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Old February 1st, 2012, 12:15 AM   #3281
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The structural frame tying in from the right supports one of the two “sails” originally designed to prevent rain from getting underneath the station canopy.

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Old February 1st, 2012, 12:15 AM   #3282
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The complex is broken up into a South Gate Building (housing a Daimaru department store and the hotel) and the larger North Gate Building, which has the JR Isetan Mitsukoshi department store, Lucua, the cinema complex, and the new office tower.

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Information counter. Not a bad idea given the size of the complex and its importance as one of JR West’s main gateways to Ōsaka, meaning there’s quite a few tourists... In fact, the station has become somewhat of a landmark on its own. JR West designed a special new yellow and blue uniform just for Ōsaka Station City staff.

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The station has seven public open spaces scattered on various levels. One of the more impressive is the 時空の広場 (Time Square), directly atop the platform bridge and underneath the large station canopy.

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Old February 1st, 2012, 12:16 AM   #3283
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This is a decent spot to view the trains below you, although the glass gets in the way.

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Old February 1st, 2012, 12:17 AM   #3284
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There are organized tours of the station… I’m curious if these will continue into the future, or if it’s only a temporary thing until the novelty wears off.

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アトリウム広場 (Atrium Square)
The station is designed by Mitooka Eiji, who obviously took great care to make it a gathering place, not just something you use to get to and from the trains.

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Old February 1st, 2012, 12:17 AM   #3285
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Moving up to the 風の広場 (Wind Plaza), looking down at Time Square.

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The freight terminal at the station is in the process of being decommissioned and relocated to Suita City. A series of new office buildings are already being built on parts of the terminal, which will create a new office district north of the station (“Ume-Kita”, short for “North Umeda”) directly connected to the station by a pedestrian deck.

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This also happens to be a really good spot for skyline shots.
At bottom right, you can see the six-track section of the Hankyū network that crosses the Yodo River.

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Old February 1st, 2012, 12:18 AM   #3286
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太陽の広場 (Sun Plaza)
This open space is on the roof of the North Gate Building and has a farm that grows vegetables for use in the station restaurants.

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Looking down at the Wind Plaza…

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Old February 1st, 2012, 12:19 AM   #3287
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The Bridge Gate to go down to JR platform level. Departure boards are full-color LED, although I messed up the shutter speed here. Just watching the boards gives a good idea of the scope of JR West’s through-services… While JR East’s through-servicing like the Yokosuka Line / Sōbu Rapid Line and the Shōnan-Shinjuku Line can be interesting, I have to admit I find them a little bland in comparison to JR West operations.

Platforms 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 (JR Kōbe Line, JR Takarazuka Line):
13:58 Platform 6: Local for Shin-Sanda on the Takarazuka Line
14:00 Platform 5: Special rapid for Banshū Akō on the Kōbe Line / Akō Line
14:05 Platform 5: Rapid for Kakogawa on the Kōbe Line
14:05 Platform 4: Rapid for Takarazuka on the Takarazuka Line
14:07 Platform 6: Local for Suma on the Kōbe Line
14:11 Platform 4: Kōnotori 13 limited express for Kinosaki Onsen on the San’in Main Line

Platforms 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 (JR Kyōto Line)
13:56 Platform 7: Local for Kyōto on the Kyōto Line
14:00 Platform 8: Special rapid for Maibara and Nagahama on the Hokuriku Main Line
14:02 Platform 7: Local for Takatsuki on the Kyōto Line
14:10 Platform 8: Rapid for Yasu on the Biwako Line

Platform 11 is for limited expresses traveling via the Kyōto Line, primarily the Thunderbird to Toyama.

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Besides JR, Ōsaka / Umeda Station also has two private railway terminals: one for Hanshin and one for Hankyū.

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Old February 1st, 2012, 12:19 AM   #3288
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The South Gate Building houses the main restaurant collection of the station complex, as well as the Hotel Granvia Ōsaka, a JR West-operated hotel.

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カリヨン広場 (Carillon Square)
This is located on at one end of the pedestrian bridge between the JR side and the Hankyū side.

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Some pictures of the station canopy:

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Old February 1st, 2012, 12:20 AM   #3289
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Definitely sets a new standard for railway terminal design in Japan.
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Old February 1st, 2012, 08:34 PM   #3290
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Shin-Ōsaka Station, JR Kyōto Line platforms for Kōbe and Takarazuka
Local for Nishi-Akashi. This is a 207 series, which features all-longitudinal seating, requisite with the more “local” nature of the service in the core of the Ōsaka–Kōbe corridor.

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These are long platforms, needed to accommodate the longest trains on the Kōbe Line / Kyōto Line, the 12-car shin-kaisoku special rapids.

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Sannomiya Station in Kōbe, where we disembark our rapid train for Aboshi
This is a 221 series train, which features a mix of longitudinal and transverse seating to cater to the more regional / long-distance traffic in comparison the local services. These are some of the oldest trains on the Kōbe Line, however, and are gradually being replaced by new 225 series units.

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Old February 1st, 2012, 08:34 PM   #3291
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A Kintetsu billboard advertising Nara… With the Namba Line opening three years ago, it’s now easier to get to Nara from the Hanshin network. While these through-services have thus far terminated at Sannomiya Station, upcoming schedule changes will extend a few of these runs all the way to the west end of central Kōbe to Shin-Kaichi Station.

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Hanshin has a pretty impressive array of destinations thanks to the Namba Line and through-services with Kintetsu and San’yō Electric Railway:
Ōsaka – Umeda – Namba – Nara – Himeji

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Many Hankyū trains continue further west of Sannomiya, but terminate at Shin-Kaichi. However, because of the unique situation in Kōbe with multiple private railways, San’yō Electric Railway trains directly serve both Hankyū Sannomiya and Hanshin Sannomiya.

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The construction here underneath the arterial road to the south of the JR station is for the major upgrades to Hanshin Sannomiya Station, including some complex reconfiguration of the track and platform layout.

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Old February 1st, 2012, 08:35 PM   #3292
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Port Liner
This is a “new transit” (AGT) line like the Yurikamome in Tōkyō, with full automation and smaller trains than typical metro / subway lines.

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JR platforms
The sign above advises passengers to use the subway to get to the Shinkansen (Shin-Kōbe Station). While the Shinkansen has a separate station, it’s only a two-minute ride on the Kōbe Municipal Subway Seishin–Yamate Line from Sannomiya.

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The JR platforms actually span the north-south road (Flower Road) at the west end of the station. Hankyū Sannomiya Station is behind the JR tracks, behind building on the left side. Hanshin Sannomiya Station is beneath the main east-west (left-right) road shown here, and the Seishin–Yamate Line comes in from the top on the diagonal road and turns west (left) on the north side of the JR station.

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Sannomiya–Hanadokei-mae Station, Kōbe Municipal Subway Kaigan Line

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Old February 1st, 2012, 08:36 PM   #3293
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The Kaigan Line is a “mini-subway” using smaller profile cars and linear motor propulsion, similar to the Ōedo Line in Tōkyō and the Nagahori–Tsurumi Ryokuchi Line and Imazatosuji Line in Ōsaka. Kaigan Line trains are short, with only four cars in each set. This is a fairly new line, only opening in 2001 as part of Kōbe’s revitalization plan after the Great Hanshin Earthquake.

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Old February 1st, 2012, 08:36 PM   #3294
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Back at JR Sannomiya Station
207 series local for Matsui Yamate on the Katamachi Line. There’s a lot of interlining east-west in the core of the JR West network—this particular train will branch off from the JR Kōbe Line at Amagasaki and take the JR Tōzai Line tunnel to reach Matsui Yamate Station on the Katamachi Line (Gakken Toshi Line), in southern Kyōto Prefecture.

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223 series rapid for Aboshi
This run began all the way in Maibara in Shiga Prefecture—taking 3h 45m to reach Aboshi in Himeji City in western Hyōgo Prefecture, a distance of over 200 km.

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Next day (2011.11.02), I was off to Kyōto.
Early morning around 6:30 am, waiting for a special rapid at Shin-Ōsaka. Here’s a local for Yasu on the Biwako Line, beginning from Nishi-Akashi, one of the major yards on the JR Kōbe Line.

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Old February 1st, 2012, 08:37 PM   #3295
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Perhaps one day we will see platform doors here, as JR West is looking at “smart” doors that can respond to different door configurations. JR West uses both three-door and four-door cars extensively.

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The Shinkansen aerial structure sits atop the zairaisen tracks. In the future, an additional JR West line, the Ōsaka Higashi Line, is also expected to tie into this station and Ōsaka Station, although I believe work on the remaining section north of Hanaten has been somewhat delayed as a result of land acquisition headaches.

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Old February 2nd, 2012, 09:05 AM   #3296
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I miss JR West. True, JR East has a more extensive "urban network" in order to serve the Keihinsaiyo Metropolis, but JR West has more interesting scenery and train runs--from a railfan perspective. Then again, I've only been in Kanto for 11 months now and haven't really had a chance to do some serious train rides in the network yet...

Also, why can't Shinjuku station look like the "new" Osaka station?!
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Old February 2nd, 2012, 09:56 AM   #3297
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Yeah, well, I'll assume that's a rhetorical question.
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Old February 2nd, 2012, 09:57 AM   #3298
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Construction for Yui Rail extension to begin May 2013
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/economy/new...7240026-n1.htm

Quote:
On January 26, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) approved the proposed 4.1 km extension submitted by Okinawa Urban Monorail, which would extend the line from Shuri in Naha City to Uranishi (provisional name) in Urasoe City, Okinawa Prefecture. Okinawa Urban Monorail is a third-sector railway operator funded by Okinawa Prefecture and other entities. Work on the extension will begin in May 2013, with a targeted revenue start in March 2019.

The plan calls for the establishment of four new stations including Uranishi. Uranishi Station will be constructed in the vicinity of an interchange on the Okinawa Expressway, and will include a large parking facility and highway bus terminal. Officials hope to encourage people to transfer from rental cars and buses to the monorail, improving convenience for tourists and alleviating traffic congestion on roadways surrounding the extension. The estimated project cost is ¥35 billion.

Okinawa Urban Monorail vice-president Nakayoshi Ryōji, who accepted the permit for the extension from the MLIT on January 26, remarked, “I think Okinawans have been waiting anxiously for the extension. I will do my best to make sure the extension will further Okinawa’s development.”
There will be stations at Ishimine, Kyōzuka, Maeda, and Uranishi:
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=...eaa803c9&msa=0

One-way travel time will be about 38 minutes, with 252 trips a day and 5-minute headways in the peak, and daily ridership of approx. 50,000. Yui Rail also released their Mid- and Long-Range Business Plan, which says that the fleet size will be increasing from 13 trains (26 cars) to 19 trains (38 cars) as part of the extension. Midday headways will improve from 10 minutes to 8-10 minutes, and the peak loading of 83% (Miebashi → Kenchō-mae) will increase to 124% (Makishi → Miebashi).

RBC news report (2012.01.27):

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Old February 2nd, 2012, 09:57 AM   #3299
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Through-service between Fukuoka City Subway Hakozaki Line and Nishitetsu Kaizuka Line “difficult”
http://kyushu.yomiuri.co.jp/entame/r...OYS8T00224.htm

Quote:
In the proposal to connect and interline the Fukuoka City Subway Hakozaki Line (Nakasu–Kawabata – Kaizuka, 4.7 km) and the Nishitetsu Kaizuka Line (Kaizuka – Nishitetsu Shingū, 11 km), Fukuoka City has concluded that through-service would be “difficult” based on forecasted revenues and costs and the estimates cost-benefit ratio. The through-service would be a prerequisite to a proposed railway extension to the manmade island (Island City) envisioned by the city, but the feasibility of the proposed extension has now been put into question.

Regarding the through-service, the city evaluated two alternatives—one between Nishitetsu Shingū and Nakasu–Kawabata (15.7 km) and another between Nishitetsu Shingū and Tenjin (16.5 km)—assuming that the service would operate with new three-car trains.

According to the city’s revenue and cost forecast, either alternative would result in an increase in daily ridership of approx. 44,000 to 58,000 passengers and an increase in annual revenue of approx. ¥200 million to ¥260 million about ten years after the initiation of through-service. In contrast, however, the capital investment required for modifications to station platforms, the faregate system, and other infrastructure would be approx. ¥19 billion to ¥20 billion. After tacking on maintenance and upgrade costs, such as the cost of rolling stock maintenance, the average annualized cost (assuming a 40-year lifetime) of the service would be approx. ¥700 million to ¥730 million, greatly exceeding the estimated increase in revenues.

An interesting little proposal that has been floating around for some time now… The Kaizuka Line and Hakozaki Line already meet at Hakozaki Station, but the tracks aren’t connected. However, the Kaizuka Line is a really small operation (two-car trains, single-track, 10-15 min headways), while the Hakozaki Line is quite a bit more heavy-duty, with six-car trains. In the past, the idea was to upgrade the Kaizuka Line to accept six-car trains, but Fukuoka City later downsized their vision to three-car trains on the through-service and cut the proposed western extent of the through-service at Tenjin. The extension to Island City would have involved a new branch line from the Kaizuka Line, with the junction at a new station between Kashii Kaen-mae and Nishitetsu Kashii. The Kaizuka Line has very low ridership (only a few thousand daily) and Nishitetsu is losing money on the line… In fact, the 10 km section between Nishitetsu Shingū and Tsuyazaki Station was only recently abandoned in 2007.

Proposed Island City rail alignment on Google Maps:
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=...8dc23288&msa=0

HD window view on the Kaizuka Line from Nishitetsu Shingū to Kaizuka:

Part 1: Nishitetsu Shingū to Wajiro
The approach into Wajiro at the end is a flyover over the JR Umi no Nakamichi Line.



Part 2: Wajiro to Kashiimiya-mae
The section beginning at 6:05 was elevated in 2006. The platforms at the newly-elevated stations were built to six carlengths, as the plan at the time was to have six-car trains through-servicing with the Hakozaki Line.



Part 3: Kashiimiya-mae to Kaizuka

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Old February 2nd, 2012, 09:58 AM   #3300
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University of Toyama proposes tram extension in Toyama
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/toy...OYT8T00021.htm

Quote:
The University of Toyama has finalized plans to file a petition with the Toyama Chihō Railway (Toyama Chitetsu), Toyama City, and Toyama Prefecture to extend Toyama Chitetsu’s tram line approx. 900 m from the current terminus at Daigaku-mae in Gofuku, Toyama City to a new location next to Toyama University’s Engineering Department, establishing two new tram stops along the way. On January 26, the railway will hold a meeting with local citizens’ representatives in an attempt to gain support for the proposed extension.

The Daigaku-mae tram stop is located within the right-of-way of a prefectural road, approx. 300 m from the main gate to the university’s Gofuku Campus. Likewise, the university’s Engineering Deparment may be part of the Gofuku Campus, but suffers from poor access, located southwest of the tram stop, on the opposite side of Gofuku Park.

According to the university’s proposed extension, the line would be extended from the Daigaku-mae tram stop in a southwest direction between Gofuku Park and the university’s Gofuku Campus, later turning to the southeast to reach a new terminus outside the university’s Engineering Department. Two new tram stops, one at the Engineering Department (Kōgakubu-mae) and another at a spot between the Toyama Prefectural Baseball Stadium and the university campus.

The area in the vicinity of the university’s Engineering Department is also home to Toyama Commercial High School and the Toyama Dental Academy, a vocational school. The university says there are a total of approx. 3,000 students at these facilities, which would translate to ridership at the new tram stops if the line is extended.

The university formally decided to file a petition for the extension at a board meeting in December of last year. Depending on the response from residents at the January 26 meeting, the university will submit a formal written petition to Toyama Chitetsu and Toyama City. The university also plans to petition for an additional extension in the future to its Sugitani Campus, located approx. 4.5 km away to the southwest and home to the university’s Medical Department and other facilities.

The university is also considering converting its student identification cards to IC cards, aiming for a rollout in April of next year. The university is hoping to incorporate functionality for ecomyca, the transit IC card accepted on Toyama Chitetsu streetcars and buses, with the student IDs.

Representatives for Toyama Chitetsu’s General Affairs Division said, “We are very pleased that people are eager to see an extension. There are obstacles such as financing, but we’ll be examining the possibilities once we receive the petition.”

[i]University of Toyama students crowd the Daigaku-mae tramp stop on the city’s tram network. (2012.01.20)


Extension on Google Maps:
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=...fddf01a5&msa=0

Interesting that this effort is being sponsored by the university and not the government… Not quite sure on the reasoning behind that, but it may have to do with the fact that the extension will probably have to pass on at least some university-owned land, as there are no roads on the proposed alignment. Anyways, the January 26 meeting was behind closed doors, but reception for the project was apparently good.

KNB also has a video report here:
http://www2.knb.ne.jp/news/20120126_31102.htm

HD scenes on the Toyama Chihō Railway (2011.12.24 and 2011.12.25), with some nice snow scenes in the second half:

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