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Old February 2nd, 2011, 05:44 AM   #2161
quashlo
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Nagasaki Electric Tramway 5000 series in testing
http://www.nagasaki-np.co.jp/kiji/20110126/10.shtml

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Nagasaki Electric Tramway (HQ: Nagasaki City), which operates trams within Nagasaki City, will introduce the new 5000 series low-floor, three-section articulated trams. The first unit, train 5001, is already undergoing testing. On January 25, the train made one roundtrip between Urakami Car Barn and Hotarujaya tram stop. The train is scheduled to begin carrying passengers in revenue service starting February 15.

The 5000 series is the railway's first new train in seven years, the most recent being the 3000 series (capacity: 63 passengers), the railway's first low-floor, three-section articulated tram. At 16.3 m long, the 5000 series is 1.2 m longer than the 3000 series, with capacity for 73 passengers, an increase of 10 passengers. The interior aisles are wider, making boarding and alighting with wheelchairs easier. The trains cost approx. Ľ230 million each, and are being introduced using funding from the national government and Nagasaki City. One additional unit will be produced in FY2011.

Train 5001 was delivered to Urakami Car Barn on January 11 and operated on tracks for the first time late in the evening on January 12, with technicians on board. Currently, the railway is performing irregularly-scheduled tests, determining the braking power and other characteristics of the unit. Operators will beging testing to familiarize themselves with the unit starting January 31. A special ceremony will be held at 10:00 am on February 15.
Not as much info available on this one, as it seems there's only two units in this new series. Hopefully we'll get some better quality stuff when the train debuts in service.

For now, one picture:


Source: Nagasaki Electric Tramway

Sharp and distinctive face on this one... Color scheme is good, too.
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Old February 2nd, 2011, 05:45 AM   #2162
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New committee established to consider Kibi Line conversion to LRT, other improvements
http://mainichi.jp/area/okayama/news...10377000c.html

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On January 31, the Okayama Urban Transport Strategy Liaison Committee, where Okayama City and the Okayama Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Okayama CCI) will jointly investigate transport issues, was established. The committee will discuss the conversion of the JR Kibi Line to light-rail transit (LRT), improvements for safe bicycle use, and other strategies.

The city drafted an urban transport strategy in October 2009, and has been moving forward with efforts to build a transport network focused on public transit and bicycles. The city established the committee in an effort to enable a neutral debate not affected by the potential advantages and disadvantages to individual transit operators.

At the first meeting of the committee at Okayama City Hall on January 31, nine commitee members including city transport policy officials and members of the Okayama CCI's special committee on urban transport strategy were in attendance. Okayama City vice-mayor Yomitanzan Yōji greeted the attendees: "I hope that we can determine which measures are for the short-term and which are for the mid- to long-term. I hope the public and private sectors can come together and conduct a neutral and impartial debate." Okayama CCI vice-chairman Wakabayashi Shōgo remarked, "From the perspective of urban planning for a major city, transportation is a critical topic, but there are many obstacles we need to overcome. We need to put our brains together for the future of Okayama."
Other measures being discussed included a redesign of the East Exit Bus Terminal at JR Okayama Station:


Source: Wikipedia

Seems like conversion to LRT may be the fate of many of these smaller JR West lines, but seeing what's happened in Toyama, that may not be a bad thing at all.
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Old February 2nd, 2011, 05:46 AM   #2163
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Chūō Ward proposes LRT line between Ginza and Harumi
http://www.nikkei.com/life/news/arti...EBE2E2E2E2E2E2

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A plan to construct a light-rail transit (LRT) line between Tōkyō's Ginza and the Harumi district along the Tōkyō Bay waterfront is picking up pace. Tōkyō's Chūō Ward plans to construct approx. 3 km of tracks along Harumi-dōri and other locations, and will include the costs for studies of the line in its proposed budget for FY2011. If things proceed smoothly, Chūō Ward is hoping to open the proposed line sometime between 2020 and 2025. If the plan is realized, trams will make a return to Central Tōkyō for the first time in about half a century.

Chūō Ward envisions a route from Ginza Station on the subway, via the Tsukiji area, to the Harumi district, and plans to lay tracks along Harumi-dōri and the currently under-construction Loop Road No. 2. Chūō Ward will also consider the possibility of extending the line in the future to Tōkyō Station or other destinations.

The initial investment, including construction costs, is estimated at a total of Ľ15 billion. Chūō Ward first plans operate buses on the route, securing exclusive transit-only lanes. LRT vehicles are low-noise and feature low floors, making them easy for passengers to board and alight. Construction costs can be kept to one-tenth the cost of subways.
Interesting... I think this was a route initially proposed for a Yurikamome extension. There is also the Tōkyō Metro Yūrakuchō Line, which somewhat parallels the proposed route between Ginza and Tsukishima but doesn't serve Tsukiji.

Harumi-dōri is a perfect choice for light rail as it's actually quite wide (seven lanes)—plenty of room to stick a streetcar down the road. Perhaps the route will look something like this:
http://maps.google.co.jp/maps/ms?ie=...,0.084543&z=14

Short film of Toden Route 22, part of Tōkyō's once-extensive tram network (41 lines in the network's heyday) that has since been replaced with subways. This route started from Minami-Senju and continued to Nihonbashi, Ginza, and Shinbashi. These are shots from March 1971.


Source: hoteiyatokyo on YouTube

On a related note, the Tōkyō Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Tōkyō MX news report (2011.01.12):



Lots of great Toden photos in this one.
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Old February 2nd, 2011, 05:46 AM   #2164
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Tōkyō Metro introduces LED lighting to Ginza Line on trial basis
http://journal.mycom.co.jp/news/2011/01/25/071/

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Tōkyō Metro has recently installed LED lighting onto two intermediate cars of one train operating on the Ginza Line subway. The special train entered service on January 23. The selected train is unit 38 (six cars). Cars No. 4 and No. 5 on the train have already been converted to LED lighting, while Cars No. 2 and No. 3 will be converted starting in March.

The LED lighting systems installed on the train were jointly developed by Tōkyō Metro, railcar manufacturers, and lighting equipment manufacturers. LEDs offer high levels of illumination and higher-integrity beams. However, the LED lighting used in this special train is carefully designed to uniformly diffuse the light generated by the LEDs, creating a soft and pleasant illumination. The installation also meets the strict flammability standards imposed on subway trains.

According to Tōkyō Metro, conversion of train interior lighting from fluorescent tubes to LED lighting can reduce electricity consumption by 35% or more. Since LEDs have a longer lifespan than fluorescent tubes, they don't need to be switched out as frequently, helping to eliminate waste and reduce environmental impacts.

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Old February 2nd, 2011, 05:47 AM   #2165
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Tōkyō Metro / Toei Subway merger on hold; service improvements to come first
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/atmoney/new...OYT1T00590.htm

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The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), the Tōkyō Metropolitan Government, and other bodies which had been dicussing a merger of the Tōkyō Metro and the Toei Subway have finalized a plan to delay a decision on the merger, instead prioritizing service improvements such as making it easier to transfer between the two systems.

A committee will meet before week's end to sign a formal agreement. The Tōkyō Metropolitan Government had been claiming that a financial merger of the two systems was a critical prerequisite to service improvements, but with many issues left to resolve—including the Toei Subway's substantial debt—discussions over the merger will still continue.

A financial merger of the Tōkyō Metro (9 lines, daily ridership of 6.30 million) and Toei Subway (4 lines, daily ridership of 2.30 million) was proposed by Tōkyō Metropolitan Government officials as an "improvement in passenger convenience." Bringing up the example of Kudanshita Station, where platforms for the Tōkyō Metro Hanzōmon Line and Toei Shinjuku Line are side-by-side but separated by a wall, Tōkyō Metropolitan Government officials claimed, "Passengers have to make a circuitous detour because of this wall. If we consolidate management of the two systems, the wall will come down and transferring will become convenient for passengers."

According to the above image included in the article, they are looking at the following specific measures to improve convenience.

Kudanshita Station
Removal of wall between the Tōkyō Metro Hanzōmon Line and Toei Shinjuku Line platforms

Hongō Sanchōme Station
Construction of a connecting passage between the Tōkyō Metro Marunouchi Line and Toei Ōedo Line. There is no current direct physical connection between the two stations; passengers must use surface streets to transfer:


Source: Tōkyō Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation

Akihabara Station / Iwamotochō Station
Institution of a transfer discount between the Tōkyō Metro Hibiya Line and Toei Shinjuku Line

Roppongi Station
Sharing of faregates
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 08:20 AM   #2166
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Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
Chūō Ward proposes LRT line between Ginza and Harumi
http://www.nikkei.com/life/news/arti...EBE2E2E2E2E2E2



Interesting... I think this was a route initially proposed for a Yurikamome extension. There is also the Tōkyō Metro Yūrakuchō Line, which somewhat parallels the proposed route between Ginza and Tsukishima but doesn't serve Tsukiji.

Harumi-dōri is a perfect choice for light rail as it's actually quite wide (seven lanes)—plenty of room to stick a streetcar down the road. Perhaps the route will look something like this:
http://maps.google.co.jp/maps/ms?ie=...,0.084543&z=14
It would be great to see some LRT lines "coming back" to Tokyo!

Many of them actually, have been replaced not by metro but by bus, which is less attractive.

But metro has clear advantages on both LRT and bus, one has to admit it.It is faster, can carry a lot more passenger, and is not bothered by traffic jam, so it can be punctual.

Then one thing I don't understand is why the waterfront area should have slow public transport, like LRT or Yurikamome. It is of course a leisure area, and for that Yurikamome is well suited, but what about the people living there?

The whole waterfront area is filled with condominia and although it is close to central Tokyo, it takes much more time than it should to go to e.g. Ginza, Tokyo station or Shimbashi.

There's also a lot of offices in Harumi, Ariake, Odaiba, and they suffer from the total lack of efficient mass transit lines.

The Rinkai line, of course, is a an efficient and fast mass transit line, but it is a East-West axis. I'm calling for a South-North axis. The Harumi avenue, for instance, is straightforward, linking the Hibiya/Ginza area with Ariake, crossing artificial islands that are booming now.

I'm wondering until when Tokyo will wait before finally put a real solution to that islands' access problem.

Here's a sketch of Harumi avenue as a possible link. Note that it is not contradictory to that LRT plan!!
The line could be extended to both ways, for example: To Tokyo station and then Akihabara to have through-service with Tsukuba express. And to the south, to Umi-no-mori, and maybe one day to Haneda.

Cheers.
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 12:19 PM   #2167
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Similar to London's Docklands, there was a time back in the 90s when cynics mocked odaiba as one big white elephant. And don't forget, the Rinkai line was heavily in the red during its early years and only started to record operating profit in the past few years.

The average speed of the Yuriakamome is 31km/hr, which is only marginally slower than most Toei/Tokyo metro lines and frequency is extremely good for what is an automated light rail line. As a bonus you get a spectacular view of Tokyo Bay.
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 05:39 PM   #2168
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Originally Posted by nemu View Post

The average speed of the Yuriakamome is 31km/hr, which is only marginally slower than most Toei/Tokyo metro lines and frequency is extremely good for what is an automated light rail line. As a bonus you get a spectacular view of Tokyo Bay.
Its average speed is not the problem, the problem is how circuitous the route is.

However you can't entirely think of the Rinkai line as an east-west route. There are direct trains that turn onto the Saikyō line and will take you to Shinjuku, Shibuya, or Ikebukuro in less than 30 minutes.
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 07:44 PM   #2169
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Maybe I'm in a minority, but I don't think Odaiba / Toyosu area needs more subways. It's already got two (Yūrakuchō Line and Rinkai Line) plus the Yurikamome. While there is a lot of new housing go in around Toyosu, I don't think it justifies another subway line... Something under Harumi-dōri would pretty much duplicate the Yūrakuchō Line.

I think an LRT or Yurikamome extension is perfect for the proposed route in terms of capacity. Problem is that while Yurikamome makes more sense from a connectivity standpoint (single mode, one-seat ride), it's less practical once you start moving towards Ginza... It can't run on street level, and I can't imagine them sticking an aerial through the heart of a premier shopping district, which means it has to go underground, costing substantially more than a simple LRT line.
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Old February 4th, 2011, 05:09 AM   #2170
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お言葉ですけど、A line under under Harumi-dôri wouldn't double at all the Yurakucho line!
Look at other parts of Tokyo, especially the East and the South of the imperial palace, it has an extraordinary density of lines. All the main streets have at least one subway line under it.

Of course, you will reply that it's Tokyo's center, and that the Islands don't need that much subway density. And I'll reply:

-A line under, say, Harumi-dôri (or Loop line 2) would still make the number of lines in the Islands a tenth than what it is a few kilometers away in downtown Tokyo.

-The population in the Islands have increased drastically in past years and will continue to boom, as it there's dozens and dozens of residential skyscrapers in project for the Islands.It will soon have a much higher population density than the section between it and the Yamanote.

-Yurakucho line stops only at the tip of Tsukishima-Kachidoki iskand, and doesn't stop at all in neither Harumi island or Shin-Toyosu island (Toyosu 6-chome). That makes an area about twice as big as the imperial palace. While a new line would be parallel to the Yurakucho line, it wouldn't be close to it at all.

-There's no direct line between Ginza/Tokyo station area and that 3 islands. And in a wider scope, to Ariake and Odaiba.

-I was too harsh about the speed of the Yurikamome, the real problem is indeed its route. To go form Odaiba beach to Ariake tennis court, which are approx. 1.5 kilometer away, the Yurikamome runs for more than 6 kilometers and with 7 stops!! It can only be compared to the Disney Resort Line in that way, and that says a lot about its purpose (leisure).

-Finally, yes the Rinkai line has through-transit service with the Saikyo line, but it doesn't help much for the Tokyo station area, as you need to change train in Osaki and ride the over-capacity Yamanote.
If there was a line under Harumi-dôri, from Ariake area it would take less time to go to Tokyo station than to even just Osaki. It's nearly the same distance, but with much less curves.


In conclusion, remember that in Japan, railways CREATES city. It triggers urbanization. That's why it's normal that lines line Rinkai take a few years to be profitable. And that's why it's normal to design lines where you may not always see the need of it (for instance Shin-Toyosu). It's often a proof of a long-term vision, and what else does a megacity need the most?
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Old February 4th, 2011, 04:42 PM   #2171
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it can't run on street level, and I can't imagine them sticking an aerial through the heart of a premier shopping district, which means it has to go underground, costing substantially more than a simple LRT line.
Exactly. The intentions of this line are rather different than a full size metro line- it's intended as 住民の足、or daily local area transport. This proposed LRT line was featured on TV Asahi's Hodo Station tonight, and the figure for LRT was 1/10 the cost of an underground route. Given that the line will traverse the Tsukiji Area in addition to linking Ginza and Harumi, it will have positive effects on tourism and further vitalizing the local street scene in Chuo-ku, which has seen population growth in recent years. For residents of Harumi who want to go further out past the Ginza area, all they need to do is cross the bridge to Tsukishima to either the Oedo Line or Yurakucho Line stations- conceivably in the future this will include a one or two stop ride on the LRT.
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Old February 5th, 2011, 02:33 AM   #2172
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I kind of wonder what rail gauge this LRT system would use. If it would be the same gauge as the two legacy tramway lines (1372mm), then those two lines could eventually be connected to the new LRT network.
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Old February 5th, 2011, 07:42 AM   #2173
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Given that the line will traverse the Tsukiji Area in addition to linking Ginza and Harumi, it will have positive effects on tourism and further vitalizing the local street scene in Chuo-ku, which has seen population growth in recent years.
Vitalize Chuo-ku by linking Tsukiji with other parts of the ward? This is unconceivable, simply because to build the LRT, they would have to destroy the Tsukiji fish market. The LRT would be on the loop line 2, a road that is planned to be built partly on the site of the Tsukiji market. Nobody knows what would be built instead, but for sure not something as popular as the fish market.


Quote:
For residents of Harumi who want to go further out past the Ginza area, all they need to do is cross the bridge to Tsukishima to either the Oedo Line or Yurakucho Line stations- conceivably in the future this will include a one or two stop ride on the LRT.
Walking to Oedo line's Kachidoki station is ok for people who work in the Triton Square, but it's quite far away for most of Harumi's people. Harumi 5-chome, for instance, is about 15-20min. by walk to Kachidoki station, and about 30 min. to Yurakucho line's Tsukushima st.

Given that people may have to change line again to reach their destination, it makes a huge difference in term of attractiveness. If they want to develop the area properly, the will have, one day or another, to consider a real subway line.

And don't you think that Kachidoki or Harumi people may also want to go to the other side, to Shin-Toyosu (Toyosu 6-chome, the Island parralel to Harumi, different from Toyosu island), Ariake, Odaiba, etc...??
It's a perfect blank on the transport map between this places.

Cheers.
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Old February 5th, 2011, 08:19 AM   #2174
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Vitalize Chuo-ku by linking Tsukiji with other parts of the ward? This is unconceivable, simply because to build the LRT, they would have to destroy the Tsukiji fish market. The LRT would be on the loop line 2, a road that is planned to be built partly on the site of the Tsukiji market. Nobody knows what would be built instead, but for sure not something as popular as the fish market.
This argument doesn't hold much water since Tokyo-to under Ishihara is planning to move Tsukiji by 2020 anyways.
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Old February 5th, 2011, 10:24 AM   #2175
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Since this seems to be a hot topic, I made a few graphics using base images from everyone's favorite Japanese skyscraper blog. Maybe this will give some perspective, maybe not... But I think it's still interesting to see the development in this area.

Kachidoki
Current population (as of 2011.02.01): 19,006

This is the main part of Kachidoki (1-chōme, 2-chōme, 3-chōme, 4-chōme).


Original image: http://building-pc.cocolog-nifty.com/helicopter/

West part of Kachidoki (5-chōme, 6-chōme). Bottom left corner is actually not officially part of Kachidoki, but part of Toyomichō. Current population of Toyomichō is only 1,625.
Orange line is the likely route of the proposed LRT.


Original image: http://building-pc.cocolog-nifty.com/helicopter/
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Old February 5th, 2011, 10:25 AM   #2176
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Tsukishima and Harumi
Tsukishima current population: 12,424
Harumi current population: 7,298
Also, out of this picture to the bottom left is Tsukuda (current population: 12,516), home to River City 21.

Triton Square is a large mixed-use project on Harumi, currently accessible via Kachidoki Station and a 10-15 minute walk, part of which is on a moving walkway spanning the water. There is currently no rail station on Harumi, but there is frequent bus service. The western parts, which are mostly undeveloped, even get bus service every four minutes during the peaks to Kachidoki Station. Harumi was also proposed to house some of the Olympic venues in Tōkyō's latest bid for the Summer Olympics, but they weren't going to build any rail as part of the bid, using some form of BRT instead to get people to and from the island.

The orange line is my guess at what they will do with the LRT. It probably makes since to bring the Yurikamome around from Toyosu and link it to Harumi as well. Triton Square could be the "transit hub" for Harumi. This would allow for quick access to other parts of the waterfront area (Toyosu, Odaiba, etc.) as well as Toyosu Station for the Yūrakuchō Line.


Original image: http://building-pc.cocolog-nifty.com/helicopter/
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Old February 5th, 2011, 10:26 AM   #2177
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Toyosu
This is officially Kōtō Ward. I don't have population figures readily on me, but daily entries and exits at the Yūrakuchō Line's Toyosu Station are 131,100 (2009). Toyosu 1-chōme, 2-chōme, and 3-chōme (draw a line from left to right for the road carrying the Yurikamome and take everything on the island below that line) is supposed to house about 22,000 residents and 33,000 jobs at buildout.


Original image: http://building-pc.cocolog-nifty.com/helicopter/
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Old February 5th, 2011, 10:27 AM   #2178
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Kumamoto City considering introduction of IC card system
http://kumanichi.com/news/local/main/20110103002.shtml

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It was revealed on January 2 that five major Kumamoto Prefecture bus companies and the Kumamoto City Transportation Bureau have entered into discussions with the aim of establishing an IC card operating company in FY2011 in order to introduce IC farecards onto fixed-route buses and trains. In light of Kumamoto’s future transition to a city designated by government ordinance, the transit operators are aiming to begin rollout of the cards in FY2012. In addition to fare payments, the cards would also feature electronic money functionality to allow them to be used at retail shops.

IC farecards allow for fare settlement by simply placing the card next to card readers installed inside buses and trains. According to the plan, the new card would be called the Kumamoto IC Card (provisional name). The card would be a prepaid system, and would be accepted on Kumamoto Electric Railway trains and municipal trams, as well as fixed-route buses. To encourage use of the card’s electronic money functionality used not only in commercial districts and retail facilities, but also in government offices and public facilities, the cost of card reader installation will be kept to a minimum to increase the number of locations accepting the card.

The card will be designed to award rewards points based on card usage, which can then be used towards fare settlement or shopping. Operators are also considering awarding points as part of volunteer activities or when purchasing locally-produced Kumamoto products, making the card function as a “regional currency.”

Six bus operators have commenced discussions with Kumamoto Prefecture, Kumamoto City, and retail groups, with detailed design of the card’s functions beginning early this year. They also plan to encourage investment in the Kumamoto IC Card operating company from multiple local corporations. Introduction of the card system is expected to cost several billions to several tens of billions of yen, and the operators plan to make use of funding from the national government, Kumamoto Prefecture, and Kumamoto City.

Taking advantage of the card’s position as one of the latecomer IC cards in the Kyūshū region, the card will feature a wide range of functionality, and operators are planning to implement interoperability with IC card systems in other regions.

Trams and fixed-route buses operating within Kumamoto’s urbanized area currently use the TO YOU Card, a shared, prepaid magnetic card. Since 2009, operators had been considering transitioning out the cards in light of the need to upgrade card readers.

Kyūshū Sankō Bus, which serves as investigative committee lead for the Kumamoto Bus Union, says, “We hope this will not only increase the convenience of public transit, but also lead to the revitalization of the entire region.”
Missed this one…

Kumamoto tram scenes at Karashimachō Tram Stop:


Source: jtrain6767 on YouTube

Kumamoto Electric Railway, street-running section on the Fujisaki Line between Kurokamimachi and Fujisakigū-mae (2009.11.21).
This is a 2-car train composed of secondhand subway cars from Tōkyō (ex-Toei Subway 6000 series for the Mita Line).


Source: shuuuji on YouTube

Kumamoto Electric Railway, clips of the ex-Tōkyū 5000 series (affectionately known as the "Green Frog") on the Kikuchi Line (2009.02).


Source: Nosuview on YouTube
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Old February 5th, 2011, 10:28 AM   #2179
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Hiroshima City finalizes plans to reinstate portion of abandoned JR Kabe Line
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/ne...OYT1T00091.htm

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Hiroshima City has finalized intentions to electrify and reinstate approx. 2 km of the JR Kabe Line between Kabe and Kōdo (Asa Kita Ward) that were abandoned eight years ago.

The city aims to break ground on the extension in FY2011 and complete the work in FY2013, waiting for JR West’s decision on the project before commencing operations. According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), this would be the first time JR operates a line it had previously abandoned.

According to Hiroshima City, the project will reuse the abandoned right-of-way leading west from Kabe Station, establishing two new stations—an intermediate station and the new terminus of the line. Forecasted average daily ridership on the section is approx. 2,000 passengers. One-third of the project cost will be borne by the national government, and the city will discuss splitting the remainder of the costs with JR West. Because of operating deficits, the un-electrified section of the Kabe Line between Kabe and the former Sandankyō Stations (46.2 km) was abandoned in late November 2003. Land development, including retail facilities and residential neighborhoods, is proceeding around the former Kōdo Station, and residents in the area have requested the reopening of the line. Hiroshima City, JR West, and other stakeholders formed a committee in 2008, compiling an electrification and extension plan in February 2010.

Medley of rolling stock on the Kabe Line, including JR West 105 series, 113 series, and 115 series.


Source: superknightrider3000 on YouTube

Quick 1981 short about the Kabe Line. At the time, the line was under Japanese National Railways (JNR) management, and still ran all the way to Sandankyō. Includes clips of the transfer at Kabe from electric to diesel units.


Source: dtmagicttr on YouTube
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Old February 5th, 2011, 10:28 AM   #2180
quashlo
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Committee reveals strategy to increase Kotoden ridership: new stations and expanded IruCa
http://www.nikkei.com/news/local/art...F2F2F2F2F2F2F2

Quote:
The Kotoden Revitalization Committee (Chairman: Kagawa University professor Doi Kenji), comprised of the Kagawa Prefectural Government and cities and towns within Kagawa Prefecture, has compiled a plan to increase ridership on the three lines of the Takamatsu – Kotohira Electric Railroad (Kotoden; HQ: Takamatsu City). The cornerstones of the plan are construction of new stations, promotion of park-and-rides, increased operating frequencies during the midday period in response to passenger requests, and other measures. Local jurisdictions along the line are rapidly coming face-to-face with an aging society, and the plan is aimed at supporting the revitalization of the Kotoden, which is hoped will serve as a critical transport mode for the region.

The committee is composed of Kagawa Prefecture; three cities and four towns along the Kotoden network including Takamatsu City and Marugame City; academic experts; and Kotoden representatives, and was established in spring of last year. The committee conducted a survey of Kotoden users, residents along the rail network, and users of tourist and retail facilities to compile the latest plan.

The plan makes reference to three candidate areas for new stations, including between Sanjō and Ōta on the Kotohira Line, where trackside population is increasing; between Hanazono and Hayashimichi on the Nagao Line; and between Sue and Takinomiya on the Kotohira Line, where large-scale retail facilities including the ĆON Ayagawa Shopping Center have debuted in recent years. Based on changes in the lifestyle environment of neighborhoods along the line, including new urban development and the entry of large-scale stores, the plan calls for considering the possibility of establishing new stations in the mid- to long-term timeframe.

In an effort to promote park-and-rides, where passengers ride their private automobile or other vehicle to the station and take the train, the plan also includes construction of station plazas and vehicle parking facilities outside stations. The plan also calls for making efforts to secure demand from areas further away from stations.

In addition, officials will conduct a field trial of increased service during the midday and after 9:00 pm periods, which users have frequently requested. By FY2013, officials will consider increasing the frequency of midday service between Takamatsu Chikkō and Takinomiya from the current three trains per hour to four trains per hour, as well as increasing the frequency after 9:00 pm on each of the lines, currently two trains per hour.

In addition, the plan calls for advancing introduction of Kotoden’s IC card IruCa to buses and other forms of public transit, calling on businesses and residents along the line to use the Kotoden while also improving transfers.

Through these efforts, the plan will secure an annual ridership across all three Kotoden lines of 13 million, a 3.8 percent increase over FY2009 ridership levels. The cost of increasing train service will likely be split between Kagawa Prefecture, local governments, and other entities, after receiving funding from the national government.
Assorted clips of the Kotoden:


Source: ZOSbrigade on YouTube

When it comes to small second- or third-tier cities, the transport scene in Toyama gets a lot of attention, what with the conversion of a holdover JR West line to a light rail line (Toyama Light Rail), extensions (Toyama Loop Line), introduction of the Centram trains, IC cards (passca, ecomyca), bikesharing, etc., and now they've got the Shinkansen on the way. In contrast, it doesn't seem like Takamatsu gets much attention, but what they're doing with Kotoden and IruCa is pretty neat and could definitely serve as a model for some other 地方都市.
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