprises here, as Tōkyū and Odakyū have for some time now had some of the most desirable neighborhoods in all of Greater Tōkyō.

Some of the older sets on the Den’en Toshi Line, at Mizonokuchi Station (2010.12.29):


Source: SenzanLine455 on YouTube
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Old January 17th, 2011, 11:16 AM   #2084
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Tōkyō Metro Tōzai Line to get station and track improvements to reduce crowding, improve on-time performance
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/s/article/...790070704.html

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In an effort to improve overcrowding and delays in service on the Tōkyō Metro Tōzai Line, the most crowded subway line in Japan, Tōkyō Metro has launched a series of countermeasures including station platform widening and extensions. The railway is also planning to construct new platforms and tracks at stations that experience especially severe overcrowding, and it's expected that a total of approx. ¥73 billion will be invested in the effort over the next 10 years.

According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), daily ridership on the Tōzai Line in FY2009 was approx. 1.32 million, the highest of any subway line in Tōkyō Prefecture. During the morning rush hour, approx. 76,000 passengers an hour pass through the section of the line between Kiba and Monzen Nakachō. During this period, congestion inside trains, as compared to their capacity, reaches 197 percent—the highest of any major section of a subway line in Japan and higher than even private railways running inside Tōkyō Prefecture.

According to Tōkyō Metro, the Tōzai Line, whose full length opened in 1969, has seen ridership surge to 3.3 times initial levels as a result of active trackside developments at the Chiba end of the line.

Delays as a result of overcrowding during the commute period are not uncommon. Under the existing schedule, trains are supposed to operate at headways of 2 minutes and 30 seconds during the morning commute, but because of dwell times at stations, trains following behind are often forced to wait inside the tunnel approaches, resulting in delays.

As a result, the plan calls for introduction of a new series of 13 trains (130 cars; approx. ¥18 billion), featuring doorways that are 50 cm wider than existing trains, starting in FY2010 as part of a countermeasure against delays. Together with 5 wide-door trains from another train type already in service, the 18 total wide-door trains will be strategically focused on services in the mornings.

In FY2012, the railway will also widen the platforms at Monzen Nakachō Station. In FY2016, the railway will complete platform extensions and new escalators and stairwells (approx. ¥10 billion) at Kayabachō Station. Tōkyō Metro also has plans for large-scale improvements to the line, including construction of new platforms and tracks at congested stations, allowing following trains to arrive and depart stations simultaneously without the need to wait inside tunnel approaches. Minami-Sunamachi Station and others have surfaced as possible candidates, and Tōkyō Metro plans to implement the improvements in 10 years (approx. ¥15 billion). If these improvements allow for increasing the number of trains, it’s likely that crowding inside trains would be improved.

A Tōkyō Metro spokesperson says that the railway is also looking into urging off-peak commuting.
Interesting… This is the first I’ve actually heard of major infrastructure investments like new platforms and tracks… So far, it’s only been about the new wide-door 15000 series trains.

FY2009 Tōzai Line ridership by station (my image). The most crowded section is from Kiba to Monzen Nakachō, and it’s easy to see why… There’s a lot of people “getting on” at Nishi-Funabashi, partially because this is a major interchange and partially because these are through-service trips from the JR Chūō-Sōbu Line (local) and Tōyō Rapid Railway (similar situation at Nakano). However, more passengers just keep getting on all through Edogawa and Kōtō Wards (east of central Tōkyō) until Monzen Nakachō, which is the first interchange station (with the Toei Ōedo Line).



Judging from this video, the wide doors, three- to four-persons wide, appear to be doing their job of getting people in and out of the train faster. Perhaps this will become the new standard for the Tōzai Line. This was taken at Kayabachō (interchange with the Hibiya Line), one stop after Monzen Nakachō.


Source: jackazzzzable on YouTube

As a comparison, this is door-area activity with standard-door trains. This doesn’t actually show people moving in or out of the doors, but boarding and alighting does appear to be less problematic with the wider doors. The wider doors also mean fewer seats and more standing room, so that probably helps improve flow as well.


Source: markhollywoody on YouTube
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Old January 17th, 2011, 11:17 AM   #2085
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Third order of 2000 series trains, Minami-Nagareyama Station platform improvements for Tsukuba Express
https://www.mir.co.jp/uploads/20110112085747.pdf

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At Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company (President and Representative Director: Takahashi Nobukazu; HQ: Taitō Ward, Tōkyō), operator of the Tsukuba Express (TX) linking Akihabara and Tsukuba, average daily ridership surpassed 270,000 passengers in FY2009 and has been growing apace, reaching 286,000 passengers in the first half of FY2010. As a result of trackside developments, ridership is expected to increase further along the TX. In an effort to increase future capacity and alleviate congestion inside trains, we will carry out an augmentation of our train fleet and platform improvement works at Minami-Nagareyama Station by FY2012.

In regards to the augmentation of our train fleet, increasing capacity during commute periods has become a critical task. As a result, we will augment our fleet with three additional trains (six-cars each, 18 cars total) to join our existing fleet of 34 trains (204 cars).

Since the opening of the TX, ridership at Minami-Nagareyama Station has been increasing. Platforms at the station are currently extremely congested, particularly during the morning commute rush, leading us to implement platform improvement works designed to substantially alleviate congestion. Because Minami-Nagareyama Station is an underground station, widening of the platforms is difficult from an engineering perspective, so we will extend the platforms by approx. 40 m in both directions (towards Akihabara and towards Tsukuba), reducing passenger clustering in the central section of the platforms.

This is the third order of 2000 series trains for the TX. First order was for 16 trains (96 cars), entering service in 2004. Second order was for 4 trains (24 cars), entering service in 2008.

Minami-Nagareyama Station is the interchange with the JR Musashino Line. Average daily ridership at the station has seen substantial growth since the opening of the line:
  • 2005: 13,589
  • 2006: 19,350
  • 2007: 23,819
  • 2008: 26,168
  • 2009: 27,339
Average daily ridership in November of last year was 29,800 for Minami-Nagareyama Station and 292,400 passengers for the overall line. It may not be long before the line reaches 300,000 passengers daily.

Based on the diagram, extending out 40 m on both ends of the platform will allow them to stagger inbound and outbound trains to streamline the flow of passengers exiting the train (and heading for the stairs / escalators) while redistributing passengers waiting on the platform to board the train.

Tour of the Tsukuba Express yard in Moriya (2010.11.03).
Interesting shots include clips of the rail grinder, tie tampers, and the special shuttle trains that moved passengers between the yard and Moriya Station.


Source: karibajct on YouTube
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Old January 19th, 2011, 06:03 AM   #2086
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As always, great updates!
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Old January 19th, 2011, 09:58 AM   #2087
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Tests of Kawasaki’s Gigacell battery power system on Tōkyū Den’en Toshi Line successful
http://www.khi.co.jp/news/detail/20110118_1.html

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At Kawasaki Heavy Industries, we have succeeded in a field test of the trackside battery power system (BPS), which we have been developing for use in railway systems, on Tōkyū Corporation’s Den’en Toshi Line. With the aim of confirming the BPS’ effectiveness in preventing regeneration failures and reducing energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, we have carried out tests of the technology with the cooperation of Tōkyū Corporation, Tōkyū Techno System Co., Ltd., and Fuji Electric Systems Co., Ltd., and have become the first in the world to demonstrate the benefits of the technology on a railway system powered by feeder lines at 1,500 V DC, a typical voltage in use on railways.

The BPS units developed by Kawasaki use the Gigacell, a large nickel-metal hydride battery developed in-house by Kawasaki. By connecting the batteries directly to the overhead lines, there is no need for high-voltage chopper control equipment. Since the use of control systems is not required, the BPS allows for low-cost and compact designs, but does not cause a time lag or loss in control, and does not cause inductive interference that can affect signaling equipment. In this latest field test, we installed BPS technology at the Tsukimino Substation on the Tōkyū Den’en Toshi Line, and have been operating it since August of last year. In the course of these tests, we verified the technology’s effectiveness in preventing regeneration failures, reducing energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, and stabilizing overhead line voltage.

According to calculations based on empirical data collected in these tests, the BPS can reduce electricity consumption by approx. 1,600 MWh annually, translating to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of approx. 669 tons annually. In addition, in the course of these tests we were successful in decreasing the maximum voltage by 62 V and increasing the minimum voltage by 23 V at Chūō Rinkan Station, confirming the technology’s effectiveness in voltage compensation. While the BPS was in operation, we also confirmed its effectiveness in preventing regeneration failure, and discovered that it is also potentially effective in reducing the electric power flowing through the substation, serving as a backup for the substation (i.e., train movements when substation rectifiers have been suspended), and cutting down on brake maintenance by reducing the frequency of use of air brakes on trains.

Using the successes of this latest field test as a stepping stone, Kawasaki will now focus efforts on selling and distributing BPS installations for 1,500 V DC railway lines. In addition, we will work to expand use of Gigacell technology not just in our BPS installations, but also in “smart grid” systems that make it possible to introduce large amounts of renewable energy and in smart communities. Through these efforts, Kawasaki will continue to contribute towards the realization of a low-carbon society.
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Old January 19th, 2011, 09:59 AM   #2088
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ATS-P to launch on Sagano Line on January 19
http://www.asahi.com/kansai/travel/n...101130019.html

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In regards to the new automatic train stop (ATS) systems being installed following the Takarauzuka Line (Fukuchiyama Line) derailment in Amagasaki, on January 12 JR West announced that it has finished installing the new system on the full length of the Sagano Line (Kyōto ‒ Sonobe, 34.2 km), and will launch the system with the start of service on January 19. The cost to implement the system on this section of the network was ¥607 million. The total investment on lines which have received the system has now reached approx. ¥4 billion, and 84 percent of the JR West network in the Keihanshin area is now equipped with new ATS systems.

This fiscal year, the railway will install the system onto the full length of the Kosei Line (Yamashina ‒ Ōmi Shiotsu), and installation is also planned for the Gakken Toshi Line between Kyō Tanabe and Kizu and the Biwako Line between Maibara and Nagahama.
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Old January 19th, 2011, 09:59 AM   #2089
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Nankai to introduce new 12000 series trains onto Southern limited express
http://www.nankai.co.jp/company/news/pdf/110117.pdf

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In an effort to provide a more pleasant transport service for our customers, at Nankai Electric Railway (President: Watari Shinji), we will introduce the new 12000 series limited express train onto the Nankai Line, commencing revenue service on the Southern limited express services in autumn 2011.

The 12000 series is designed for both passenger comfort and user-friendliness. With the 12000 series, Nankai will become the first major private railway to introduce Sharp’s Plasmacluster technology, restricting the effects of viruses and dissolving and removing airborne molds and bacteria. The trains also feature wider seats, tables large enough to hold notebook computers, AC outlets, and other amenities, helping to improve interior comfort. In addition to barrier-free improvements such as wheelchair-accessible restrooms and reduced height differences with platforms achieved by lowering the height of the car floor, the trains are also designed to reduce impacts to the environment, with VVVF inverter controls and the introduction of waterless urinals.

As the premium-fare limited express rolling stock linking Ōsaka and Wakayama, with this train we will provide customers with a more comfortable and more relaxing transport service.

Details
Designation: 12000 series
Fleet size: Two (2) four-car trains (8 cars total)
Lines to be Operated on: Nankai Line (Nankai Main Line, Wakayama-kō Line)
Train type: Limited express (operating as the Southern limited express linking Namba with Wakayama-shi and Wakayama-kō Stations)
Launch of service: Autumn 2011 (scheduled)
Seats: 242 per train
Design theme: “Bringing a new wave to Minami”
With a blue line connecting from the train ends and wrapping around the upper part of the car sides, and curved blue and orange lines on the bottom of the car sides, the exterior represents the “waves” of people and trains washing up against the Ōsaka Bay shoreline and Wakayama, as well as the “waves” of people from all around Japan making their way to Ōsaka’s Minami district.

Main Features
From the viewpoint of passengers, we improved the following items from the existing Southern limited express trains (10000 series):
  • More comfortable interior amenities
    1. The trains will feature Plasmacluster technology, making Nankai the first major private railway to do so. In addition to restricting the activity of viruses, the technology dissolves and removes airborne molds and bacteria, providing a comfortable interior space.
    2. By expanding the seat width by 25 mm to 460 mm, we have ensured an even more luxurious experience that will allow passengers to sit comfortably.
    3. In addition to AC power outlets in the seat backs, we have installed 430 mm wide by 245 mm long tables to cater to business users.
    4. By designing the headrest to wrap around passengers’ heads, we have ensured a relaxing ride.
  • Barrier-free advancements
    1. In addition to installing wheelchair spaces inside the train just as for existing Southern limited express trains, we have installed a new wheelchair-accessible restroom, allowing passengers in wheelchairs to use the restroom more comfortably.
    2. We have installed door chimes and door indicator lamps to signal the opening and closing of doors. This ensures safety by informing passengers with impaired vision or hearing of the opening and closing of doors.
    3. By reducing the height of the car floor edges by 44 m to 1,150 mm, we have realized smoother boarding and alighting by minimizing the height differences between the train and the platform.
    4. By installing handles on the shoulders of seats, we have ensured passenger safety when moving inside the train.
  • Environmentally-friendly design
    1. In addition to a more efficient power system through the use of VVVF inverters in the train’s control systems, we have decreased electricity consumption by using lightweight stainless steel for the car body. Compared to the existing Southern limited express, we project a reduction of approx. 440 tons of carbon dioxide annually.
    2. Through the use of a scroll-type air compressor that is quieter than the existing air compressors, we will reduce noise.
    3. We will use waterless urinals, which were first introduced at some of our stations in 2008 and have helped conserve water, in the men’s restrooms on the new train, helping to conserve water.




Rarely get any Nankai news, but I’ll take this…
This whole air purifier thing seems to be becoming more popular. JR East has had them for some time already on regular commuter sets (E233 series).

Nankai activity:
Lots of great older cars to watch.


Source: cisalpino on YouTube
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Old January 19th, 2011, 10:00 AM   #2090
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Kashima Railway BRT posts ridership gains over previous bus service
http://mytown.asahi.com/areanews/iba...101170325.html

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It's been a little over four months since the debut last summer of a bus rapid transit (BRT) system running on an exclusive right-of-way constructed along the former tracks of the abandoned Kashima Railway. Ishioka City announced the results of a study analyzing ridership on the new line. According to the data, weekday ridership is up 16 percent above what it was before the BRT was commissioned, when the service was still operated with regular fixed-route buses. City spokespersons say that riders "are enjoying the reliability of the service, which doesn't get stuck in traffic."

The bus-only right-of-way stretches 5.1 km between the former Ishioka and Shikamura Stations, part of the 7.1 km abandoned rail line that formerly operated between Ishioka Station and Ogawa Station (Omitama City). Since August 30 of last year, a special fleet of buses has been operating 112 trips on weekdays along the route. Buses use the exclusive right-of-way to reach Ibaraki Airport, Namegata City, and other destinations.

The city's study was a comparative analysis of ridership last April between Ishioka Station and Ogawa Station on the previous bus service (commissioned to replace the abandoned rail line) against ridership trends on the BRT for September, October, and November of last year.

According to the results, daily weekday ridership on the BRT in November was 922 passengers, a 16 percent increase above the 794 passengers carried by the former bus service. While ridership on weekends only showed a 6 percent increase, total combined ridership (weekdays and weekends) showed a 15 percent increase.

BRT ridership itself is also showing steady gains: When focusing on weekday service alone, BRT ridership in November was 8.5 percent higher than in September, when it first began operation.

According to the city, there are likely a substantial number of students who used to take the train but switched their travel mode for school commute trips to private automobile (i.e., being dropped off and picked up by parents) and who reside along the line, and the "return" of student commuters is the key to increasing is BRT ridership.

The city's Planning Section says, "If we can achieve the increased commuter pass discounts which we've broached with the BRT operator, Kantetsu Green Bus, together with the the two-minute reduction in travel time on late night and early morning trips as part of the February schedule changes, the stage will be set for substantial ridership growth in the future."
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Old January 19th, 2011, 10:01 AM   #2091
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MLIT reveals record of proceedings for closed-door meeting on Tōkyō Metro / Toei Subway merger
http://journal.mycom.co.jp/news/2011/01/14/082/

Quote:
On January 13, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) released the record of proceedings for the third meeting of the Committee Regarding Consolidation of Tōkyō’s Subways on its website. The records are a compilation of the meeting held behind closed doors on November 17, 2010, attended by eight people: the Railway Bureau Chief and Deputy Director-General from the MLIT; the Counselor and Government Shareholding Office Chief from the Ministry of Finance; the Vice-Governor, Chief Engineer, and Bureau of Transportation Chief from the Tōkyō Metropolitan Government; and the President and Representative Director of Tōkyō Metro. The record details statements made by attendees explaining their positions regarding the merger of Tōkyō Metro and the Toei Subway.

From its position as the majority shareholder in Tōkyō Metro, the Ministry of Finance is focused on the profitability of both subway operators. Based on estimates by three securities companies, the Ministry of Finance said it believes that the value of stock in the Toei Subway is a deterrant to the merger. In other words, the Ministry is worried that the value of Tōkyō Metro will suffer as a result of the financial consolidation of the two subways.

Accepting the fact that the national government is a shareholder in Tōkyō Metro, the MLIT noted that Tōkyō Metro is an asset that belongs to the Japanese people. The MLIT says that a prerequisite to the merger is that Tōkyō Metro stock must not suffer devaluation, but claims that a merger now would tarnish the value of Tōkyō Metro stock. The MLIT maintained its stance that Toei Subway debt must be reduced before a merger can move forward. The complete privatization of Tōkyō Metro has been mandated by law, but in the future, the current shareholders—the national government and the Tōkyō Metropolitan Government—plan to sell their shares. However, the MLIT pointed out contradictions in forecasts of the Tōkyō Metropolitan Government’s long-term debt and accumulated deficit which show the Metropolitan Government continuing to receive dividends on Tōkyō Metro stock. In addition there is the issue regarding the reduction in the fare burden for transferring passengers, which the Tōkyō Metropolitan Government has been lobbying to implement. Under the current situation, passengers transferring between the Toei Subway and Tōkyō Metro “are assessed a base fare twice, resulting in an expensive fare even with the fairly substantial discount structure.” In response, the MLIT said it believes that “the transfer burden can be reduced under the existing system, without the need for a merger between the two systems.” In addition, in regards to the “wall at Kudanshita Station” publicized by Tōkyō Metropolitan Government officials, the MLIT requested that the two operators “look at things from a user’s perspective and discuss specific strategies to improve passenger service,” without claiming the merger as a prerequisite to improvements.

The “wall at Kudanshita Station” refers to the current situation where the Oshiage-bound Tōkyō Metro Hanzōmon Line track and Shinjuku-bound Toei Shinjuku Line track share opposite sides of a single platform, but a wall separates the two, with only emergency exits permitting through-access. Normally, passengers on both lines would be able to make cross-platform transfers at the station, but because of the wall down the middle, passengers are forced to take a circuitous detour through the faregates. The Tōkyō Metropolitan Government claims that the wall was “built only because the two subways are operated by different entities,” but emphasizes that a merger would allow them to “break down the wall and improve convenience for passengers.”

The Tōkyō Metropolitan Government also rebutted statements about its financial constitution and revenue forecasts. In terms of operating efficiency factor (i.e., the amount of expenditure required for each ¥100 of revenue), the Tōkyō Metropolitan Government says that "the Toei Subway performs even better than Tōkyō Metro." It also noted that it is in the process of repaying the long-term debt and that there are no issues with its financial state in terms of public corporation accounting: "Even with a merger of the two subways, we won't be affected financially. It's critical to not look at the current stock value, but to think instead of the future potential."

In addition, the Tōkyō Metropolitan Government cast doubt on real estate investment by Tōkyō Metro, supposedly a subway operation designed to serve the public, while it is having trouble implementing barrier-free improvements on-schedule. The Tōkyō Metropolitan Government also identified the wall at Kudanshita Station as one example of absurdities that would disappear if the two subway systems merged, and emphasized that the debate regarding the wall must be considered with the vision of a future merger in mind.

In regards to the Kudanshita Station wall dilemma and the reduction of the "transfer burden," Tōkyō Metro indicated that these "are efforts that can be undertaken without the need to consider a merger as a prerequisite," and expressed its intention to discuss the issues with the Tōkyō Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation. In regards to the barrier-free improvements mentioned by the Tōkyō Metropolitan Government, Tōkyō Metro also responded with determination, saying it is "aiming for 100% compliance within the next ten years," despite delays due to space constraints on older lines and other factors. In regards to its real estate investment, the subway operator explained that the efforts were "active reuse of air rights above railway facilities and operational land left empty." Tōkyō Metro said that the efforts were conducted in order to bolster its financial footing in preparation for the complete privatization of the former Eidan Subway.

This particular committee session saw the National Government worried about devaluation of Tōkyō Metro stock as a result of the merger, while the Tōkyō Metropolitan Government stressed the merger's future potential. In addition, in regards to subway riders' anticipation of the merits of a merger, such as a more "accessible" fare structure and more convenient transfers, some attendees indicated that these measures were "entirely feasible without the need of a merger."
Gives a pretty good overview of all the stakeholders and their positions...
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Old January 20th, 2011, 07:55 AM   #2092
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Tōshiba to supply drive systems and other electrical equipment for WMATA, Metra railcar orders
http://www.toshiba.co.jp/about/press...1/pr_j2001.htm

Quote:
Tōshiba Corporation has received orders for drive systems and train information systems for subway trains for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (WMATA) and drive systems for bilevel trains for the Northern Illinois Regional Transportation Authority (Metra). For both orders, contracting was handled by our local United States arm, Tōshiba International Corporation (TIC).

In August of last year, Kawasaki Rail Car, Inc. (KRC)—the local United States arm of Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd.—won a railcar order from WMATA. TIC subsequently signed a contract with KRC to supply drive system components (including railcar motors, inverters, and gears) and train information systems for 428 cars (including 364 cars in KRC’s original WMATA order and 64 cars from a separate internal order). In addition, this latest contract includes an option for components for as many as 320 additional cars, bringing the total number of cars under the contract to 748 should the option be exercised.

In September of last year, Nippon Sharyō, Ltd. and Sumitomo Corporation won a railcar order from Metra, with Sumitomo Corporation’s local United States arm, Sumitomo Corporation of America, as the designated contract lead. Our latest Metra order is an agreement by TIC to supply Nippon Sharyō with motors, inverters, and other drive system components for 160 bilevel rail cars.

For both orders, the majority of the manufacturing is planned to be conducted by TIC, with delivery of the WMATA order beginning in January 2012 and delivery of the Metra order beginning in October 2011.

Currently, there is an increasing demand for railcars in the United States as a result of replacement of existing urban transit railcars and construction of new metropolitan railways in Washington, D.C., Chicago, and other areas. It’s forecasted that there will be orders for over 6,000 new railcars in the United States between now and 2015.

At Tōshiba, we are planning to expand the overseas share of total sales in our transport systems business from the approx. 40 percent in FY2009 to approx. 70 percent by FY2015. We have identified the North American region, where the market is expected to expand in the future, as one of our key geographical areas, and are in the process of actively pursuing orders.

With these latest orders as a stepping stone, Tōshiba will place additional effort into pursuing orders for electric railcar electrical equipment and locomotives for the United States and the rest of the overseas markets, with the goal of increasing sales in our transport systems business to ¥200 billion in FY2015.
According to a Sankei / MSN report here, the combined value of these two orders is ¥30 billion.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 10:25 AM   #2093
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Old January 20th, 2011, 10:33 PM   #2094
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
As = asu ("tomorrow")
tram = tram

Basically "tram of the future" or something like that.

Long-term plan for the Astram Line:

Source: Hiroshima City

Pink = Seifū Shinto Line, from Kōiki Kōen-mae to Nishi-Hiroshima
Green = Tōzai Line, from Nishi-Hiroshima to Hiroshima
Yellow = Namboku Line, from Hon-dōri to Hiroshima University

I think they changed their plan to try to use LRT (e.g., upgrade of the streetcars) or less costly modes, so if these do get built, they may not be with the same technology as the Astram Line.
Way back in the 1970s there was a proposal using the english acronym of "HATS" - Hiroshima Area Transportation Study - for a true subway down Heiwa Odori. It would have linked the Kure Line on the east to the Hiroden Miyajima line on the west. The Hiroden Miyajima line would have been rebuilt to subway standards. That proposal died though I'm not sure why.

Since then there have been a number of proposals. As far as I know, the extension from Koiki Koen-Mae to Nishi Hiroshima station by way of Satsukigaoka is still planned as an Astram extension, and an extension further south from Hondori is also planned, though the company running the Astram thinks that the probability for these extensions making it off the drawing board is not good.

As for Heiwa Odori, there are as far as I know still a number of competing proposals, LRT, Astram, and a self-contained steel wheel subway. Something IS likely to get built here, eventually, but I cannot say which of the predictions would win out.
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Old January 21st, 2011, 09:53 AM   #2095
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Mitsubishi downplays criticism on Macau LRT contract
http://www.macaudailytimes.com.mo/ma...-contract.html

Quote:
Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries denied yesterday any wrongdoing during the public tender to supply the rolling stock and the system for the first phase of the Light Rail Transit (LRT).

“There was no [previous] deal with [Macau’s] Transportation Infrastructure Office (GIT)” for Mitsubishi to be granted the contract, said the general manager of the company’s Transportation Systems Business Department, Takayuki Hishinuma.

The process has been tinged with controversy after lawmaker José Pereira Coutinho made repeated allegations that the GIT had pre-selected Mitsubishi as the winner. Last Tuesday, the lawmaker claimed again that the bid was tainted by an “illegal pre-selection and lack of transparency”.

According to Hishinuma, Mitsubishi’s representatives had meetings with the GIT officials, but to clarify doubts regarding the project and other details – “something that is normal in this kind of process”.

On December 30 the Government awarded the MOP 4.69 billion contract to Mitsubishi, who will only supply the rolling stock. The other provisions specified in the tender (5 + 5 year’s maintenance and additional trains) have not been activated.

Mitsubishi beat two rival bids made by a partnership between Canada’s Bombardier and China Road and Bridge Corporation and a joint venture between Siemens and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.

“GIT and the whole process was very fair, according to the international experience that we have,” Hishimuna stressed yesterday at a press conference.

Regarding the Sai Van Bridge, he reassured that “no critical modifications will be required” because the company’s vehicles – made of aluminium alloy – are very light.

This week Coutinho had criticised GIT’s decision, saying that Mitsubishi’s system was not the lightest because the guidance system would require “extremely heavy reinforced concrete side walls”.

A claim that was denied by GIT: “The tunnel will only need light metal structures.”

While there is no need for structural modifications, the ventilation system and emergency exits of the bridge will require adjustments, Hishimuna acknowledged, adding that Mitsubishi faced similar challenges in the Tokyo Bay line.

“We have several years of experience in this business and our project is a good solution to Macau,” he added, downplaying concerns over an eventual appeal from any of the other candidates, which have now less than 60 days to reach a decision.

“Once we sign the contract [with the Government] we will follow the required schedule (47 months). We have always delivered on time.”

A source told Macau Daily Times that Bombardier is still reviewing the whole process, and only after a thorough evaluation will decide on whether or not it will lodge an appeal.

Mitsubishi also promised to have a local footprint, not only during the construction phase but also when it comes to maintenance. “We want to work with local companies and workers, transferring technology and know-how to local engineers and technicians,” said the project representative, Yoshitaka Kaneko.

The first phase of the light rail, that can transport passengers between the Border Gate and Barra in the Macau peninsula and then via the Sai Van Bridge between the Jockey Club and the Pac On ferry terminal across Taipa and Cotai, should be up and running in early 2015.

The model of the Mitsubishi trains is Crystal Mover which is also running in Singapore, South Korea’s Incheon International Airport as well as the Washington Dulles International Airport and the Miami International Airport in the US.

Macau will operate four-cabin trains with a passenger volume of 476, stretching 47 metres long, 2.8 metres wide and 3.9 metres high.
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Old January 21st, 2011, 09:55 AM   #2096
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Fukuoka City Transportation Bureau presents results of engineering studies for Nanakuma Line extension
http://mainichi.jp/area/fukuoka/news...10337000c.html

Quote:
Regarding the proposed extension of the Fukuoka City Subway Nanakuma Line along the "Canal City alignment" (1.4 km), on January 19 the Fukuoka City Transportation Bureau announced the results of technical and engineering investigations conducted this fiscal year, including results of soil tests, to the City Council's Special Committee on Transport Strategy.

The Transportation Bureau conducted soil tests and surveys of underground structures along the proposed route linking Tenjin-Minami Station and JR Hakata Station via Canal City Hakata. Based on the results, the tunnels and stations can be constructed entirely within publicly-owned space beneath roadways, without the need for acquisition of privately-owned land. The studies also confirmed that transfer passages with the subway's Aiport Line and JR lines could be constructed at Hakata Station.

Kano Itaru, administrator of the city's transport operations, addressed committee members: "After the alignment and other basics are decided within the special committee, we will need a consensus from the administration. The Transportation Bureau believes this is a 'must do' project, and we are hoping for your support." The committee plans to compile its report at its next session on February 9.

The estimated construction costs of the proposed extension are ¥45 billion, with an opening scheduled approx. 10 years after the project receives approval.
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Old January 21st, 2011, 09:55 AM   #2097
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Kōbe Electric Railway Ao Line struggles to stay afloat
http://www.kobe-np.co.jp/news/shakai/0002656312.shtml

Quote:
The Kōbe Electric Railway (Shintetsu) Ao Line (Suzurandai ‒ Ao), which has faced eight straight years with an annual operating deficit of ¥1 billion or more, is on the brink of being abandoned. In response to requests by Shintetsu, which claims that maintaining service on the line is difficult on its own, local municipalities along the line (Kōbe, Miki, and Ono Cities) and citizen representatives established a revitalization committee (Chairman: Ono City vice-mayor Kobayashi Seigō) for the line in November of last year. A detailed support plan is slated for implementation starting in April of this year, and eyes are glued on whether or not the efforts will lead to ridership gains.

“Because of population aging and decline, ridership has dropped to half what it was during its peak. We’ve already converted the line to one-man operations, and it’s difficult to implement further reductions in labor costs or other expenses,” remarked a Shintetsu spokesperson, presenting data to explain the line’s dire situation at the first meeting of the committee at Miki City Hall on December 11 of last year.

According to Shintetsu, as a result of population aging and decline, the size of the commuter demographic along the line is decreasing by 1 to 1.5 percent annually. The line also competes with bus services, and revenues on the line have been on the decline.

Fixed costs alone—such as for maintenance of track and station buildings—already surpasses revenues, and while the railway struggles to find solutions such as conversion to unmanned stations and wage cuts for employees, the deficit only grows larger.

Revenues from other side businesses that typically compensate for the Ao Line’s operating deficit have also declined, with the ordinary profit across all businesses falling below ¥100 million. Shintetsu says, “It’s become difficult to maintain a line that’s ¥1 billion in the red every year.”

In accordance with the rehabilitation plan for the line, the railway has received a total of approx. ¥930 million in funding from the National Government, Hyōgo Prefecture, and local governments since FY2004 for safety facilities and other infrastructure improvements. But with the end of the rehabilitation plan in FY2009 and the limited potential for ridership growth with past support programs, the railway urged for the establishment of the revitalization committee.

According to the Act on Revitalization and Rehabilitation of Local Public Transportation Systems enacted in 2007, the committee can receive funding grants from the National Government if its support program is approved. The committee will devise a draft support plan sometime in January and compile a detailed plan by late March, aiming to implement the plan as early as April.

Ono City, the lead agency of the committee, has constructed community facilities and restaurants (to be operated by citizens) at Ao Station and Kashiyama Station, in an attempt to increase affinity for the stations and boost ridership. When the JR Kakogawa Line was electrified in December 2004, that line also experienced an increase in ridership using similar methods.

Spokespersons for the city say, “We are currently considering measures such as ‘green’ commuting—in other words, having city staff take the lead and commute on Shintetsu trains. We want to help ignite the push to keep the line alive, together with the public.”

While hoping to propose a rationalization of operations, including a reduction in the number of cars in service during the low-ridership midday period, the city also hopes to team up with Shintetsu on events such as trackside walks. In addition, students at the Hyōgo Prefectural Ono High School who use the line to commute to and from school are also worried, and have recommended their own revitalization strategies.

According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, of the 92 local railways across Japan—including small- to mid-sized private railways and third-sector railways—79 percent posted an ordinary deficit in FY2008. In the ten years since FY2000, 30 lines (approx. 635 km total) will have been abandoned.

Committee chairman and Kōbe International University professor of urban policy Doi Tsutomu points to the urgent need for public support: “Railways are public infrastructure, and critical as a means of mobility for people who cannot drive, such as the elderly. Countries that maintain railway systems without government support of some kind or another are in the minority. Once these lines close, it will be difficult to resurrect them.”
Clips of the Ao Line between Oshibedani and Midorigaoka (2011.01.01):


Source: ff3af on YouTube
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Old January 21st, 2011, 09:56 AM   #2098
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Kadoma-Minami Station to get platform doors
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/life/news/1...1010012-n1.htm

Quote:
On January 19, it was revealed that Kadoma-Minami Station (Kadoma City, Ōsaka Prefecture), the only station on the Ōsaka Municipal Subway's Nagahori ‒ Tsurumi Ryokuchi Line to be omitted from the plans to install platform doors (to prevent platform falls) due to its location outside of Ōsaka City proper, will finally be getting its platform doors next fiscal year. The news comes after Ōsaka Prefecture and Kadoma City agreed to include in their budgets for next fiscal year a portion (approx. ¥23 million total) of the costs to install the doors, and the "forsaken station" could see platform doors in service as early as this summer.

Originally, the Ōsaka Municipal Transportation Bureau had plans to install the doors at all seventeen stations on the line this fiscal year. Because Kadoma-Minami Station is located outside city limits, the Transportation Bureau believed that Ōsaka City residents would not agree with the city footing the entire bill for a facility outside of the city. As a result, of the approx. ¥100 million in costs for door installation, it requested that Ōsaka Prefecture shoulder approx. ¥23 million of the burden.

However, the Prefectural Government declined the request and said it had "no faculties" to fund the project, citing the fact that it had already contributed funding towards the cost of installing elevators at Dainichi Station (Moriguchi City) on the Municipal Subway Tanimachi Line. The local government in Kadoma City also passed up on offering funding.

As a result, subway users criticized the impasse as "bureacracy at its best," finding it "strange that one station can't receive proper safety measures because of jurisdictional conveniences." In July of last year, Ōsaka City mayor Hiramatsu Kunio lobbied Ōsaka Prefecture governor Hashimoto Tōru directly for a funding contribution. In the end, Ōsaka Prefecture discussed the issue with Kadoma City, and both agreed to split a ¥23 million appropriation in their budgets for next year.

Installation of platform doors on the remaining 16 stations of the Nagahori ‒ Tsurumi Ryokuchi Line outside of Kadoma-Minami Station, all located in Ōsaka City, is expected to be completed on February 10. With this latest agreement, it's projected that platform door installations will be completed at Kadoma-Minami Station this summer, about half a year later than the rest of the line.
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Old January 21st, 2011, 09:57 AM   #2099
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Randen to accept PiTaPa starting April 1
http://mainichi.jp/area/kyoto/news/2...20591000c.html

Quote:
The Keifuku Electric Railroad (Randen; HQ: Kyōto City) announced that it will introduce the post-pay IC card PiTaPa to the full length of the Arashiyama Main Line and Kitano Line starting April 1. Passengers will also be able to use ICOCA cards, increasing the convenience of transferring with JR, other private railways, and Kyōto Municipal Subway. Two types of plans will be offered with the cards, one of which—the "Continuous Use Plan"—is similar to a commuter pass, offering a 45% monthly discount when the card is used for six months straight. In addition, the railway will also simultaneously introduce a pre-paid IC card for use only on the Randen.
Starting March 1, Keihan Bus will also expand its acceptance of PiTaPa / ICOCA to buses operating out of its Yamashina and Ōtsu divisions, meaning that all of Keihan Bus' network in Ōsaka Prefecture, Kyōto Prefecture, and Shiga Prefecture will be covered (source).

It's good to see PiTaPa expanding, especially in the Kyōto area... Kyōto is a bit of a puzzle to figure out sometimes because it's got many (almost too many) rail operators, which makes things a little fragmented. Add on top the extensive (and daunting, to visitors) bus network and things can get a little confusing. Given how popular a tourist destination Kyōto is, anything to make things easier for visitors is good.

Some great atmospheric Randen videos in HQ:
Source: shuuuji on YouTube

Riding the Randen and enjoying a beer at Arashiyama Station on a summer day in 2010:



During a snowy winter day (2010.02.06):



Special haunted train (it's for the kids):



And less glamorous, a cab view on the Arashiyama Main Line in HQ.
Source: HINTEL1824TRAIN on YouTube

Part 1: Shijō Ōmiya to Kaiko-no-Yashiro



Part 2: Kaiko-no-Yashiro to Arashiyama

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Old January 21st, 2011, 09:58 AM   #2100
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Sendai City says cost of IC card system for Muncipal Subway, buses is ¥10 billion
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/miy...OYT8T00020.htm

Quote:
In the plan to rollout an IC card system for use on the Sendai Municipal Subway and Sendai City municipal buses, it was revealed that the city has estimated the total cost of introduction of an IC card system at approx. ¥10 billion. The city plans to push forward with the plan, enumerating system design costs for IC card implementation and other expenditures in its proposed budget for the new fiscal year.

According to the plan, by FY2011 the city would design a system to introduce IC card-based ticketing. In FY2013, the city would install the core system, which would handle management of IC card usage histories and check for illegal use, later installing the IC card system on the Municipal Subway Namboku Line. In FY2015, the Tōzai Line and municipal buses would accept the IC cards, and eventually the city hopes to incorporate interoperability with JR East’s Suica card.

In April of last year, the city established the Sendai IC Card Promotion Committee together with the Sendai City Transportation Bureau, the city’s Urban Improvements Bureau, and Miyagi Transportation. The committee investigated the cost of designing the system and installing equipment.

Based on those studies, the city estimated that systems development and other expenditures for IC card implementation would be approx. ¥4.06 billion. The replacement costs for aging fareboxes and ticket readers on the Namboku Line and municipal buses would be ¥3.18 billion, while the cost of installing faregates with IC card capabilities onto the Tōzai Line is approx. ¥2.81 billion.

IC cards can be recharged by feeding the card and money into special ticketing machines. The monetary value is then recorded as electronic data into the IC chip, allowing for automatic fare settlement when tapping the card to the automatic faregates. Of the eight cities designated by government ordinance operating a municipal subway, including Sapporo and Yokohama, six of the cities had introduced IC cards by March 2009. Nagoya City will also introduce an IC card system starting next month.
According to a separate article, the card system will offer points rewards and eventually also be accepted on Miyagi Transportation (private bus operator), as well as JR East. The city is already currently constructing a system to convert special elderly and disabled magnetic tickets to IC cards. What's interesting is that the schedule they propose won't make it in time for the nationwide interoperability rollout tentatively being discussed for spring 2013, but Sendai City says it doesn't have plans to initiate interoperability with Suica until the introduction of its IC card system to the Tōzai Line.
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