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Old March 1st, 2012, 02:13 AM   #3381
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Picking up from where I left off a few weeks ago, continuing our tour of Kyōto…

Biking is pretty popular in the old capital

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I managed to fit a ride on the Keifuku Electric Railroad (Randen) into my schedule… This is a two-line tram network in the western part of the city.

Kitano Hakubaichō Station, the eastern terminus

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The line hasn’t changed much, and still retains most of its charm like the Enoden in Kamakura.

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Old March 1st, 2012, 02:14 AM   #3382
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Headmark celebrating the 80th anniversary of Ukyō Ward…

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The old manned gates still remain…

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Old March 1st, 2012, 02:14 AM   #3383
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Future railfan

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The line is mostly in its own protected ROW, although there is one section with on-street running. The Arashiyama Main Line (嵐山本線), the source of the name “Randen” (嵐電), is double-tracked, but portions of the Kitano Line are single-track.

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Old March 1st, 2012, 02:15 AM   #3384
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Old March 1st, 2012, 02:15 AM   #3385
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Old March 1st, 2012, 02:16 AM   #3386
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This is the 100th anniversary tram, painted in a new livery of 京紫 (Kyōto purple). The railway turned 100 in 2010.

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Old March 1st, 2012, 02:16 AM   #3387
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The junction between the two lines is at Katabira no Tsuji…

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This is a four-track station, complete with underground passages connecting the platforms.

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That is a huge gap…

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Old March 1st, 2012, 02:17 AM   #3388
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The Arashiyama Main Line curves off to the right towards Shijō Ōmiya, which is closer to Shijō–Kawaramachi but still requires a transfer to the Hankyū Kyōto Line. This tram’s got a headmark for 化け電 (“Ghost Train”)... Randen decks out one of their trains with spooky lighting and costumed monsters at night for the kids.

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Looking west towards Arashiyama…

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Old March 1st, 2012, 02:17 AM   #3389
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Some really nice, active neighborhoods along the line…

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If you were wondering where the fourth platform was, it’s at left... Basically a “half-platform” deal.

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Old March 1st, 2012, 02:18 AM   #3390
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At Randen Arashiyama Station…
There are four different stations named Arashiyama, one each for the Randen, the Hankyū Arashiyama Line, the JR Sagano Line (San’in Main Line), and the Sagano tourist trains. Only the latter two are actually connected—the others are in other parts of Arashiyama, but the Randen one is closest to the heart of the area, which is a popular tourist destination.

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Old March 1st, 2012, 02:19 AM   #3391
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Warm footbath at the station… This is a pretty popular thing at places with hot springs.

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Old March 1st, 2012, 04:08 AM   #3392
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These videos are a bit old and therefor they lack HD and maybe they have been posted before(?), but I do like them a lot.

[/QUOTE]

A few more here: http://www.youtube.com/user/chrisjongkind/videos

If you're wondering, it is the same guy who takes outstanding pictures of Tokyo, on Flickr
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 02:38 AM   #3393
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Here's a video and some pictures of my snowy commute this past Tuesday, when a big snowstorm hit the Metropolis. Video was shot between Asaka and Asaka-dai Stations on the Tobu Tojo line in Saitama. The pictures are taken at Shiki Station. BRR! ☃













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Old March 2nd, 2012, 08:31 AM   #3394
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Thanks for the report... Very interesting and impressive. It really does like Hokkaidō or Niigata.

I imagine the frequency of snowfall in Kantō is just not worth the massive investment in snowplows, sprinklers, et al. to completely "snow-proof" the system. They basically run the lines at max under normal conditions (i.e., 99% of the time), so anytime they have to reduce speeds across the board, the schedule goes out the window...
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 10:09 AM   #3395
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
Found this beautifully-produced Meitetsu fanvid snooping around YouTube...
頑張れ名鉄!

A lot of people really seem to like Meitetsu, why is that? The red trains..?
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 12:44 PM   #3396
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Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but I find quite a bit to like about it… You wouldn’t know it, but they have the third largest private railway network by length in Japan (444.2 km) after Kintetsu and Tōbu (actually second after Kintetsu in terms of number of stations). The trains are some of the most distinctive in Japan, and they’ve got quite a bit of variety. In the past, this was even moreso the case, when they still had diesel cars and lines like the Gifu City tram, which had some real gems… I think I posted this a long time ago, but the resemblance here to U.S. interurbans is truly uncanny: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmoJzD3FNnQ

Another thing is the complexity of servicing, which you can kind of see through the route map. They may technically only have one “mainline”, but the level of branching is rivaled only by the far larger Kintetsu. There’s lots of coupling / decoupling and through-running, which makes for some really interesting railfanning. Meitetsu also does some unusual things like mixed fare classes (special car + standard car) in fixed formations (like this), and there’s the unusual through-services with the Tsurumai Line, which runs onto Meitetsu tracks at both ends… Subway through-servicing at both ends is usually done with two different private railways (one at each end), but this is the only place in Japan where it happens with the same private railway at both ends… Closest other example would be the Tōkyō Metro Tōzai Line, but that’s with JR at both ends.

I suppose the last thing is that they’re in one of the worst places to have the network they have… Out of the three largest metropolitan areas in Japan, Nagoya is the worst off. Granted its population density just isn’t as large as the other two, but being the home of Toyota means motorization took hold here much stronger. Since the post-war years, Meitetsu has been struggling to rationalize its operations with an area and population that is highly car-dependent. Meitetsu’s last 10 years read like the obituary section of a newspaper:

Bold = complete abandonment of line
1999.04.01: Minomachi Line (Seki – Mino, 6.0 km)
2001.10.01: Yaotsu Line (Akechi – Yaotsu, 7.3 km)
2001.10.01: Takehana Line (Egira – Ōsu, 6.7 km)
2001.10.01: Tanigumi Line (Kurono – Tamiguni, 11.2 km)
2001.10.01: Ibi Line (Kurono – Hon-Ibi, 5.6 km)
2004.04.01: Mikawa Line (Nishi-Nakagane – Sanage, 8.6 km)[/b]
2004.04.01: Mikawa Line (Hekinan – Kira Yoshida, 16.4 km)[/b]
2005.04.01: Minomachi Line (Tetsumeichō – Seki, 18.8 km)
2005.04.01: Gifu City Line (Gifu Station – Chūsetsu, 3.7 km)
2005.04.01: Ibi Line (Chūsetsu – Kurono, 12.7 km)
2005.04.01: Tagami Line (Keirinjō-mae – Tagami, 1.4 km)
2008.12.28: Monkey Park Monorail Line (1.2 km)

A good 100 km knocked off in just a little over decade.

While ridership is generally trending down for all operators across Japan, things are far rosier if you’re a Kantō- or Kansai-area private railway. Meitetsu has never really had it easy. I suppose it’s a bit like rooting for the underdog.

That and they have some really great CMs…
I guess I never posted this one:



Older ones:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDrwAieBrLo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PObvrH_QCE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Lu_07qY2EQ
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 01:36 PM   #3397
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I think the TV show made a good effort and I guess that they meant well but I got a bit irritated by watching it. It feels like they are underestimating tourists in Tokyo.

Trying to buy a ticket with JR to Azabu Juban (a non JR-station) is like going to Kings Cross in London and trying to buy a ticket with the Eurostar to Paris! Or going to a tea store if you want to buy coffee. I refuse to believe that tourists are this stupid. Tokyo might be complex but the efforts of making the transportation system multilingual and easier to understand are amazing. How many places have signs in two to four languages, information desks or stations attendants at every corner or such an extensive use of colors, sounds or announcements? I often see tourists struggle in Stockholm (not a complex system) because the signs are few, no one to ask and everything is in Swedish.

I would have taken the Marunouchi line to Kokkaigijidomae, walked the small distance (probably not longer than transferring to the Oedo line at Hamamatsucho considering the depth) to Tameikesanno and taken the Namboku line from there. Staying within the same company would probably save me half the ticket price and not add more than a few minutes to the travel time. I am disappointed that neither the concierge nor the JR guide recommended this route.

Actually I lived between Roppongi Itchome and Kamiyacho for 6 months. It was my first time being in Tokyo not as a tourist. Instead of an IC card I used kaisuken (回数券 "book of tickets"), which, besides commuter tickets, is the only thing that actually becomes cheaper. I just had a prepaid mobile phone so I didn't have access to internet or any fancy applications. Instead I picked up a wallet size Tokyo Metro Map (http://raykagurazaka.img.jugem.jp/20090210_152792.jpg) which I studied thoroughly and thought to myself that if I'm going to be here for a while I have to learn the system. This was the start of my interest in trains and I soon discovered that there is so much more than the lines inside the Yamanote. So I agree with what quashlo said about getting a map covering all operators. The rest seem pretty straight forward, "check where you are going". I mean who does not do this? I don't think anybody arrives at a station and just exits randomly? It is like driving to a new city on the highway but when approaching, not reading any signs and just take a random exit. I don’t think anybody does this.

I also think they should have covered that it matters a lot which car you ride. Usually when searching on Hyperdia, some transfers are impossible to make if you aren't in the right car. Or impossible with heavy luggage if there is no elevator. Hyperdia is good but doesn't have the possibility to regulate the changing times, something which is possible with Jorudan for example.

Last edited by zerokei; March 2nd, 2012 at 03:29 PM.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 01:54 PM   #3398
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Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but I find quite a bit to like about it…
Very interesting. I know very little about the lines and trains in the Chubu area. I read the other day however, that Meitetsu's Toyohashi station (one of their main terminals?) only has one (1!) track (plattforms at both sides?) and they still manage to operate an impressive amounts of trains in and out of that station. If i remember correct I think it was 6 tph at most. Perhaps quashlo or someone else can fill us in on the details; how come it is only one?

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Old March 2nd, 2012, 05:15 PM   #3399
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Two reasons to love Meitetsu:

1. Its crazy central station

The most important station of Meitetsu lines, Meitetsu-Nagoya, has only 2 tracks and 3 platforms placed between Nagoya Station (Nagoya City Subway) and Kintetsu-Nagoya Station. But the underground station handles more than 800 trains per day, heading directly through many branch lines. It means the station is very fun to watch, if a little complicated to use (even for Tokyoites or Osakans).

Because trains heading completely different directions, with different stopping patterns, come here every 1 to 3 minutes, users have to make sure they are queueing on a correct spot, facing a correct color sign. Otherwise, you will board a wrong one.



Because the train pattern here is too complicated, they can't use automatic announcements. They have "DJ booths" instead.



Sunday afternoon scene in Meitetsu-Nagoya, which should be much less busy than weekdays. (x4 speed) Notice all the trains show different destinations.




2. The old Inuyama Bridge

Unfortunately (?), the rail and the road were separated in 2000.





Quote:
Originally Posted by zerokei View Post
Meitetsu's Toyohashi station (one of their main terminals?) only has one (1!) track (plattforms at both sides?)
I know quashlo-san will tell you the details and its reason, but yes, it's 1 track, 1 platform (or more like, 1/2 platform).
Just FYI, Meitetsu-Gifu, their another main terminal at the opposite end, is also hampered by a short single track section. Quite a handicapped railway.

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Old March 2nd, 2012, 08:07 PM   #3400
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Great videos, loved them both... While the improvement to traffic safety is indisputable, it's still saddening to see so much character disappearing, one bit at a time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zerokei View Post
I don't think anybody arrives at a station and just exits randomly? It is like driving to a new city on the highway but when approaching, not reading any signs and just take a random exit. I don’t think anybody does this.
I must confess... I've been one of these people before.

I suppose I'm just conditioned since my local train system is super dumbed-down. You really can't get lost because it's just too simple, and there are no things like exits only connected by the paid areas of the station. You can get out at any set of faregates and get to any exit of the station. In Japan, taking the wrong set of faregates out can occasionally mean you can't get back to the correct exit except by a really long detour at street level. Plus, sometimes, if it's at rush hour, you just have to follow the flood of people... Everybody knows where they're going, even if you don't.

Anyways, I really agree on the signage part... I think they do a darn good job of trying to make the complexities fairly easy to understand for the passenger. And I certainly wouldn't sacrifice that complexity (really, passenger convenience, as it's all about tailoring service to match passenger needs as efficiently as possible) to "dumb down" the system for everyone.
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