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Old March 4th, 2012, 08:12 AM   #3421
quashlo
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Ōsaka officials propose Sakurajima Line extension, new Tennōji–Namba LRT line
http://osaka.yomiuri.co.jp/e-news/20...8.htm?from=top

Quote:
It was revealed that the Grand Design Working Group, which is responsible for urban planning in the Head Office for the Integration of Ōsaka Prefecture and Ōsaka City, will include an extension of the JR Sakurajima Line to Ōsaka Prefecture’s Sakishima Government Building (the former World Trade Center in Suminoe Ward, Ōsaka City) and introduction of a light rail transit (LRT) line connecting JR Tennōji Station and Nankai Namba Station in its midterm draft plan to be published in late March. At the current stage, the plans have not considered financial feasibility or the position of the affected railway operators, but a strategy has now been pushed forward that seeks to revitalize Ōsaka by taking advantage of the new integrated prefecture-city structure.

The midterm proposal calls for extending the Sakurajima Line from Sakurajima Station (Konohana Ward, Ōsaka City) west four kilometers, traveling underneath Ōsaka Bay to the Sakishima Government Building. If realized, it would be possible to reach Sakishima from JR Umeda Station on a one-seat ride.

Last year, the Sakishima area was designated an International Strategic Special Zone, and the Working Group hopes that if corporations set up shop in the area and passengers increase, it will serve as an impetus for JR West to move forward with the extension. As transport convenience from Sakishima to the United States-based cinema theme park Universal Studious Japan (Konohana Ward) would improve, the Working Group says that synergistic effects between tourism and business can be expected.

The LRT line would stretch approx. 3 km from JR Tennōji Station to Nankai Namba Station, with a section running through the Tennōji Zoo. The Working Group is considering designing the line so that passengers will be able to view koalas and other zoo animals from inside the trains. Japan’s tallest sksyscraper, Abeno Harukas (300 m), is scheduled for completion outside Tennōji Station in spring 2014, and the Working Group is envisioning connections with the trams on the Hankai Electric Tramway Uemachi Line.

Realization of the plans will require a massive capital investment. The Working Group has not conducted estimates of project costs or other analyses, but says that it hopes to “attract private-sector investment by integrating Ōsaka Prefecture and City as one and articulating a vision for the revitalization of all of Ōsaka.” A final plan will be decided in June after discussing the midterm plan together with Ōsaka Prefecture Governor Matsui Ichirō. At a City Council session on March 2, Ōsaka City Mayor Hashimoto Tōru made the following remarks regarding revitalization of the area around Tennōji Station: “We’ve got a zoo, park, and art museum smack dab in the middle of the city, and it will become an incredibly critical tourism resource.”
Google Map of the proposed lines:
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=...03ab71da&msa=0

In 2009, then-Ōsaka Prefecture governor Hashimoto Tōru (now Ōsaka City mayor) announced the proposed extension of the Sakurajima Line to the Sakurajima Government Building:
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...&postcount=338

Going further back to 1994, there were also plans to extend the line to Maishima instead as part of Ōsaka’s bid for the 2008 Summer Olympics.

As for the LRT, it’s supposed to mark the return of streetcars / trams to Ōsaka after 46 years—not exactly true, as Hankai has been running this entire time, but the reference here is expressly regarding the public-run municipal tram system, which was completely abandoned by 1969. This would be about 3 km in length, linking Tennōji / Abenobashi (Japan’s tallest skyscraper), the Tennōji Zoo (includes a large urban park and the Ōsaka City Museum of Fine Arts), the Tsūtenkaku, and the Namba area. There is also the potential for through-services with the Hankai Uemachi Line at Tennōji. Fares would be a flat ¥100.

All of these efforts are being spearheaded by the consolidation of Ōsaka Prefecture and Ōsaka City as envisioned by ex-Governor and current Mayor Hashimoto. The new government structure would be similar to Tōkyō Prefecture, allowing for a more cooperative planning process that is hoped will help be more progressive.

Personally, I’m not too thrilled about another line to the Nankō area, as they’ve technically already got the Ōsaka Municipal Subway Chūō Line at Cosmosquare, plus the Yotsubashi Line + Nankō Port Town Line combination. After all, the casinos Hashimoto is proposing for Ōsaka are supposed to be mostly on Maishima / Yumeshima, if I understand correctly, so it seems like it would make more sense to have the line go there, that way you serve both islands. The underwater tunnel to Yumeshima is supposed to be able to handle rail of some kind, so there could already be direct access from Nankō.

Cab view on a Sakurajima Line train from Nishi-Kujō to Sakurajima:

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Old March 4th, 2012, 08:13 AM   #3422
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New Nagoya Municipal Subway N3000 series for Tsurumai Line makes press debut

The current fleet for the Tsurumai Line consists of the 3000 series (in service since the line’s opening in 1977) and the 3050 series (entered service in 1993 with the launch of reciprocal through-services with the Meitetsu Inuyama Line). This will be the latest addition to the line.

Some pictures from the Nagoya Municipal Subway’s Nisshin Plant (2012.01.20):
Source: http://rail.hobidas.com/blog/natori/

First consist (N3101), Car 1 (Akaike end car).
“Tsurumai Line” stickers are placed at the upper left corner of set of doors, with the car number and LED destination signs in the center of each car. Formations are six cars (3M3T), double-skin aluminum body.



Full-color LED.
Don’t recall seeing this type of headlight shape among newer stock.



These seem to be a fair improvement over the latest 6050 series sets for the Sakura-dōri Line, which I wasn’t too hot about... These look a bit more up to Tōkyō standard. They clearly went crazy with the standee strap design, and there’s quite a bit of variation in height down the length of each car. This new series builds on the 6050 series, but with better barrier-free design, fire safety standards, and black box recorders.



Priority seating and wheelchair space.
The floor design is reminiscent of Arimatsu-shibori, a traditional method of dyeing fabric that has its roots in the Nagoya area.



Operator’s cab



Some videos:

Testing on the Tsurumai Line (2011.10).
If you didn’t know already, this is a Hitachi train.



Testing on the Meitetsu Toyoda / Mikawa Line (2011.11):

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Old March 4th, 2012, 08:13 AM   #3423
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Fujikyū 6000 series debuts

This is a new series for the Fuji Kyūkō Line (Fuji Express) in Yamanashi Prefecture, featuring refurbished ex-JR East 205 series trains originally used on the Keikyō Line in Tōkyō. This newest series continues the tradition of smaller railways adopting secondhand rolling stock from large operators like JR and the private railways, and adds to Fujikyū’s existing collection of secondhand JR East and Keiō Corporation trains.

These will serve as Fujikyū’s newest commuter sets, and the railway’s first three-car trains for local services (there are longer trains on other services, including through-servicing JR East sets). Other changes include replacement and installation of new pantographs; conversion of doors to a half-automatic design; conversion of rollsigns to LED; installation of exterior speakers for announcements; installation of a programmed announcement system; installation of wheelchair space inside some cars; installation of LED scroll signs for passenger information above doors; installation of additional heater units; installation of partitions at the ends of the longitudinal seating; attachment of snow plows to the ends of the train; addition of snow brakes; and replacement (or installation) of electric air compressors.

Some pictures and accompanying annotations on the day of the new series’ debut (2012.02.29):
Source: http://rail.hobidas.com/blog/natori/

The first completed 6000 series formation at Kawaguchi-ko (Lake Kawaguchi) Station on the Fujikyū Line. We can see the extra pantograph that was added to the cab end of this end car. The second pantograph will only be used to remove ice from the overhead and for emergency situations, so it won’t normally be up. The existing pantograph was also converted to a single-arm design (originally diamond design when operated on the Keiyō Line). This end car (Car 1) was actually a non-cab car in its original JR East formation, but was converted to a cab car as part of re-organization into three-car consists.



The opposite end, Car 3. They’ve added air compressors on the underside of these cars. All the refurbishment work was handled by JR East through subsidiary East Japan Transport Technology. The painted doors on an unpainted exterior reminds me of some of Mitooka’s designs for JR Kyūshū commuter EMUs.



Side rollsigns were replaced with LEDs.



The end bogies in each formation feature new snow plows.



Design of the trains was handled by Mitooka Eiji, who has done previous work for Fujikyū in the past (here and here). The blue is supposed to be reminiscent of Mt. Fuji, and the interior makes use of lots of wood, a hallmark of Mitooka designs. The moquettes are also new. If you look closely at the doors, you can also see small ramps, as the wooden flooring was installed on top of the existing car floor. Can also see the buttons installed as part of the conversion to half-automatic doors.



Priority seating area uses red standee rings. Also notice the nori (Japanese-style curtain) between the two cars, another hallmark of Mitooka, who often tries to incorporate Japanese aesthetics and materials into his designs.



The new operator’s cab. The existing one in the other end car is mostly unchanged from the JR East configuration, but this new cab was designed with a door placed in the center, opening inward into the cab. Can also see the new heater at right.



At the maintenance facility, work is proceeding rapidly on the second set, which is in the process of receiving its new wrapping. The words “Fujikyu Commuter Train” (“FCT”) can be found everywhere on the outside and inside, and there is a “CT” logo featuring Mt. Fuji on the ends, both easily recognizable as Mitooka’s work.



On the first day of service, it was placed on one afterschool roundtrip, and there were a few kids who got excited after recognizing the new train, with some asking whether it was from Tōkyō…

A total of four sets are scheduled to enter service, with the second one debuting 2012.03.18.
Videos:

Testing begins (2012.02.16). At this point, the wrap job wasn’t complete yet.



First train in service (2012.02.29), arriving at Kawaguchi-ko Station. Bit of a mismatch to see ex-commuter EMUs from Tōkyō out here, but I suppose this is the fate of smaller operations like Fujikyū. Just imagine 20 to 30 years down the road, and we may see E233s or some other “modern” JR East sets out here… Fujikyū is apparently also in negotiations to purchase Odakyū 20000 series RSE Romancecar sets.

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Old March 4th, 2012, 08:14 AM   #3424
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Chiba Urban Monorail begins testing of new Urban Flyer 0 series
http://www.chibanippo.co.jp/c/news/local/67932

Quote:
On January 17, Chiba Urban Monorail announced that it will begin operation of its new Urban Flyer 0 series trains starting in July. This is the first time the company will be changing its train design since the monorail opened for service, and the new train will feature improved barrier-free design and low-energy performance. The design features a primarily blue exterior, with larger glass windows that allow passengers to feel like they are “walking through the sky”.

According to the monorail’s Planning Division, the line currently operates with mostly silver-colored trains known as the 1000 series. As the first trains on the line have reached over 20 years of age since their manufacture, the company decided to introduce the first new trains since the line’s opening in 1988, with a design that represents a dramatic departure from the current trains.

The exterior of the new trains uses a design proposed by the Investigative Committee for the Design of New Chiba Monorail Rolling Stock. The trains feature a bright blue reminiscent of the sky, creating a “modern, sharp-looking train that will become a symbol of Chiba City”, says the railway.

In addition to increasing the size of the windows compared to existing trains, a portion of the car floor inside the operator’s cab is made of glass. The trains are thoroughly designed for barrier-free access, including a larger wheelchair space, and consume 20 percent less electricity than existing trains.
Couple pics from another article. If it is blue, it’s so dark it looks like black. Looks good regardless, though.





There are 18 trains in the fleet currently. As of right now, the order for the new 0 series Urban Flyer sets calls for four trains (8 cars total) to enter service by FY2013. Testing of the first unit began the late evening of 2012.01.23 following the end of service that day.

Not so much available in HD, but here’s some decent nighttime testing scenes:

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Old March 4th, 2012, 08:15 AM   #3425
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FY2014 extension of Sapporo tram network will complete loop
http://news.mynavi.jp/news/2012/02/07/113/

Quote:
At a recent press conference, Sapporo City mayor Ueda Fumio made references to completion of the city’s streetcar (Sapporo City tram) loop, announcing his intention to connect the Nishi 4-chōme and Susukino tram stops and establish a new stop near Tanuki-kōji. The design of the new low-floor trains to be introduced on the city’s tram system have also been released.

According to the press conference, completion of the tram loop has been studied with a target opening date of FY2014. On the section connecting Nishi 4-chōme and Susukino tram stops, a “side reservation” design will be selected for Sapporo Ekimae-dōri. Trains would run next to the sidewalks instead of in the middle of the roadway, and Mayor Ueda says he wants to establish a new tram stop somewhere in the vicinity of Tanuki-kōji, one of Sapporo’s most famous commercial streets.

“With a connection lacking (between Nishi 4-chōme and Susukino tram stops), passengers are required to take a long detour to get to where they want to go, which I think has stifled usage. By making it more convenient to use the trains, I think this extension will make it easier to walk around and explore various parts of the city,” remarked Mayor Ueda at the press conference.

In response to expectations that the future extension of the tram system to Sapporo Station will become a “hot button” issue, Mayor Ueda said, “I have heard that the formal decision that the Shinkansen will be coming to Sapporo Station will come before the fiscal year is over, in which case I feel that extending the tram system to the station is critical. I think connecting it with the station is an extremely important focus of the debate.”

The new low-floor trains to be introduced onto Sapporo’s tram network incorporate ideas from the public into the design. “This is a sharp and modern design fitting for Sapporo. I want to get them out and running in spring 2013,” said Mayor Ueda. Completion of the loop, introduction of the new low-floor trams, optimization of operational efficiencies, and other key strategies for the city’s streetcar operations will be published in the Streetcar Strategic Plan, scheduled to be completed this fiscal year.

Design of the new low-floor trains released by Sapporo City, which says they will enter service spring of next year.


Currently, over 20,000 passengers use Sapporo’s trams every day.
Map of the extension:
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=...04406,0.010568
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Old March 4th, 2012, 08:55 AM   #3426
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
Fujikyū 6000 series debuts
Beautiful Train. The hardwood floors really stands out and give the train individuality. I guess they are using some impregnating and does cleaning often to prevent it from the heavy wear and tear I expect in an environment like this.
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Old March 5th, 2012, 07:43 AM   #3427
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JR Kyūshū to introduce new all-longitudinal 817 series commuter EMUs

Again, catching up with all the news from the past few months…
JR Kyūshū will introduce new classes of the 817 series commuter EMU featuring all-longitudinal seating for services in the Fukuoka / Kita-Kyūshū area. The existing 817 series are transverse seating (rotatable, of course), but these new sets will substantially increase capacity, particularly during the morning rush hour, when its needed most. Of the 10 rapid or local services arriving at Hakata Station from the north / east between 7:00 and 8:00 am, nine will be operated (or be coupled) with the new sets, boosting capacity by 10%. The sets will enter service with JR group schedule changes taking place 2012.03.17.

The new sets are designated as the 2000 class and 3000 class. Some basic data from the press release:

Code:
                      817-2000   817-3000
                       series     series
                      ========   ========
Formation (cars)          2          3
Capacity (pax)
  Seated                 92        150
  Standing              178        274
  TOTAL                 270        424
Maximum speed (km/h)
  Design                120        120
  In service            100        120
Order size
  Cars                   12         15
  Sets                    6          5
Based on the formations and maximum speeds given in the press release, it appears that the 817-2000 series is for the Fukuhoku Yutaka Line and the 817-3000 series is for the Kagoshima Main Line.

Some images from the press release. The interior appears to be a bit more colorful than the existing 817 series sets, which feature black leather seats. These new sets will join the 303 series (for the Chikuhi Line / Karatsu Line through-services with the Fukuoka City Subway Airport Line) and the 815 series (for the Kumamoto area) as JR Kyūshū’s only modern trains with all-longitudinal seating. Perhaps this will, however, signal a gradual change in train design for urban services in the Fukuoka / Kita-Kyūshū area from transverse to longitudinal seating.





Some videos… Continuing the tradition of creative JR Kyūshū designs.

817-3000 series V3001 departing Koga:



Same unit arriving at Minami-Fukuoka:

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Old March 5th, 2012, 07:44 AM   #3428
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Keihan announces new 13000 series for Uji Line
http://www.keihan.co.jp/info/upload/...0%EF%BC%89.pdf

Quote:
At Keihan Electric Railway (HQ: Chūō Ward, Ōsaka City; President: Katō Yoshifumi), we will manufacture 20 cars of a new 13000 series, gradually placing them in revenue service starting in spring 2012 primarily on the Uji Line.

The 13000 series combines the past expertise and knowhow accumulated in the development of our rolling stock, and is our newest commuter train, developed with a particular emphasis on environmentally-friendly and barrier-free design, as well as improvements to safety.

In regards to environmental performance, the new trains consume approx. 35% less electricity than the existing trains (2600 series). After replacement of 20 cars of the 2600 series with these new trains, we expect to be able to reduce our total electricity consumption for train operations by approx. one percent.

The trains also reduce railway noise generated when running, helping to protect the quality of life for trackside neighborhoods.

In addition, the trains feature a full array of barrier-free measures, including wheelchair spaces and liquid crystal display (LCD) information screens, lowered overhead rack height, and orange lines at door and car floor edges.

On the safety side, the train is designed with improved body strength that includes measures to deal with offset collisions, as well as strategies to prevent accidents during collisions or emergency braking.

On the design side, the train features a fresh and pleasing exterior that matches with its duties as a commuter train, while the interior primarily uses green—Keihan Electric Railway’s corporate color—together with characteristic colors such as black and orange in key locations, creating a modern train that brings to mind the elegant tastes of Kyōto, the sightseers’ city.









As these are mostly for the Uji Line, a small branch line off the Keihan Main Line from Chūshojima Station, these will be four-car formations (5 sets total), just like the current 2600 series trains. They will be built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries. It appears that the design draws heavily from the Keihan 3000 series introduced in 2008 for the Nakanoshima Line.

Uji Line scenes with the 2600 series (2012.01.10 to 2012.01.12). The 2600 series is supposed to disappear from this line completely with the introduction of the 13000 series:

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Old March 5th, 2012, 07:45 AM   #3429
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Old Keihan videos

Found a bunch of these on YouTube… Enjoy!
Must have been a great view of the Kamo River and Pontochō, but it’s not hard to see why this section was undergrounded, what with all the pedestrian and car traffic.

Scenes between Shichijō and Sanjō (1981.03.12):



Shijō Station (1986.09.25), when it was still a ground-level station.



Sanjō Station (1997.05.28), Keihan Keishin Line:



Window view from the Keihan Keishin Line between Sanjō and Keihan Yamashina (1997.05.28). This section has since been replaced with the Kyōto Municipal Subway Tōzai Line, with Keihan trains through-servicing onto the subway. I love the horns on these units, and the current Keishin Line stock replicates the sound quite well.



Various scenes on the Keishin Line. No idea when this was shot.

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Old March 5th, 2012, 07:45 AM   #3430
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Fukushima Transport Iizaka Line

A great series of scenes up and down Fukushima Transport’s Iizaka Line produced by JNS member likeablerodent. This is a small local private line serving Fukushima City. Single-track, 9.2 km, but it uses ex-Tōkyū 7000 series cars (2- and 3-car formations). Very relaxing, and always fun to see familiar big-city trains running in small places.

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Old March 5th, 2012, 07:46 AM   #3431
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Kawasaki subway key part of city’s transport network
http://news.kanaloco.jp/localnews/article/1202290012/

Quote:
In regards to the Cross-Kawasaki Rapid Railway (subway) project, at a February 29 City Council session Kawasaki City revealed its intention to identify the project as part of the Greater Tōkyō and Kawasaki City Core Regional Transport Mainline Network in the draft summary of the city’s Comprehensive Urban Transport Plan, scheduled to be published in FY2012. City officials revealed the news in response to a question from Mr. Higashi Masanori (LDP).

A committee composed of experts is currently considering the elements of the Transport Plan. The committee is scheduled to meet in March regarding a draft summary of the plan that considers discussion thus far, including the goals and issues of the city’s transport policy as well as the direction of critical plan strategies.

Regarding the push to get the subway project rolling, the city has established a group of experts, the Working Group for a Cross-Kawasaki Rapid Railway Using New Technologies. The group has been investigating how to achieve Mayor Abe Takao’s promise of making the new subway “Japan’s first to use battery-powered trains”. In the answer session, city officials said they planned to include the project “together with the JR Nambu Line and Yokohama Municipal Subway Line 3 extension (Azamino – Shin-Yurigaoka) as part of the Core Regional Transport Mainline Network,” discussing the benefits of constructing each of the new lines from short-, medium-, and long-term perspectives in the Comprehensive Urban Transport Plan Committee in FY2012.
Looks like this is still chugging along, if slowly…
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Old March 5th, 2012, 07:46 AM   #3432
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New car class for E233-3000 series makes press debut

As work continues on producing E233-3000 series sets for the Tōkaidō Line, a new car class has been produced for these sets (Moha E232-3800) as Car 6 in the standard 10-car formation. The first two E233-3000 sets, stationed out of Kōzu Rolling Stock Center in Odawara City, only feature restrooms in Car 1 and Car 10, making it difficult for passengers in the middle of the formation to reach one of the restrooms. The Moha E232-3800 is a new Car 6 type that includes a restroom, bringing the number of regular restrooms to three for these newer E233-3000 series sets, stationed out of Tamachi Rolling Stock Center.

Some pics of the press debut (2011.11.30):
Source: http://rail.hobidas.com/blog/natori/

Unit NT6 at Tamachi Car Center



Car E232-3808, one of the new E232-3800 cars. The restroom is in the windowless section of the car.



Aside from this third restroom, the rest of the train is basically the same as the first two E233-3000 sets, including the green-car restroom in the adjacent Car 5.



The new restroom also required a few changes to the formation… As the restroom requires a waste disposal tank, the Moha E232-3000 cars grouped as Car 6 on the first two E233-3000 sets, which are designed to hold the static inverter (SIV) equipment, are instead grouped as Car 8 in the new sets since there wasn’t enough space on the underside to carry both the SIV equipment and waste tank. For the new sets, the Moha E233-3000 cars carrying the auxiliary pantographs, originally serving as Car 7 on the first two sets, also switched places with Moha E233-3400 cars, originally serving as Car 3 on the first two sets.



All of the E233-3000 series cars are produced out of JR East’s Niitsu Rolling Stock Plant, except for the green cars, which are manufactured by Tōkyū Car Company. The distinction will soon become meaningless, though, with the recent announcement of JR East’s purchase of Tōkyū Car Company.



Unit NT6 is the first of 14 E233-3000 series sets to be produced for Tamachi Rolling Stock Center, all of which will be delivered by April of this year. This means that the 211 series on the Tōkaidō Line (210 cars total) will disappear from the line around this time.



Unit NT11 testing between Niitsu and Hanyūda on the Shin’etsu Main Line in Niigata (2012.02.27):



If you like running sounds, Unit NT9 between Kawasaki and Shinagawa:



5- and 10-car 211 series consists coupling at Kōzu to form 15-car formations bound for Tōkyō. Not much longer left before this scene disappears, replaced with E233-3000 series sets.

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Old March 5th, 2012, 10:22 PM   #3433
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
Groundbreaking for Kabe Line electrification and extension likely to be delayed
http://www.chugoku-np.co.jp/News/Tn201201190182.html



This has been a very interesting project, as it discusses the extremely rare situation of restoration of service on abandoned tracks. Ultimately, I think JR’s reluctance probably comes down to cash.

Map:
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=...0d07af9a&msa=0

Tour of the section to be restored. Not great video quality, but the comments are pretty informative.
Ah, the Kabe Line, one of my favorite topics

Glad to see they are considering re-activating the line and extending the electrification to better cover the western part of Kabe City. (This whole mess about which grade crossings to re-open would never have come up if they never abandoned this part of the line in the first place...)

It would be nice to see the line restored further to Kake, but the truth is that the line between Kabe and Kake is SO curvy and the trains were SO slow that it was not even competitive with buses. Now, beyond Kake to Sandankyo, the line is a lot straighter because it was built with a further extension to Hamada and express trains in mind. However, given the curvy segment between Kabe and Kake, and now the existence of a highway from Hiroshima to Hamada, that idea never came to pass.

I remember back in 2004 there was a group called the Otagawa Railway 大田川鉄道 who tried to have the Kabe Line preserved as a tourist attraction (they had dreams of even running steam power there!) but they couldn't raise enough money and the plan was abandoned.

On a related topic, have you heard anything about the Hiroshima area getting new rolling stock? The trains there were already quite old 9 years ago when I was living there, and to the best of my knowledge they still haven't been replaced... Surely JR West has some trains from Kansai they can pass along as hand-me-downs that are newer than the equipment they still run in Hiroshima...
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Old March 5th, 2012, 11:54 PM   #3434
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orulz View Post
(This whole mess about which grade crossings to re-open would never have come up if they never abandoned this part of the line in the first place...)
I agree with this sentiment wholeheartedly...
Reminds of me Japanese bus operators who want to retain the franchise to operate certain routes, even if they only run a bus a week on that route.

Quote:
Originally Posted by orulz View Post
On a related topic, have you heard anything about the Hiroshima area getting new rolling stock? The trains there were already quite old 9 years ago when I was living there, and to the best of my knowledge they still haven't been replaced... Surely JR West has some trains from Kansai they can pass along as hand-me-downs that are newer than the equipment they still run in Hiroshima...
Yeah, they do have a lot of old-timers down in Hiroshima... But Hiroshima is just not a priority area for JR West, so I doubt we'll ever see entirely new stock introduced there, only secondhand units from the "Urban Network" around Ōsaka.

While some 221 series are being phased out as part of the introduction of the 225 series in the Kansai area, I believe most of these will actually be deployed on other lines in the Urban Network, replacing older stock on some of the smaller lines like the Kosei Line, which currently operates with a fair number of 113 and 117 series. The Hanwa Line also still has some 103 series sets which are being replaced as we speak.
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Old March 6th, 2012, 07:51 PM   #3435
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
Yeah, they do have a lot of old-timers down in Hiroshima... But Hiroshima is just not a priority area for JR West, so I doubt we'll ever see entirely new stock introduced there, only secondhand units from the "Urban Network" around Ōsaka.

While some 221 series are being phased out as part of the introduction of the 225 series in the Kansai area, I believe most of these will actually be deployed on other lines in the Urban Network, replacing older stock on some of the smaller lines like the Kosei Line, which currently operates with a fair number of 113 and 117 series. The Hanwa Line also still has some 103 series sets which are being replaced as we speak.
According to Wikipedia, all the EMUs operating in the Hiroshima area are 103, 105, 113, or 115's (which corresponds to my observations from 9 years ago.) I recall that even Okayama and Fukyama seemed to have newer trains than Hiroshima, and I thought that to be odd.
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Old March 6th, 2012, 08:24 PM   #3436
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Yeah, Okayama / Fukuyama is probably slightly better for EMUs:
http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%B2%...BB%8A%E5%8C%BA

105 series (14 cars)
115 series (173 cars)
117 series (24 cars)
213 series (28 cars)
223 series (14 cars) *these are only for Seto Ōhashi Line services

Here is Hiroshima:
http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%BA%...BB%A2%E6%89%80

103 series (9 cars)
105 series (28 cars)
113 series (68 cars)
115 series (88 cars)
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Old March 6th, 2012, 08:40 PM   #3437
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Obstacles remain in plan to through-run Kintetsu limited expresses onto Hanshin tracks
http://www.kobe-np.co.jp/news/shakai/0004857230.shtml

Quote:
The Hanshin Namba Line (Amagasaki – Ōsaka) will become three years old on March 20. As ridership growth continues to trend up thanks to direct service from Kōbe and the Hanshin (Ōsaka / Kōbe) area to the Nara area, anticipation is growing towards through-service of the Kintetsu limited expresses running to Ise Shima and Nagoya. While Kintetsu is enamored with the chance to break open a new passenger market for its services, Hanshin Electric Railway is taking a cautious stance, fearing the possible impacts to its train schedules. Difficult obstacles remain before Kintetsu’s dreams can be realized.

According to Hanshin, ridership on the Namba Line reached an average of 69,000 passengers daily for the period between April and December of last year, a five percent increase year-over-year. At the time of the line’s opening, much of the ridership came from tourists, but commuter ridership has recently been growing, and the railway says the line has entered its “stable phase”.

In an effort to further increase ridership, Hanshin will implement schedule changes on March 20. On weekend and holiday mornings, Hanshin will extend three rapid express departures from Sannomiya bound for Kintetsu Nara to depart from Shinkaichi instead, making the line easier to use for passengers from San’yō Electric Railway and Kōbe Electric Railway. In addition, Hanshin will reduce the number of stops on weekday midday rapid expresses, shaving approximately five minutes off the running time.

In regards to the through-servicing of limited expresses being pushed by Kintetsu, who says that the service can start with irregular trains targeting charter groups, Hanshin has yet to acquiesce, continuing its cautious stance on the proposal.

Kintetsu limited expresses require a limited express surcharge in addition to the regular fare, but one of the factors behind Hanshin’s apprehension is related to the impacts to its train schedule. Hanshin runs on a pattern timetable, with limited expresses and locals each leaving every ten minutes. Bringing in Kintetsu limited expresses would mean “destroying the timetable pattern, with the possibility of reducing convenience for our regular users,” says Hanshin.

Another issue relates to the difficulties in forecasting just what kind of demand there is for such services. For example, for trips between Sannomiya and Nagoya, the Shinkansen takes approx. one hour, but a Kintetsu limited express would take close to three times as long. There is also competition with highway express buses. For tourist limited expresses to Ise Shima, Hanshin also says that it is unclear whether passenger revenues would be sufficient to cover the various expenses of the service, including introduction of the ticketing system and crew member training.

Meanwhile, anticipation of the through-services is high among users and travel agencies. “My wife’s parents live in Nagoya, so a limited express would be really convenient,” remarks a male office worker from Nishinomiya City. “There is anticipation that the through-running limited expresses will be able to capture new passenger demand. If the project happens, we’d definitely consider offering travel products specifically for this service,” says a public relations manager for Kinki Nippon Tourist.

Kōbe University vice-president Shōji Ken’ichi (transportation economics) remarked, “Through-servicing is welcome for the benefits it brings to the region, but I can understand Hanshin’s position considering the dilemma over the timetable and the required investment. If we can create a scheme for entities other than the railway operators to support the project, such as the Kansai Activation Project, we can create a movement with a true vision.”

The section where Kintetsu wants to through-run its limited expresses.


A limited express bound for Kintetsu Nagoya waits for departure at Ōsaka Namba Station (Nanba 4, Chūō Ward, Ōsaka City).
I thought it a bit odd that they quoted someone from Kinki Nippon Tourist, which is actually a member company of the Kintetsu Group.

Anyways, I can kind of understand where Hanshin is coming from (there is a joke that it isn’t actually the “Hanshin” Namba Line, but the “Kintetsu” Namba Line), but it seems like they should be able to come up with a compromise or some creative scheduling… The weekday midday schedule at Sannomiya (for Ōsaka) is not so ridiculously busy (only 15 tph):

:02 San’yō through-service limited express for Umeda
:04 Rapid express for Kintetsu Nara
:05 Local for Umeda
:12 Limited express for Umeda
:15 Local for Umeda
:22 San’yō through-service limited express for Umeda
:24 Rapid express for Kintetsu Nara
:25 Local for Umeda
:32 San’yō through-service limited express for Umeda
:35 Local for Umeda
:42 Limited express for Umeda
:44 Rapid express for Kintetsu Nara
:45 Local for Umeda
:52 San’yō through-service limited express for Umeda
:55 Local for Umeda

Without a full diagram, it’s a little hard to see, but it appears that there are some gaps where they might be able to squeeze in some trains, particularly right before limited expresses. You could have the Kintetsu limited express just before the San’yō / Hanshin limited express, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be running at full speed anyways. The Namba Line is still a bit underutilized anyways, as it’s currently only 6 tph per direction during midday (will be increased to 9 tph with three more locals per hour being added with the upcoming schedule changes). Worse comes to worse, they can run it as one of the unused rapid express slots (:14, :34, or :54), which currently only runs 3 tph.

Cab view on a Kintetsu 9820 series rapid express from Kintetsu Nara to Hanshin Sannomiya:

Part 1: Kintetsu Nara to Yamato Saidaiji http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Smk52CboRZ0&hd=1
Part 2: Yamato Saidaiji to Ikoma http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9-RhmvOEuo&hd=1
Part 3: Ikoma to Tsuruhashi http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1tl4mNLOzs&hd=1
Part 4: Tsuruhashi to Ōsaka Namba http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZXK5G38HOQ&hd=1
Part 5: Ōsaka Namba to Nishi-Kujō http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8REuTYRlmLo&hd=1
Part 6: Nishi-Kujō to Amagasaki http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTrnnC7joN8&hd=1
Part 7: Amagasaki to Nishinomiya http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBS8KMZWphk&hd=1
Part 8: Nishinomiya to Uozaki http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZWZg0dVVZU&hd=1
Part 9: Uozaki to Sannomiya http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlVBF4heBrY&hd=1
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Old March 6th, 2012, 08:41 PM   #3438
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Nishinomiya City to begin looking at new station on Hankyū Kōbe Line above Mukogawa River
http://www.kobe-np.co.jp/news/shakai/0004821904.shtml

Quote:
For FY2012, Nishinomiya City has earmarked ¥500,000 for the first time in its preliminary budget to conduct studies to determine whether or not it would be possible to construct a new station between Nishinomiya Kitaguchi (Nishinomiya City) and Mukonosō (Amagasaki City) on Hankyū Electric Railway’s Kōbe Line, located atop the bridge over the Mukogawa River.

The distance between the two stations is approx. 3.3 km, the longest distance between any two stations on the line. The area is home to residential neighborhoods along both sides of the Mukogawa River. In 2000, local citizens in Nishinomiya City founded the Committee for a Hankyū Mukogawa Station. A petition signed by over 10,000 people was adopted by the City Council, and in 2008, then-mayor Yamada Satoru indicated that he was optimistic about the proposal, and would coordinate with Hankyū Electric Railway and Amagasaki City to help realize the project.

While coordination regarding construction costs between Nishinomiya City, Amagasaki City, Hankyū Electric Railway, and other parties is required in order to get the station built, specific negotiations have yet to be conducted.

In regards to the studies to be conducted in FY2012, Nishinomiya City spokespersons say, “We want to study ridership demand and other factors to determine the potential of the project, discussing the issues with both Hankyū Electric Railway and Amagasaki City.” Hankyū Electric Railway representatives said, “A study of the project is welcome. We have an open ear and plan to work collaboratively together on this project.”

Matsui Yūichi (75), chairman of the Committee for a Hankyū Mukogawa Station and a resident of Hinochō. Nishinomiya City, remarked, “We’ve finally been able to get the study started, and I’m both happy and anxious that we’ve made a little bit of progress. There’s a lot of older residents living in this area, and I hope the new station is built, serving as a lifeline means of transport for these neighborhoods.”

A Hankyū train crossing the Mukogawa River. Nishinomiya City will begun studies to look at the possibility of constructing a new station at this location.
This would basically be Hankyū’s answer to the existing Mukogawa Station on the Hanshin Main Line, which is also built above the Mukogawa River. The Kansai area continues to surprise me with how proactive they are regarding new stations on existing lines. Both Hankyū and JR, which have some of the largest station-to-station distances among major Kansai area operators, have already opened quite a few new stations in the last few years, and are constructing, designing, or studying several others.

Cab view on a 7000 series limited express on the Hankyū Kōbe Line from Shinkaichi to Umeda. The crossing over the Mukogawa River is in Part 4 @ 1:30. The tracks separate at this location, providing enough space to build the station in the middle.

Part 1: Shinkaichi to Sannomiya http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfmjKFrWs5c&hd=1
Part 2: Sannomiya to Okamoto http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uOdfpddKI4&hd=1
Part 3: Okamoto to Nishinomiya Kitaguchi http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjF2cW0JWBE&hd=1
Part 4: Nishinomiya Kitaguchi to Jūsō http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ej_7jpIyJIk&hd=1
Part 5: Jūsō to Umeda http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-CcKzjkHSg&hd=1
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Old March 6th, 2012, 08:43 PM   #3439
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Completion of new Hankyū station in Nagaoka-kyō delayed
http://www.kyoto-np.co.jp/politics/a...20120302000030

Quote:
A meeting of the Nagaoka-kyō City Council’s Construction and Water Standing Committee was held on March 1, where city officials reported that the estimated completion date of the new station under construction on the Hankyū Electric Railway in the city’s Tomooka district is expected to be delayed from the original forecast of late FY2012 to some time in FY2013. The delays are a result of schedule coordination with other construction works including the No. 2 Kyōto Loop Road, and a specific opening date has not been decided yet.

The new Hankyū station was originally slated for completion in late FY2012, in a location underneath a viaduct of the under-construction No. 2 Kyōto Loop Road. The city’s Urban Planning Office says, “There are delays related to the progress made thus far on other construction works, including the loop road itself, the frontage roads, and detours of city streets.”

Likewise, completion of the station plaza, for which the city is serving as project lead, has also been pushed back from the original forecast of late FY2012 to some time in FY2013.

As a result, the city will extend the expenditure period for the project, involving the city’s ¥940 million share of the construction costs for the new station, from the original timeline of FY2010-12 into FY2013, grouping the costs with the general account expenses in the city’s preliminary budget for FY2012.

The preliminary budget also earmarks project costs related to construction of an automobile park-and-ride and other facilities in the area surrounding the station.
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Old March 6th, 2012, 08:44 PM   #3440
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Shinki Bus to introduce articulated buses on Sanda City routes
http://www.kobe-np.co.jp/news/shakai/0004841451.shtml

Quote:
Shinki Bus (HQ: Himeji City) has finalized plans to introduce articulated buses onto routes within Sanda City in FY2012 in an effort to ease congestion during commute periods. As the length of the vehicles exceeds standards, the buses are technically not allowed to operate on public roads in Japan, but Shinki Bus plans on requesting approval to operate the vehicles with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) Kinki Transport Bureau as early as this spring. According to the MLIT, this would be the first jurisdiction in the Kansai area to introduce the buses.

In preparation for the application for approval, Shinki Bus will soon establish a preparatory committee together with the Prefectural Government and city, which have jurisdiction over the roads, as well as the Sanda Police Department. According to Shinki Bus, Sanda City, and others, population growth is still trending up, primarily in Woody Town, Culture Town, and the area around JR Sanda Station, and there are many work and school commuters heading to the Ōsaka area. As a result, Shinki Bus hopes to increase capacity. There is also a demand for high-capacity transit, including from Kwansei Gakuin University’s Kōbe Sanda Campus and the Techno Park industrial campus.

The articulated buses are two low-floor cabs joined by a hood, allowing passengers to move freely back and forth. Each bus can carry 131 passengers. Approximately 18 m in length, the buses exceed the safety standard (less than 12 m) according to the Road Transport Vehicle Act, requiring approval to operate the buses from the Kinki Transport Bureau, as well as the city, the Prefectural Police Department, and other entities. The buses may only operate on designated routes.

Shinki Bus is considering purchasing two buses manufactured by Mercedes Benz. Of the total purchase cost of approx. ¥120 million, Shinki Bus will bear approx. ¥70 million of the cost, with the remainder expected to be covered by grants from the national government and other funding sources. The city earmarked approx. ¥10 million in its FY2012 preliminary budget as funding to purchase the buses.

Within Japan, three jurisdictions (Chiba City, and Fujisawa City and Atsugi City in Kanagawa Prefecture) operate the buses, together with Gifu Bus, which became the first operator outside of Greater Tōkyō to introduce the vehicles, operating them on routes within Gifu City since March of last year.
Interesting… The lack of flexibility in which routes they can be operated on is a bit hampering, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s quite a few more operators that want to look at articulated buses. They could probably work pretty well on a few select routes, or in major bus cities like Kyōto.
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