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Old October 9th, 2011, 10:15 AM   #3001
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Old October 9th, 2011, 10:16 AM   #3002
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Old October 9th, 2011, 10:16 AM   #3003
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Urawa Station construction update: Part 2

Continuing with the concourse area outside of the faregates:
Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/

The top is the West Exit, the bottom is the East Exit. The orange area is the new temporary public passage. As it’s only a temporary solution at the moment and must allow for continuation of construction activities, the passage is currently not open when there is no train service, and not permitted for use by bicycles. While non-passengers can now pass through the station, the route is “S”-shaped and somewhat circuitous. The red dotted section is the previous north-end passage leading to the West Exit that has since been closed. The area between the faregates and the View Plaza branch (green boxes) is roughly the alignment of the permanent public passage.



The former ticketing entrance for the East Exit, where they’ve removed the faregates and have covered up the filled-in concrete to allow it to cure. Basically, this area is now outside of the paid area of the station, but in terms of circulation routes, there hasn’t been any real change, and the ramp at this location for wheelchairs, etc. (the passage going off to the left) still remains.



The new TVMs to the east of the new centralized ticketing entrance. The section of the floor that’s tiled is permanent, and will eventually become part of the permanent public passage.



The temporary passage to the West Exit. Due to floor height differences, this particular section is sloped. Up above, we can see the underside of the new aerial structure. This actually opened earlier, when the outbound Utsunomiya Line / Takasaki Line track was elevated.





Like the East Exit, the West Exit has had its former faregates removed. The area to the left of the picture is where the former north-end passage tied into the exit, now closed and boarded up.

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Old October 9th, 2011, 10:17 AM   #3004
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Yamanote Line TrainNet service begins: Part 1

TrainNet, a new in-train information service that sends train information (e.g., car temperature, crowding level), station information (e.g., station facilities, elevator / escalator location, connecting lines), and other information (e.g., status of other lines, station area news, special movies, coupons, etc.) to passengers’ smartphones via on-board Wi-Fi units, debuted on a one-month trial basis on one Yamanote Line train starting on 2011.10.04.

The official website is here:
http://www.yamanoteline-trainnet.jp/

TBS news report (2011.10.03):



Photo report (2011.10.04):
Source: Weekly ASCII

Obligatory E231 photo



The test train is decked out like a typical “AD Train”, featuring ads for the TrainNet service both inside and out, as well as on the LCD screens inside the train.



The “ads” inside the train explain how to use the service. Need more ad space? Use the ceiling!



The official website shows real-time data on the location of the test train for those who specifically want to try out the new service:

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Old October 9th, 2011, 10:18 AM   #3005
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Yamanote Line TrainNet service begins: Part 2

Next, some photos of the program interface on an iPhone:

Main screen



Status of train lines.
Yamanote Line is on top, but information on other lines (including non-JR lines) is displayed beneath. In this screenshot, the Seibu Ikebukuro Line is marked as “some services cancelled” and the Tōkyō Metro Fukutoshin Line and Yūrakuchō Line are marked as “service suspended”. When there are service advisories, an “i” pops up on the home screen, like in the above image.



Line information.
Next stations and arrival times.



Tapping any station will give you the platform information (location of escalators, stairs, and elevators) and transfer information (connecting lines and closest exits / escalators). This is Shinagawa.



For transferring lines, the program will tell you the next departures, including the time, any delay, type (rapid, local, etc.), and departure platform. This is for the Tōkaidō Line at Shinagawa. Currently, the service only provides this detailed info for JR lines… Hopefully, they will eventually expand it to non-JR lines.



Car information.
Temperature and crowding level, as well as location of wheelchair spaces and position of the mild air conditioning car.



Entertainment content.
Trial e-book service



Free comedy shorts based on the Yamanote Line… Looks like they have Nakagawa Reiji as the image character.



Also available are CM videos used on the Train Channel LCD screens inside the trains.



Coupons.
Information on JR East ekinaka (station retail) stores and coupons for use at NEWDAYS, JR East’s chain of in-station convenience stores.



News on neighborhoods along the line.
This is Ueno and Tōkyō area news.



If the trial proves successful, it’s likely we will see it expand to all trains on the Yamanote Line, and eventually to all JR trains in the Greater Tōkyō area. Although I think most regular commuters are savvy and already know which car position in trains suits their purpose best, I think the crowding and platform information will definitely come in handy when riding a less-familiar line or when riding during less-familiar times of the day.
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Old October 10th, 2011, 06:53 AM   #3006
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Mitsubishi Electric to launch next-generation SiC inverter for railcars
http://www.mitsubishielectric.com/ne...3.html?cid=rss

Quote:
Silicon carbide power modules enable more compact, energy-efficient and quiet railcar systems
Tokyo, October 3, 2011 - Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (TOKYO: 6503) announced today that it will launch a next-generation traction inverter system incorporating large-capacity silicon carbide (SiC) power modules. Railcar systems fitted with the traction inverter will achieve 30% energy savings, require less maintenance and emit less noise than conventional silicon (Si) power modules. The first commercial application, following a series of ongoing field tests starting January 2012, is expected to be in railcars of Tokyo Metro Co., Ltd..

Compared to Si-based power modules used in current traction inverters, the newly developed SiC power module offers a number of important improvements. In addition to 30% reduced power loss in the traction inverter, inverter size and weight have been reduced by 40% each.

The new inverter system also enhances the performance of regenerative brakes, which will lead to producing more regenerative electricity. Incorporating two 1,700V and 1,200A SiC chips, the new inverter's high-frequency switching capability also achieves 40% less power loss in the motor. Furthermore, the new inverter emits up to 6dB less noise compared to conventional models.

Railways are garnering renewed attention as a means of reduced-carbon transportation. Continued improvements in railcar equipment performance, including Mitsubishi Electric's new inverter system, are expected to lower the environmental impact of railways even further.

More pictures from Nikkei BP:

Newly-developed SiC inverter



Existing power module (left) versus newly-developed power module (right)



Each inverter is capable of powering four motors.



Reduced power loss in the motor



Approx. 30% reduced power loss across the entire railcar system





These inverters are included in the new Ginza Line 1000 series.

In related news, Mitsubishi Electric is also building a new, five-story, 15,000 sq m production / R&D testing building at its Itami Works at the cost of ¥3.7 billion, gradually coming online starting in January 2014:
http://www.mitsubishielectric.co.jp/news/2011/0921.html

Their plan is to increase production capacity in the coming years to help them meet their target of annual revenues of ¥230 billion in FY2015. Products to be produced at the new building will include things like “train vision” products (i.e., LCDs and other passenger information displays inside trains), train information and control equipment, etc.
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Old October 10th, 2011, 06:54 AM   #3007
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New station retail and hotel open at Kintetsu Kyōto Station

The ongoing renovation of Kintetsu Kyōto Station reached two new milestones recently, with the opening of a new ekinaka (station retail) facility on 2011.09.22 and the new Hotel Kintetsu Kyōto Station directly above the station on 2011.10.01.

The ekinaka expands Kintetsu’s “Times” brand of station retail from the popular Saidaiji location to the railway’s Kyōto terminus at Kintetsu Kyōto Station. It’s a fairly small facility, though, with only 450 sq m of sales area and a total of only 11 stores (there were already 10 pre-renovation). It’s mostly food-related stores, as the target is salarymen who want to grab a meal on the way home. The railway invested about ¥140 million in the renovation, and hopes to increase annual sales from ¥800 million to ¥1.1 billion.

Next, some pics of the hotel post-opening:
Source: http://saitoshika.blog119.fc2.com/

Hotel is eight stories aboveground, 170 m long, and 10 m wide, with 328 rooms, targeting tourism and business guests, primarily focusing on women in their 20s and 30s. Total construction cost was about ¥12 billion. A JR Nara Line train is stopped at the foot of the building. Still amazed how they managed to fit this atop the station…



We can also confirm the progress being made on the new platform and track being added to the station directly underneath the building, which are supposed to open in spring of next year.



Pretty sweet access, as you just hop off the train and go straight to the hotel. New signage for the hotel is already up at these escalators just to the right of the faregates, as we peer across onto the trains waiting at the terminal’s bay platforms. Kintetsu Kyōto is a modest terminal at best, with only 90,000 daily boardings and alightings.



Down the escalators takes us to the hotel entrance.





The hotel is also targeting railfans, as there are some pretty good views of the action at Kyōto Station from rooms, particularly the ones at the tip. On the other side, you also get views of Shinkansen trains.

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Old October 10th, 2011, 06:56 AM   #3008
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Odakyū Line construction update

Next, an update (2011.09.04) on one of the more impressive projects going on at the moment: the quadruple-tracking and grade-separation (undergrounding) of the Odakyū Odawara Line between Yoyogi Uehara and Umegaoka.

First, a cab view on an outbound train from Yoyogi Uehara to Umegaoka.

0:20: Departing Yoyogi Uehara, we can see the outbound tunnel portal and mostly complete ramp. As the preliminary undergrounding will make use of the outside (express) tracks, the temporary tracks currently being used by trains are being supported by steel frames that can eventually be dismantled, allowing them to construct the inside (local) tracks in the center.
0:30: We can also see the stub end of the Chiyoda Line storage tracks. These have finally reached their permanent position after being shifted to one side, then the other. The stub end will be higher than the surrounding Odakyū Line tracks, which need to dive down to enter the tunnel portals.


Source: okirakugoraku on YouTube

Next, the inbound direction.
0:15: We get a good view of the Umegaoka approach into the tunnel section. The tracks have been pushed out to the outbound side quite a bit. While it’s not enough to switch out both tracks at once, the outbound switchout shouldn’t take place much long after the inbound switchout.
0:30: We can see two of the tunnel portals here, although it doesn’t look like much else has been constructed on the approach yet.
3:05: Better view of the Chiyoda Line stub tracks and the outbound tunnel portal at Yoyogi Uehara. With six tracks (two going underground), this will be a pretty impressive sight when complete, similar to Nakano or Nerima.


Source: okirakugoraku on YouTube

Last in the Odakyū Line updates is the platform extension work at Minami-Shinjuku Station to allow 10-car trains to stop at the station. This is part of the plan to convert local trains to 10-car formations, substantially increasing capacity.
Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/

Inbound platform.
Construction of foundation and structural frame supporting the platform is complete, and they are now preparing the platform surface. The one section lagging behind is obstructed by an operating signal head that will need to be relocated, probably by suspending it from the platform canopy instead. Just beyond the station is the approach into Odakyū’s Shinjuku terminal, so the signal block lengths are pretty short.



Outbound platform.
Platform foundation work has begun.



They’re also expanding the canopy on the section of the platform immediately adjacent to the extension… Previously, only the section near the stairwell was covered.



Moving to the opposite (south) end of the platform, where they are finishing the area around the canopy pillars (we can see some curing sheets at the base of the pillars) as well as the wall paneling.

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Old October 10th, 2011, 06:56 AM   #3009
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Tōkyū Tōyoko Line construction updates: Part 1

Some recent updates (2011.09.18) on the platform extension work, starting off with Naka-Meguro:
Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/

Outbound platform (for Yokohama and Motomachi–Chūkagai), southwest end (closer to Yokohama). On 2011.08.30, the Tōyoko Line side of the outbound platform at Naka-Meguro was shifted about five meters closer to Yokohama. Up until now, they have been working on the foundations and structural frame beneath the platform extension, so this just appears to be a temporary thing for now, as the section of new platform is no-frills and only covers the minimum area needed for passenger safety. Obviously, there was something preventing them from doing a permanent installation, so perhaps it has to do with the track alignment.



Opposite end of the outbound platform, closer to Shibuya. Apparently, they’ve discontinued use of a portion of the platform here (cordoned off by the blue fence). It’s likely the 5 m shift in stopping location was to get the rear end of the trains off the bridge girders spanning the Meguro River, probably in preparation to adjust their position and orientation.



The conductor’s monitors located at this platform end have also been shifted down, together with the platform striping / stickers indicating stopping location.



As they are making progress on upgrades to the viaduct, they are also moving forward with preparations to widen the platform. In this photo, we can see the parts of the platform edge, including the truncated dome tiles, have been replaced with temporary materials.



Inbound platform, southwest end.
A fair amount of progress has been made here, and judging from the edge tiles already in place, the next step is platform surfacing. It seems likely that they will want to shift the inbound platform down 5 m or so just like the outbound platform.



Opposite end, closer to Shibuya.
Behind the fence, we can see the progress on expanding the viaduct.

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Old October 10th, 2011, 06:57 AM   #3010
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Tōkyū Tōyoko Line construction updates: Part 2

Next, Gakugei Daigaku, Jiyūgaoka, and Den’en Chōfu:
Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/

Gakugei Daigaku, south end (closer to Yokohama).
The north end (closer to Shibuya) is mostly complete except for the platform tiles and surfacing, and it looks like they are about to start on the foundation and structural supports for the extensions at the south end.



Outbound tracks at Jiyūgaoka, north end.
The wooden blocks that had been laid down in the trackto allow wheeled construction machinery to access the ROW have been removed, so it seems like they’ve already made a lot of progress.



Outbound platform at Den’en Chōfu, north end.
Rebar is already assembled and they are in the process of pouring the concrete.



Inbound platform is the same story. Not too long before we see Seibu, Tōbu, and Tōkyō Metro trains rolling through in revenue service…

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Old October 10th, 2011, 06:58 AM   #3011
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First Toei Ōedo Line 12-600 series delivered

Missed this from over a month ago. The first 8-car unit was delivered by rail from the Kawasaki plant in Kōbe to Yokohama between 2011.08.26 and 2011.08.28, and from there by trailer truck to Tōkyō.

Toei Subway meets JR West as a DE10 diesel locomotive hauls the train along the San’yō Main Line through Kōbe (2011.08.26):


Source: gidayaba on YouTube

At Tsurumi in Kanagawa Prefecture, this time behind an EF65 electric locomotive. Looks strange on those giant bogies…


Source: tetu115 on YouTube

Arrival at Yokohama Honmoku Freight Terminal on the Kanagawa Waterfront Railway, where the cars are uncoupled and lifted off the bogies and onto trailer trucks for final delivery to the Toei Subway yard (2011.08.28):


Source: QSANDQSAND on YouTube

Pics (2011.08.28 to 2011.09.01):
Source: http://denshawotorou.blog73.fc2.com/







Passing underneath the elevated flyover outside Keikyū Kamata Station:





Along the streets of late-night central Tōkyō:

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Old October 11th, 2011, 11:06 AM   #3012
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New 30000 series for Ōsaka Municipal Subway Midōsuji Line begins testing

During my busy stints with work the past two months, I completely missed this Kansai-area tidbit. The first 30000 series train for the Ōsaka Municipal Subway Midōsuji Line was delivered from Kinki Sharyō and has been undergoing multiple tests up and down the line, as well as on the through-servicing Kita-Ōsaka Express Line.

Scenes on the Midōsuji Line during the first day of testing (2011.08.18). Good to see they kept the awesome horn, although I wouldn’t have minded if they spruced up the interior a bit.


Source: ESoichiro on YouTube

Departing Momoyamadai Yard on the Kita-Ōsaka Express Line (2011.10.02) for more testing. Can also see a Polestar unit getting a wash in the upper left corner.


Source: 32602Fand3060F on YouTube

Testing complete on the Kita-Ōsaka Express Line, the unit was eventually returned to the Ōsaka Municipal Subway. Here it is passing Momoyamadai Station bound for Naka-Mozu Yard (2011.10.07):


Source: TheHekoayujp on YouTube

The first sets are supposed to enter service in December of this year, so not much longer before we can start riding them.
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Old October 11th, 2011, 11:07 AM   #3013
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First unit of new N3000 series for Nagoya Municipal Subway Tsurumai Line delivered

Completely blindsided by this, I think because they have yet to make a formal announcement… Anyways, the Nagoya Muncipal Subway Tsurumai Line will be getting new N3000 series trains to replace the aging 3000 series, which first debuted in 1977. The first units will enter service starting in March 2012. The first complete six-car unit was delivered from Hitachi’s plant in Yamaguchi Prefecture to Nagoya on 2011.10.08 and 2011.10.09.

Passing Hiroshima and Mukainada Stations in Hiroshima Prefecture (2011.10.08):


Source: KUMOKIHA on YouTube

Arrival in the Nagoya area, passing Kanayama Station on the Chūō Main Line / Tōkaidō Main Line (2011.10.09). I’m liking the clean lines and smooth sides, a hallmark of Hitachi A-Train stock.


Source: manaca1380 on YouTube
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Old October 11th, 2011, 11:08 AM   #3014
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Train racing

Can’t expect much in terms of video quality, but still fun to watch.

San’yō Electric Railway Main Line vs. JR Kōbe Line (Maiko Kōen → Akashi / San’yō Akashi)
Inside a San’yō Electric Railway through-service limited express (San’yō 5000 series), racing against a JR West 221 series rapid. The Hanshin (Ōsaka–Kōbe) corridor has some interesting competition between private railway and JR.


Source: epcmd on YouTube

Hankyū Takarazuka Line vs. Hankyū Kōbe Line (Umeda → Jūsō)
Some slow-speed intra-company racing on Hankyū’s six-track section between Umeda → Jūsō. Inside a Takarazuka Line express for Takarazuka, racing a Kōbe Line limited express for Shin-Kaichi.


Source: panacealand on YouTube

JR Shōnan–Shinjuku Line vs. JR Tōhoku Main Line (Akabane → Ōmiya)
Fast intra-company racing along the Tōhoku Main Line corridor between Tōkyō and Saitama. Station-to-station distances are quite large on this section, and local service is handled on a separate set of tracks (the Keihin–Tōhoku Line), so you can catch some long races here between long-distance commuter EMUs. Inside a Shōnan–Shinjuku Line rapid, racing a Tōhoku Main Line train (can’t tell if it’s Utsunomiya Line or Takasaki Line), both E231 series. In the end, it’s an easy win for the Shōnan–Shinjuku Line, which doesn’t need to make a stop at Urawa (at least not for another few years).


Source: Semboku3000kei on YouTube
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Old October 13th, 2011, 07:32 PM   #3015
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World’s first wireless moving block signaling for urban railways deployed on Senseki Line
http://www.asahi.com/national/jiji/JJT201110110056.html

Quote:
On October 11, JR East announced that it had rolled out operations of its new wireless-based ATACS train control system onto the Senseki Line in Miyagi Prefecture. The railway had been aiming to launch the system in March, but delayed the rollout as a result of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Typhoon No. 15, which traversed the whole of eastern Japan. According to the railway, this is the first practical application of such a system for an urban railway anywhere in the world.

The new system transmits information regarding the location of moving trains to base stations using wireless communications, adjusting train speed and managing the distance between trains. The system entered service on the approx. 17 km section of the Senseki Line between Aoba-dōri and Higashi-Shiogama Stations, beginning with the first trains on October 10.

While the program will be restricted to only the critical basic functions needed for train operations, starting in FY2012 the railway also plans to use the new system to control grade crossings and emergency speed restrictions during rainy weather and other situations. If a permanent installation is put into place, the railway says that ground-side equipment such as signals will no longer become obsolete.
Official press release is here:
http://www.jreast.co.jp/press/2011/20111003.pdf

The new system was equipped onto the 16 trains running on this section, and JR East eventually hopes to expand this system to all trains in the Tōkyō area.

JR East Technical Review paper on ATACS:
http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/developmen...df_3/54-62.pdf
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Old October 13th, 2011, 10:08 PM   #3016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
The new system transmits information regarding the location of moving trains to base stations using wireless communications, adjusting train speed and managing the distance between trains.
system adjusting speed based on distance betweens train used in moscow metro since 1990's.

but what does mean wireless? trains are not connected to any communication wires
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Old October 14th, 2011, 12:25 AM   #3017
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Translation ambiguities. Just replace “wireless” with “radio-based” if you like.

Anyways, what you're describing for Moscow is a moving block system... That's not what's being described as "world's first", as many systems now use this type of signaling through CBTC (SelTrac, etc.). However, CBTC is mostly for subways and metros, where there is complete grade-separation. ATACS is more like the Japanese equivalent of ERTMS Level 3, which is intended for mainline railways.
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Old October 14th, 2011, 12:16 PM   #3018
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Nankai 12000 series Southern Premium enters service: Part 1

On 2011.09.01, the Nankai 12000 series Southern Premium limited express entered revenue service. Manufactured by Tōkyū Corporation, this is Nankai Electric Railway’s newest limited express train, replacing aging 10000 series trains. Two 4-car trains (8 cars total) have been produced.

First set of pics (2011.09.01):
Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/ma332inocin/
Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/ma332inocin/





The logo on the sides is a simplified version of the Nankai network, with the top dot representing Ōsaka Namba and the bottom dot representing Wakayama. The spur out to the island is the branch to Kansai International Airport.



LED destination signs
“Limited express Southern for Namba (reserved seats)”



View outside the window on a cloudy day



Special ceremony:
Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/ma332inocin/

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Old October 14th, 2011, 12:17 PM   #3019
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Nankai 12000 series Southern Premium enters service: Part 2

Interior:
Source: http://blog.livedoor.jp/syashinbu_d/



Deck area has security cameras, a first for reserved-seat limited expresses in the Kansai area.



Each car in the four-car unit has ten of these Sharp Plasmacluster air purifiers, another first for a major private railway. These should help inhibit virus activity and decompose bacteria and molds in the air.



Car No. 3
Each seat has its own power outlet, catering to business users on the go.



Passenger information displays are three-color LED scrolls.



Passage between Car No. 3 and Car No. 4. As is typical on limited expresses, there is a vending machine.



Car No. 4



Restroom sink



Wheelchair-accessible toilet

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Old October 14th, 2011, 12:17 PM   #3020
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Nankai to redevelop Nankai Kaikan Building as office tower

Earlier this year, we learned that Nankai Electric Railway was looking to replace one of its properties surrounding Nankai Namba Station, specifically the Nankai Kaikan Building. While it’s directly connected to Nankai’s terminal complex, it’s a very small building that doesn’t quite capture the full development potential of the site.

Recently, the railway finalized its vision for the redevelopment, which would demolish the existing low-story structure on the site and replace it with a 29-story, 155 m office tower at the cost of approx. ¥40 billion. Nankai is hoping to secure a department store, mall, or other large-scale retail facility for the eight-floor building podium, and is also considering some entertainment facilities targeting foreigners. They are also targeting foreign firms as potential tenants in the office tower, citing the direct connection to Kansai International Airport via the Nankai Main Line. Construction is supposed to start in 2016 and finish in 2018.

Pics:
Source: http://saitoshika.blog119.fc2.com/

The building in question is the short one with the “Nankai” logo atop.





I’m a bit surprised the city is able to handle the volume of new development going on currently, much of it railway-related… First, Umeda by JR and Hankyū, then Tennōji / Abeno by Kintetsu, and now Namba by Nankai. Should be interesting to see how things work out in the coming years as all these developments come online.
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