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Old September 11th, 2009, 12:27 PM   #381
castermaild55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Momo1435 View Post
Tama Monorail around Tachikawa



















Window view of a train from Tama

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Old September 11th, 2009, 04:01 PM   #382
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It's not nice to quote others's photos, specially these long series. It pollutes the thread with outdated information. The video alone would be quite better.

Last edited by Martini87; September 12th, 2009 at 01:31 AM.
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Old September 11th, 2009, 08:19 PM   #383
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^Actually, those aren't my pictures... They're Momo's.
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Old September 11th, 2009, 11:35 PM   #384
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Series 300 Shinkansen leaving Shin-Osaka station.


Tobu's local train en route to Kuki at Washinomiya station. Washinomiya Shrine is a must see place.


Toei streetcar at crossing near Kishibojin-mae.


Farecollecting device in Toei steetcar.


Tokyu's local train in soon to be demolished aboveground Shibuya terminal.
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"Humans have called those who can create and destroy the world at will as God."

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Old September 13th, 2009, 02:35 AM   #385
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Nice... If you have more, please post. Especially Toden.

It turns out I will actually have a chance to visit Tōkyō (and Japan) again soon, so I will also have more to post once I get back. I will try and hit up some of the construction projects if I have time.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 06:05 AM   #386
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Fare reduction funding structure for Hokusō Line approved
http://mytown.asahi.com/chiba/news.p...00000909050007

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On September 5, Chiba Prefecture, along with six cities and two villages along the Hokusō Line, discussed a proposed fare reduction for the Hokusō Line to coincide with the opening of the Narita New Rapid Railway next year. Under the plan, the prefecture and local jurisdictions would each fund ¥200 million annually for the reduced fares, with the prefectural government’s share increasing over the funding scheme originally proposed by the local governments.

According to the Chiba Prefecture Transport Planning Section, the prefectural government and local jurisdictions agreed to each provide ¥200 million for the fare reduction for a total of ¥400 million, while requesting an additional ¥400 million from Keisei Electric Railway from track usage fees and other revenue sources. The funding breakdown for each local government will be decided based on ridership and distance, with Inzai City contributing ¥90 million, Shiroi City contributing ¥46 million, and Matsudo City contributing ¥20 million. The fare reduction will last for five years, at which time renewal of the program will be evaluated.

With a finalized proposal, regular fares and commuter passes will drop by five percent or more. For student commuter passes, the 70 percent discount provided to students from Shiroi City, Inzai City, Motono Village, and Inba Village, will be expanded to students from Ichikawa City, Funabashi City, and Kamagaya City, who currently receive only 60 percent discounts.

Originally, the prefectural government offered Hokusō Line operator Hokusō Railway a plan that would convert the government’s interest-free loans to the company into shares in the railway to help boost the bottom line. But after local governments voiced objections, calling for straight funding, the prefectural government offered a new plan that proposed its share of the funding as ¥100 million. The local jurisdictions still opposed the proposal, forcing Chiba Governor Morita Kensaku to agree to an increased share of the funding.

The meeting on September 5 was behind closed doors, but according to the prefectural government, the local governments’ ¥200 million in “financial assistance” met with some objection from officials who wanted to press for obtaining shares in the railway. As a result the phrase “financial assistance” was removed, with the intention of having prefectural officials initially propose a conversion of loans to shares in Hokusō Railway. In the event that Keisei Electric Railway voices opposition to the proposal, the language would be revised back to “financial assistance.” Keisei Electric Railway is the parent company of Hokusō Railway and may object to losing stake in the company.

For Funabashi City, which contributes low ridership to the Hokusō Line, the prefectural government also said the various attendees had agreed to “request that the national government reduce the interest on loans to the Tōyō Rapid Railway,” which passes through Funabashi City.

The parties will now ask Keisei Electric Railway to contribute ¥400 million annually to the fare reduction, but it is uncertain whether the company will agree. “The agreement is a giant step. Of course, we still have to overcome the large hurdle in convincing Keisei,” said Governor Morita, expressing his hope that the national government also step in during the negotiation process.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 06:08 AM   #387
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Shizuoka Airport to see improved bus service September 12
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/region/chub...0225000-n1.htm

Quote:
Starting September 12, Shizutetsu Justline (HQ: Shizuoka City) and Enshū Railway (HQ: Hamamatsu City) agreed to increase airport bus service between Shizuoka Airport and JR Shizuoka, Shimada, and Kakegawa Stations. Bus service between the airport and Shizuoka Station will now increase to approximately every 30 minutes, while service to and from Shimada and Kakegawa Stations will increase to approximately every hour, increasing convenience for passengers.

Shizutetsu Justline’s airport bus service between Shizuoka Airport and JR Shizuoka Station currently operates eight to 11 trips daily, but after the changes, will operate 18 to 19 trips daily. The service between Shizuoka Airport and JR Shimada Station will increase from eight to nine trips daily to 15 trips daily. Enshū Railway’s service between the airport and JR Kakegawa Station will double from the current six to seven trips daily to 16 to 17 trips daily.

Bus services connecting Shizuoka Airport and the JR stations is currently limited, with the prefectural government and other officials receiving complaints when flights are delayed or rereouted to the airport. Improving bus service has been a critical issue in the strategy to increase usage of the airport.
Shizuoka Airport is primarily a local airport (with a handful of international flights to Shanghai and Seoul). It recently opened in June and serves the Shizuoka area.

Shizutetsu Justline is the bus operations company for the Shizuoka Railway (Shizutetsu). In terms of rail operations, Shizutetsu has one line, the Shizuoka – Shimizu Line. The line is a small local line and only operates with two-car trains, but the frequency is unusually high (12 tph during morning rush hours, 10 tph midday).

Cab view videos:

Part 1: Shin-Shizuoka to Furushō
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HASGFzyOJK4&fmt=18 Source: 109fan on YouTube

Part 2: Furushō to Mikadodai
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZPYSGEWIFc&fmt=18 Source: 109fan on YouTube

Part 3: Mikadodai to Shin-Shimizu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_eJ_6AF-64&fmt=18 Source: 109fan on YouTube
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Old September 14th, 2009, 06:10 AM   #388
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Construction begins on Higashi-Kishiwada Station grade separation
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/osa...OYT8T00072.htm

Quote:
At the grade crossing at Higashi-Kishiwada Station on the JR Hanwa Line, notorious for rarely opening, construction has begun on elevation of the tracks. Ōsaka Prefecture, Kishiwada City, and JR West will together fund the ¥27 billion project cost for the elevation of 1.5 km of the line, with completion in an estimated eight years.

Construction will begin by constructing temporary outbound tracks on the north side of the current tracks. Construction of the new elevated outbound tracks will then start, continuing through to five other phases of construction. Eight roadways which currently cross the tracks at grade will now cross underneath the elevated line.

The project represents the second railway elevation project for Kishiwada City, following the elevation of the Nankai Main Line near Kishiwada Station.
Higashi-Kishiwada Station is a major station on the JR Hanwa Line which connects Ōsaka and Wakayama City. The line also is the primary JR route to Kansai International Airport. Higashi-Kishiwada had 11,000 daily entries in 2007.

Cab view of Hanwa Line train (a Kansai Airport rapid service) from Izumi Fuchū to Higashi-Kishiwada:


Source: zenjiyaa on YouTube
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Old September 14th, 2009, 06:13 AM   #389
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MPD launches campaign against groping
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/to...902000104.html

Quote:
In a concerted effort to expose frequent groping inside trains and stations, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) is teaming up with JR and the private railways to launch the “STOP! Groping Campaign” from September 14 through 18. The effort is a first, and will feature police in riot gear stationed at Shinjuku and Ikebukuro Stations, both major terminals for JR and private railway lines. A specially-composed team of plain-clothes police officers will ride trains on lines with a high frequency of groping incidents and be on the lookout for an insidious crime that causes psychological stress for victims.

According to the MPD, there were 975 recorded cases of groping and voyeurism during the first half of this year (January to June). While the number of cases has dropped 8.5 percent compared to the same period last year, the number of walk-in victims seeking counseling from the railway police force was 54 cases, an increase of six over the same time last year. The crimes most frequently occurred on trains (72 percent) and inside stations (11 percent), together totaling over 80 percent of all incidents.

When separated by line, the highest number of incidents was recorded on the Saikyō Line (11 percent of all cases), where the distance between stops on rapid trains is comparatively long. In the first half of the year, 75 perpetrators were identified on the Saikyō Line, including one case where men who had met on Internet sites used an underhanded method of surrounding victims on all sides.

During the campaign, nine lines—the Saikyō Line, Yamanote Line, Chūō Line, Keihin-Tōhoku Line, Sōbu Line, Keiō Line, Odakyū Line, Keiō Inokashira Line and Tōzai Subway Line—will be designated as “high alert” lines, with uniformed officers stationed at platforms in main stations. The effort will also attempt to encourage cooperation among passengers at all stations during investigation of groping incidents.

In addition, a special groping victim counseling corner, along with other facilities, will be temporarily set up on the first day of the campaign (September 14) at both Shinjuku and Ikebukuro Stations.

“We want to make this campaign a turning point in society’s attitudes towards these crimes,” says MPD upper officials.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 06:16 AM   #390
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Ōsaka Municipal Subway records first ridership drop in four years
http://www.asahi.com/kansai/travel/n...909100009.html

Quote:
Average daily ridership on the Ōsaka Municipal Subway for 2008 was 2.355 million, approximately 26,000 less than the previous year and the first ridership decrease in four years. According to Ōsaka City, the drop is a result of the economic slump that began in autumn of last year, with ridership dropping on the subway’s three main lines—the Midōsuji, Chūō, and Yotsubashi Lines.

The ridership drop was made public in the 2008 financial reports released by the city on September 9. Daily ridership for the Midōsuji Line was 1.168 million, a decrease of 24,000 compared to the previous year and the largest drop among all nine lines in the network (including the New Tram). The Chūō Line followed, with daily ridership of 290,000 (a decrease of 3,800 compared to the previous year), while the Yotsubashi Line had daily ridership of 259,000 (a decrease of 1,900). With the exception of the New Tram, the remaining five lines recorded slight increase in ridership.

Fare revenues also decreased by ¥443 million. “As a result of the opening of the Hanshin Namba Line in March of this year, as well as the impacts of the swine flu scare, ridership for 2009 may be even lower than the 2008 numbers,” said anxious city officials.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 06:19 AM   #391
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Meitetsu opens ECT at Gifu Station
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/gif...OYT8T01037.htm

Quote:
On September 5, the new commercial facility “ECT” outside Nagoya Railroad (Meitetsu) Gifu Station held a pre-opening event before the official public opening on September 6, with shoppers coming to the new space in droves.

Meitetsu spent approximately ¥1 billion to construct ECT on the site of the former Shin-Gifu Department Store. The steel-frame, two-story structure has a total retail floor space of 3,634 sq m. A seventy-space parking lot is provided on the roof of the building. The first floor houses food market Pare Marche, while the second floor houses 18 stores including restaurants and clothing shops, with yearly expected sales totaling ¥3.5 billion.

ECT stands for “Eat, Enjoy,” “Connect," and “Train.” The second floor of the facility is directly connected to Meitetsu Gifu Station. On September 6, Pare Marche will award its first 1,000 customers with a special commemorative gift.

“It’s fantastic to have such a convenient supermarket. I’ll be coming every day,” says housewife Okada Natsuko (73yo) from Suminoechō, Gifu City.
Meitetsu Gifu Station (to distinguish it from JR Gifu Station, which is a short walk away) is served by the Meitetsu Nagoya Main Line and Kakamigahara Line. Daily entries are 18,000.

New station building constructed on the site of the former Shin-Gifu Department Store.

Source: Wikipedia

Renovated Central Entrance.

Source: Wikipedia

The station was also served by the Meitetsu Gifu City Line, which was a tram / streetcar line running through the city. Unfortunately, the line was eventually abandoned for various reasons in 2005.

Tram operations in 1991.

[i]Source: railtomo on YouTube[/]
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Old September 14th, 2009, 06:23 AM   #392
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Yumemino Station to open in March 2011
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/ib...202000116.html

Quote:
On September 11 inside the Shimo-Takai Special Land Readjustment Area in Nonoi, Toride City, a special ceremony was held to bless construction of the Kantō Railway Jōsō Line’s new Yumemino Station, scheduled to open in March 2011. The station will be the first new station on the line since the 1982 opening of Shin-Moriya Station.

The Urban Renaissance Agency began work on the development in March 1996 and will open the new town in 2011. As the gateway to the Yumemino New Town, with 1,970 homes and a planned population of 6,100 people, the new station will be constructed between the existing Shin-Toride and Inatoi Stations.

The station building will be connected by underground passage and stairways to a 90 m long, 6 m wide island platform capable of accommodating four-car trains. The one-story wooden structure will have 119 sq m of floor area and feature a staff room, waiting room, multi-function restroom, and elevator.

The station will be approximately eight minutes from the JR Jōban Line’s Toride Station and approximately nine minutes from the Tsukuba Express’s (TX) Moriya Station, connecting the station to central Tōkyō and points in between for commuters and students. Various officials attended the September 11 ceremony to bless the construction of the station.
Yumemino Station rendering

Source: Urban Renaissance Agency

The Jōsō Line is an unusual line as it’s essentially an unimproved local / rural line in Ibaraki Prefecture that has been subsumed into the Tōkyō area railway network. The line is not electrified and the majority of the line is single-track (although only on the “rural” portion north of Mitsukaidō). The line operates with two- to four-car DMU trains, but runs up to 10 tph during the peak. The line accepts PASMO as IC card payment. After the opening of the Tsukuba Express, however, ridership has dropped and ridership patterns have changed, as passengers now have an alternative connection to central Tōkyō instead of the Jōban Line.

Cab view (edited) of the double-track section of the line. The journey starts at Toride Station (Jōban Line) and continues north to Moriya (TX), which makes an appearance around 4:25, and beyond to Mitsukaidō. The car barn shows up around 6:50.

Source: jh1kss on YouTube
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Old September 14th, 2009, 06:29 AM   #393
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Ōsaka governor proposes Sakurajima Line extension to WTC
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/lo...1419003-n1.htm

Quote:
Ōsaka Prefecture Governor Hashimoto Tōru, who has been pressing for the relocation of the prefectural offices into the Ōsaka World Trade Center Building (WTC) in Suminoe Ward, Ōsaka City, proposed a plan on September 10 to extend the JR Sakurajima Line (Nishi-Kujō – Sakurajima, 4.1 km) an additional 4 km to tie it into the WTC. The estimated total cost for the project is approximately ¥100 billion. Governor Tōru calls the proposed extension a catalyst in overcoming transport access—a major obstacle to realizing the plan to relocate the prefectural offices—and plans to formally announce the proposed extension at a September 15 conference on urban planning for the WTC area attended by city officials and representatives from the private sector.

To realize the proposed extension will require cooperation from other parties including both Ōsaka City and JR, but the Prefectural Government says it has already tested the idea with city officials and will enter into formal discussions soon.

Because of the massive ¥100 billion expected pricetag, however, top prefectural officials admit that it’s still “uncertain” as to whether or not the extension will meet with approval from the various parties, but the prefectural government says it will consider contributing a share of the funding towards the project. After formally presenting the proposal, Governor Hashimoto will lobby the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) and other parties to get the project’s wheels rolling.

The plan would extend the Sakurajima Line approximately 4 km from JR Sakurajima Station (Konohana Ward, Ōsaka City) to Trade Center-mae Station on the Nankō Port Town Line (New Tram). Approximately 3 km of the route on either side of Ōsaka Bay would be undergrounded, connecting directly to WTC in the shortest distance feasible.

Currently, it takes at least 30 minutes to get from JR Ōsaka Station to the WTC by train, but if the extension is realized, travel times would drop to approximately 20 minutes, substantially improving rail transport access to the area. Governor Hashimoto hopes to emphasize the merits of the plan, which will reduce commute times for prefectural employees and encourage goods distribution to the waterfront area.

In March of this year, a proposal to relocate the prefectural offices failed to pass in the Prefectural Assembly, but the trustee working to get WTC back on its feet through the Corporate Rehabilitation Law confronted Governor Hashimoto with a proposition to purchase space in the building. Ōsaka City mayor Hiramatsu Kunio later formally requested that the prefectural offices relocate into the structure, and Governor Hashimoto says he plans on reintroducing the proposal at the September Prefectural Assembly Meeting on September 25.

The political factions in the Prefectural Assembly, however, still remain vigorously opposed to the relocation. Opponents also criticize the city’s lack of a specific vision for the area surrounding the WTC, and it is still unclear whether the prefectural government and city officials will be able to cooperate towards their goal.

On the other hand, members of Kansai’s financial world have generally placed their support behind the relocation as a means of revitalizing the area’s economy, but have yet to take specific action with regards to the plan.

Governor Hashimoto describes the September 15 conference as the focal point that will decide the future fate of the project. By introducing the Sakurajima Line extension, the governor hopes to move support behind the relocation of prefectural offices into the WTC.
The New Tram is an automated guideway system operated by the Ōsaka Municipal Bureau of Transportation (which also manages the Municipal Subway). It connects with the rest of the rail network at both ends—at Cosmo Square Station with the Chūō Subway Line and at Suminoe Kōen with the Yotsubashi Subway Line.


Source: Wikipedia

Cab view (1.5x normal speed). The WTC makes an appearance around 8:10.

Source: Shada026 on YouTube

The Sakurajima Line is the primary route to Universal Studios Japan, but the proposal would extend the line undearneath Ōsaka Bay (map of area).
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Old September 14th, 2009, 06:30 AM   #394
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Ōsaka mayor calls for evaluation of Sakurajima Line extension to WTC
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/lo...0022002-n1.htm

Quote:
With regards to the proposed extension of the JR Sakurajima Line devised by Governor Hashimoto Tōru, Ōsaka City mayor Hiramatsu Kunio announced at a September 10 regular press conference that city officials would evaluate whether the proposal is even feasible, hinting at a cautious take on the plan. The mayor went further to say that his revitalization strategy involves “combining the intelligence and knowhow of both public and private sectors while still keeping public investments to a minimum,” stressing that the city is not interested in large-scale funding of new development.

Governor Hashimoto plans to formally introduce the extension plan at the first meeting of a conference on urban planning for the WTC and waterfront area on September 15, to be attended by prefectural and city officials as well as private sector representatives. However, Mayor Hiramatsu stressed that the plan is “only one proposal to improve transport access to the area. It is not a prerequisite of moving the prefectural offices into the WTC.” He also noted that obtaining consensus towards realizing the project over such a short period of time would be difficult. With regards to the city’s vision for the area to be announced on September 15, the mayor only said that his team was putting the final touches on the proposal and that Governor Hashimoto’s proposed “special economic district” designation is part of the plan.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 06:31 AM   #395
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Ashikaga City mayor abandons Ryōmō Line grade crossing
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/to...802000048.html

Quote:
On September 7, Ashikaga City mayor Ōmamiuda Minoru announced he had given up on his campaign promise during mayoral elections in April to have a proposed grade-separated crossing (underpass) between the JR Ryōmō Line and the planned Kashima Bridge – Yamashita roadway changed to an at-grade crossing.

During a public enquiry session at the City Council, the mayor responded, “The October deadline for requesting project funding from the national government is fast approaching, and if we miss it, the prospects for the project are slim. Considering the whole picture, I decided to move forward with the original grade-separated plan.”

The plan proposes to construct a north-south arterial roadway that would travel below the JR Ryōmō Line in an underpass on the west side of Yamamae Station, and received approval from the Tochigi Prefectural Government in 1999. Construction would begin in 2011, with scheduled completion in 2016, but Mayor Ōmamiuda has criticized the lengthy construction schedule and the ¥2.5 billion pricetag, as well as the poor access with the nearby east-west Prefectural Route (a former National Route). He has championed modifying the plan to an at-grade crossing as a fast, cheap, and useful alternative.

JR East expressed objection to an at-grade crossing, however, citing difficulties in installing new crossing arms or relocating existing arms, as well as safety issues due to intersections that would be too close to the crossing. Changes to the plan could result in the loss of funding for the project from the national government, leading the mayor to drop the at-grade alternative.
The Ryōmō Line is a mainly suburban line in Gunma and Tochigi Prefectures. On the western end, it serves Maebashi City and Takasaki City in Gunma Prefecture, with some trains running through-service onto the Takasaki Line to Saitama and Ueno, as well as the Shōnan-Shinjuku Line to Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Yokohama, Kamakura, as far as Odawara. On the eastern end, it connects with the Utsunomiya Line and Mito Line.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 06:36 AM   #396
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Ekinaka opens inside Yamato Saidaiji Station
http://mytown.asahi.com/nara/news.ph...00000909120002

Quote:
On September 11, shopping mall Time’s Plaza Saidaiji opened to the public inside Kintetsu’s Yamato Saidaiji Station in Nara City. The mall features a total of 26 ekinaka shops, including confectionery shops, a supermarket, and a drugstore, all located within the paid area of the station. Before the scheduled opening time, approximately 200 visitors lined up outside the mall, lending an increased vibrancy to the station.

The mall is composed of approximately 1,800 sq m of space, which more than doubles the size of the original station concourse area, and is designed to maximize openness, with a motif of red and white.

Tenants include Nara Prefecture’s first branch of gourmet supermarket Seijō Ishii, as well as shops selling sweets, prepared foods, and souvenirs from Nara. Confectionary shop Chef Nakagiri, which offered an array of special “donut puffs” to commemorate the opening, was swarmed by guests, while at Ban-Inoue, customers perused the selection of goods made from hemp.

The mall also includes a viewing deck that allows visitors to see trains from above, popular among visitors with small children. Yamazaki Ayumi (44yo), a housewife from Shijō Ōji 1-chōme, Nara City who came with friends, said, “Normally, I don’t use the trains much, but I might just come here to do my shopping anyways.”

Mall customers can enter the station for free for half-a-year after the opening by notifying station staff at the faregates, but will be charged ¥150 if they do not make a purchase. The station sees approximately 115,000 users a day, and the mall’s goal is ¥2.4 billion in sales annually. “We want to make our passengers think, ‘Maybe I should just take the next train,’” said Chief Tomonaga Hideki of Kintetsu’s Distribution Operations Department.




The viewing deck allows visitors to see trains from directly above.
Yamato Saidaiji is a major station in the Kintetsu network, served by the Nara Line, Kyōto Line, and Kashihara Line.

A look at the some of the operations at Yamato Saidaiji. The junction is quite complex.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga3gb4qKfDQ&hd=1 Source: tsukikage1632 on YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2vySZaaWYs&hd=1 Source: tsukikage1632 on YouTube
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Old September 14th, 2009, 06:36 AM   #397
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Kintetsu Nara Line offers incredible views
http://www.asahi.com/kansai/travel/e...909050033.html

Quote:
The nighttime view of Ōsaka’s skyline from the train window took my breath away. White, red, yellow… It was like looking down at a night sky full of stars. A man who appeared to be on his way home from work turned his head up to look outside the window.

Approximately 20 minutes on a rapid express from Ōsaka Namba. A fantastic nighttime viewpoint of Ōsaka is just nearby Ishikiri Station (Higashi-Ōsaka City, Ōsaka Prefecture), located on the incline up through Mt. Ikoma (642 m altitude). The tracks follow a steep grade, with the vertical difference between the lead first car and end tenth car reaching 7 meters. Sakamoto Jun’ichi, General Manager of Hotel Seiryū located along the line, says, “I feel like I get to see Christmas lights every day.”

After passing Ishikiri Station, the train heads for the darkness of the Shin-Ikoma Tunnel. This tunnel has been the cornerstone of the Kintetsu’s moneymaker, the Nara Line. The JR lines skirt to the north and south of Mt. Ikoma, but the Kintetsu Nara Line connects Ōsaka and Nara in a straight line, tunneling through the mountain half-way up. Out of Kintetsu’s 294 stations, the section between Ōsaka Namba and Kintetsu Nara holds nine of the top 15 spots for stations with the highest ridership.

This is actually the second tunnel through the mountain—the first opened in 1914. The man who decided to construct the tunnel was Iwashita Kiyochika (1857-1928), one of the founders of Ōsaka Electric Railway, the predecessor of Kintetsu. The total construction cost was estimated at twice the company’s capital at the time, but Iwashita convinced others of the merits of the project thusly: “Sometimes, you just need to put money and everything else on the line to finish a project.”

The tunnel, a huge risk for the company, paid dividends later in the future development of Kintetsu. But for Iwashita, the tunnel was a path to unforeseen troubles.

=====================

Ōsaka Electric Railway (Daiki) was established in autumn 1910 to connect Ōsaka and Nara. At the end of that year, the company received approval from the national government to construct not a tunnel through the mountain, but a route that swept north to avoid it. But company director and Kitahama Bank chief Iwashita reversed the route.

The bypass route would have taken approximately one-and-a-half hours, but the tunnel route only took one hour. “Regardless of how expensive the construction cost was, Iwashita believed that speed was the critical factor for future railways”—so it is written in a partial biography of Iwashita by author Kaibara Taku.

Iwashita was born in Nagano Prefecture. He moved to the Kansai area to become chief manager of Mitsui Bank’s Ōsaka branch office before striking on his own and establishing the Kitahama Bank in Ōsaka. He lent money based solely on people’s character and cared little for actually making profit. Among his clients were the likes of Toyota Sakichi, who built the foundation of the Toyota Group, and Morinaga Taiichirō, the founder of Morinaga Seika. He even sent one of his subordinates from his days at Mitsui Bank to serve as executive director for the Minoo – Arima Electric Railway (now Hankyū Hanshin Holdings). The man was Kobayashi Ichizō, who would become the founder of Hankyū Railway.

=====================

The first-generation Ikoma Tunnel was 3,338 m long and was the longest double-track, wide-gauge tunnel in Japan at the time. Last autumn, Kyōto University professor and geologist Takemura Keiji (57yo) entered the tunnel. Weak soils and hardy rock layers mixed together in complex formations. “There’s no way of knowing how much the earth will give until actually trying to dig. Constructing the tunnel must have been incredibly difficult.”

In 1913 during the second year of construction, a cave-in occurred. The tragedy buried 153 workers in earth and left 19 dead. The following April, the tunnel finally opened, but not before substantially surpassing the initial cost estimate. The company had difficulties in assembling enough money to pay for the project, and was forced to pay employees’ wages by borrowing out of monetary offerings at Hōzanji Temple (Ikoma City, Nara Prefecture).

“The bag carrying the offerings was fastened onto a pole and carried in by shoulder.” So recounts Sakagami Kiyoshi (73), who runs a confectionary shop near Ikoma Station. The story was told to him by his grandfather, who worked as an engineer on the tunnel.

The difficulties in securing money to pay off the project drove Iwashita, then-president of Daiki, into a corner. He was blamed for misappropriating funds raised to construct a “reckless tunnel” and diverting the money to Kitahama Bank, leading to a bank run. As the bank’s chief, Iwashita was later indicted for breach of trust and received a sentence of three years in prison.

=====================

Ridership on the Nara Line skyrocketed as the area around Ikoma Station and other sections of the line developed as residential neighborhoods. With the transition to larger rolling stock in 1964, the New Ikoma Tunnel was constructed through the mountain. In 1980, 10-car trains were introduced, the first among Kansai’s private railways to do so.

With regards to Iwashita’s legacy, Kansai Academy professor Miyamata Matao, an expert on the economic development of Ōsaka, says, “It was because of him that major Ōsaka corporations such as Kintetsu, Hankyū, and Ōbayashi Corporation were able to establish themselves and Ōsaka’s economy was able to grow.”

According to The Life of Iwashita Kiyochika, written by acquaintances and entrepreneurs, there was a story where volunteers attempted to place a bronze statue of Iwashita on the summit of Mt. Ikoma. Iwashita, who lived a reclusive life, refused.

For the railfans
With the March opening of the Hanshin Namba Line (Amagasaki – Ōsaka Namba) with through-service trains from both Kintetsu and Hanshin, Hanshin 1000 series and 9000 series trains now run on the Kintetsu Nara Line. Hanshin’s trains, which normally run on flat land, were outfitted with holding brakes normally used in automobiles in order to be able to safely proceed down Mt. Ikoma’s steep grades.

Mt. Ikoma features a 33 permil grade that continues for approximately 3 km. “If you don’t properly make use of the holding brake, you can’t smoothly operate the train,” says Kintetsu’s Transport Section Chief Examiner Kataoka Nobuhiro (48yo), who trains train drivers. The holding brake is set to three different speeds—72 kph, 60 kph, or 53 kph—and the train’s speed is kept uniform by switching between the settings, keeping in mind the length of the train, the number of passengers, and the weather conditions. Kintetsu and Hanshin train crews switch at Sakuragawa Station (Naniwa Ward, Ōsaka) on the Hanshin Namba Line, with crews from each company holding down runs on each of their respective sections.


The Shin-Ikoma Tunnel, which spans the border between Ōsaka and Nara Prefectures. Trains connecting the streets of Naniwa with the ancient capital Nara pass by each other.


The view of Ōsaka from Ishikiri Station.


Coming from Nara and passing through the tunnel, just beyond Ishikiri Station, the lights of the city outside the train window shine like jewels.
Western portal of the New Ikoma Tunnel, from Ishikiri Station.

Source: kirarin2007 on YouTube

Ikoma Station and the eastern portal of the New Ikoma Tunnel during rare snowfall. The near side tracks are for the Kintetsu Keihanna Line (through-service with the Chūō Subway Line), which actually has its own separate Ikoma Tunnel. The farside tracks are for the Kintetsu Nara Line.

Source: okakyu1980 on YouTube

Last edited by quashlo; September 14th, 2009 at 06:45 AM.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 06:48 AM   #398
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TJ Liner goes ticketless using QR codes
http://www.tobu.co.jp/file/2132/090903-2.pdf

Quote:
Starting Tuesday, September 15, Tōbu Railway (HQ: Sumida Ward, Tōkyō) will launch a Tōjō Line TJ Liner ticketless service. In addition, the existing confirmation method for seat reservation tickets will also change, and a new confirmation system for seat reservation tickets using QR codes will be introduced. Tickets will be confirmed using special barcode scanners.

The ticketless service was first introduced last November on Nikkō Line Spacia limited expresses, Isesaki Line Ryōmō limited expresses, and other trains. After receiving compliments on the service, Tōbu Railway will expand the service by introducing it on Tōjō Line TJ Liner trains. Passengers will be now be able to purchase reservation tickets from anywhere using their mobile phones, eliminating the hassle of having to purchase the reservation tickets from ticket machines. Passengers can then board their TJ Liner train without tickets.

The QR code-based reservation ticket confirmation system will be introduced in conjunction with the ticketless service, marking the first time in the railway industry that such a confirmation system has been introduced as part of ticketless service. Currently, railway staff check passengers’ reservation tickets before boarding. With the introduction of ticketless service, passengers can now touch their mobile phone screen (showing the QR code) or a seat reservation ticket purchased from the ticket machine (with a printed QR code) next to the barcode scanner located at the entry point, allowing for smooth boarding.
The seat reservation ticket for TJ Liner trains is a special ticket that is in addition to the distance-based fare required for any train. The ticket does not guarantee you a specific seat, only a seat in either the first five or last five cars of the train.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 06:51 AM   #399
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Competition for access to Narita Airport about to heat up
http://www.business-i.jp/news/ind-pa...909090021a.nwc

Quote:
In preparation for the spring 2010 increase in air traffic at Narita, railway companies are strengthening their airport access routes. Starting next month, JR East will introduce new rolling stock to the Narita Express—the first new trains in 18 years for the service—while starting next year, Keisei Electric Railway will introduce its latest Skyliner trains—the first new trains in twenty years for the Skyliner—and reduce travel times to and from the airport substantially. In addition, Mori Building will launch a helicopter service linking central Tōkyō and Narita Airport in 30 minutes. With speed and comfort as weapons, the battle for airport access is about to get more heated.

“We decided to introduce new rolling stock to compete against Keisei. We want to win with comfort and convenience”—that’s what JR East Board Member and Railway Operations Department Chief Haraguchi Tsukasa pronounced confidently during a press-only trial run of the new E259 series trains on September 8.

The interior of the trains are designed with a focus on increasing passenger convenience.

Power outlets are provided to all 290 seats on the train, and with the introduction of the broadband wireless service WiMAX, passengers can now access the Internet from anywhere on the train.

In addition, the train announcements and information displays are designed to handle a total of four languages—Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean. Dial locks and security cameras are provided in luggage storage areas near the entrances, the first time either service has been offered on JR East’s trains.

The maximum speed remains 130 kph and the travel time from Tōkyō Station remains 53 minutes. While travel times, the most critical passenger service issue, can’t be reduced, JR East hopes to capture the hearts of passengers by increasing the added value in its Narita Express service.

On the other side, Keisei Electric Railway will introduce its new AE series Skyliner trains to correspond with the opening of a new airport access route via the Hokusō Line. The functionality of equipment including motors and brakes has been improved, and the trains will operate at 160 kph, the fastest non-Shinkansen trains in Japan. The distance to the airport is also approximately 5 km shorter than the current route via the Keisei Main Line. As a result, the travel time between Nippori and Narita Airport Terminal 2 will be reduced by 15 minutes to 36 minutes.

According to Keisei, it plans to compete with the Narita Express and airport express buses through reducing travel times.

The latest mode of access to the airport stealing the attention is a helicopter service being launched by Mori Building on September 16. From Ark Hills (Akasaka, Tōkyō) to Narita Airport, the journey by helicopter and car hire is a mere 30 minutes. While the trip isn’t cheap at ¥50,000 one way, Mori Building aims to satisfy the needs of business executives who wish to “buy time with money.”

The increase in air traffic at Narita is set to kick in starting the end of March next year. With an additional 50 or more flights daily, an increase is expected in foreign visitors to Japan as well as Japanese tourists going and returning from abroad.

The various transport companies are each looking at the increased flights as a big opportunity and are focusing their efforts against the competition on increasing speed and improving passenger comfort.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 06:52 AM   #400
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More pictures of E259 series
http://rail.hobidas.com/blog/natori/...post_1091.html

Green car interior

Source: rail.hobidas.com/blog/natori/

Green car features leather seats

Source: rail.hobidas.com/blog/natori/

Lever to switch the direction of the seat

Source: rail.hobidas.com/blog/natori/

Testing out the WiMAX wireless LAN service, with tray open.

Source: rail.hobidas.com/blog/natori/

Line diagram on LCDs.

Source: rail.hobidas.com/blog/natori/

I generally stay away from the N’EX because it is so expensive compared to the Skyliner, but seeing all the images and reading all the press about it, I will definitely be trying it out on my upcoming trip (schedule permitting, of course).
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