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Old August 28th, 2011, 06:07 AM   #2841
quashlo
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Tour of future Sōtetsu–JR Connection: Part 1

A walking tour along the route of the future Sōtetsu–JR Connection from 2011.07.09:
Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/

First shot is the grade crossing at the junction of the Musashino Freight Line with the Yokosuka Line just south of Musashi Kosugi Station (map). Through-servicing JR trains from central Tōkyō will branch off at this location to get onto the Musashino Freight Line (and eventually, the Tōkaidō Freight Line and Sōtetsu Main Line).



From the crossing, looking north towards Musashi Kosugi Station. Inbound Yokosuka Line (for Tōkyō) track is at center, outbound Yokosuka Line (for Kurihama) track is at right. Far left is the track connection from the Musashino Freight Line (you can see the switch in the distance if you look closely), while elevated at left are the Shinkansen tracks.



Looking south from the crossing, where we can see the other turnout for outbound trains heading onto the Musashino Freight Line. From this point south, the Yokosuka Line inbound track becomes elevated, and this turnout dives underneath to join the inbound freight track.



Next shots are of the section where the Musashino Freight Line and Yokosuka Line run parallel (map). This shot is from the Fuchū Kaidō (National Route 409) overpass, looking north. In the background, we can see Kawasaki City’s newest skyline, Musashi Kosugi, which is continuing to grow as new residential towers sprout up at this major intersection of JR and Tōkyū lines. The two tracks to the right are the Yokosuka Line (the left track of this pair is the inbound track, and we can see the short flyover that allows the outbound freight track to whip around and join the three other freight tracks. Just north of this, the Musashino Freight Line dips underground, and you can see the second freight track from the right actually beginning to drop down into the tunnel portal. The JR–Sōtetsu through-trains will basically parallel the Yokosuka Line for a good length between Tsurumi and Musashi Kosugi, but will be skipping most of the intermediate stations due to running on the freight tracks.



Moving to Tsurumi Station, here looking outbound (southwest) towards Yokohama. There’s 13 tracks running in parallel here (passenger tracks are off to the right, freight tracks are to the left). The Musashino Freight Line joins the Tōkaidō Freight Line just east of here.



Moving to Namamugi on the Keikyū Main Line, where the Tōkaidō Freight Line dives underground (map). The JR–Sōtetsu through-trains will use this underground connection to reach the Sōtetsu Main Line. From here the Tōkaidō Freight Line circles outside of central Yokohama, meeting back up with the Tōkaidō Line in Higashi-Totsuka in western Yokohama. This was shot from the pedestrian overpass above the tracks, connecting Namamugi Station with the area north of the JR tracks.



Most of the Tōkaidō Freight Line between here and Higashi-Totsuka is underground, and there’s only a few sections where it’s actually visible. Next is the future site of Hazawa Station, currently occupied primarily by a freight terminal (map). As this is a freight line, there aren’t any passenger stations yet—the closest one currently is Katakurachō on the Yokohama Municipal Subway Blue Line.



This area is in the hilly parts of Yokohama and away from the hustle and bustle, so there’s some quiet, almost rural scenes like this:



Daylight section of the Tōkaidō Freight Line. Notice the unusually high soundwalls.



Walking a bit further north, we run across the Tōkaidō Shinkansen, here where a flyover ramp onto the No. 3 Keihan Road tollway crosses above. The Sōtetsu–Tōkyū Connection is supposed to branch off the Tōkaidō Freight Line and follow underneath this road to get to Shin-Yokohama and eventually Hiyoshi on the Tōyoko Line.



The Tōkaidō Freight Line and Loop Road No. 2 parallel each other for a short bit on this section (map). The Sōtetsu–Tōkyū Connection will follow underneath the frontage road to Loop Road No. 2 at right to connect up with the Tōkaidō Freight Line at Hazawa Station.

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Old August 28th, 2011, 06:08 AM   #2842
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Tour of future Sōtetsu–JR Connection: Part 2

Next set:
Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/

Moving to the main intersection, Sanmaichō (map). Here, we look west towards Hazawachō, with the Tōkaidō Freight Line on the left and Loop Road No. 2 on the right. Passing left-right above is the No. 3 Keihin Road tollway.



Moving further west (map). Here, a small space opens up between Loop Road No. 2 and the freight tracks, which will serve as the portal for the Sōtetsu–Tōkyū Connection.



There’s only a few building standing on these lots, and most of the space is actually used as parking or not used at all. To the left is Yokohama Hazawa Freight Terminal, but of you course the soundwalls prevent us from seeing anything inside.



The approach into Hazawa Station for the Sōtetsu–Tōkyū Connection will be a trench section (map).



Arrival near the future Hazawa Station, where we finally see some signs of construction activity.



There’s a pedestrian bridge crossing the freight terminal where we can get a good view of the freight activities:



Next, the construction site (map). This is pretty much the perfect spot to put the station, as there’s some leeway between the freight terminal and Loop Road No. 2, and the land is nice and flat, with not very intensive existing uses. Based on the construction schedule and the activities here, they appear to be currently in the process of earthwork and pile-driving.



Construction summary posted at the site. In addition to constructing the station and track, they will also be relocating the canal running on the north of the site, which crosses the Sōtetsu–Tōkyū Connection alignment. Right now, they are at Step 1 / Step 2, driving the center and outer piles.





Hazawa will be a four-track station, with the outside tracks for the Sōtetsu–JR Connection and the inside tracks for the Sōtetsu–Tōkyū Connection. The inbound Sōtetsu–JR track will fly over the Sōtetsu–Tōkyū tracks to join the inbound Tōkaidō Freight Line track, while the outbound Sōtetsu–JR track will need to slide under a portion of the existing freight tracks in a tunnel to join up at Hazawa Station. It’s clear they wanted to reduce the impact on the freight terminal activities as much as possible.



Freight terminal. There’s clearly some space inside the terminal that could have been used to at least partially meet the needs for the new lines, but they won’t be taking advantage of it. Jurisdictional issues may have been at play (the Sōtetsu–JR project is a Sōtetsu and JR East project, but the freight terminal is a JR Freight facility).



The approximate location where the Sōtetsu–JR Connection will join with the Tōkaidō Freight Line tracks.



Track layout of Yokohama Hazawa Station from the JR Freight Timetable. The dotted lines are JR East-owned tracks, the solid lines are JR Freight-owned tracks.

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Old August 28th, 2011, 06:08 AM   #2843
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Tour of future Sōtetsu–JR Connection: Part 3

Next, the final segment between Hazawa and Nishiya:
Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/

Aerial photograph showing the alignment between the existing Nishiya Station on the Sōtetsu Main Line and the future Hazawa Station. There’s few usable roads to take advantage of on this section and the area is hilly, so this segment will be bored tunnel.



West end of Hazawa Station, closer to Nishiya, where they have the whole site fenced off.



Next, we move south along Loop Road No. 2 to the Ikenoyato Entrance intersection, the approximate location where the Sōtetsu–JR Connection will cross Loop Road No. 2 belowground (map). Loop Road No. 2 dodges the hills in the area by following the flatter valleys, but as a bored tunnel, the Sōtetsu–JR Connection will pass beneath several hills in the area. This intersection is the closest the tunnel gets to ground level.



Next, the intersection with Hachiōji Kaidō, just east of where the Sōtetsu–JR Connection will join the Sōtetsu Main Line (map). This is taken near the entrance to Myōfukuji Temple, looking northwest along Hachiōji Kaidō. The road curves off to the left a bit in the distance, and this is approximately where the Sōtetsu–JR Connection will cross belowground.



The approximate location where the Sōtetsu–JR Connection will tie into the Main Line (towards the end of this approaching train). There’s no construction fencing up along the track closest to us, another hint that the future junction is actually further into the picture.



The approximate location of the junction, where they are setting up some fencing along the sides of the ROW. There’s really not much space to work with here. This is taken from one of the grade crossing east of Nishiya. West of here, the tunnel portals for the Sōtetsu–JR Connection will join the Main Line on the outside. Usually, the portals at these types of junctions are in the center, but perhaps this is an indication that most of the services turning back at Nishiya will be to / from Yokohama (?).



At this narrow grade crossing closer to the station, we can see they’ve secured some additional space off to the sides of the existing tracks.



Work on relocating the Nishiya Neighborhood Center on the left. They will need to demolish the existing building and build a new facility with sufficient clearance away to provide enough room for the new tracks.



From the pedestrian overpass east of Nishiya, looking in the inbound (for Yokohama) direction. The Sōtetsu–JR Connection tracks will surface on the outer side of the Main Line approaching Nishiya. The Main Line has a slight rising grade in the inbound direction, so perhaps this unusual configuration is an attempt to keep the ROW as tight as possible? Hard to believe they will fit two tunnel portals here…



Looking in the other direction towards Nishiya. We see some wood down on the tracks for construction vehicles, while on the left, they’ve removed the outside outbound track to secure space for construction.



Construction notice inside Nishiya Station. The notice does not mention the two new sidings to be constructed west of the station to allow trains to turn back, and it appears they still have some time before they will break ground on those.

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Old August 28th, 2011, 06:09 AM   #2844
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Sōtetsu Line construction update: Part 1

Next, an update on the various construction projects on the Sōtetsu network (2011.07.15):
Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/

First, videos:

Inbound cab view from Tsurugamine to Nishiya:
In addition to the two new sidings to be constructed west of Nishiya, the entire station is supposed to be relocated 25 m to the west, minimizing the grades on the Sōtetsu–Tōkyū Connection heading to / from the tunnel portals while not requiring the relocation of the grade crossing at the west end of the station. As the Sōtetsu–Tōkyū tracks will be constructed on the outside, the sidings will basically be where the existing Sōtetsu Main Line tracks are, meaning that they will need to add one track on each on each side of the existing ROW. The two sidings are supposed to be slightly higher up than the existing track, perhaps to make it easier to grade-separate the crossings just west of the station (?).



Nishiya to Kami-Hoshikawa:
They’re setting up fencing and performing other minor work in preparation for the start of the major construction.



Next, inbound cab view from Wadamachi to Tennōchō, where the Main Line is being elevated around Hoshikawa Station as part of a continuous grade-separation project. At 0:39, we can see what would appear to be a beam supporting the approach up to the elevated track, while approaching Hoshikawa Station, we can see lots of scaffolding has been set up as they work on building the aerial structure. Departing the station for Tennōchō, we can clearly see concrete columns rising. With all the rebar sticking out, they obviously don’t have enough space to build the entire thing all at once, so this will be a phased approach, with one track being elevated at a time.

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Old August 28th, 2011, 06:09 AM   #2845
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Sōtetsu Line construction update: Part 2

Next, photo sets, starting with Seya Station:
Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/

Sōtetsu is upgrading the station with a second outbound track (converting a three-track station into a four-track station). Here, the turnouts on the inside outbound track at both ends of the station are already in place, but they have yet to lay the second outbound track. This is the west end of the station, closer to Ebina.



It appears that this end won’t receive a canopy, so the work has mostly been focused on resurfacing the platform and installing the truncated dome and platform edge tiles on both sides of the platform. We can als see some precast concrete sleepers stacked where the second outbound track will eventually be laid.



Near the central part of the platform, they’ve completed most of the civil works including the construction of a retaining wall, but they’ve got steel plates on the ballast to allow construction vehicles to enter and exit this area, so there’s probably some minor work still needed before they can start laying the track.



Construction vehicles enter the site from the east end, closer to Yokohama. Again, the retaining wall looks finished, and they appear to be installing the catenary poles now.



Switch at east end, which is roughly parallel with the inbound switch. This end of the outbound platform is wider though, so the turnout will end up noticeably longer than the inbound direction.



Work on the canopy is mostly complete, but they are still allowing the column bases to cure.

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Old August 28th, 2011, 06:10 AM   #2846
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Sōtetsu Line construction update: Part 3

Last is Hoshikawa Station:
Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/

Northern end of the station (towards Nishiya, Futamatagawa, and Ebina). Work on the aerial structure is proceeding at the station and on both approaches into the station, but the second outbound track cuts across the elevated alignment, so they’re currently unable to do much work on the affected section.



Northern end of the outbound platform. The elevated station is being built directly above the existing ground-level platforms. The first story of the structure is obstructed by current train operations, so what’s already completed is actually the second story.



Central part of the outbound platform, where the structural frame of the elevated station has been designed to carefully avoid the temporary platform bridge.



Southern end (closer to Yokohama) of the outbound platform, where they are in the process of erecting the columns and beams with the help of the large crane sitting on the side.



Southern end of the station. These two columns that don’t fall on the existing platforms were the first to be erected, but neither has a first story (at least yet). The first story of the aerial structure is supposed to contain the station concourse, so perhaps the concourse simply won’t extend this far out.



A bit further down, we can see some columns popping out behind the fencing. They appear to be prioritizing the more constrained areas first, and will gradually move towards the station.

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Old August 28th, 2011, 06:11 AM   #2847
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Seibu Line construction update: Part 1

An update on the various construction projects along the Seibu network (2011.07.15), starting with the video reports:
Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/

First, the quadruple-tracking and elevation of the Ikebukuro Line from Nerima Takanodai to Hibarigaoka.

Cab view on an outbound train from Nerima Takanodai to Shakujii Kōen.
The ground-level outbound track has been removed and they now appear to be working on constructing the final piece of the viaduct, the second elevated outbound track.



Next, Shakujii Kōen to Ōizumi Gakuen. Not a whole lot of visible changes since the switchout in April.



Next, the work at Hōya Station, captured in this cab view from Ōizumi Gakuen to Hōya. This was taken two days before the opening of the center platform (Platform 2) on 2011.07.17, and we can see that everything is complete, with just a couple of wooden ties stacked on top of the rail to signify that the new track is still not officially in service.



Next, Hōya to Hibarigaoka. At 0:30, we can see that the outbound track is now directly connected to the center track. In the last update, the length of the storage track at right previously prevented the two tracks from being directly connected, but the end of the storage track has since been shortened to only eight carlengths. Not so much a problem, since the local trains turning back at Hōya are currently only eight cars, but this storage track has since been decommissioned anyways with the opening of the new platform and center track at the station, so there’s still more fussing with the track layout to come.



Lastly, switching gears to the Haijima Line between Hagiyama and Ogawa, where the grade crossing with Fuchū Kaidō is being elevated. Some time has passed since the elevation of the outbound track, and they are currently demolishing the ground-level outbound tracks and constructing the elevated inbound track. As we pass over Fuchū Kaidō, we see the special overpass they’ve constructed… Once the elevated inbound approaches on either side of the road are completed, they’ll slide over the overpass to complete the work.

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Old August 28th, 2011, 06:11 AM   #2848
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Seibu Line construction update: Part 2

Next, the photos… This set is Shiinamachi and Hōya:
Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/

Shiinamachi Station, west end of the platforms. The work at this station involves a new elevated concourse, platform extensions to 10 cars, and various other work, most of which is winding down. Here, we see the new platform extensions featuring the precast concrete blocks that seem to be a popular choice in Seibu’s more recent station upgrade projects. A good portion of the wooden blocks in the tracks have already been removed, and they will gradually work their way towards the other end of the station.



The east end of the platforms, closer to Ikebukuro. The stairwell and escalators to the new elevated concourse / platform bridge are fenced off, but they appear to be nearing completion.



They’ve still got most of the work on the east-end platform extensions. There hasn’t been much progress on this end thus far, but they have now laid some wooden blocks in the trackway, so it appears they’ll be starting on this soon.



Next, Hōya Station:
East end of the station, closer to Ikebukuro. The work is complete and awaiting the start of service. The finished product looks quite natural, and serves as an interesting comparison against pre-construction, when adding a third track at the station looked almost impossible. However, the platform end is still a bit narrow, and eight-car trains stopping at the station pull up all the way to the other end of the platform. This also works for passengers, as the station entrance / exit is closer to the west end.



Center part of the platforms. We can see some translucent panels in the canopy to allow for additional light.



West end. Looks a little dark due to cutting off the lights as part of energy conservation. This end is both sheltered and quite wide, which should come in handy for both waiting and transferring passengers.



Notice about the opening of the center track / platform on 2011.07.17. Trains entering service at Hōya Station during the morning rush hour will use the new track and platform.



Most of the trains entering service at the station that will use the new platform will be in the morning rush hour, heading inbound to Ikebukuro. However, there’s a couple outbound trains starting at the station that will also use the platform, likely using the newly-completed track connection from the center track to the outbound track.

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Old August 28th, 2011, 06:12 AM   #2849
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Seibu Line construction update: Part 3

Next, the yard and storage tracks at Hōya:
Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/

From the west end of the station, looking west at the storage tracks peeling off to the right. Currently, only one track is currently connected to the mainline, but there are two additional storage tracks running parallel to the inbound track, plus another two between the inbound and outbound track, primarily used to turn back trains (one of these is currently not being used as of 2011.07.17). Looking at the yard area, we can see lots of new ballast and repositioned catenary poles, indicating that they’ve been busy redesigning the yard.



New switch, temporarily set off to the side, probably for the tracks at right.



More complete view of the yard. This looks like the final configuration, with six total storage tracks. The previous yard was unable to handle 10-car trains, but by wrapping the tracks a bit and pushing out the turnouts closer to the station, it appears they will be able to secure ten carlengths on all of the tracks.



The storage tracks running parallel to the mainline, taken from a pedestrian overpass west of the station. The train at right is sitting on the track that has since been decommissioned with the opening of the new platform at the station.



Looking west. Perhaps they will try and reuse the decommissioned track somehow after converting it to ten carlengths, maybe by cleaning up the track layout and moving around the grade crossing just west of the station.

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Old August 29th, 2011, 10:43 AM   #2850
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Ridership promotion needed to help realize Kabe Line electrification / extension project
http://www.chugoku-np.co.jp/Syasetu/Sh201108220056.html

Quote:
Plans to electrify and reinstitute the section of the JR Kabe Line, connecting Hiroshima City’s Nishi and Asa Kita Wards, between Kabe Station and the former Kōdo Station, are moving forward. The section of the line between Kabe Station and the former Sandankyō Station (Aki Ōta Town) was abandoned in 2003, citing an operating deficit. If even parts of this section are restored, it will be the first such example in Japan.

On one side is the city, which is hoping to develop hubs of development in the northern parts of the city, and on the other side is JR West, which prioritizes the profitability of the entire line, including the proposed extension. Both parties are currently at the negotiation table to hammer out the details of the plan, including the land needed for the new station, located approx. 400 m past the old station.

Originally, it was believed that an agreement could be reached as quickly as the early part of this fiscal year, but the delay is worrisome.

In order to smoothly carry out the electrification and extension, it is critical that areas along the line come together and work to increase ridership on the Kabe Line.

The city has already laid out the plans. With improvements to the track layout at Yokogawa Station, where the line connects with the San’yō Line, travel time savings can also be realized. The city has included ¥79 million in its budget for this fiscal year to cover the construction costs of the track improvements and other expenditures.

In addition, the city has requested cooperation from bus operators along the line in order to streamline transfers with the Kabe Line, and has expressed plans to increase the number of auto and bicycle parking facilities around stations to meet the needs of private auto and bicycle users.

What will help flesh out these hard and soft ridership promotion strategies is the enthusiasm of local residents.

Among locals, a citizens’ group aiming for electrification and extension of the line from Kabe Station had been lobbying continuously for 17 years until the end of March this year. Even after the abandonment of the sections operating in the red, the group was successful in ensuring the preservation of the tracks, transferred by JR to the city, all the way to the former Kōdo Station, and has done cleanup along the tracks, removed weeds, and planted flowers. It’s evident the group was hoping that service on the section would someday be restored.

One of the factors that got the gears running on the electrification and extension project was the increasing ridership trends on the Kabe Line. With the benefits of a comparatively cheap fare and on-time performance thanks to not getting snarled in traffic congestion, passengers began to find new appreciation for the line, using it for commuting to and from work and school and for shopping.

The national government’s decision to enact a new funding program in order to revitalize local public transit was another deciding factor.

In addition to these factors, local residents certainly provided their support towards the project.

Last month, a citizens’ group was established to help promote ridership, spearheaded by a union of the seven neighborhood associations covering the entire expanse of the former Kabe Town. The group says it’s not focusing only on the areas along the extension, but hopes to build opportunities across a wider area.

When analyzing the areas more closely, however, there are differences in the level of connection to the Kabe Line. Why not carry out special ridership promotion events across the entire Kabe district in the hopes of creating a consensus?

There are also obstacles that must be overcome. Even if the line is only a restoration of former service, the extension is treated as a new railway business, and the establishment of new grade crossings is prohibited by principle. Additional costs will be needed to elevate or underground roads.

The total project cost of the electrification and extension, as well as the local share of those costs, has not yet been revealed. Hopefully, the scale of the costs will not preclude residents who don’t live along on the line from getting on board with the project.

We may be in the era of the private automobile, but railways and other public transit are critical in distributing risk and dealing with the environment. We must also keep an eye out for those who require public transit. I hope we can improve the attractiveness of the line and create a positive cycle of benefits where increased ridership leads to improved capacity.

Even after abandonment, citizens have kept a watchful eye over the tracks.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 10:44 AM   #2851
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Status update on Ōsaka Prefecture grade-separation projects
http://www.kentsu.co.jp/osaka/news/p01442.html

Quote:
Among continuous grade-separation projects, Ōsaka Prefecture’s Neyagawa City and Hirakata City have published a draft master plan for the Keihan Main Line project in Neyagawa City and Hirakata City. Public hearings will be held from late September to early October. The final master plan document will be circulated next spring, targeting approval of the master plan in spring 2013. After receiving project approval in FY2013, the two cities will initiate land acquisition for the project. The three-year study on the Hankyū Kyōto Line (Settsu City and Ibaraki City) was completed in FY2010, and both cities will enter into discussions with stakeholders in FY2011. If a consensus can be reached, there is the possibility the two cities could apply for selection of the project under the Social Capital Improvement General Grant program. Among under-construction projects, railway construction works for the Wakayama-bound direction of the Nankai Main Line / Takashinohama Line (Takaishi City) are slated to break ground. Construction will also continue on an additional three projects.

==========

The continuous grade-separation project for the Keihan Main Line (Neyagawa City and Hirakata City) stretches approx. 5.5 km between Saiwaichō, Neyagawa City and Oka Minamimachi, Hirakata City (2.1 km within Neyagawa City and 3.4 km within Hirakata City). Kōrien Station, Kōzenji Station, and Hirakata Kōen Station will all be elevated. In a related project, 3,270 m of the Yao – Hirakata Route Prefectural Road (FY2013-2028) will be replaced and 6,210 m of frontage roads (FY2013-2028) will be constructed.

In the environmental assessment process, the two cities are working on drafting an environmental impact assessment preparatory document, which will be circulated next spring. Ground-breaking is targeted for FY2019, with completion in FY2028.

In the continuous grade-separation of the Hankyū Kyōto Line (Settsu City), a total of 2.1 km across Minami-Senrioka and other areas—centered on Settsu-shi Station, which opened in spring of last year— was selected for study. In FY2008, the project was selected for study by the national government, and the city carried out the three-year study through to FY2010, reporting the results to the national government. This fiscal year, the city will discuss the project with stakeholders. If a consensus can be reached, there is the possibility that the city could apply for selection of the project under the Social Capital Improvement General Grant program. The city will move forward under the typical approach, hoping to be approved to begin preparations for groundbreaking.

The Nankai Main Line and Takashinohama Line (Takaishi City) project will elevate approx. 4.1 km between Hagoromo Station and Takaishi Station, eliminating 13 grade crossings. As installation of temporary tracks has been completed, the city will now begin construction of the Wakayama-bound direction of the actual railway structure. Completion of elevation will come in late FY2016 for the Nankai Main Line and late FY2018 for the Takashinohama Line, with entire project completion targeted for FY2019.

In addition, work on elevation of the Kintetsu Nara Line (Higashi-Ōsaka City) and Nankai Main Line (Izumi Ōtsu City) and frontage road construction for the Ōsaka Outer Loop Line (Higashi-Ōsaka City) will also continue.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 10:45 AM   #2852
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Hankyū Umeda moving walkway renovation

The moving walkways in Hankyū Umeda Station, the oldest in Japan (opened in 1967), are currently being renovated in conjunction with the renovation of the Hankyū Department Stores’ Umeda flagship store. Some photos of the portions that have already reopened:
Source: http://saitoshika.blog119.fc2.com/



The previous walkways. There are three passages in parallel leading to the station concourse, with a combined total of seven moving walkways (2+3+2).



They also gave the rest of the passage a facelift… Fitting for Japan’s largest private railway terminal (by number of platforms). The glass railings on the escalators help a lot, and are a nice change from the old units. The overall design of the passage is supposed to blend in with the Hankyū Department Store renovation.

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Old August 29th, 2011, 10:45 AM   #2853
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Bicycles take top mode share in Kyōto City
http://www.kyoto-np.co.jp/local/article/20110815000086

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A report by Kyōto City has revealed that a total of 26.6%--over 1 in 4—of city residents use bicycles when commuting to and from work or school, boasting the highest share of any transport mode, including private automobiles. Out of the 19 cities designated by government ordinance, Kyōto City was the only one where bicycles held the top share. It appears that Kyōto’s large population of university students worked in the city’s favor, and that encouragement of “green” commuting is making inroads among the populace.

The city, which promotes Kyōto as a “walking town” that restricts auto use, compiled the data based on figures from the national census conducted last fiscal year. There are a total of 652,100 employee or student commuters in the city, of which 23.3% use only bicycles as a transport mode, beating out the 3.3% using both bicycles and railways, the 17.2% using railways, the 16.5% using private automobiles, and the 6% using buses.

While the city’s bicycle share (including joint trips with railways) falls to second place behind Ōsaka City’s 32.3%, railways boasted the highest mode share in Ōsaka City with 36.2%, leaving Kyōto City as the only city designated by government ordinance where bicycles had the highest mode share.

Meanwhile, private automobile mode share was fourth lowest behind Kawasaki City (8.4%), Ōsaka City (9.5%), and Yokohama City (12.9%), but Kyōto City’s motorcycle mode share (10.6%) was highest, easily beating out number two spot Hiroshima City (7.7%).

The city has been calling on private firms to restrain use of private automobiles for commuting, including establishing a “No Private Auto Day” on the 16th of each month. “The low automobile use is good news, and the city’s combined efforts are starting to pay off,” say city spokespersons.

However, the report revealed other issues, such as Kyōto’s railway mode share at 11th place, and the city says, “We have a lot of university students, so motorcycle use is high. We are hoping to now strengthen our efforts towards universities to have students use not just motorcycles, but also public transit.”
Cab view on one of the lesser known railways in Kyōto, the Eizan Electric Railway from Demachiyanagi to Kurama (2010.11.19). Some nice contrasts on this line as it starts from the denser parts of Kyōto but slowly winds its way through quiet residential neighborhoods and up into the mountains surrounding the city. The vibe of the line changes considerably after departing Nikenchaya (21:00). Also of note is the famous “Momiji (autumn leaves) Tunnel” at 24:40.


Source: DR3104 on YouTube
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Old August 29th, 2011, 10:46 AM   #2854
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New stop on Toyama’s Centram planned outside former Seibu department store
http://www.chunichi.co.jp/article/to...402000145.html

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Groundbreaking next fiscal year
Toyama City and Toyama Chihō Railroad (HQ: Toyama City) will established a new tram stop outside the former Toyama Seibu department store in the city’s Sōgawa district. Work will begin in FY2012, with a targeted start of service in spring 2013.

According to the city’s Tram Promotion Office, the new tram stop will be 20 m long and 1.75 m wide, and will serve trains heading for Toyama Station. The sidewalk outside the site of the former Toyama Seibu department store will be narrowed by approx. 1.5 m. Tram operator Toyama Chihō Railroad will construct the stop, while the city will provide funding. Existing stops including Aramachi and Nishichō will not be affected.

When boarding the Centram loop line, which travels in the counter-clockwise direction, the Grand Plaza-mae and Aramachi tram stops are separated by approx. 470 m. Local residents and commercial districts have requested establishment of a new tram stop, and the city and Toyama Chihō Railroad have been considering possible locations. The new tram stop is planned for a location approx. 300 m from Grand Plaza-mae and approx. 170 m from Aramachi.

Regarding the site of the former Toyama Seibu department store that closed in 2006, Daiwa Odakyū Construction (HQ: Tōkyō) is expected to obtain rights to the land and building from Apamanshop Holdings (HQ: Tōkyō). The company is planning a 24-story building including a retail facility and condominiums.

The approximate location of the new tram stop. The building on the left is the former Toyama Seibu department store.
Inside a Centram train, from Ōte Mall to Grand Plaza-mae (2010.05):


Source: AGUIMOVIE on YouTube
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Old August 29th, 2011, 10:46 AM   #2855
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Toyama City will draft design guidelines for Toyama Light Rail / Toyama Chihō Railroad connection at Toyama Station
http://www.toyama.hokkoku.co.jp/subp...0110813201.htm

Quote:
In the North-South Connection Project joining tram lines running north and south of Toyama Station after the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen, Toyama City will draft a design plan in order to harmonize the aesthetics of the trackway and other new tram infrastructure with the station building, tram vehicles, and other elements. The city will consider trackway greening, the shape and color of the new tram stop, and other design elements, searching for an aesthetic design fitting for the gateway to the capital of Toyama Prefecture in preparation for the Shinkansen opening.

The North-South Connection is a project to connect the Toyama Chihō Railroad’s city trams running on the south side of Toyama Station with the Toyama Light Rail running on the north side of the station several years after the opening of the Shinkansen, making it possible to run through-services. As a result, several types of trams designed around different concepts will be moving in and out of Toyama Station, including Toyama Light Rail’s Portram and Toyama Chihō Railroad’s Centram vehicles.

Meanwhile, Toyama Station will be replaced as part of the Shinkansen construction, and the station plaza will get a complete makeover. As a result, the city will create a design plan with trackway and design experts, aiming to strike a harmony between the tram right-of-way and the surrounding scenery.

Tram rights-of-way are frequently designed with concrete pavement with an eye towards removing snow during the winter season. While the Toyama Light Rail tram stop on the north side of the station features trackway greening as part of a trial program, the grass is weak against water and has not taken root. Outside of Toyama Prefecture, trackway greening on urban tram lines has been carried out near Kumamoto Station, Kagoshima Chūō Station, and other locations.

In addition to trackway greening, the design plan will consider designs for signs at the new tram stop, large signage, and tram catenary poles. In regards to the boundary between trackway and pedestrian space, the design plan will also consider the design of protective fencing, grade crossings, and other elements should they be deemed necessary.

Toyama City will begin work on creating the plan this fiscal year, and plans to compile the draft plan next fiscal year. The city’s Urban Improvements Department says, “We want to make this a space that leaves visitors to the new station with a good impression.”
Toyama Light Rail cab view from Toyama to Iwasehama:
Source: sakura0076 on YouTube

Part 1: Toyama to Inujima Shinmachi
Towards the beginning, we can see that the grass used in the trackway greening program is not holding up as well as originally hoped.



Part 2: Inujima Shinmachi to Iwasehama

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Old August 30th, 2011, 09:37 AM   #2856
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Tour of future Sōtetsu–Tōkyū Connection: Part 1

Next, a tour of the Sōtetsu–JR Connection sister project, the Sōtetsu–Tōkyū Connection:
Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/

We start off at Sanmaichō intersection (map), where the Sōtetsu–Tōkyū Connection will follow underneath Loop Road No. 2 after branching off from the Sōtetsu–JR Connection at Hazawa Station. More specifically, the line will cross to the eastbound side of the Loop Road No. 2 frontage road (on the left here) underneath the No. 3 Keihin Road (behind us in this picture).



Traveling east towards Shin-Yokohama, the Tōkaidō Shinkansen viaduct pulls up along side us on the left. There’s a small creek between the Shinkansen and the eastbound direction of the Loop Road No. 2 frontage road, but there’s no buildings on this section, which may have made it more desirable from a construction standpoint.



Next, the intersection with the Tōkaidō Shinkansen (map). The Sōtetsu–Tōkyū Connection breaks off from Loop Road No. 2 at this location, following parallel alongside the Tōkaidō Shinkansen to bypass the column supporting the elevated Loop Road No. 2 viaduct. As Loop Road No. 2 does some sharp curves on this section, it’s likely they wanted to keep the alignment as straight as possible.



The other factor may have been the waterway, which is being redesigned with an underground section to help store excess water during flooding. They may have wanted to avoid tunneling near this facility for the new rail line.



Proceeding eastward, the line then breaks off from the Tōkaidō Shinkansen alignment and returns to following underneath Loop Road No. 2, now without an elevated portion and entirely at street level at this point (map). The Sōtetsu–Tōkyū Connection reaches its deepest point from ground surface at this location when crossing underneath the Tōkaidō Shinkansen. This section of Loop Road No. 2 has a fairly wide landscaped median, and the new line will follow directly underneath all the way to Shin-Yokohama.



Loop Road No. 2 Tajimabashi intersection. This is a fairly wide, but straight road at this location, which makes it well-suited for putting a line underneath.



As we approach Shin-Yokohama, the area starts to look more urban…



Nearing Shin-Yokohama Station, Loop Road No. 2 crosses over the JR Yokohama Line (map). This is shot at the overpass over the Yokohama Line tracks, looking east towards Shin-Yokohama.



Approaching the station, the line switches to cut-and-cover tunnel, as there will be a new station here at Shin-Yokohama. This should be welcome news for people living along the Tōyoko Line, Meguro Line, and Sōtetsu Line, as they will have one-seat access to the Shinkansen and should improve overall accessibility to Shin-Yokohama.

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Old August 30th, 2011, 09:38 AM   #2857
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Tour of future Sōtetsu–Tōkyū Connection: Part 2

Next, we skip to the other end of the line, starting at the junction with the Tōyoko Line at Hiyoshi (2011.07.23):
Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/

The two sidings at Hiyoshi for the Meguro Line. Both of these will be shifted out one-half track-width to allow for a third track to be placed in the center. Two of these three tracks will be used for the Sōtetsu–Tōkyū Connection, while the third will serve to hold and turn back trains. With only a single track for turning back trains, we can surmise that a good portion of Meguro Line trains (currently operating 18 tph peak and 10 tph midday) will be through-servicing onto the Sōtetsu–Tōkyū Connection.



The Hiyoshi – Tsunashima section of the Tōyoko Line was elevated fairly recently in 2000, but they will need to do some modifications to allow for the new line, particularly widening of the aerial structure. This is taken just south of the station, on the outbound side looking towards Tsunashima (map). As they will need to preserve at least two sidings in service until the new line opens, perhaps they will work on constructing the Sōtetsu–Tōkyū Connection’s outbound approach down to the underground tunnels first, building some sort of third temporary siding on top of it. Once the temporary siding is in operation, they can shift trains using the second siding to the first one, close the second siding, and build the inbound approach for the Sōtetsu–Tōkyū Connection into Hiyoshi.



Moving further south towards Tsunashima (map). This is again taken from the outbound side, facing south, where the area underneath the viaduct is currently used for parking. When the track was elevated in 2000, it was done with the outbound track first, then the inbound track. This resulted in the outbound side being built fairly close to the lot line and the adjacent frontage road, but about one track-width or more of space is now available on the inbound side, which could easily be used to expand out the viaduct to allow for the new tracks.



Moving south some more (map). This is the inbound side, looking north. The area closest to us behind the fence is the location of the former ground-level (temporary) inbound track, but could be easily repurposed for a widened viaduct and the tunnel portals below.



Looking in the other direction, south. Currently, there isn’t anything underneath the tracks. The new line is supposed to use separate, single-track bored tunnels on this section, likely underneath the two frontage roads on other either side (perhaps also using some of the additional space on the inbound side of the viaduct).



Further south, the viaduct switches to two columns instead of three, and the clearance on either side is approximately the same. Since this section will just be bored tunnels for some length all the way to the new Shin-Tsunashima Station, we may not see much activity here even after construction officially starts.

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Old August 30th, 2011, 09:39 AM   #2858
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Tour of future Sōtetsu–Tōkyū Connection: Part 3

Next is the area around Tsunashima Station:
Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/

The new line will follow underneath these frontage roads, paralleling the Tōyoko Line for some length.



Further south (map), there’s one section where there is some temporary fencing in place underneath the Tōyoko Line viaduct. About 100 m into the picture, the frontage roads end, and the new line will swerve off to the left on a new alignment.



Next, the approximate location of the intersection with Tsunashima Kaidō (map). The alignment follows approximately underneath the narrow podunk road on the left (barely wide enough for one car), cutting across the lot containing Tōkyū Store’s Tsunashima branch supermarket. This picture is facing south.



Next, the future site of Shin-Tsunashima Station (map). This is the only cut-and-cover section on this segment of the new line, but it’s currently only a parking lot, so the impacts will be minimal. This picture is facing north.



Final location shot is the Tsurumi River crossing (map). The section between Shin-Tsunashima and Shin-Yokohama will be a double-track bored tunnel crossing at an angle that ties the line back into the Tōyoko Line alignment on the opposite bank of the river. The Tōyoko Line alignment does an “S” curve to cross the river at 90 degrees and reduce the bridge span, but the new line is underground, so the angle matters little.

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Old August 30th, 2011, 09:39 AM   #2859
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Tour of future Sōtetsu–Tōkyū Connection: Part 4

Next is the segment between Tsunashima and Ōkurayama:
Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/

First, the second crossing with Tsunashima Kaidō underneath the Ōamibashi intersection (map). This picture is taken in the outbound direction of the alignment, which crosses the intersection diagonally and passes to the left of the small alley to the left of the bike parking lot.



After passing underneath Ōamibashi intersection, the alignment takes a gentle S curve to return to the Tōyoko Line alignment. The S curve roughly follows the local road pictured below (same road from the above picture), which is a simple two-lane collector with no sidewalks (map).



Next, the approximate location where the new line joins the Tōyoko Line alignment. The line will continue deep underground in a single-bore tunnel, however, so there probably won’t be much to see here when construction begins.



Moving further south towards Ōkurayama (map). This section of the Tōyoko Line has some substantial terrain changes, as the embankment section in the previous photo switches to a cut.



Approaching Ōkurayama, the Tōyoko Line switches again from cut to elevated. While it’s maybe a bit of a shame that the new line will basically follow the same alignment as the existing Tōyoko Line but not have stations on this section, it would have been difficult and substantially more costly to add the tracks and expand the stations.

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Old August 30th, 2011, 09:40 AM   #2860
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Tōkyū Tōyoko Line construction update: Part 1

An update on the various construction works along the Tōyoko Line, starting with the platform extensions at stations serving limited-stop trains:
Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/

West end of Naka-Meguro Station, where the facilties at the ends of both the inbound and outbound platforms have been removed to allow for construction of the platform extensions. As there is no need to extend the inner sides of the platforms, which serve the Hibiya Line, there’s a large gap between the new platform extensions and the inside tracks.



The inbound platform is progressing a little slower, as they currently only have the columns in place. But erecting the rest of the elements should be pretty simple and progress quickly. The extension of the inbound platform looks a little shorter than the outbound platform extension, so perhaps they may try and fiddle with the east end of the platform.



Moving to the north end of Tamagawa Station, where the extension work is relatively simple… It appears that they had secured sufficient space to extend the platforms when they carried out barrier-free upgrades to the station.



Formwork and rebar on the outbound platform, ready for pouring.



North end of Musashi Kosugi Station. The scaffolding on the outbound platform has been removed. These will be very narrow platforms, but only the outside tracks for the Tōyoko Line need to be used, as the Meguro Line is only six cars.



Outbound platform. They already appear to be installing the platform fencing.



Next, a short cab view on an outbound Tōyoko Line train from Shibuya to Daikan’yama. Not much longer before this view disappears completely. It’s only one station, but the work at Daikan’yama consistently impresses me everytime I see it…


Source: okirakugoraku on YouTube
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