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Old May 30th, 2011, 07:04 AM   #2601
manrush
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I see.

I'm guessing that the Kyoto proposals don't face the same opposition. Speaking of Kyoto, I wonder if using the Randen and Eizan networks as starter lines for the LRT there could be a possible idea.

Last edited by manrush; May 30th, 2011 at 07:11 AM.
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Old May 30th, 2011, 11:54 PM   #2602
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I don’t think LRT plans there face as much opposition. Kyōto has a really extensive bus network, and there’s plenty of tourists from around Kansai and other parts of Japan who come to see the various landmarks which dot the entire city. As a result, out of all the cities that have ongoing LRT proposals, Kyōto really has some of the best potential to build a really good LRT system. In fact, they had a good streetcar system, but got rid of most of it (some of the routes are now replaced by subways). Virtually all of the routes being considered for LRT are basically former streetcar routes or along streets that originally had streetcar service.

There are seven routes analyzed in the Kyōto study, including a massive loop line that travels along the perimeter of the city center. The full report is here, but here are the major details:

Alignments:
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UT...,0.169086&z=13

Line 1 (Kawaramachi Line)
Sanjō branch: Kyōto Station ↔ Sanjō Keihan ↔ Higashiyama Sanjō (3.6 km, 9 stations)
Shijō branch: Kyōto Station ↔ Shijō–Kawaramachi ↔ Gion (3.0 km, 8 stations)

Line 2 (Higashi-Ōji Line)
Moto-Tanaka branch: Kyōto Station ↔ Higashi-Ōji-dōri ↔ Moto-Tanaka ↔ Eizan Electric Railway through (6.6 km, 13 stations)
Shirakawa branch: Kyōto Station ↔ Higashi-Ōji-dōri ↔ Ginkakuji (7.0 km, 14 stations)

Line 3 (Imadegawa Line)
Demachiyanagi branch: Keifuku Electric Railway through ↔ Kitano Hakubaichō ↔ Demachiyanagi Station ↔ Eizan Electric Railway through (4.1 km, 8 stations)
Ginkakuji branch: Keifuku Electric Railway through ↔ Kitano Hakubaichō ↔ Ginkakuji (5.6 km, 11 stations)

Line 4 (Middle Loop Line)
Oike-dōri ↔ Horikawa-dōri ↔ Gojō-dōri ↔ Kawaramachi-dōri ↔ Oike-dōri (6.1 km, 16 stations)

Line 5 (Small Loop Line)
Karasuma–Oike ↔ Shijō Ōmiya ↔ Keifuku Electric Railway through ↔ Shijō–Karasuma ↔ Shijō–Kawaramachi ↔ Kawaramachi–Oike ↔ Karasuma–Oike (4.3 km, 15 stations)

Line 6 (Horikawa Line)
Kyōto Station ↔ Horikawa–Imadegawa (5.2 km, 9 stations)

Line 7 (Large Loop Line)
Nishi-Ōji-dōri ↔ Kujō-dōri ↔ Higashi-Ōji-dōri ↔ Kita-Ōji-dōri ↔ Nishi-Ōji-dōri (22.2 km, 42 stations)

Lines 2, 3, and 5 would have through-service with Keifuku (Randen) and / or Eizan trains. However, both Randen and Eizan are high-floor boarding, so there would likely need to be some platform modifications to allow low-floor LRVs to run on these lines. Frequencies across lines would range from 10-12 tph peak, 8 tph off-peak. Trains would range in size from 14 m (55 pax) to 33 m (210 pax).

Both branches of Line 1, the Moto-Tanaka branch of Line 2, the Demachiyanagi branch of Line 3, and the large loop Line 7 would generate operating surpluses and pay back construction costs (within 40-year timeframe). In addition, the small loop Line 5 and Horikawa Line (Line 6) would be able to generate operating surpluses, but would not be able to pay back construction costs in 40 years.

As a small reminder of Kyōto’s former tram system:
Kyōto municipal trams during the summer of 1978 (service was completely discontinued on 1978.09.30).
Of course, Randen still survives today, as do interurbans Eizan and Keihan, so not all tram service was discontinued, only the publicly-operated lines. This short also has some clips of Eizan trains (around 0:20).


Source: pinjiang on YouTube
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Old May 31st, 2011, 03:19 AM   #2603
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
Plenty. Been meaning to pull a list together for a long time now, so here it is.

These are images from the Kinki Region Transport Policy Council Report No. 8 (2004.10.08), which details future lines in the railway plan for the Keihanshin region, modified by me with English translation and some numbering.
Lots of interesting stuff to comment on there, quashlo. I'm most familiar with the JR West lines, so...

Electrification of the Kishin Line?! From Himeji for only a few km, I guess? A two-car KIHA40 consist on the Tsuyama-Niimi section was one of the emptiest trains I can remember. Although, I've often wondered if the government would push to do away with diesel power, I think the French have a plan to electrify everything by 2020 or so.

San'in/Sagano Line to Tokaido for service towards Osaka - nice idea but obviously it misses Kyoto . I've often noticed that the rails on that connector line are not too rusty, but I don't think I've ever seen anything on it.

I don't quite understand #3 about the Nara Line to Tokaido Line. I know some of the Nara Line platforms at Kyoto are terminals, but at least some Nara Line trains pull up at platform 8, iirc, and this continues through the station and out the west end. Is it a big deal operationally to go through there and get onto track that is formally Tokaido Line?

Double-tracking of various lines: well, the Kyoto-Sonobe section was in obvious need of it and it still took until just a few years ago, so I'm not holding my breath for the Sonobe and north portion. Nara Line, yes please. I'm not that familiar with how many painful waits there are on the Katamachi and Kusatsu Lines.

I oppose any modifications to the upper level of Tennoji, it's got a pretty good vibe as it is. Don't care much about the lower level, it's like being in the lower intestine of Osaka. Well, maybe that would be Kamagasaki...

The proposals are interesting. The Hanwa Freight Line between Kami and Abiko should have been passengerized along with the central and northern sections that are now the Osaka Higashi Line (btw, they should have kept the Osaka Soto-kanjo name). I wonder who they envision operating the Biwako–Keihanna Line and Biwako–Wakasa Bay Rapid Railway. The latter in particular seems like it would be low-ridership, although maybe there's some untapped market there. The only thing that I don't see on there, which I thought I heard about, was some connection between Hankyu Umeda and Kyobashi or Tsuruhashi.
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Old May 31st, 2011, 10:45 AM   #2604
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My comments or understanding from other info on the Web:

Kishin Line
JR West and the local governments have been implementing various improvements to the line over the past few years, including new trains (Kiha 127), track improvements (trackbed, cant, concrete sleepering, etc.), centralized traffic control (CTC), and increased service (see http://web.pref.hyogo.jp/wd05/wd05_000000036.html). In the end, the electrification seems like part of a plan to extend shin-kaisoku and kaisoku trains from the San’yō Line that currently terminate at Himeji onto the Kishin Line, similar to what already happens with service to Aboshi or Akō.

San’in Main Line (Sagano Line)
Yeah, missing Kyōto seems like a problem, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a lot of people who would use such a service. I believe this particular track is only used by freight trains, but Wikipedia says that there was seasonal / irregular shin-kaisoku service towards Ōsaka using this track, perhaps to get to / from Arashiyama (?). If they wanted to get creative, perhaps they could run a shin-kaisoku as 8+4, and just cut off the 4-car unit at Takatsuki as a through-service onto the Sagano Line.

Nara Line
Well, here’s the track layout at JR (West) Kyōto Station:
http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83%...to_Station.svg

Trains can technically access the Ōsaka-bound Kyōto Line tracks without crossing the other tracks from Platform 8. In the outbound direction, it looks like there are enough gaps in train traffic heading into Kyōto on the Biwako Line to allow trains to cross over onto the Nara Line when coming from the Ōsaka direction with some schedule coordination. I’m not sure whether they’re comfortable running the 4- and 6-car trains from the Nara Line onto the Kyōto Line as is, though… They may want to couple with some of the Biwako Line trains.

Double-tracking
I think the Nara Line double-tracking is moving forward (they may have started construction already), although they may not be able to do the entire line. From what I’ve seen, I think the Katamachi Line should probably be double-tracked to at least Kyō-Tanabe or Dōshisha-mae, while the Kusatsu Line double-tracking is probably more a long-term improvement, although the long station-to-station distances and lack of passing tracks means they can’t do more than the 3 tph max they currently do.

Tennōji Station
I think modifications to the Hanwa Line platforms are exactly what they were envisioning. Of course, most of these proposals are long-term and some don’t get built anyways, so this may end up being one of the latter… Tennōji is such a mess that it will take them a long time to do any sort of major upgrade anyways. Seems like they would need to get the Hanwa Line ground-level platforms to switch places with the Ōsaka Loop Line (specifically, Platforms 11 / 12), which is in the trench / cut side of the station.

Hanwa Freight Line
The line was abandoned a few years ago, and they are supposed to use parts of the ROW for a high levee along the river. I could easily see a small light rail line along this alignment, but I doubt we’ll see anything.

Biwako–Keihanna Line
Personally, this is just a pipe dream, as it involves a good 30 km of new track through mountainous, sparsely-populated areas. This project appears to be spear-headed by Shiga Prefecture: http://www.pref.shiga.jp/kakuka/h/ko...-keihanna.html. Of the two existing lines involved, Ōmi Railway is a private railway (majority owned by Seibu Group) while Shigaraki Kōgen Railway is third-sector (mostly owned by public sector, namely Kōka City and Shiga Prefecture). If something like this went forward, I can’t imagine these small railways picking up much of the tab—would mostly need to be a public endeavor. They could try and argue for JR to pick up some of the tab since the line would connect into Kyō-Tanabe, but JNR abandoned the Shigaraki Line for a reason… I don’t think JR West would be interested in the least in participating, but maybe I’m wrong.

Biwako–Wakasa Bay Rapid Railway
Another pipe dream, this one courtesy of Obama City, for 20 km of new track, again through mountainous, sparsely-populated areas. It’s supposed to be an alternative route to access the Sea of Japan side from Higashi-Maizuru to Tsuruga, instead of the Hokuriku Main Line route via Ōmi Shiotsu or the San’in Main Line + Maizuru Line route used by the Maizuru limited express.

Hankyū Umeda to Kyōbashi or Tsuruhashi
I’m not familiar with these… I also wasn’t able to find anything online.
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Old June 1st, 2011, 08:27 AM   #2605
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Found these while doing some other stuff, but thought they were some interesting videos. Plus, Keishin Line is awesome!


Source: masanaga on YouTube

Last day of the Keihan Sanjō – Misasagi section (replaced by the Kyōto Municipal Subway Tōzai Line), 1997.10.11:


Source: CUTLASS2305 on YouTube
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Old June 3rd, 2011, 08:58 AM   #2606
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Construction of Sendai Municipal Subway Tōzai Line to resume June 20
http://www.kahoku.co.jp/news/2011/06/20110603t11019.htm

Quote:
On June 2, the Sendai City Transportation Bureau announced that it expects to resume construction works for the Municipal Subway Tōzai Line, put on hold following the Great East Japan Earthquake, on June 20. The Construction Division of the Bureau’s Tōzai Line Construction Department says, “Our original target date of a FY2015 opening remains unchanged. We will consider ways to accelerate the construction timeline.”

Construction work will resume on June 20 on three sections of the line: outside the Hirose River Bridge, at Shin-Tera, and at Yakushidō. Construction of other sections, including those contracted out to the Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (JRTT), will gradually resume as materials and equipment can be procured and workers can be deployed.

Following the earthquake, the Transportation Bureau surveyed damage to stations, tunnels, and bridges on the 22 sections of the line currently under construction and measured the shift in subgrade as a result of the shaking. The Bureau has ascertained about ¥700 million in damage at this time, including damage to tunnel materials and noise insulation housing on above-ground sections, but confirmed that there was no severe damage to structures or subgrade.
Small update on the Sendai-area railways:

Damage to Nobiru Station (Higashi-Matsushima City, Miyagi Prefecture) on the Senseki Line (2011.05.07):


Source: cosmostar888 on YouTube

JR Senseki Line @ Hon-Shiogama Station (2011.04.30). At the time, service was every 10 minutes during rush hour and every 20 minutes other times, with only local trains (no rapid services), operating between Aoba-dōri and Higashi-Shiogama. Service is still suspended east of Higashi-Shiogama, and is currently handled by substitute bus service.


Source: karibajct on YouTube

Service was restored across the full length of the Sendai Municipal Subway Namboku Line on 2011.04.29. Up until then, the Dainohara – Izumi Chūō section of the line was closed due to damage to stations and aerial structures. Very soothing music.


Source: karibajct on YouTube

JR Senzan Line @ Sendai Station. Service between Sendai and Ayashi was restored on 2011.04.14, with the last section between Ayashi and Yamadera restored on 2011.04.23.


Source: naraemon on YouTube
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Old June 3rd, 2011, 08:59 AM   #2607
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Suica beats 7-11’s nanaco for electronic money payments, returns to second place
http://www.nikkei.com/news/category/...0E2E2E2;at=ALL

Quote:
For payments using the six major electronic money systems (pre-paid systems only) in April, East Japan Railway Company’s Suica surpassed Seven & i Holdings’ nanaco, rising to second place. Suica can be used in retail facilities inside stations and has been expanded for use outside of train stations, leading to increased usage. Total payments for April among the six electronic money systems reached 174.57 million, but the year-over-year increase reached an all-time low of 12.5%.

Electronic money payments increased 29.6% year-over-year for Suica to 42.44 million, but remained at 42 million for nanaco, the same as in April of last year. It has been four years since Suica topped nanaco, which last happened in May 2007, immediately after the rollout of nanaco. The top spot in electronic money payments was Aeon’s WAON, which posted a 24.1% year-over-year increase to 44.80 million payments.

Use of Suica for train fares is trending back up after having declined in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake, and use outside of train stations is also on the rise, with Suica being accepted at 7-11 convenience stores starting in mid-March of this year. The number of stores accepting Suica for payment increased by approx. 50 percent to around 145,000 stores. Meanwhile, nanaco also showed increased use in electronic money payments as a result of a major new-member campaign in April of last year, but suffered from the lack of a variety of promotion campaigns this year, partially as a result of the earthquake.

Edy, offered by bitWallet (HQ: Shinagawa, Tōkyō), showed a 1% increase to 29.30 million electronic payments, while PASMO, offered by private railways and buses in the Kantō area, showed a 0.9% increase to 13.95 million, both posting only minor increases in usage.
New Suica CM starring actress Kaho:


Source: VIEWZARD12343031 on YouTube

Suica can now be used at all six of the largest convenience store chains in Japan—namely Circle K / Sunkus, 7-11, Daily Yamazaki, Family Mart, Mini Stop, and Lawson.

Typically, the way interoperability agreements work is that the transport IC card (Suica, ICOCA, etc.) is accepted for use in stores or other non-transport related functions. I’m actually a little curious now if we will see the reverse start to happen—i.e., nanaco (7-11 exclusive card) or WAON (Aeon exclusive card) being accepted at train faregates. However, Suica and other transport IC cards are specialized implementations of Felica (e.g., they need to maintain an adequate service rate at station faregates) and in this respect, are slightly different from non-transport IC cards like nanaco and WAON, which are also Felica implementations. I wonder if there is a way for an upgraded Edy that could work both types, which would then allow for a fairly large nationwide service area anywhere Edy or transport IC cards are accepted.
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Old June 11th, 2011, 06:46 AM   #2608
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Hey quashlo, you wouldn't happen to know what's going on at Higashi-Kishiwada Station on the Hanwa Line, would you? Seems like some sort of construction of a new platform and track going on?
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Old June 11th, 2011, 08:48 AM   #2609
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It's a grade sep (elevation) project. What you are seeing are the temporary platforms and tracks.
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Old June 11th, 2011, 10:04 AM   #2610
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
It's a grade sep (elevation) project. What you are seeing are the temporary platforms and tracks.
That would make sense. Looks like they're doing things the same way as most other grade separation projects across Japan then. Thanks for the info.
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Old June 13th, 2011, 06:52 AM   #2611
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Marubeni participates in Gold Coast LRT project
http://www.marubeni.com/news/2011/110610e.html

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Marubeni Corporation and Marubeni Australia Ltd (collectively ‘Marubeni Group ‘) have jointly acquired 26.67% of GoldlinQ Holdings Pty. Ltd. (herein ‘GoldlinQ’). GoldlinQ was selected by the Queensland State Government (herein ‘the State’) as the successful proponent for the Operator Franchise of the Gold Coast Rapid Transit Project (herein the Project). GoldlinQ has entered into an 18 year Public Private Partnership (herein ‘PPP’) contract with the State to design, build, finance, operate and maintain a light rail public transportation system on the Gold Coast.

Consisting of 14 modern and efficient light rail vehicles (herein LRVs) and 16 stations, the Project will service a 13 kilometre route through the beachside city while contributing to the improvement of public transport amenity in an environmentally sustainable manner. The PPP requires GoldlinQ to operate and maintain the light rail system including the fleet of LRVs for a period of 15 years following completion of construction works. Extensions to the project are planned to the north and south of the existing route.

The project value is approximately AU$ 1 Billion, with AU$365 million contributed from private banks. Investors in GoldlinQ comprise Marubeni Group, Plenary Group, IPP Australia, Aveng Australia and Keolis SA. Marubeni Group has been working with GoldlinQ since the Expression of Interest (EOI) phase of the project and is delighted to be acknowledged for its experience and capability in large scale transportation projects and its commitment to sustainability and long term local partnerships.

LRVs will be manufactured and supplied by the world’s leading supplier of rail transport systems, Bombardier. Design & Construction of major structures and track will be performed by leading Australian engineering & civil construction firm Mc Connell Dowell. Construction works will be executed over 3 years, with services expected to commence in 2014.

Since entering the locomotive & wagon leasing business in Australia in 2009, Marubeni has sought to expand its presence in the Australian rail sector. Marubeni will continue to seek new business opportunities in the environmentally sustainable sector of rail transportation in Australia and other nations.

GoldlinQ Outline:
Company Name: GoldlinQ Holdings Pty. Ltd.
Location: Gold Coast City, Queensland, Australia
Date of Establishment: May 2011
Shareholders:
Marubeni Corporation, Marubeni Australia Ltd:26.67%
Plenary Group:26.67%
IPP Australia:26.67%
Aveng Australia:10%
Keolis SA:10%

Artists impression of proposed Light Rail Vehicle


About Marubeni Corporation
Marubeni Corporation is a Japanese company listed on the Tokyo/Osaka/Nagoya exchanges. Founded in 1858 with assets of US$55Billion, Marubeni owns and manages businesses across a wide range of industrial sectors throughout the world. Marubeni’s commitment to sustainable investment was recognised again this year when it was awarded the SAM “Sector Leader” and “Gold Class” awards for the second consecutive year. These awards confirm Marubeni’s integrated risk management approach to environmental and social impact assessment in its investment decisions.

Marubeni has extensive expertise and knowledge in the rail sector. It is a leader in railway turnkey solutions, having managed the development of large-scale transport infrastructure projects in Asia, South America and the Middle East, a number of which are currently in the delivery phase. It continues to manage the supply of an extensive range of rolling stock, including passenger EMUs and freight diesel electric locomotives, in addition to its track record of delivering rolling stock manufacturing plant and maintenance workshops to various Railway Operators across the globe.

In Australia, Marubeni and its joint venture partner CFCL Australia is the leading supplier of leased locomotives and rolling stock to Australian freight rail operators. Through its subsidiaries and joint ventures, Marubeni is involved in the management of a combined fleet of over 10,000 wagons and 43 locomotives in the US and Australia.

Marubeni is well positioned in the PPP market with strong credentials as a partner, manager, financier and deliverer of large scale projects.
From strong foundations of having delivered large-scale transportation projects, Marubeni is able to actively manage the long-term interests of projects by overseeing and monitoring the performance of projects during delivery and operations phases. Marubeni values long term partnerships with transport sector clients, and will continue to seek opportunities where it can enhance the value proposition of transport projects.

About Marubeni Australia Limited and the Marubeni Group in Australia
Established in 1960, Marubeni Australia Limited (MAL) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marubeni Corporation. With its head office in Sydney, and offices in Melbourne, Perth, the company is both an investor in and trader of a wide variety of products through business units in Iron Ore, Non-Ferrous & Light Metals, Forrest Products, Machinery, Agricultural Produce, Chemical Products, Renewable Energy Solutions and Petroleum Products. Across Australia the Marubeni Group maintain extensive investments through subsidiary companies and joint ventures in power generation, including wind; power transmission; gas transmission; aluminium production; coal mining operations; automotive vehicle sales & service; tyre distribution; agricultural & construction equipment, mining & construction machinery, cattle feedlots, forestry, salt production and locomotive & railcar leasing. Marubeni Group company, Marubeni Coal Limited is an investor in 6 operational mines in Queensland with a total investment value of over AU$670 Million.
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Old June 13th, 2011, 06:52 AM   #2612
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JR Shikoku to begin looking at IC card implementation
http://www.nikkei.com/news/local/art...E2E2EBE0E0E4EB

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The Revised Act on Treatment of Debt of the JNR Settlement Corporation, which would use surplus profits from the Japan Railway, Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (JRTT) (an Independent Administrative Corporation) to support the finances of Shikoku Railway (JR Shikoku) and other operators, was adopted and enacted on June 8. The law will provide a total of ¥180 billion in funding to JR Shikoku, which plans on beginning work on delayed facilities upgrades and introduction of an IC farecard system.

The funding plan includes two major elements. The plan will lend ¥140 billion to JR Shikoku, which will be used to purchase bonds issued by the JRTT. The bonds have an annual yield of 2.5%, providing ¥3.5 billion annually as a source of operating funds. The second part of the plan is a ¥40 billion funding framework for facilities upgrades, making replacement of aging rolling stock easier.

JR Shikoku will use the funding to move forward with IC card implementation and rolling stock replacement. Regarding IC cards, JR Shikoku is the only JR company to have yet to introduce a system. The railway is aiming for an early rollout in order to improve passenger convenience.

However, with low interest rates persisting, it’s highly likely that the operating funds from JR Shikoku’s existing funding sources will decline substantially, and the railway is still not in a position allowing for an optimistic outlook. As a result, JR Shikoku is continuing to target improvements in profitability through all-around reduction of expenses.

Of the railway’s ¥200 billion in operations stabilization funds, the majority are fixed-rate bonds (3.7% annual yield) from the JRTT. The bonds provided 80% of the railway’s ¥7.4 billion in operating funds in FY2010, but starting in FY2017, the railway will manage operating funds in-house.
Parts of Shikoku have close ties with Honshū—namely Takamatsu (with Okayama) and Tokushima (with Kansai)—so perhaps they will do an interoperability deal with ICOCA (and eventually join the nationwide interoperability program).
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Old June 13th, 2011, 06:53 AM   #2613
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Ōsaka Municipal Subway becomes first publicly-operated subway to pay itself off
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/ne...0050000-n1.htm

Quote:
It was announced on June 10 that projections from the FY2010 financial statement for Ōsaka City’s subway operations will show operating surpluses, the eighth year in a row since 2003. The accumulated deficit of the municipal subway, which amassed to approx. ¥293.3 billion at its peak in 2002, has been completely paid off. Subway operations posted a surplus of about ¥18.6 billion. According to city spokespersons, efforts to reduce the city workforce and improve business efficiencies have paid off.

Of the publicly-operated subway systems across nine cities in Japan, the Ōsaka Municipal Subway is the first to pay itself off completely. Based on FY2010 projections, the system with the next smallest accumulated deficit is the Sendai Municipal Subway, with approx. ¥106.4 billion, while the largest accumulated deficit goes to the Tōkyō Metropolitan (Toei) Subway, with approx. ¥426.3 billion.

According to the Ōsaka Municipal Transportation Bureau, the municipal subway’s operating revenues are expected to decline for the third straight year, but after cutting labor expenses and keeping down interest expenses by reducing corporate debt, the subway posted an ordinary surplus of approx. ¥24.6 billion.

Starting in FY2010, the Transportation Bureau has been transferring revenues from the municipal subway to the municipal bus system to cover its operating deficit. While the Bureau transferred approx. ¥3 billion to compensate deficits on lines operated jointly by the subway and buses, municipal bus operations still posted an ordinary deficit of approx. ¥2.4 billion, the 28th straight year of operating losses since 1983.
Perhaps this will give them the opportunity to begin looking at new lines again, such as the Naniwasuji Line…
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Old June 13th, 2011, 06:54 AM   #2614
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Nankai unveils new 12000 series Southern Premium to press

On June 9, Nankai Electric Railway invited members of the press to take a tour of the new 12000 series train for its Southern limited express service linking Namba (Ōsaka) and Wakayama. The train is the predecessor of the existing 10000 series, and is designed to target business customers, offering power outlets and notebook computer-sized pull-out tables.

Nankai currently operates two types of limited expresses: mixed services operated with coupled limited express and regular commuter rolling stock (partial reserved seat service), and a service operated only with regular commuter rolling stock (all non-reserved seat service). With the introduction of the new 12000 series, Nankai will eliminate the all non-reserved seat limited express services. Two four-car units will enter service starting 2011.09.01.

Some pictures (2011.06.09):
Source: http://rail.hobidas.com/blog/natori/

At Hagurazaki Maintenance Depot on the Nankai Main Line (2011.06.01). The nickname for the 12000 series is the Southern Premium, in recognition of the train’s improved amenities.



Car No. 1, the end closest to Namba, carrying a VVVF inverter and pantograph. The exterior features blue and orange lines along the sides, symbolizing the “waves” of people and trains heading to the Ōsaka Bay shoreline and Wakayama, as well as the waves of people coming from around Japan to visit Namba and the Minami district of Ōsaka.



The end cars also feature these new simplified line diagrams representing the Southern service.



The 12000 series comes in four-car units, with a total capacity of 242 seated passengers. Seat pitch is 1,010 mm, and seat height is 1,140 mm, with maximum reclining angle of 25.5 degrees. Seat width has also been increased by 2.5 cm above the existing 10000 series. In response to a survey of 160 of its female employees, Nankai also designed the seats with headrests that wrap around, blocking out the distraction created by other passengers, and included a multi-purpose room inside the train allowing for clothes-changing and nursing. Seating is 2+2. Lighting is provided both in the center aisle from the car ceiling and along the sides underneath the overhead racks.



Power outlets are provided in the lower section of the seat in front.



The 12000 series is the first major private railway train to feature Sharp’s new Plasmacluster air purification technology, suppressing viral activity and destroying airborne molds. Nine to 12 of these units are installed onto the ceiling of each car.



Sliding pocket doors. Security cameras above (a first for Kansai area major private railways), and standard yellow floor treatments near the door area.



New multi-purpose room is in the Namba-end car.



The operator’s cab is a compact design to allow for sufficient space for the emergency passage.



Wheelchair-accessible restroom is in the Wakayama-end car. This is also the first rolling stock for a major private railway to use waterless urinals (Car No. 1).

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Old June 13th, 2011, 06:54 AM   #2615
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New station on Toyama Chihō Railroad at Hokuriku Shinkansen’s Shin-Kurobe Station
http://www.chunichi.co.jp/article/to...902000139.html

Quote:
On March 28, Kurobe City and the Toyama Chihō Railroad (President: Kawagishi Hiroshi) signed an agreement to establish a new station on the Toyama Chihō Railroad at its closest location with Shin-Kurobe Station (provisional name) on the Hokuriku Shinkansen. The project is aimed at expanding the regional transit network and improving the efficiency of transferring between the Toyama Chihō Railroad and the Shinkansen, and an increase in visitors to Unazuki Onsen (hot springs), one of Toyama Prefecture’s major tourist attractions, is also anticipated. The construction costs will be covered by Kurobe City, and completion is slated for FY2014 together with the opening of the Shinkansen.

The new station will be constructed between Nagaya Station and Shitayama Station on the Toyama Chihō Railroad, approx. 70 m distant from the south-side exit of Shin-Kurobe Station. The Toyama Chihō Railroad is currently the only train service to the Unazuki Onsen hot springs, and the number of visitors is expected to increase if a new station connecting with the Shinkansen were established.

While the city hammers out the plans for improvements surrounding Shin-Kurobe Station, members of the public are also expressing their eagerness regarding the establishment of a new station, and have been discussing the issue with the Toyama Chihō Railroad since 2005. As a “petition station”, the construction cost (approx. ¥200 million)—as well as the cost to construct the pedestrian shelter connecting to Shin-Kurobe Station, a parking facility, and other improvements—will be borne by the city.

Mayor Horiuchi Yasuo and Toyama Chihō Railroad president Kawagishi attended the agreement signing ceremony held at Toyama Chihō Railroad headquarters in Toyama City. Mayor Horiuchi greeted Kawagishi, saying, “I am counting on the Toyama Chihō Railroad and other private sector know-how to to make this area representative of Kurobe.” Kawagishi remarked, “We hope to fulfill our duty as a regional means of transport, including convenient access to Kurobe Gorge and other visitor landmarks.”
Unazuki limited express on the Toyama Chihō Railroad Main Line from Unazuki Onsen to Dentetsu Toyama:
Source: seigen120kaihin on YouTube

Part 1
Unazuki Onsen to Dentetsu Kurobe



Part 2
Dentetsu Kurobe to Kamiichi



Part 3
Kamiichi to Dentetsu Toyama

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Old June 13th, 2011, 06:55 AM   #2616
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Tōkyō Metro to move forward with Tōzai Line improvements
http://www.nikkei.com/news/local/art...E2E2EBE0E0E4E7

Quote:
Tōkyō Metro will add platforms to Minami-Sunamachi Station on the Tōzai Line. The railway will transform the station to allow for simultaneous arrival and departures in the inbound (westbound) direction, minimizing delays to trains during the rush hours and increasing the capacity of the line. The railway will also extend platforms at Kayabachō Station, streamlining transfers to the Hibiya Line. Tōkyō Metro plans on investing a total of approx. ¥40 billion into these projects, aiming for completion as early as FY2018.

In order to secure enough land to build the new platform, Tōkyō Metro has entered into discussions with landowners surrounding the station and the local ward government, Kōtō Ward. The railway is forecasting project costs of approx. ¥30 billion for the improvement works, including excavation inside the station and construction of the new platform.

The Tōzai Line suffers from severe crowding, and there is a trend towards increased dwell times at Monzen Nakachō Station and Kayabachō Station, both transfer stations, during the rush hours. As a result, trailing trains are frequently obstructed and delayed. The railway will add a second inbound platform at Minami-Sunamachi Station, located further east of the two above stations, making schedule management easier by allowing for simultaneous departure and arrival.

The railway will also extend the Nishi-Funabashi end of the platforms at Kayabachō Station approx. 40 m. Currently, passengers transferring to the Hibiya Line running above the Tōzai Line frequently queue up on the platform and in the stairwells. The railway will add a stairwell and escalator to transfer to the Hibiya Line on the section of extended platform, alleviating congestion. The cost of renovating the station is approx. ¥10 billion, with completion slated for FY2016. The railway also plans to widen the platforms at Monzen Nakachō Station in FY2013.

According to an FY2009 report by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, peak hour loading (passenger loads vs. capacity) on the Tōzai Line between Kiba and Monzen Nakachō is 197%. Loading on the Tōzai Line is higher than the Machiya – Nishi-Nippori section of the Chiyoda Line (178%) and the Shibuya – Omote-Sandō section of the Hanzōmon Line (170%), and Tōkyō Metro says the line “receives the most complaints from passengers.”
On a bit of a tangent, ex-Tōzai Line trains in Jakarta:
Interesting to still see see rollsigns for Nakano and Kita-Narashino.
Source: 109fan on YouTube

Ex-Eidan (Tōkyō Metro) 5000 series and 05 series at Bogor Station:



5000 series at Bogor:



05 series at Tanah Abang Station:

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Old June 13th, 2011, 06:56 AM   #2617
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Kawasaki and Yokohama sign MOU on Blue Line extension and JR Nambu Line grade separation
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/ka...702000040.html

Quote:
On June 6, Kawasaki City and Yokohama City signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to coordinate jointly on planning the transport network spanning both cities.

Both Kawasaki and Yokohama are currently each drafting plans laying out the development of a next-generation transportation network. The recently-signed MOU is aimed at integration across both cities in regards to transportation network improvements spanning across city boundaries. For the time being, the primary projects under consideration are the proposed extension of the Yokohama Municipal Subway Blue Line from Azamino to Shin-Yurigaoka and the continuous grade separation of the JR Nambu Line between Shitte and Musashi Kosugi.

According to the Kawasaki City Transport Policy Office, both cities will now work to exchange information and cooperate on studies, and plan on finalizing a course of action for both projects by the end of FY2012.
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Old June 13th, 2011, 06:57 AM   #2618
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Committee established to consider Saitama Railway’s Iwatsuki extension
http://mainichi.jp/area/saitama/news...40202000c.html

Quote:
Fears over profitability leave project up in the air
On the evening of June 6, an investigative committee composed of experts was established to discuss the proposal to extend Subway Line 7 (Saitama Rapid Railway) approx. 7.3 km from Urawa Misono Station to Tōbu Railway’s Iwatsuki Station. With staff from sponsor Saitama Prefecture and Saitama City as secretariats of the committee, appointed committee chair and former Saitama New Urban Transit managing director Takamatsu Yoshiharu steeled his resolve: “Governor Ueda (Kiyoshi) stated before that the Line 7 extension was a dream of his, but we eventually wake up from our dreams after a long time, so we need to take action now.”

Iwatsuki City was annexed into Saitama City in 2005. With no railway network other than the Tōbu Noda Line, strengthening access to central Tōkyō has been a hot topic for many years. Iwatsuki City and others formed a promotional association to lobby for a subway extension in 1969. Looking back at 2005, Prefectural Assemblyman Satō Seijirō, who advanced the annexation as the last mayor of Iwatsuki City, asserts that “the number one reason behind being annexed into Saitama City was the extension of Subway Line 7,” and that the extension was “utterly impossible with only Iwatsuki’s economic strength.”

Tanaka Mineo, chairman of the Citizen’s Committee to Realize the Subway Line 7 Extension—composed of local chambers of commerce and industry and other groups, says, “If we can’t extend the line, then the annexation was pointless.”

The Akabane Iwabuchi (Kita Ward, Tōkyō) – Urawa Misono (Midori Ward, Saitama City) section of Subway Line 7 opened in 2001 as the Saitama Rapid Railway (Saitama Railway), a third-sector operator funded by Saitama Prefecture, Saitama City, and others. An advisory committee of the former Ministry of Transport recommended extension from Urawa Misono via Iwatsuki to Hasuda as “appropriate for a 2015 opening”, but over 10 years since that report, the plan still remains in the air, with the only progress being a few studies of the extension.

==============

The bottleneck in the project is the massive pricetag, approx. ¥75 billion in railway construction costs alone. While the local funding share drops to only one-third with funding support from the national government, the extension must be able to pay back all of its construction costs and accumulated debt within a 30-year timeframe as a prerequisite to receiving the grants. However, preliminary projections show that Saitama Prefecture’s population will begin to decline in the future, and worries about the line’s profitability have yet to be erased.

At a June 3 regular press conference, Saitama City mayor Shimizu Hayato, who touts a groundbreaking by next fiscal year as a goal, made the following statement: “There are some situational considerations from population decline that make the project difficult. I’d like to fully investigate the feasibility of the project and take into account the committee’s findings.”

==============

In Iwatsuki, the groundbreaking of the ¥2.6 billion Iwatsuki Puppetry Hall (provisional name) originally scheduled for March of this year was postponed after Saitama City’s Cultural Facilities Construction Preparatory Office cited “insufficient area infrastructure improvements and a lack of organizational structure in the sponsoring group.” Locals are also split on the merits of the project.

One man (79yo) who uses Tōbu Iwatsuki Station said, “If Line 7 were extended, it’d become very convenient. However, both the extension and the Puppetry Hall are just pie-in-the-sky dreams now, during a time when we can’t expect continued (economic) growth.”

It’s been 10 years since the birth of Saitama City. Will the city continue to pursue the vision of a town crafted when it was first incorporated, or will it launch a new debate that considers changes in the social structure? The time has come to make a decision.

==============

Comparisons to when Saitama City was incorporated:
Code:
                              FY01        FY09
                           ==========  ========== 
Rail ridership                796,061     876,231
Fixed-route bus ridership     131,792     140,188
Annual external tourists   19,300,000  21,000,000
*Tourism numbers are a comparison between 2002 to 2009.
SR trains on the Tōkyū Meguro Line, bearing 10th anniversary headmarks:


Source: tiyodalain on YouTube
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Old June 13th, 2011, 06:57 AM   #2619
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Saitama Railway publishes FY2010 financial statement
http://mainichi.jp/area/saitama/news...20188000c.html

Quote:
Saitama Railway (SR), the third-sector railway operator funded by Saitama Prefecture and Saitama, Kawaguchi, and Hatogaya Cities celebrating its 10th year in service, announced its FY2010 financial statement. The railway posted a final operating loss of approx. ¥4.134 billion after including depreciation costs from construction, with the operating loss increasing from last fiscal year by approx. ¥466 million. The railway showed an operating profit pre-depreciation for the second straight year, but the elimination of funding from local governments starting in FY2010 impacted the railway’s bottom line.

According to Saitama Railway, operating revenues from the company’s core business of transport increased 1.6% year-over-year to ¥6.439 billion. Daily passenger trips by commuter pass from residents along the line and others increased by 1,100 trips daily (1.9%) over last fiscal year, but other ridership showed flat growth. The two soccer games to determine Japan’s World Cup team and the World Cup public viewing held at Saitama Stadium (Midori Ward, Saitama City) failed to lead to substantial growth in ridership.

Meanwhile, expenses dropped ¥284 million from last year to ¥12.299 billion as a result of reduced interest payments. In FY2010, the railway received approx. ¥4 billion in loans from Saitama Prefecture and the three cities. The railway’s total interest-bearing debt as of the end of FY2010 is ¥127.585 billion.
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Old June 13th, 2011, 06:58 AM   #2620
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Tsukuba Express reaches 1 million annual passengers, posts record net profit
http://akiba.keizai.biz/headline/2440/

Quote:
According to FY2010 ridership statistics released June 6 by Metropolitan Intercity Railway (MIR) (HQ: Tōkyō; President: Takahashi Nobukazu), operator of the Tsukuba Express (TX) linking Tsukuba City and Akihabara, Tōkyō, annual passenger trips reached 102,220,000 rides, surpassing 100 million passengers in the fifth full fiscal year of service. Daily average ridership increased 4.5% year-over-year to 283,000 passengers, and net annual profit reached an all-time high since opening of ¥2.1 billion. Commuter pass ridership has been increasing every year, and the increase in permanent resident population, fueled by ongoing trackside development along the line, has helped increase ridership.

According to the railway’s FY2010 financial statement, ordinary profit increased ¥2.599 billion year-over-year to ¥2.629 billion, the second straight year in the black for the operator. Operating revenues increased 3.3% year-over-year to ¥35.398 billion. After balancing out operating costs, including depreciation costs for automatic faregates, rolling stock, and other assets (¥19.812 billion), operating profit increased 76.7% year-over-year to ¥2.966 billion, the third-straight year in the black. Net profit also set a record all-time high since the start of the service, surpassing ¥2.1 billion.

According to the railway, the main factors behind the increased profits are ridership growth and an approx. ¥1.3 billion decrease in non-operating expenses due to the completion of repayment of labor expenses and other costs associated with preparations for the opening of station buildings and other railway facilities. Last fiscal year’s non-commuter pass ridership showed flat trends, but increased this year by 2,000 to 96,000 passengers.

MIR’s Business Planning Department explains, “The number of people relocating to areas along the line and using our trains for commuting to work or school is increasing.”

For daily boardings at stations within Ibaraki, Moriya Station (Moriya City) took the top spot at 22,200 passengers, followed by Tsukuba Station (Tsukuba City) with 15,500 passengers, Kenkyū Gakuen Station (Tsukuba City) with 4,300 passengers, Miraidaira Station (Tsukuba Mirai City) with 3,100 passengers, Midorino Station (Tsukuba City) with 2,600 passengers, and Banpaku Kinen Kōen Station (Tsukuba City) with 1,900 passengers.
Daily boardings (FY2010):
Code:
Station                      FY2010  FY2009
===========================  ======  ======
Akihabara                    56,763  55,296
Shin-Okachimachi             14,417  13,664
Asakusa                       8,420   8,111
Minami-Senju                  4,002   3,828
Kita-Senju                   36,821  35,146
Aoi                           5,777   5,625
Rokuchō                      10,065   9,358
Yashio                       14,129  13,424
Misato Chūō                   8,128   7,368
Minami-Nagareyama            28,560  27,339
Nagareyama Central Park       2,820   2,745
Nagareyama / Ōtaka no Mori   28,609  27,753
Kashiwa no Ha Campus         11,677  11,010
Kashiwa Tanaka                2,786   2,640
Moriya                       22,182  21,374
Miraidaira                    3,149   2,800
Midorino                      2,575   2,366
Banpaku Kinen Kōen            1,893   1,684
Kenkyū Gakuen                 4,325   3,691
Tsukuba                      15,529  15,117
A Tōkyō MX news report on the Tsukuba Express’ wireless LAN service (2011.04.27):

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