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Old January 24th, 2011, 10:05 AM   #2121
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JR East to renovate Akabane Station
http://www.jreast.co.jp/press/2010/20110107.pdf

Quote:
In an effort to make the stations our passengers use day in and day out more convenient and pleasant, JR East Group is advancing our Station Renaissance program. As part of this program, we will carry out a renovation of Akabane Station.

Akabane Station serves an especially large number of transferring passengers, particularly during the morning and evening periods, resulting in congestion within the station concourse. In order to make the station more pleasant for passengers, including those making transfers, we will beautify the station and make it easier to use for passengers. In addition, in response to changes outside of the station, we will renovate the existing ekinaka (station retail) into ecute Akabane, in an effort to meet the needs of locals and people living along our rail network. We will also advertise the attractiveness of the neighborhood and build a station that everyone can love.

Renovation details
  • Construction of a new transfer concourse
    By constructing a new transfer concourse inside the station’s north ticketing entrance, we will improve the convenience of making transfers.
  • Installation of new escalators on all platforms
    We will install escalators connecting each of the platforms (Saikyō Line, Shōnan-Shinjuku Line, Utsunomiya Line / Takasaki Line, Keihin-Tōhoku Line) with the station concourse inside the north ticketing entrance.
  • Creation of a beautified and easy-to-use station
    In addition to renovating the floor and ceiling in the station concourse inside the north ticketing entrance, we will conduct a relocation of directional signage, making the station easier to use.
  • Renovation of the ekinaka shops and conversion to ecute Akabane
    In coordination with the construction of a transfer concourse, we will relocate and renovate retail shops, creating a more convenient, more pleasant station.
Construction schedule
March 2011: Completion of Phase 1 construction (completion of a portion of the concourse renewal and preliminary opening of a portion of ecute Akabane)
Summer 2011: Completion of Phase 2 construction (completion of construction of the transfer concourse, completion of escalator installation, and grand opening of ecute Akabane)

Retail management
Development and management of ecute Akabane will be handled by JR East Urban Development Corporation (President and Representative Director: Ōkawa Hiroshi), which manages Arcade Akabane, Seikatsu Teiankan, and other facilities in and around Akabane Station.

Store details
Store name: ecute Akabane
Store area: Approx. 2,000 sq m
Number of shops: Approx. 60 shops
Shop types: Confectionary, prepared foods, general merchandise, restaurants, etc.
Projected annual sales: Approx. ¥6 billion

Existing:
There are two primary concourses, each with two transfer corridors, for a total of four transfer corridors.



Post-renovation:
Addition of a new concourse and transfer corridor (in orange). New escalators are in purple.



Inside the north ticketing entrance, post-renovation:


New transfer concourse:
Akabane is the major JR terminal station for Kita Ward in Tōkyō, with four island platforms (eight tracks). Average daily entries are 88,100 (2009), so about 176,000 daily entries and exits. Because it is a nexus of JR lines, there's also a lot of passengers who transfer at Akabane.
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Old January 24th, 2011, 10:06 AM   #2122
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Shin-Keisei to introduce second order of N800 series

On 2010.12.16, Shin-Keisei Electric Railway announced the purchase of the second order of the N800 series trains. The first order was introduced in May 2005 and consisted of a single 6-car train. This second order also consists of a single 6-car train, but incorporates low-noise / low-vibration scroll-type electric air compressors as well as various other government-mandated safety improvements over the first order (namely a deadman brake system and a black box recorder). Manufactured at Nippon Sharyō’s Toyokawa Plant. The train will enter service on 2011.01.28.

Official Shin-Keisei press release:
http://www.shinkeisei.co.jp/topics/p...keisei0189.pdf

Some pictures of the transport via rail, being hauled by a JR Freight diesel locomotive.
First scene is on an exclusive freight spur serving the Nippon Sharyō plant, while the second is along JR Central’s Iida Line.


Source: 5DME on YouTube

It appears that portions of the trip were also handled on the road via flatbed trailer. Should have some videos of the unit in revenue service soon.
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Old January 24th, 2011, 04:31 PM   #2123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
[size=3]Majority of stations on Nagoya Municipal Subway to receive platform doors by FY2020
Yep... I took some pix of this installation happening a few weeks ago in the thread...

Have no clue why they're just now getting around to releasing this info really, but it's necessary with all the crowding lately.

Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
manaca to come with diverse array of functions
Doesn't seem like they have a "mascot" for this card yet...
Yeah they do-- its this guy...

He's on all the posters and that book I got from the subway station I posted last night... ...you did see my post, right?
Manaca PR in High Gear

There's a guy who started a Manaca fan site!
http://www.manacan.net
Has most of the general info in one place... But here's something I found out from the TV last week...

If we pre-register for Manaca between now and 2/12, we can earn double points for the first 2 months of use! So I went to my local subway station, and filled out a registration card. They just needed my name, address, and phone #. Then on the 10th they'll have my card ready with my name on it; all I have to do is fork over ¥2000.

Meanwhile on the vendor front, I happen to work near a Coca-Cola Central Japan depot (I'm not making this up-- It's near Chayagasaka Station!) and saw them loading new vending machines with Manaca logos on them... Where they'll end up is anyone's guess, but I'll whip out the cam and snap a pic if I see one!

Last edited by starrwulfe; January 24th, 2011 at 04:48 PM. Reason: added links to my old posts.
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Old January 25th, 2011, 09:57 AM   #2124
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starrwulfe View Post
Yeah they do-- its this guy...
He's on all the posters and that book I got from the subway station I posted last night... ...you did see my post, right?
I guess I mean mascot in the sense of the Suica penguin or the nimoca ferret, which are both immediately recognizable and have become synonymous with their respective cards. They also frequently make appearances at special events and are pretty popular with the kids.


Source: gmwyuki on YouTube


Source: nimocastart on YouTube

I mean, the manaca one is cute, but it seems to be used more for decorative purposes... I actually don't even know what it's supposed to be. Obviously, it's a circle, but is it supposed to be the sun? (must be yellow for a reason...) I wonder if they will have people dress up in costume for this...
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Old January 25th, 2011, 04:35 PM   #2125
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I see... If I see someone dressing big yellow sphere about town, I'll let ya know

Passmo and PiTaPa don't have mascots... JR Central's TOICA doesn't even have a character on its card at all, unlike the other JR Group IC cards... Hmmm.

At least Manaca split the difference here... But remember, this is a card shared by several companies; having a recognizable albeit benign character is a good thing maybe... I'll ask around and see if the lil round guy has a name...

Meanwhile I've been reading the guide here for Manaca. This will be a huge conveience to those of us that commute across 2 different RR lines or a bus/train combo, because now combination commuter passes can be issued.
The other thing is that and TVM becomes a commuter pass machine as well. Right now, we have to go to major stations that have pass offices or special machines in order to create, renew, or change our commuter passes. The lines for these places are long sometimes-- I waited in one last year for about 45 minutes! So now ANY TVM can do it, and according to the manual here, sometime in the future, we can do it from home via the internet as well. Yay!
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Old January 26th, 2011, 09:13 AM   #2126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starrwulfe View Post
Passmo and PiTaPa don't have mascots... JR Central's TOICA doesn't even have a character on its card at all, unlike the other JR Group IC cards... Hmmm.
I think TOICA has a little yellow bird on it.

But good point about the other non-JR shared cards (PASMO and PiTaPa)... It didn't occur to me that manaca's counterparts in Kantō and Kansai didn't really have mascots either. With all the transit operators involved in the shared cards, it's probably more difficult to organize and get consensus for a complex marketing scheme.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 09:03 AM   #2127
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
I think TOICA has a little yellow bird on it.
mine looks like this... Kinda plain.
[IMG]http://t0.************/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ4Z6-V7UyexYEcSp7a1rq2ugpPbhooyQnR1SfZp_HOAt-Mwxb_[/IMG]
But I have seen the little Toica "chick" on ads and posters...
[IMG]http://t1.************/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR7LKiTki4VvTWLwGkP3hKfnu7-8FwkWIdyBHNae3oAZRZ4n4_3[/IMG]

Quote:
With all the transit operators involved in the shared cards, it's probably more difficult to organize and get consensus for a complex marketing scheme.
Yeah, but the majority of Transpass (Yurika/Manaca) members are all in Aichi... For most people its just the city subway/bus and Meitetsu train/bus... So its way easy to agree there.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 03:32 PM   #2128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
But good point about the other non-JR shared cards (PASMO and PiTaPa)... It didn't occur to me that manaca's counterparts in Kantō and Kansai didn't really have mascots either.
PASMO extensively uses the pink robot as their mascot, though it may be not your cup of tea.



PiTaPa does not have the sole mascot. Instead, each operators may have their own mascots. Osaka PiTaPa's Pitapon! may be the most popular. Other PiTaPa mascots include Pitton & Batapi (Kobe PiTaPa) and minamo (minapita).



Neither mascots are printed on the regular cards, though.
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Old January 28th, 2011, 05:16 AM   #2129
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FML View Post
PASMO extensively uses the pink robot as their mascot, though it may be not your cup of tea.
Yeah, it's never been my cup of tea... I think that's why I erased it from my memory and totally forgot it existed.

The PiTaPa ones are pretty cute, though. Pitapon! reminds me of Metopon.


Source: http://met0pon.blog.so-net.ne.jp/
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Old January 28th, 2011, 05:16 AM   #2130
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Mitsubishi Electric wins order from Hyundai Rotem for Denver RTD railcar electrical equipment
http://www.mitsubishielectric.co.jp/news/2011/0127.html

Quote:
In order to deal with a projected future increase in the region’s population, Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) is in the process of implementing its FasTracks program to develop a transport network radiating out from central Denver, and has been working to construct new rail lines and expand existing lines.

Mitsubishi Electric has recently received an order from Hyundai Rotem for motors, inverters, and other railcar electrical equipment for 50 new railcars (25 two-car trains) it will manufacture. The equipment is slated to be delivered starting in July 2012, in preparation for the debut of the new trains in revenue service in 2016.

In the past, Mitsubishi Electric has supplied electrical equipment for over 4,500 railcars in the North American region, starting with New York state’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority and subsidiary agencies New York City Transit, Long Island Railroad, and Metro-North Railroad.

In 2005, Mitsubishi Electric received an order from Hyundai Rotem to supply suburban railcar electrical equipment for Pennsylvania, and this latest order recognizes our past successes, our technical expertise, and the high quality of our products.

Mitsubishi Electric has experience supplying orders for railcars in 25 countries around the globe, and in addition to our base plants in Japan, we have developed four overseas plants in Mexico, the United States, China, and Australia to serve as production hubs. A portion of the railcar electrical equipment in this latest order will be manufactured locally at our United States subsidiary, Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, Inc. (MEPPI).

Mitsubishi Electric will continue sales of railcar electrical equipment primarily in the United States and China, while strengthening our sales in the growing markets of Central and South American and Asia, with the goal of achieving total sales in our railway business of ¥230 billion in FY2015.

Client: Hyundai Rotem Company
Size of order: Electrical equipment for 50 railcars (25 two-car trains)
Products ordered: Railcar electrical equipment (motors, inverters, etc.)
Contract value: Approx. ¥2.5 billion
Delivery schedule: Delivery starting July 2012

Details of Lines under Construction
Operator: Regional Transportation District (Denver, Colorado)
  • East Corridor (new line): 36.7 km, 7 stations (revenue service launch in 2016)
  • Gold Line (new line): 18 km, 7 stations (revenue service launch in 2016)
  • Northwest Rail Corridor: Denver Union Station – Westminster (revenue service launch in 2016)
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Old January 28th, 2011, 07:00 PM   #2131
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Officials to tout train tech in Mideast
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-b...0110128a6.html (Kyōdō News)

Quote:
Government and railway officials plan to visit the Middle East in early February to attend forums aimed at promoting Japan's railway technology and help turn Tokyo into a major player in the global infrastructure business, the trade ministry said Thursday.

Local government officials will be invited to the forums scheduled for Feb. 3 in Abu Dhabi and Feb. 5 in Riyadh. Organizers of the events include a Japanese association of trading companies and manufacturers of railway cars and train car parts.

Japanese officials will promote the safety and durability of the country's railway systems and try to impress potential buyers with the smooth passenger flows, automated fare collection systems and safety measures at station platforms, an official at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.

The official expressed hope that the seminars will help boost the share of Japanese companies in the railway business in the Middle East.

Among the participants are officials of METI, the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry, East Japan Railway Co., Tokyo Metro Co., Itochu Corp. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., the official said.

Under a government growth strategy, Japan is stepping up its efforts to export infrastructure technologies, particularly those related to railways and nuclear power plants, through collaboration between the public and private sectors in response to strong demand from overseas.
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Old January 29th, 2011, 06:53 AM   #2132
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IC card interoperability map

With manaca set to debut in less than two weeks, I took a crack at creating a map showing the interoperability of the major rail-transit IC cards in Japan. For the sake of not making things too messy, I avoided showing the smaller card systems (passca, setamaru, etc.) and bus-only cards (NORUCA, etc.).

Enjoy.

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Old January 30th, 2011, 08:01 AM   #2133
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Thanx man!

Good map-- looks WAY better than the one that JReast did on their website a few months ago...
Mind if I publish it in our magazine and on the website? Full attribution of course!

it'll go here: www.RANmagazine.com
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Old January 30th, 2011, 08:14 AM   #2134
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Osaka Station, December 4, 2010

Just found these while cleaning my memory card from my camera today... I took these myself. Note the new transfer bridge and the hanging of the "Osaka Station" sign on the south central entranceway. Enjoy!

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Last edited by starrwulfe; January 30th, 2011 at 08:29 AM.
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Old January 30th, 2011, 06:51 PM   #2135
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You should post more of your Kansai pictures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by starrwulfe View Post
Mind if I publish it in our magazine and on the website?www.RANmagazine.com[/url]
Nope, be my guest. Just beware I technically don't have any legal consent to use the card logos. In fact, JR East has always been particularly sensitive about this and they generally lock all their PDF press releases. Since I'm just posting stuff here as informational pieces, I don't see it as a big deal, but I can't say for your situation.
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Old January 31st, 2011, 07:03 AM   #2136
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JICA mission in Dhaka to talk financing for metro network
http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.co...ate=2011-01-31

Quote:
A high profile mission of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) reached Dhaka Sunday for talks with the government on coordinating and financing the US $ 1.7 billion metro rail project, officials said.

They said the mission will call on the communications minister and hold meetings with the stakeholders including Dhaka Transport Coordination Board (DTCB), Dhaka City Corporation (DCC), Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipakhya, Defense Ministry and power division to ensure coordination for implementation of the project.

"Coordination is a must to ensure smooth implementation of the 21.5 kilometre metro rail from Pallabi to Sayedabad in the first phase," said a senior official.

DTCB officials said the mission will meet the stakeholders to ensure coordination and undertake the next course of works as the second phase study on the alignment will be finished by February.

"The mission will also resolve conflicts created in a number of places on the alignment marking the implementation difficult," said another official.

The metro rail which is officially named as MRT Line-6 will be expanded to Uttara through Pallabi. But the study team identified major problem with the Jatrabari flyover as it overlaps the project at Sayedabad point.

Besides, the project faces conflicts with four underpasses being planned by the DCC from Shahbagh to Sonargaon crossing.

Meanwhile, the Dhaka University authority has opposed the alignment to be passed alongside the Rokeya Hall and Shahid minar through the campus from Shahbagh and requested to change the alignment to cross by the side of Suhrawardy Park, Doyel Chattar and University sports ground to ensure safety and security of DU female students and sanctity of the Shahid Minar.

A senior DTCB official however denied any conflict with the implementation of the metro rail project saying that the mission's visit is related to guiding the government to take next steps after the study and develop the institution which will run the mass transports.

"We are almost at the end of the study. We need to take steps for detailed study and ensure coordination among all concerned organizations which will take shape after the mission's meetings," the official added.

However, a senior JICA official said the mission will ensure uninterrupted implementation of the project by removing all conflicts.

Financing of the project is dependent on the coordination and removal of all conflicts, the official added.

The 20-year policy level guideline named Strategic Transport Plan has proposed three routes of MRT line, of which MRT line-6 was found feasible by the Japanese experts from Pallabi to Sayedabad on elevated way having a scope of further linking Uttara from Pallabi.

The JICA mission will call on the communications minister today (Monday). Economic Relation Department will hold a final meeting on February 3.
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Old January 31st, 2011, 07:04 AM   #2137
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SAPICA / Kitaca / Suica interoperability slated for FY2013
http://www.jreast.co.jp/press/2010/20110112.pdf

Quote:
In regards to IC farecards in the Sapporo area, East Japan Railway Company (JR East), the Sapporo City Transportation Bureau, and Hokkaidō Railway Company (JR Hokkaidō) have been conducting investigations with the aim of improving passenger convenience, and have now decided to accept Kitaca and Suica cards on the Sapporo City Transportation Bureau services (subway, trams)—currently planning for future SAPICA interoperability—and bus lines operated by JR Hokkaidō Bus Co., Ltd., Jōtetsu Corporation, and Hokkaidō Chūō Bus Corporation by a target date of FY2013.

Service start
FY2013 (scheduled)

Service summary
The following IC cards will now be accepted within the SAPICA coverage area: Kitaca (JR Hokkaidō), Suica (JR East) (including cards which are interoperable with Suica)

Service details
Entry and exit at automatic faregates, loading value onto cards at ticket machines, etc.

Accepting transit modes
Subway, tram, bus (lines accepting SAPICA)
*Note: We are making preparations to introduce SAPICA onto trams and buses at a target date of the first quarter (April to June) of FY2013.
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Old January 31st, 2011, 07:05 AM   #2138
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MLIT proposes streamlining grade crossings improvements
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/affairs/new...0180000-n1.htm

Quote:
On January 28, the MInistry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) assembled a proposed revision to the Act on Railway Crossing Improvements, aimed at eliminating grade crossings that rarely open and preventing transport accidents through grade separation of crossings and other measures. The MLIT is hoping to streamline the process required for local governments and railway companies and allow for an accelerated groundbreaking on projects. A cabinet decision will be made soon, after which the the MLIT will submit the proposal to the Diet.

Under the Act on Railway Crossing Improvements, when performing works such as the grade separation of crossings or construction of new pedestrian bridges, the local government (responsible for the local roads) and the railway company must produce a detailed plan and submit it to the national government. In order to establish a flexible strategy that meets the current situations, however, the proposed revisions would make production of the plan arbitrary. When railway companies fail to take action in discussions regarding grade crossing improvements, the national government would arbitrate to accelerate construction.

The current law was enacted in 1961 with the aim of promoting improvements to grade crossings in order to prevent accidents and congestion and is in effect for only a limited duration of time, being renewed and extended every five years.
One infamous crossing right outside Totsuka Station (2008.10.30).
This crossing is immediately north of Totsuka Station, with Tōkaidō Main Line, Yokosuka Line / Shōnan-Shinjuku Line, and freight trains crossing National Route 1.

The video captures two hours between 7:00 am and 9:00 am at 10x speed, and there is one period where the arms remain down for about 70 minutes straight due to train traffic (7:09 am to 8:17 am). After six seconds, the arms come down again and stay closed for another 30 minutes. The constant flow of pedestrians on the opposite side of the grade crossing are bus riders moving from the bus terminal to the station.


Source: yoshinante on YouTube
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Old January 31st, 2011, 07:06 AM   #2139
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MLIT orders railways to submit platform door installation plans
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/ne...0290069-n1.htm

Quote:
Regarding the installation of platform doors to prevent passengers from falling off platforms at train stations, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism decided on January 25 to have railway companies submit platform door implementation plans. January 26 will mark ten years since a January 2001 accident that left three people dead when two passengers, including a Korean exchange student, attempted to rescue a man who had fallen off the platforms at JR Shin-Ōkubo Station, but platform door installations have only been completed at less than 20% of major train stations in Japan. In addition to the expensive cost of the installations, the need to serve trains with different numbers of doors is also seen as a major obstacle, and the MLIT now plans to consider support programs such as expanding funding.

According to the MLIT, of the 2,808 total train stations in Japan with daily entries and exits of 5,000 passengers or more, platform gates and moving platform doors to prevent platform falls have been installed at 449 stations as of March of last year—a mere 4.7 percent of all stations.

On January 16, a blind man (42) fell off the platform at JR Meguro Station and was killed. In response to this situation, on January 25 MLIT minister Ōhata Akihiro revealed his intention to have railway companies submit plans within the next month regarding the number of platform gates and platform doors slated to be installed and the scheduled timeline for installation, with the aim of accelerating installation.

One of the reasons behind the delay in the installations is the expensive pricetag. While there are programs where the national government and local jurisdictions provide funding, according to spokespersons for the MLIT, the cost of installing the doors to existing stations can range anywhere from several hundreds of millions to several billions of yen per station.

In the Greater Tōkyō area, trains on subways and private railways run on each other’s lines as part of bilateral through-servicing, and there are technical issues surrounding how to deal with design standards such as differing car lengths and numbers of doors. In order to align train stopping points with platform door openings, there is a need to make the number of doors on trains uniform, but spokespersons for private railways say, “We can’t implement fleet replacements or other measures on our own, and it’s difficult to coordinate with other operators.”

According to the New Accessibility Law enacted in 2006, railway operators are required to install platform doors on all newly-constructed stations, but only required to make good-faith efforts for existing stations. In the past, railway operators have also prioritized the installation of elevators and ramps when upgrading stations.

Minister Ōhata said he hopes to consider options for the national government to accelerate installations, hinting at a possible expansion of funding structures.
TBS news report (2011.01.24):



ANN news report (2011.01.26).
Parents of the Korean exchange student revisit Shin-Ōkubo Station:



Recently-installed platform doors on the Nagoya Municipal Subway Sakuradōri Line:


Source: V2noKogasa on YouTube

An overview of platform door installations in Kanagawa Prefecture.
Lines covered:
Yokohama New Transit Kanazawa Seaside Line
Yokohama Municipal Subway Blue Line
Yokohama Municipal Subway Green Line
JR Central Tōkaidō Shinkansen (these are especially interesting as they are probably some of the widest platform doors anywhere in the world, in order to accomodate the atypical door configuration)
Tōkyū Meguro Line


Source: karibajct on YouTube
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Old January 31st, 2011, 07:06 AM   #2140
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Railways racking brains for alternative strategies against platform falls
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/affairs/new...2130030-n1.htm

Quote:
On January 16 at JR Mejiro Station in Tōkyō, a blind Takei Miyoshi (42) fell off the platforms and was killed, bringing up again to railway operators the issue of installation of platform doors or platform gates to prevent passengers from falling down onto the tracks. In the past, the national government has requested that railway companies install platform doors, but progress has been slow as a result of non-uniform door positions among trains and the high investment required for the installations. Faced with this situation, railway operators are racking their brains to devise countermeasures.

Tōkyō Metro: 69 stations to receive doors; MLIT to push for installation
“If we install platform doors or platform gates at all of our stations, the number of platform falls will decrease for sure. But the question is how much money is required for such a task,” revealed one management-level employee at a Kansai railway operator.

On January 25, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) directed railway operators to submit plans for installing moving platform gates and platform doors. Up until now, the national government has requested that railway operators establish and report safety measures, including measures such as these. As of March 2010, platform gates and platform doors had been installed at 449 stations and 38 rail lines across Japan, but this represents only 4.7 percent of the 9,500 total stations across Japan.

At Kita-Shinchi Station (Kita Ward, Ōsaka City), which is near an entertainment district, JR East will install moving platform gates (waist-high platform doors) by March in an effort to prevent the frequent nighttime incidents of intoxicated passengers falling onto the tracks. While immobile platform fencing is already in place at other stations to prevent passengers from coming into contact with passing trains, there are no plans to install moving platform gates and platform doors at any other stations, and not a single station among Kansai’s five major private railways has them.

Railway operators each have their own obstacles to overcome. There are train design considerations: A spokesperson for Keihan Electric Railway says, “Depending on the type, our trains can have two, three, or five doors per car, making installation difficult.” And then there is the need for large-scale platform upgrades: A spokesperson for Kintetsu Corporation says, “We are considering installations, but some of our stations would see reduced platform area as a result.”

Meanwhile, installation of platform doors is progressing on subways all across Japan. Tōkyō Metro plans to install doors at 69 of the 179 stations in its network this fiscal year. The railway says, “The prerequisites, such as the number of doors on train cars, are in place… Now we will begin moving forward with installations.”

Gap fillers and audio warnings of approaching trains
At JR West, officials have decided to play the audio warnings alerting passengers to approaching trains continuously until the train comes to a complete stop. The change is an effort to prevent collisions between visually-impaired passengers and trains arriving at the platform.

Currently, the audio warnings stop before the train enters the platform, replaced by announcements from station staff, but visually-impaired passengers say they have difficulty distinguishing where trains are arriving at stations with many platforms.

JR West has also implemented countermeasures against passengers falling off the platforms and into the gaps with train cars. At JR Rokujizō Station (Uji City, Kyōto Prefecture), where three to five platform falls happen every year as a result of curved platforms, the railway installed rubber extensions to fill in the gaps between the platform and trains, eliminating platform falls. As a result, the railway is also planning to install a similar system at Zeze Station (Ōtsu City), also with curved platforms, before the end of the fiscal year.

For the time being, truncated domes
On Kansai private railways, where installation of platform gates and doors is stalling, operators are moving forward with installation of truncated dome tiles that allow visually-impaired passengers to distinguish the platform center from the platform edge through contact with a white cane or feet.

In March of last year, Keihan Electric Railway became the first of Kansai’s five major private railways to complete the installations at all of its stations. Meanwhile, JR West is moving forward with truncated dome installations primarily at renovated or newly-opened stations, including Ōsaka Station (Kita Ward, Ōsaka City) and Sakura Shukugawa Station (Nishinomiya City, Hyōgo Prefecture).

Hankyū Corporation, the first to install automatic faregates in Japan in 1967, plans to finish installation of the truncated domes by FY2012. The railway is also moving forward with introduction of a special system developed in-house that connects the emergency alert button with the automatic train stop (ATS) equipment on trains. When the button is pressed, the train’s brakes are automatically applied.

General affairs director of the All-Japan Council for the Visually-Impaired Oda Hiroshi (56), who suffered major injuries after falling off the platform and onto the tracks, says, “The truncated domes are effective, but because of passengers’ shoes, detecting the tiles is not always easy. We’d really like to see them install platform doors and platform gates.”
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