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Old March 10th, 2012, 07:52 AM   #3461
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There will be, at the first three.

The last one is not part of the grade-separation project, as it doesn't need to be... The Keiō Sagamihara Line only has three grade crossings, all between Chōfu and Keiō Tamagawa. All three will be removed with this project.
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Old March 10th, 2012, 03:27 PM   #3462
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Are there any articulated buses in Tokyo or Osaka?
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Old March 10th, 2012, 04:02 PM   #3463
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woonsocket54 View Post
Are there any articulated buses in Tokyo or Osaka?
Buses are restricted to a maximum length of 12m, buses that are longer have to get special approval from the MLIT (basically they are restricted to certain routes and certain lanes on roads), so adoption has been slow or short-lived so far in Japan. As far as I can determine, there are only three bus companies using articulated buses in Japan at this moment:

Keisei Bus in Chiba Pref (MB Citaro):


Kanagawa Chuo Kotsu "Kanachu" Twin Liner:


Gifu Bus:
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Old March 10th, 2012, 08:17 PM   #3464
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Articulated buses just aren't practical for a lot of reasons... If you've ever been to Japan, one of the things that should strike you immediately is how narrow most of the streets are. There are no sidewalks, and the "street" is simply a paved surface that is shared by all users, from drivers to buses to pedestrians and bikers. No curb, no lane markings, only two lines on the sides that are intended to "reserve" a bare minimum of space for pedestrians. There are a lot of areas where it's difficult just getting a 12 m bus through, much less a bus that is 50% longer.

The operating philosophy of Japanese bus operators also places emphasis on having a single hub (i.e., the local train station), with all lines branching away from it, as opposed to a multi-hub approach that might require transfers. While there are identifiable transit corridors on wider streets, most buses continue beyond the end of these corridors to service other areas, many of which contain a lot of these small streets. So you'd never be able to do a full roll-out with articulated buses, only on specific routes that stay on the wider streets. So basically, you end up with an inconsistent service pattern on the main corridor (some articulated buses, some standard buses) that makes the additional capacity less useful for passengers.

As an extreme example, you can look at the Shinki Bus routes out of Himeji Station:
http://www.shinkibus.co.jp/rsn/pdf/himejin.pdf

Every bus line goes to the station, and you never have to transfer to get to or from there, as there is always a direct route that will provide a one-seat ride.
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Old March 10th, 2012, 09:54 PM   #3465
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I've been to Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Yokohama and Hiroshima and didn't notice any bendy buses. I'm wondering if the Niigata BRT will have them.
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Old March 11th, 2012, 04:29 AM   #3466
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It's mentioned in the post.

Keisei Bus and Kanagawa Chūō Kōtsū (Kanachū) are both Tōkyō-area operators, although technically in the suburban parts of the metropolitan area.

Here’s an overview of where articulated buses are currently being used:

Keisei Bus (Makuhari, Chiba, Greater Tōkyō)
Used on Maku-01 route between Makuhari Hongō Station (JR Chūō–Sōbu Local Line and Keisei Chiba Line), Makuhari Messe (convention center), Makuhari New City, Kaihin Makuhari Station (JR Keiyō Line), and QVC Marine Field (home stadium of the Chiba Lotte Marines baseball franchise). There are about 30 buses per hour on this specific route, but over 50 if you include other routes in the same corridor like Maku-03. There have been proposals to eventually build some sort of “new transit” system on this route, which typically means something like the Yurikamome, but could also encompass BRT or light rail.

Kanachū Bus (Fujisawa, Kanagawa, Greater Tōkyō)
Used on the Shō-25 route, a (mostly rush hour only) express service between Shōnandai Station (Odakyū Enoshima Line, Sagami Railway Izumino Line, and Yokohama Municipal Subway Blue Line) and Keiō University’s Shōnan Fujisawa Campus. Maximum frequency is about 5-6 buses per hour, but there’s another 10-12 buses on non-express routes (Shō-23, Shō-24, and Shō-28) on the same route.

Kanachū Bus (Atsugi, Kanagawa, Greater Tōkyō)
Used on three routes:
  • Atsu-08 express runs from Shōrenji (temple) to Atsugi Bus Center (i.e., Atsugi Station of the Odakyū Odawara Line and JR Sagami Line). There’s only a handful of these runs each day, as most of the buses on this route are all-stop services (over 30 buses per hour during the peak).
  • Atsu-06 and Atsu-89 between Atsugi Bus Center and Kanagawa Institute of Technology. This is about 3-5 buses per hour.
  • Atsu-105 rush hour runs between Atsugi Axt (mixed-use office development) and Atsugi Bus Center. Anywhere from 4 to 6 buses per hour.

Gifu Bus (Gifu, Greater Nagoya)
There are only two artics in the fleet, used on a handful of runs on the route from JR Gifu Station to Gifu University / Gifu University Hospital. This route is 10-12 buses per hour during peaks, only 1-2 of which are operated with the artics.

Iwasaki Bus Network in Kagoshima also purchased four secondhand Volvo / Fuji Heavy Industries artics from Keisei Bus last year, and they’re supposed to be in operation already on several routes, including Kagoshima Station – Murasakibaru – OPSIA Misumi and Kagoshima Chūō Station – Kagoshima Prefectural Offices – Kamoike Port, as well as routes to Hirakawa Animal Park.

JR Kantō Bus also purchased four secondhand units from Keisei Bus last year, which are rumored will operate on the Hakuhō Line, an abandoned rail line in Fukushima Prefecture now operated with buses. The route is between Shin-Shirakawa Station (Tōhoku Main Line), Shin-Shirakawa Station (Tōhoku Main Line, Tōhoku Shinkansen), and Iwaki Tanakura Station (Suigun Line).
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Old March 11th, 2012, 04:30 AM   #3467
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Kintetsu Kyōto Station construction update

An update on the various upgrades to Kintetsu Kyōto Station (2012.01):
Source: http://saitoshika.blog119.fc2.com/

The hotel being built above Kintetsu Kyōto Station (Hotel Kintetsu Kyōto) recently opened last year (2011.10.01), and work is proceeding quickly on preparing the new track and platform directly underneath the building.





West approach into the station
The fresh ballast at center is the new track.



A look at the new platform from one of the existing platforms at the station. This is supposed to be six carlengths. Just like the hotel and the rest of the platforms at the station, it’s designed on a gentle curve. The new platform and track are supposed to open 2012.03.20.



Looks like a waiting room, but it’s actually the hotel elevator, as the lobby is below platform level. An interesting design that should help market the biggest appeal of the hotel—it’s proximity to the station.



From the stub end. This will be the fourth track at Kintetsu’s Kyōto terminal, serving boarding passengers from Platform 4 and alighting passengers to Platform 3.



Kintetsu 22600 series Ace limited express. These have been in service for a while now (since April 2009), but I have yet to grow tired of the design. Kintetsu takes full advantage of its extensive network, offering a multitude of limited expresses leaving every 15 minutes from Kintetsu Kyōto. This one’s bound for Kashihara Jingū-mae in Nara Prefecture—other destinations include Kintetsu Nara and Kashikojima (Ise / Shima area). With this additional track at the terminal, limited expresses will now also depart from Track 2, allowing trains to stay at the station longer and passengers to board trains earlier, reducing platform congestion.

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Old March 11th, 2012, 04:31 AM   #3468
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Shin-Ōsaka Station construction update: Part 1

First, a set from 2011.01:
Source: http://saitoshika.blog119.fc2.com/

Out of nowhere, work is proceeding quickly on the extension of the Ōsaka Higashi Line from the current terminal at Hanaten to Shin-Ōsaka Station. The 9.2 km section of the line between Kyūhōji and Hanaten opened in March 2008, with the remaining 11.1 km section to Shin-Ōsaka scheduled to open in late FY2018. Eventually, the line is supposed to tie into the Ume-Kita redevelopment area north of Ōsaka / Umeda Station with a new (underground?) station. I still thought this was a ways into the future, but new platforms at the station are already in the process of being constructed.

This is the new island platform being constructed east of the existing Platforms 17 and 18 (used by limited expresses bound for Ōsaka Station and points beyond). According to the construction notice at the site, the work at the station is supposed to last until January 2017. Construction is being carried out by JR West group company Daitetsu Kōgyō.



From the pedestrian bridge south of the station.
Columns supporting the canopy have already been erected.





The section directly underneath the station concourse and the Tōkaidō Shinkansen tracks. This work should involve construction of vertical circulation (escalators, elevators, and stairwells) to tie the new platform into the rest of JR West’s part of the station.



No one seems to know what this structure is above the new platform as JR West has yet to release any details concerning this construction work, but it looks an awful like an expansion of the station concourse.



Shin-Ōsaka lacks the pizzazz of the newly-renovated Ōsaka Station, but the extension of the Ōsaka Higashi Line station affords JR West the opportunity to redo much of the station. Apparently, the new platform currently visible isn’t for the Ōsaka Higashi Line but to allow them to shift some of the platforms and tracks one position over. Perhaps the Ōsaka Higashi Line platforms will end up in the between the JR Kyōto Line platforms (currently Platforms 13 / 14 and 15 / 16). The new platform currently being built will actually become the new platform for limited expresses bound for Ōsaka Station.





Work is also proceeding on a small renovation of the concourse. I remember a good portion of the station under construction when I visited in November last year, but I guess I just missed most of this. Looks good though.



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Old March 11th, 2012, 04:31 AM   #3469
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Shin-Ōsaka Station construction update: Part 2

Next, a more recent set (2012.01):
Source: http://saitoshika.blog119.fc2.com/

Looks like they are starting to weld together the canopy.
Decent platform width for JR West, I suppose, which typically goes for designs that minimize cost.





A pretty clear indication that new track is going in…











Doing some reinforcement / repainting of the columns supporting the station concourse and Shinkansen viaduct.

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Old March 11th, 2012, 04:32 AM   #3470
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Himeji Station construction update

An update on the construction work at JR Himeji Station (2012.02). This project involves demolition of the aging Himeji Station tenant building (Festa) on the north side of the station and replacement with a new tenant building. Over the past decade, Himeji Station has undergone major changes as the gateway to Himeji Castle and one of the largest terminals in western Hyōgo Prefecture—a continuous grade-separation project around the station elevated the San’yō Main Line in 2006 and the Bantan Line and Kishin Line in 2008, together with other improvements including a public passage connecting the north and south sides of the station. The new tenant building (six-stories aboveground, one story belowground, 31,000 sq m gross floor area) and surrounding station plaza will be an impressive new landmark for Himeji.
Source: http://saitoshika.blog119.fc2.com/

Render from the JR West press release. I visited Himeji when the old station building was still in use, but I may have to visit again once this is complete.



Himeji City is dramatically redesigning the North Exit station plaza, creating new open space, streamlining the bus, taxi, and auto circulation, and strengthening the connection with the adjacent San’yō Himeji Station (for San’yō Electric Railway) and the main boulevard leading to Himeji Castle. When complete, this will supposedly be the largest station plaza by surface area in Japan.



The North Exit station plaza will also contain a “sunken garden” that connects to the underground level of the new station tenant building, as well as the underground mall at the station. The garden will feature stone walls reminiscent of the outer moat of Himeji Castle, and contain some open-air cafe and event space.



Also included is this observation deck that offers an unobstructed view down the main boulevard to Himeji Castle, constructed with a combination of steel and wood that is designed to be reminiscent of the castle gate. This and the next image are renders from the Himeji City website.



This will be the view from the platforms at the station.



Next, some pics of the construction of the new station tenant building, which began in December 2011 and is scheduled for completion in spring 2013. Construction lead is JR West Real Estate & Development, a JR West group company responsible for station tenant building and mixed use facility development, development underneath railway viaducts, residential development, and railway land management.



Lots of excavation work going on beneath the temporary work platform they’ve erected here.



The JR Kōbe Line / San’yō Main Line is Platforms 5-8, but the best view of the castle from within the station will be from Platforms 1 / 2 for the Bantan Line.



Quite a dramatic change if you remember how this area used to look.





The view down to Himeji Castle, which has been under renovation since October 2009 (scheduled completion in 2014). There’s always a flurry of buses on the main boulevard, all operated by Shinki Bus (a private operator) after Himeji City completed the transfer of all municipal bus routes to private-sector operation in March 2010.

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Old March 11th, 2012, 04:33 AM   #3471
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Sannomiya Station construction update: Part 1

First, some pictures of the extensive upgrades to Hanshin Sannomiya Station (2012.01.28):
Source: http://koberun.blog56.fc2.com/

The new East Exit at Hanshin Sannomiya Station, together with the new north-south underground passage, will open on 2012.03.20.



The pedestrian network outside Sannomiya Station will soon be expanded to three levels thanks to the new north-south underground passage and this elevated pedestrian bridge, extending the existing pedestrian deck outside the station from Mint Kōbe across National Route 2. This will be the third pedestrian bridge across National Route 2 on the south side of the station.



Maybe in the future, we will see an extension of the deck along the south side of National Route adjacent to the Sogō Department Store that will connect all three bridges (they’re still connected by the existing pedestrian deck adjacent to the station building).



From Mint Kōbe. Width is 4 m.
To the left is the Port Liner approach into Sannomiya Station.



Currently, the station pedestrian deck dead ends at Mint Kōbe, so there’s not much pedestrian traffic... The new bridge should bring more people down this way. The existing deck at Mint Kōbe was designed specifically to allow portions to be easily removed for connection into a future bridge across National Route 2.



The new bridge will be connected to an existing pedestrian bridge on the south end (underneath the Port Liner viaduct) to allow access to ground level. This is a barrier-free design, and involves installation of a new elevator.

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Old March 11th, 2012, 04:33 AM   #3472
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Sannomiya Station construction update: Part 2

Next, we move underground to the complex upgrades being undertaken inside Hanshin Sannomiya Station, scheduled for completion in spring 2013. The total cost of the project is approx. ¥15.3 billion, comprised of approx. ¥13 billion for station improvements, ¥700 million for the new underground passage, and ¥1.6 billion for the new pedestrian bridge.

Here we see extended sections of the platforms at the east end of the station (closer to Umeda). Hanshin Sannomiya is a three-track station, with two through tracks and one stub track. The old configuration had the stub track on the south side of the station, making it less useful. The upgrades will move the stub track into the middle of a super-wide island platform, a superior design that should optimize train operations. The closest track here will serve as the new stub track.



Behind the white panels, work is proceeding on the escalators, stairs, and elevators that will eventually connect into the station’s new East Exit concourse. The extended section of platform for Track 3 on the very right is already in use, but the rest are still being worked on. The work for Track 1 (at the very left) actually involves shifting the track north up against the walls of the tunnel and removing the narrow alighting-only platform currently at that location. This will allow them to then widen the existing section of the platform on the left of the picture. Similar to how they did it for Track 3, the switch will likely be made in one night.



The east end of the extended section will feature stairwells, while the center will house the elevators. It’s unclear from the plans available on the Web just how long the platforms will be, but it does look like there might be quite a bit of extension. Maximum platform length on the Hanshin Main Line is only six cars (approx. 18 m each)—a mismatch for Kintetsu trains, which can reach 10 cars (approx. 20 m each), requiring some coupling / decoupling for some Hanshin Namba Line trains at Amagasaki.



The escalators will be located at the west end, securing three access routes between the platforms and concourse level. Hanshin Sannomiya had a very gloomy image, but the upgrades should give it a good revamp.



Work has also begun on installation of the “wave”-shaped wall panels—a simple, but effective way to give the station a more polished look. Apparently, the center section of the station ceiling will remain, preserving the original arch design (can see a portion of it here)when the station first opened in 1933, will remain, so it will be interesting to see how they are able to harmonize the historic and modern parts of the station.



At first glance, it doesn’t look like much work has progressed at the west end of the platforms compared to the new east end, but if you remember what it looked like before, this is already a pretty dramatic change.



New beams and girders have been bolted together to support what will become an expanded West Exit concourse. The existing concourse and the adjacent passages are much too small to handle the crowds using the station, so the ticketing entrance will be set back to the east a bit to increase the available circulation area. These are all new steel columns, but some of the existing columns at the west end have will be retained, wrapped in steel-plate “sheaths” for seismic reinforcement, a method frequently adopted for seismic reinforcement of columns in older Shinkansen viaducts.



With the new East Exit opening fast approaching, work is proceeding at a fast pitch on access routes from ground level. This is the new stairwell that will connect the south sidewalk of National Route 2 to the new north-south underground passage. A similar stairwell will be built on the north sidewalk.



The north side of the underground passage, connecting into Basement Level 1 of Mint Kōbe.



The view from underground.
Behind the temporary fencing are the new north-south passage and new East Exit ticketing entrance. With the opening of a new gourmet market on Basement Level 1 of Mint Kōbe, there is already a steady flow of people using this area, which should only increase once the East Exit and new passage open.



On the south side is Sanchika, a large underground mall. The new underground passage will connect in here, joining into an expansive existing network of underground passages that extends south to the Kōbe International House and beyond.



Parcels on the south side of the station stand to have their development potential increase substantially with these improvements, which aren’t cheap considering they involve extensive upgrades to an existing underground station. Proposals for a large tower or two could be enough to jump-start other projects at the station, such as a renovation of JR and Hankyū’s parts of the station. There is already a 54-story (190 m) condo project (640 units) underway in Asahi-dōri 4-chōme, just a short walk east of the station.



The Kōbe City Travel Information Center has also relocated inside the station, a much better spot that will make it more accessible for visitors.

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Old March 11th, 2012, 04:34 AM   #3473
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Sannomiya Station construction update: Part 3

Lastly, some less exciting work that JR is undertaking to renovate its station facilities (2011.11), which began in April 2011. JR West is investing approx. ¥1.7 billion in renovating the East Exit and central concourse (paid area) of its station, related to the construction for the new new East Exit for Hanshin’s station. Completion is scheduled for late FY2012.
Source: http://koberun.blog56.fc2.com/

The JR station tenant building and pedestrian deck. This was shot adjacent to Mint Kōbe.



This area outside the East Exit faregates has been renovated, with the apparel shop that used to be here now home to a relocated outlet of Nippon Travel Agency (NTA), a subsidiary of JR West. This outlet used to be at the station’s Central Exit.



Daily In, a JR West convenience store, also moved in to this new area.



Reopened café, also JR West run.



The former NTA space. The renovation of the East Exit is targeted at passengers transferring to / from the Port Liner, visitors to the new Mint Kōbe, and passengers bound to the future East Exit of the Hanshin station. Given the foot traffic in this area, it will be interesting to see what fills this space.



The Central Exit concourse is the largest and busiest for the JR part of the station, so perhaps they figured they could get more money by leasing the space out to a new tenant instead of using it for travel agency offices.



At the time of these photos, work had yet to begin on the faregates and paid area of the concourse. Perhaps they will redesign this entrance to smooth out passenger flow, which is a bit obstructed by the columns.



Newly-installed “digital signage” advertisement displays now adorn the columns in the east-west passage connecting the station building and the Sannomiya Terminal Building.



At this time, the new Kōbe City Travel Information Center was not yet complete.



Looks like a new tenant will also be entering this space on the first floor of the Sannomiya Terminal Building.

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Old March 11th, 2012, 07:53 PM   #3474
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
New car class for E233-3000 series makes press debut

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.

Is there space there to the right for maybe allowance for bicycles to be allowed on board, even if it was just a fold-up type?
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Old March 11th, 2012, 08:02 PM   #3475
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Is there space there to the right for maybe allowance for bicycles to be allowed on board, even if it was just a fold-up type?
The JRs at least allow bicycles on trains. I think the rule is that it must be covered and you have to buy a 270 yen ticket for it regardless of how far you're traveling.
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Old March 11th, 2012, 09:24 PM   #3476
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I think all operators allow bicycles on trains, but they have to be folded and inside a bag, like you said. It should be free to bring them on, though... I don't think they charge for that. For reference:

http://www.jreast.co.jp/kippu/20.html
http://railway.jr-central.co.jp/ticket-rule/rule47.html
http://www.jrkyushu.co.jp/trains/goriyou.jsp

Bicycles are covered under 無料のもの (items that can be brought on board for free). It's probably slightly more hassle than trying to bring bikes on board trains here in the U.S. or Europe, but I think it's a pretty fair policy, given the constraints of the system. Even a train like those Tōkaidō Line E233 sets, technically designed for "suburban" services with mixed longitudinal / transverse seating, can get pretty crowded... Especially since the car in question is right next to a green car.
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Old March 12th, 2012, 02:24 AM   #3477
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
Himeji Station construction update
Thanks for the update on Himeji.

For some reason I seem to remember something about a plan to tie Otemae Dori north of the station in Himeji, together with the road leading south from the station, but I don't see anything about that going on here. Maybe I'm confusing Himeji with some other city?
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Old March 12th, 2012, 02:36 PM   #3478
nouveau.ukiyo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
I think all operators allow bicycles on trains, but they have to be folded and inside a bag, like you said. It should be free to bring them on, though... I don't think they charge for that. For reference:

http://www.jreast.co.jp/kippu/20.html
http://railway.jr-central.co.jp/ticket-rule/rule47.html
http://www.jrkyushu.co.jp/trains/goriyou.jsp

Bicycles are covered under 無料のもの (items that can be brought on board for free). It's probably slightly more hassle than trying to bring bikes on board trains here in the U.S. or Europe, but I think it's a pretty fair policy, given the constraints of the system. Even a train like those Tōkaidō Line E233 sets, technically designed for "suburban" services with mixed longitudinal / transverse seating, can get pretty crowded... Especially since the car in question is right next to a green car.
I've taken my bike a few times on JR and Keikyu trains; never had a problem. You can find special bags in all the major bike shops made for this person. If you're worried about getting on crowded trains, try to board at the very front or rear of the train; there's usually a lot of open space there. Also try handicapped areas. There's usually a few seats taken away to allow space for wheelchairs, etc.
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Old March 12th, 2012, 07:18 PM   #3479
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Yeah, I also use those spots, too, when I'm bringing luggage with me. Doesn't always work, as sometimes the end car is actually crowded or has some restrictions (I'm thinking Saikyō Line), but it's definitely a good rule of thumb.

I'm mainly talking about the part requiring the bikes to be folded and inside a bag... In many places (like where I live), you can just bring it on board, and it doesn't even have to be foldable nor placed inside a bag. Personally, I don't think allowing this would go over very well in Japan, and there have been PR efforts in the past specifically aimed at discouraging this.
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Old March 12th, 2012, 07:23 PM   #3480
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orulz View Post
For some reason I seem to remember something about a plan to tie Otemae Dori north of the station in Himeji, together with the road leading south from the station, but I don't see anything about that going on here. Maybe I'm confusing Himeji with some other city?
I think they might have been looking at that in the past, during the planning process. What they've settled on now, though, doesn't connect the street through, at least for car traffic... Peds can still go through at three different locations, but cars have to detour around the station in a loop:
http://www.city.himeji.lg.jp/s70/221...50/_25054.html
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