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Old September 14th, 2009, 06:55 AM   #401
quashlo
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JR East commemorates 100th anniversary of Yamanote Line’s naming
http://www.asahi.com/national/update...909070047.html

Quote:
In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the naming of the Yamanote Line, JR East began operating a special wrap train modeled after the livery of the national railways at the time. One train features the special wrapping, which will run until December 4 on the Yamanote Line loop through Central Tōkyō.

According to JR East, the Railway Bureau at the time (the predecessor of today’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism) named the Shinagawa Line (Shinagawa – Shinjuku – Akabane), Toshima Line (Ikebukuro – Tabata), and other lines as the “Yamanote Line” on October 12, 1909. In December of that year, the line was electrified. After the elevation of the Ueno – Akihabara – Tōkyō section in 1925, loop service began. The alternative pronunciation as “Yamate Line” lasted until March 1971, when the official name was consolidated as “Yamanote Line.”

The image of the Yamanote Line is lime green, but dedicated trains for the Yamanote Line in lime-green livery only arrived in 1963. For more than half a century after it was established, the Yamanote Line used a dark brown livery known as “Grape No. 2.” JR East’s special wrap train is a revival of this color scheme, and replicates the livery from the 60s.

As a result of increased ridership and technological innovations, the number of trains operated on the line is more than three times what it was 100 years ago. JR East says it hopes passengers will enjoy “stepping back in time for a bit.” JR East will notify the general public of the special train through posters and announcements in an effort to avoid confusion.
As part of the anniversary, JR East also produced a special advertisement for the Yamanote Line for display on the train channel.

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

I haven’t found a video of the actual in-train ad, but some screencaps are here:
http://rail.hobidas.com/blog/natori/...post_1090.html

The special wrap train. The effort is sponsored by Meiji Seika, a confectionary company, so their name covers the exterior of the train and all the ads inside the train have been switched out with ads for Meiji.
image hosted on flickr

Source: [b]takuhitosotome on Flickr[/i]

image hosted on flickr

Source: [b]takuhitosotome on Flickr[/i]

Wrap train at Ōsaki Station:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3b6isuuLpi0 Source: saychan71 on YouTube
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Old September 14th, 2009, 06:56 AM   #402
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Kashiwa Station East Exit pedestrian deck to be renovated
http://mytown.asahi.com/chiba/news.p...00000909100003

Quote:
Kashiwa City will completely renovate the Kashiwa Station East Exit pedestrian deck (i.e., the “double deck”). The deck was constructed in 1973 and has become a symbol of Kashiwa’s vibrancy, but the structure is beginning to show age and has drawn concern due to insufficient seismic design, deteriorating pavement, and water leaks. The renovation will start October 1 and is scheduled to finish December 3.

The renewal will lighten the weight of the deck, increasing its resistance to earthquake damage. The pavement will consist of granite and the drainage system will be redone. Existing slope will be removed, helping to improve accessibility for all users.

The concrete guardrails will be replaced with toughened glass to help create a more open atmosphere.

In addition, a 40 m long, 5 m wide canopy will be constructed from the station to nearby commercial buildings, and a new escalator will be installed at one location. Three openings in the current deck will be filled, increasing the floor area by 100 sq m over the current design to 5,600 sq m.

With the renovation of the deck, the first floor section will also be improved. The flower beds nicknamed “Jack and the Beanstalk” will be removed to make way for special event space.

The total project cost is ¥1.33 billion. As the deck will still be open to the public during construction, the work will be performed in stages.
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Old September 14th, 2009, 07:11 AM   #403
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Tōkyō: Part 11

Our next stop is Kita-Senju Station, a major transfer hub in Adachi Ward, Tōkyō. The JR Jōban Line, Tōbu Isesaki Line, Metropolitan Intercity Railway Tsukuba Express, and the Tōkyō Metro Hibiya Line and Chiyoda Line all serve this station. With five lines and four different operators, the station itself is large, with portions underground, at-grade, and elevated.

This is inside the Tōbu section of the station, which has platforms on the first and third levels. The first-level platforms are two island platforms (four tracks) for the Isesaki “Main” Line (to / from Asakusa) and through-services to / from the Tōkyō Metro Hanzōmon Line. This is the third level, which has two island platforms (three tracks) to serve the Hibiya Line and through-service trains to / from the Isesaki Line local tracks. This is the official “dividing line” between the Isesaki Line and the Hibiya Line. Here, a Tōbu train on a Hibiya Line through-service waits at Platform 7, bound for Naka-Meguro.

image hosted on flickr


Looking behind us, we get a better view of the whole platform. Platforms 6 and 7 are for Hibiya Line trains, but Platform 6 is primarily used for trains which switchback and don’t run through-service onto the Isesaki Line. The through-service trains from the Isesaki Line instead use Platform 7. Here, passengers line up for the next train, which is scheduled to depart from Platform 6. The platforms are built wider than typical platforms to allow for sufficient queuing space and adequate passenger flow.

image hosted on flickr


Looking down Platform 6. Just to the left, sectioned off by a barrier, is Platform 5, for outbound Isesaki Line local trains and Hibiya Line trains that end here. Beyond that is the Tsukuba Express section of the station, and beyond that the JR section.

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Looking southwest from the edge of the platform. These are officially Hibiya Line tracks. Just to the right is the elevated structure for the Tsukuba Express.

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The queues have grown…

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A Hibiya Line train pulls into the station from one of the two storage tracks on the northeast end of the station. A Tōkyū 1000 series unit, the train is bound for Musashi Kosugi on the Tōkyū Tōyoko Line. Hibiya Line trains also run through-service with the Tōyoko Line at Naka-Meguro Station. However, Tōbu trains don’t go onto the Tōyoko Line and Tōkyū trains don’t go onto the Isesaki Line.

image hosted on flickr


The cleaning staff steps off the train as the passengers board.

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Last call.
In the past, the barrier used to be on this side of the center track, and trains from the Hibiya Line that ended at this station would arrive on this track to discharge passengers. This was later switched so that these trains discharge at Platform 5, and then enter the storage tracks before switching back to reenter the station in the opposite direction on Platform 6.

image hosted on flickr


I boarded a Chiyoda Line train to get to Meiji Jingū-mae Station, which is just a short walk away from Harajuku Station. Although the two aren’t physically connected and passengers must walk aboveground to travel between the two, this is advertised as a transfer. This is from the counterclockwise Yamanote Line platform at Harajuku. The two tracks to the side are the Yamanote Cargo Line, which is primarily used for Saikyō and Shōnan-Shinjuku Line trains (which skip this station), as well as some limited express and other special trains. A few cargo trains do occasionally use the tracks as well.

image hosted on flickr


In addition to the island platform we’re standing on, there is a special auxiliary Platform 3 (not visible in the picture) only used during the New Year’s to help divert passenger traffic. Harajuku Station sees 75,000 entries on a regular day, but ridership at the station increases during the New Year’s as people come to visit Meiji Shrine. Just north (further into the picture, but not visible here) is another special platform off of the Yamanote Cargo Line specifically for the use of the royal family. Nowadays, however, it is almost never used.

image hosted on flickr


We get off at Gotanda a few stops down. The pedestrian bridges outside the station offer good views of the action. Here, a counterclockwise Yamanote Line train bound for Shinagawa and Tōkyō pulls into the station.

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Six-door car.

image hosted on flickr


There was some construction work going on immediately next to the station, but at the time I didn’t get a chance to check out what it was. They’re apparently doing some major renovation of this station, including construction of an elevator to the platform level.

image hosted on flickr


A view of the cordoned off construction area, as well as the bus area, taxi zone, and plaza outside the station. In addition to the Yamanote Line, Gotanda is also served by the Tōkyū Ikegami Line and Toei Subway Asakusa Line.

image hosted on flickr


Our next goal, Tōkyū Gotanda Station. This station building, Remy Gotanda, is designed such that passengers can travel through the retail space to reach the Ikegami Line platforms on the fourth floor.

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The main entrance / exit to the station.

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The special transfer gates with the Yamanote Line, which lead directly to the Yamanote Line platforms. This set of faregates is actually substantially larger than the set at the main entrance due to all the transferring passengers. The signs encourage passengers not to rush when transferring.

image hosted on flickr


The station is actually above the Yamanote Line tracks. This is facing southeast towards Shinagawa.

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A Yamanote Line train for Shibuya and Shinjuku approaches the station.

image hosted on flickr


Stopped at the station.
A construction area on the west side of the station is also cordoned off.

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On the Ikegami Line platforms. The Ikegami Line is unusual in that it has remained relatively untouched through the years. Compared to Tōkyū’s main lines (Tōyoko Line, Den’en Toshi Line, and Meguro Line), the Ikegami Line operates much shorter trains (3 cars, 18 m each). The distance between stations is short (less than 1 km), and there is no limited-stop service provided. However, service is frequent, with a train every 2-3 minutes during the morning peak. Here, trains have arrived on both platforms and disembarking passengers make their way to the exit at the other end.

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The train on Platform 2 departs, bound for Kamata about 11 km away.

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The Tōkyū 7700 series on Platform 1 is next up to depart, so we get on board.

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About 20 minutes later, we arrive at Tōkyū Kamata Station in Ōta Ward, Tōkyō. Here, our Ikegami Line train waits at Platform 1.

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The 1000 series train ahead of us departs, headed back to Gotanda.

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A Tōkyū 7600 series train on the Tamagawa Line, in so-called “kabuki” livery, waits at the station before departure towards Tamagawa Station.

image hosted on flickr


Kamata Station is also served by the JR Keihin-Tōhoku Line. This is the central entrance.

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The station consists of two island platforms with three tracks, with the center track serving switchbacks or runs coming to / from the car yard. This is Platform 1 for Yokohama and the Negishi Line. Just off to the side are the tracks for the Tōkaidō Line. Kamata is the seat of Ōta Ward, which houses its offices in the large building to the left.

image hosted on flickr


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After a handful of stops on the way, we arrive at Yokohama Station. Keikyū, a private railway, competes with JR for traffic on this section between Yokohama and Tōkyō, in some cases running directly next to JR trains. At left are the Keikyū tracks leaving Yokohama towards the southwest. To the right are the Negishi Line (Keihin-Tōhoku Line) tracks. The platforms are numbered such that JR is given Platforms 3 through 10, and Keikyū is given Platforms 1 and 2.

image hosted on flickr


A look at the rest of JR’s platforms at Yokohama. The closest island platform is for the Tōkaidō Line, here looking west towards Ōfuna, Fujisawa, and Odawara. Just behind that is the island platform for the Yokosuka Line and Shōnan-Shinjuku Line. Construction work is continuing on various parts of Yokohama Station. JR is currently doubling the width of the Yokosuka Line platforms to take over space originally occupied by the Tōkyū Tōyoko Line. After the construction of the Minato Mirai Line, the Tōyoko Line was moved underground, so the extra space will be used to widen the Yokosuka Line platforms, which are severely congested and dangerous.

image hosted on flickr


New section of track, where the ballast here has been replaced with concrete slab. You can also see some of the work going on underneath the platform.

image hosted on flickr


The interior of the station is also in “construction mode.”

image hosted on flickr


To be continued…
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Old September 15th, 2009, 09:46 PM   #404
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JR Yamanote's 6-door cars are very cool. The next highest door density that I know would be HK and several other Chinese cities, with 5 doors per side per car, but those are on every car and in HK are like this on trains up to 12 cars in length.
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Old September 16th, 2009, 08:49 AM   #405
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I just have to say that i love your post qashlo!

For me, the network is so impressive and amazing.

Thanks for posting
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Old September 16th, 2009, 09:48 PM   #406
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Toei Steercar arriving to Minowabashi terminal.


Minowabashi has different platforms for embarking & disembarking passengers.
Here is the departure platform.


Older/Restored(?) streetcar spotted.


View from the streetcar.


Enoden (Enoshima Electric Railway) train/tram at Fujisawa station.
If you ever visit Japan, ride the enoden. Its really worth it.
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Old September 19th, 2009, 05:53 AM   #407
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
image hosted on flickr


There was some construction work going on immediately next to the station, but at the time I didn’t get a chance to check out what it was. They’re apparently doing some major renovation of this station, including construction of an elevator to the platform level.
That's exactly what it is. They've been working on the site for quite some time now.

Quote:
The main entrance / exit to the station.

image hosted on flickr


The special transfer gates with the Yamanote Line, which lead directly to the Yamanote Line platforms. This set of faregates is actually substantially larger than the set at the main entrance due to all the transferring passengers. The signs encourage passengers not to rush when transferring.

image hosted on flickr


The station is actually above the Yamanote Line tracks. This is facing southeast towards Shinagawa.

image hosted on flickr
Tokyu Gotanda is my line Didn't you manage to spot any 7000 series?
Ikegami line has some interesting stations. One of them is Ontakesan which is directly above the Tokaido shinkansen/Yokosuka line tracks, so you can see the bullet ladies speeding below your feet as you wait for your train.
Transferring at Hatanodai feels like time-traveling, as Ikegami like platforms look untouched for the last 40 or 50 years, while Oimachi's are brand new (fully renovated last year)
Finally, the stretch between Gotanda and Osaki-hirokoji is a serious candidate for the shortest distance between stations in Tokyo: a mere 150 meters.
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Old September 19th, 2009, 07:08 AM   #408
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vapour View Post
That's exactly what it is. They've been working on the site for quite some time now.
I see... Thanks for confirming. Unfortunately, these small projects get lost in the array of big projects, so it's hard to keep tabs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vapour View Post
Tokyu Gotanda is my line Didn't you manage to spot any 7000 series?
Ah, I didn't know... I knew you lived along the Tōkyū Line, but I figured it was Den'en Toshi or Tōyoko. Makes me curious to know what lines the other forumers live on...
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Old September 19th, 2009, 04:28 PM   #409
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Quashlo, could you try to translate this?

http://www.kobe-np.co.jp/news/keizai/0002353108.shtml

This news is about new JR West EMU 225 series for Keihanshin area....other than that, i can't understand the article
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Old September 19th, 2009, 05:38 PM   #410
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vapour View Post
Ikegami line has some interesting stations. One of them is Ontakesan which is directly above the Tokaido shinkansen/Yokosuka line tracks, so you can see the bullet ladies speeding below your feet as you wait for your train.
I used to live in Ontakesan...very good place to watch trains, not to mention a decent place live as well. And I agree, Ikegami line is very unique. But it's a pain to ride during the morning rush. I used to have to transfer at Hatanodai, which had a lot of work going on at the time (3 yrs ago); it was tough trying to manage through all those people...
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Old September 19th, 2009, 08:38 PM   #411
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JR West to introduce new 225 series DC trains
http://rail.hobidas.com/news/info/article/106471.html

Quote:
The new 225 series will feature a strengthened cab design with a crushable zone, allowing the energy from collisions to be concentrated and absorbed above and below. The collision-absorbing design largely cuts in half the acceleration or deceleration experienced by passengers during a collision and is part of the railway’s new safety strategy.

For the train interior, standee rings will be increased 50 percent above existing train designs and changed to an orange color, increasing their visibility during a moment’s notice. The size of the rings will also be increased to make them easier to grasp for passengers.

Handrails will also be redesigned, with sharp corners changed to curved and blunt designs that prevent injury. The radii of curved sections will also be increased to make the handrails easier to grasp.

The interior of the train will also feature improved accessibility as part of a “barrier-free” design. The shape of the restrooms will be redesigned, with the door widened and floor area increased. For priority seating areas, standee straps will be colored green to increase awareness and visibility among regular passengers. The edges of the train doors and train area will also feature colored yellow strips and door indicator lights to make them more visible to passengers. Overhead baggage racks will also be designed for a lower height than existing rolling stock.

In an effort to improve passenger service, passenger information displays using LCDs similar to existing installations on 321 series trains will also be installed in the new trains.

The first new trains will be completed by May 2010, with a total of approximately 200 cars to be built. The trains will primarily be used on shin-kaisoku “special rapid” service trains. The total cost of the new rolling stock is approximately ¥30 billion.
Click the source link for renderings.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 09:46 AM   #412
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Conference on fate of Meitetsu Hiromi Line
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/gif...OYT8T01100.htm

Quote:
In regards to the fate of the section of the Meitetsu Hiromi Line between Shin-Kani and Mitake, leaders from the local jurisdictions of Kani City, Mitakechō, and Yaotsuchō, and Meitetsu Vice-President and Railway Operations Department President Andō Kazufumi gathered for a conference at Mitakechō Town Hall on September 16. Kani City and Mitakechō agreed to provide annual financial assistance of ¥100 million out of the total annual expected shortfall of approximately ¥200 million. The funding would come into effect starting next year and continue for three years.

Based on the proportion of users from both jurisdictions, Kani City will provide ¥30 million, while Mitakechō will provide ¥70 million. In addition to the Kani City Council and Mitakechō Town Council, the plan has already been approved by the Hiromi Line Working Group composed of representatives from the three towns and villages affected, as well as representatives from schools and neighborhood councils.

In addition to a subsidization plan to help operator Meitetsu, the conference also agreed to establish a goal of increasing annual ridership on the line from last year’s 1.070 million to 1.111 million in three years (by 2012). The representatives agreed to work with Meitetsu to consider ways of increasing patronage of the line.

At a press conference, Mitakechō Town Chief Watanabe Kimio said, “The ridership goal means another 100 passengers a day, but it isn’t impossible. In order to get commuters working at industrial parks to switch modes to trains, we plan on running a bus starting this fall connecting Mitake Station and the industrial parks.” With regards to the strategy after 2012, Meitetsu Vice-President Andō cautioned, “Even if we meet the ridership goal, it only means an increase in revenue of ¥6 million, and is by no means a solution to the line’s annual deficit of ¥200 million. After three years, we will need to discuss the issues with the local jurisdictions.”
The Hiromi Line is a branch line of the Meitetsu Inuyama Line, which is split in half at Shin-Kani Station. Service west of Shin-Kani is more frequent and is better connected to Nagoya and the rest of the Meitetsu network. Service east of Shin-Kani to Mitake (for Mitakechō) is less frequent and only single-track. All passengers looking to get from one half of the line to the other must transfer at Shin-Kani.

Cab view of Hiromi Line:
Source: railtomo on YouTube
Part 1 (Inuyama – Shin-Kani): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VltsEitMj4A
Part 2 (Shin-Kani – Mitake): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvBS-ZvVh6g
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 09:47 AM   #413
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Events attempt to increase ridership on Meitetsu Gamagōri Line
http://chubu.yomiuri.co.jp/news_kan/kan090920_2.htm

Quote:
On September 19, the Tomobiki Market selling local goods from Hazuchō, Aichi Prefecture was held on temple grounds and sake cellars near Nishi-Hazu Station on the Meitetsu Gamagōri Line. The market was busy with visitors throughout the day. The market is sponsored by Hazuchō non-profit organization Hazu-Mikawa Bay Net, and is an attempt to encourage use of the Gamagōri Line and prevent the line from being abandoned.

The first stage was held at Yūshōji Temple, which featured miso cakes, Japanese sweets, pottery, and other goods. Many residents and visitors perused the stalls. A group of young women and children from Gamagōri City and Hazuchō also performed yosakoi festival dancing. The second stage of the market was held at the sake cellar of distillery Sonnō, which was opened to the public. Visitors sampled four varieties of sake, and events included a sweet sake meet-and-greet and a guess-the-sake competition.

The Gamagōri Line has been operating at a deficit as a result of a decrease in ridership, with representatives from Meitetsu asking local jurisdictions to do their part in encouraging people to use the line. Hazu-Mikawa Bay Net and officials are planning an additional Kira-Hazu Beachwalking event for October 11, where visitors will use the Gamagōri Line and do walks around the shoreline of Mikawa Bay.
The 17.6 km Gamagōri Line is entirely single-track, with the section near Gamagōri Station elevated.

Gamagōri Station, the eastern terminus of the line. This station is also served by the Tōkaidō Main Line.
Source: Wikipedia

Cab view of Gamagōri Line:
Source: atusi3ban on YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2kT_QT-vD8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xpfMqw4viA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShEDH-y73DM

This isn’t a regular service train, but actually one of a series of special runs to commemorate the final days of the 7000 series Panorama Cars, which were officially retired from service after a final run on August 30. The rest of the cab view videos from this particular event are also on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_lis...D462468E26C626
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 09:53 AM   #414
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Ichibata Electric Railway: Urban rolling stock finds a second home
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/life/trend/...0800001-n1.htm

Quote:
Clickety-clack, clickety-clack… One day near the beginning of autumn, standing along the shore of Lake Shinji, I heard the sound of a running train, the controlled rhythm on rails mixing with the serene sound of waves on the lake. The Ichibata Electric Railway traverses the Shimane Peninsula, and the rolling stock is composed entirely of trains from Kantō and Kansai area private railways. To my eyes, the retro Shōwa trains that had for many years ran amidst the hustle and bustle of urbanity were now enjoying a “second life” whisking by the shore of the lake, face in the wind.

With a streamlined cab design and two large front windows looking like spectacles, the Deha 3000 series train entered Dentetsu Izumo-shi Station. The train looked somehow familiar—it turns out the train was a “Zoom Car” from the Nankai Kōya Line linking Ōsaka and Wakayama.

For someone who had grown up along the Nankai Line, it immediately brought back memories. And yet it was a little saddening to see that the train had been cut down to two cars from the four- and six-car formations during its days with Nankai Electric Railway.

I boarded the Deha 3000 to make the best of the approximately one-hour journey to Matsue Shinjiko Onsen Station. Midway during the journey, an elderly man suddenly boarded the train with his bicycle. He placed the bicycle near the door and plopped himself down on one of the seats. The scene would be unthinkable in Ōsaka subway trains, but none of the other passengers seemed to think anything of it.

After asking one of the station agents later, I was informed that passengers can bring bicycles on board for an additional ¥300 per bicycle. Apparently, elderly passengers going to hospitals and clinics along the line, as well as housewives doing shopping, take advantage of the policy.

And according to Oka Kazuyuki (41yo), Ichibata Electric Railway’s Operations Section Chief, “Passengers have generally refrained from bringing bicycles on board during periods of crowding.” Passenger etiquette and the type of kindness only found on local railways have allowed the program to survive.

The view outside the window until Ichibataguchi Station was of endless waves of ears of rice on the Izumo Plain, changing to the scenery of Lake Shinji until Matsue Shinji Onsen Station. Staring outside the window, I quickly lost perception of the passage of time.

Ichibata Electric Railway is famous for having had the oldest remaining operational units in the country, the Deniha 50 series built in 1928 and 1929. But after losing the battle to age, the last unit was retired from service in March of this year, and is now preserved inside the carbarn at Unshū Hirata Station.

The car bodies are made of wood, and signs on the train’s doors say “hand-operated door.” Oka, who was once a conductor on the trains, recounts incidents where passengers attempted to open the door by hand as the train neared the station. “I had to pay special attention during boarding and alighting,” he jokes. The story was just one episode from the good old days of the Shōwa Era.

I decided to extend my journey to Izumo-taisha Shrine. Since the main shrine is currently undergoing restoration, the triangular roof was protected under temporary cover, and I wasn’t able to see any of the buildings at all. When I attempted to stop by the worship hall before heading back, I noticed a sign that said, “Special Exhibit of the Main Shrine’s Large Roof.” Apparently, visitors could take a tour of the restoration work for the shrine’s roof.

Thinking this was my chance, I cleared things with the receptionist and attempted to have a seat inside the waiting room, but not before the project manager suddenly spoke to me. “Please tuck your shirt into your pants.”

I immediately got a warning. That day was as hot as a midsummer day, so I had untucked my polo shirt and wrapped a towel around my neck. I certainly wasn’t dressed appropriately for the visit.

Many visitors were already waiting inside the tent, and the wait was apparently close to an hour. I had really wanted to see the rethatching work on the roof, but considering the time I had left, I didn’t have much of a chance. After debating inside the tent for twenty minutes on whether to stay or go, I finally gave up on the tour.

I also visited the former Taisha Station of the JR Taisha Line, abandoned March 1990. The shrine architecture of the station building, designed to match Izumo-taisha, was fit for the title of Important Cultural Property. The ticket gates and faretables are completely preserved. Written on the schedule was the first train of the day, “5:55, for Izumo-shi, Platform 1”—I was immediately taken aback by the scene, and it seemed as if a train was about to enter the station any moment now.

I finally got to taking pictures of trains. I staked out a location along the mountain slope looking down at Aikamachi Station. Lake Shinji stretched out below my eyes, with homes huddled along the narrow strip of flat land along the lakeshore.

The trains run approximately one an hour. Camera in hand, waiting for the train, elderly passengers and students seemed to assemble at the station, coming from who knows where. A few minutes later, the train arrived at the station, and after the students boarded, departed off. By looking at the number of people who had arrived at the platform, I was able to discern when a train would arrive soon.

Peeking at the casual scenes at the station through the lens of my camera, I thought to myself that the trains are truly a part of the daily lives of locals.
Ichibata Electric Railway 2100 series
Ex-Keiō Teito (now Keiō) Electric Railway 5000 series, constructed 1963-1969. Several other ex-Keiō Teito 5000 series trains were given to other local private railways, such as Fuji Kyūkō and Iyo Railway.

image hosted on flickr

Source: zenjiro on Flickr

Ichibata Electric Railway 3000 series
Ex-Nankai Electric Railway 21000 series.


Source: Wikipedia

Older urban trains that are scheduled to replaced are often downgraded to secondary lines such as feeder lines serving the company’s main line, or given to smaller lines in small urban or rural areas, which may or may not be owned by the parent railway. Some rolling stock is also donated to overseas railway operations in other parts of Asia.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 09:54 AM   #415
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JR West venture attempts to lure runners
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/life/trend/...1214003-n1.htm

Quote:
On September 11, JR West held a private conference to announce the September 12 opening of Runners Plus, a facility that provides showers and lockers for runners and joggers who use Ōsaka Castle Park, near JR Kyōbashi Station in Ōsaka City. The facility is the largest of its kind in the Kansai area, with over 100 lockers, and is the first time a railway company has ventured into a business supporting runners.

The facility contains four showers and 144 lockers each for men and women, with an additional 144 shoe lockers. By signing up as members with the program, users can be assigned a private locker for their own use and conveniently enjoy running without having to bring their bags or other personal items along.

According to a survey by JR West, runners who use Ōsaka Castle Park number approximately 20,000 (including those who only jog about once a month), but showers and lockers in the areas surrounding the park were scarce. After one employee—a marathon runner—suggested using small empty land to provide the facility, JR West agreed to take on the project.

At the private meeting, officials involved with the project gathered to celebrate the opening of the facility. “We hope to have lecture programs on running and provide support to urban runners,” says JR West. The facility will be open from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm on weekdays, and from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm on weekends and holidays. The facility will be closed on Mondays.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 09:55 AM   #416
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Ōsaka City proposes walkway for WTC transport access plan
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/lo...1425000-n1.htm

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As part of the proposed relocation of the prefectural government offices into the Ōsaka World Trade Center (WTC) Building, on September 14, Ōsaka City announced its proposal to connect the Municipal Subway Chūō Line’s Cosmosquare Station in Yumeshima with the WTC Building via a 500 m long pedestrian “sky corridor.”

The proposal is an attempt to resolve the issue of improved transport access, a critical element in the relocation debate, with a limited amount of budget. Automation through use of moving walkways will also be considered as part of the proposal. The city will formally announce the proposal at the first meeting on September 15 of a conference composed of municipal and prefectural representatives, as well as members of Kansai’s three major financial groups.

Current public transport options from central Ōsaka to the WTC Building require passengers to take the Chūō Line to its terminus at Cosmosquare Station and then transfer to the Nankō Port Town Line (New Tram) to get off at Trade Center-mae Station, the closest station to the WTC.

As a result, some members of the Prefectural Assembly suggested extending the Chūō Line to Trade Center-mae, but the city revealed that the extension would require several tens of billions of yen to realize. The JR Sakurajima Line extension proposed by the prefectural government would also impose a substantial financial burden and require a substantial amount of time to realize, leading the city to submit an alternative proposal that would construct a new walkway.
Ōsaka Governor Hashimoto Tōru is pushing for several transportation improvements as part of the WTC planning efforts, including the extension of the JR Sakurajima Line to the WTC, as well as the extension of the Ōsaka Municipal Subway Yotsubashi Line south to Sakai City to improve access from southern Ōsaka Prefecture. The city, which has already exhausted about ¥700 billion of public money on the WTC area, has generally expressed a conservative stance after historical failures and setbacks, reinforced by their proposal to connect the WTC with the existing Cosmosquare Station on the Municipal Subway Chūō Line via a simple walkway. In the end, though, this may be best.

The original plan as drafted in 1988 by then-mayor of Ōsaka City, was to construct a new urban center on the waterfront called Technoport Ōsaka, which would have housed technology development and other cutting-edge industries on artificial islands in Ōsaka Bay. But when the economic bubble burst, land values dropped and things turned for the worse, and the whole area has become a financial burden on Ōsaka City. Ōsaka submitted a bid for the 2008 Summer Olympics, with the waterfront area planned as the major venue, but lost the competition, which was another nail in the coffin. The original plan from 1988 called for about ¥2.2 trillion in both public and private investment.

The prefecture and city have been working with private investors in an attempt to make the best of the situation, which has spawned some interesting, but not necessarily financially-sound, conceptual proposals, including a “casino district” suggested by the governor to cater to international visitors and guests.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 09:55 AM   #417
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Odakyū’s history: 82 years of challenges
Part 1: Crowding relief and reduced travel times

http://www.business-i.jp/news/cultur...909190010a.nwc

Quote:
Odakyū Electric Railway connects Shinjuku with Hakone and Odawara, as well as the Shōnan and Tama areas. Among its lines, the Enoshima Line to the Shōnan area (Sagami Ōno – Katase Enoshima) opened on April 1, 1929, and is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, a critical milestone for the Odakyū Group.

Together with its passengers, the railway has survived through turbulent and ever-changing times, from the beginning of the war, to the post-war reconstruction and rapid economic growth of the nation, to now. Centered around its railway business, the Odakyū Group has diversified its financial structure and counts 103 companies under its name (as of August 1, 2009), from department stores to hotel and real estate businesses. With the Odawara Line (Shinjuku – Odawara) celebrating its 82nd anniversary this year, the Odakyū Group is continuing its quest for change.

Trackside development and business diversification
Before the start of World War II, Odakyū’s railway operations comprised a large share of its total businesses, but the railway truly began to diversify its business structure after the war had ended. With the severe population overcrowding in the Tōkyō area in the post-war period, the railway jumped headfirst into trackside residential development and other real estate business. The first development locations were in Setagaya and the surrounding areas, but even then, the problem of overcrowding remained unresolved. As a result, the development area expanded from Machida (Machida City, Tōkyō) and Sagami Ōno (Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Prefecture), to mid-distance areas such as Minami-Rinkan (Yamato City, Kanagawa Prefecture) and Chōgo (Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture) along the Enoshima Line.

Following trackside development during the period of rapid economic growth, the railway jumped into the department store and hotel industries. Following the November 1962 opening of the Odakyū Department Store, the foundation of the Odakyū Group was laid, which would later open the Hotel Century Hyatt Tōkyō (now the Hyatt Regency Tōkyō) in September 1980.

As trackside development filled out, the population along the lines exploded. Railway users skyrocketed from the 820,000 average daily passengers in 1965 to 1,460,000 passengers fifteen years later in 1980, a 78 percent jump. Another ten years later in 1990, the figure increased 30 percent above the 1980 ridership to 1,900,000 passengers. The increase in passengers resulted in severe overcrowding on trains, and Odakyū became notorious as one of the most crowded railways in the Kantō Region.

Crowding to decrease
To clear its name and reduce travel times, the Odakyū Group concluded that the only option was to quadruple track the main line and began construction of the new set of tracks, a decision that put the entire company’s interests on the line. By November 2004, quadruple-tracking between Setagaya Daita and Izuma Tamagawa (8.8 km) was complete and a section of the new tracks opened for service. Work is currently underway at an accelerated pace on the Higashi-Kitazawa – Setagaya Daita section (1.6 km), with completion scheduled for 2013. When the quadruple-tracking is complete, the travel time for express trains between Mukōgaoka Yūen and Shinjuku will drop from 33 minutes before the start of construction to a mere 21 minutes. In addition, crowding inside trains will decrease dramatically. Passenger loading before construction started was 208 percent—equivalent to a substantial amount of body pressure—but after the project is complete, the figure will drop to 160-170 percent, equivalent to being able to read a newspaper or magazine comfortably.
A press tour from earlier in the year of the new tunnel section.

Source: asahicom on YouTube

A cab view from Ebina to Shinjuku (approx.43 km).
Source: satorccar on YouTube
Part 1 (Ebina – Sagami Ōno): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4ol5jAc3ZQ
Part 2 (Sagami Ōno – Tsurukawa): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGbMeh9kpj4
Part 3 (Tsurukawa – Mukōgaoka Yūen): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Zlc8T4R3CM
Part 4 (Mukōgaoka Yūen – Kyōdō): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqGBcsY-mZ4
Part 5 (Kyōdō – Yoyogi Uehara): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTo45a1K-dQ
Part 6 (Yoyogi Uehara – Shinjuku): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kpNda_byPA

The triple-track section begins with Part 4 at Mukōgaoka Yūen, which expands to quadruple track at Noborito. In Part 5, the partially-complete quadruple-track section (finished in 2004) ends at Umegaoka Station (1:15), as the train switches to the outside to make space for construction of the segment between Umegaoka and Higashi-Kitazawa. This 1.6 km section will be quadruple track underground (the local tracks and express tracks will be on different levels). The construction work continues to a little before Yoyogi Uehara (5:00), where Tōkyō Metro Chiyoda Line trains sit on the middle layover tracks. This location will be the portal for the eastern end of the underground tunnels.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 09:56 AM   #418
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Odakyū’s history: 82 years of challenges
Part 2: Barrier-free design and Hakone tourism

http://www.business-i.jp/news/cultur...909190005a.nwc

Quote:
Hakone has become one of the premier tourist destinations in the country, with over 20 million annual visitors. Odakyū Group plays the role of infrastructure, transporting many passengers by train and bus from Shinjuku to the gateway to the Hakone area, Hakone Yumoto. Odakyū Group has placed development of the Hakone area as one of its most critical business ventures, if only because it means increased ridership on its trains and buses. To increase the attractiveness of Hakone as a tourism destination, Odakyū has been taking advantage of its knowhow and creativity day in and day out.

Long-awaited through-service
Through-service onto the Hakone Tozan Railway Line began on August 1, 1950. The opportunity came after splitting off from Tōkyū Corporation in June of 1948. In exchange for giving ownership of the Inokashira Line to Keiō Teito Electric Railway (now Keiō Electric Railway), Odakyū gained ownership of two former subsidiaries of Tōkyū: the Hakone Tozan Railway and Kanagawa Chūō Bus Company (now Kanazawa Chūō Transport). As a result, the Odakyū Group was now able to run trains from Shinjuku directly to Hakone, a long-awaited dream ever since the start of the company.

With the new through-service, access to Hakone was substantially improved, and the number of visitors to the area skyrocketed. While visitors to Hakone from Shinjuku numbered only 228,000 annually before the start of through-service, the figure jumped to 423,000 annually after through-service began. With the introduction of limited express trains with transverse box seating the following year in February 1951, Odakyū became more and more synonymous with Hakone.

While there have been a fair number of small ups and downs, the number of visitors has largely been ever-increasing. And while the recent economic downturn has spread anxiety over reduced ridership, Odakyū has become a benefactor of the increasing trend for “cheap, nearby, and short” holiday and weekend trips, with the public again looking to Hakone as a tourist destination due to its close proximity to central Tōkyō. Hakone visitor statistics tell the story, with annual visitors showing annual increases from 18.90 million in 2005, to 19.25 million (2006), 20.26 million (2007), and 20.67 million (2008).

Easing traffic congestion
However, trains aren’t the only access to Hakone. There are certainly quite a few people who think of enjoying a short roadtrip out to Hakone from Tōkyō. In order to increase use of public transport such as trains and buses, increasing convenience is critical. As part of those efforts, Odakyū Group has been rebuilding the Hakone Tozan Railway’s Hakone Yumoto Station, the gateway to Hakone. To improve accessibility for all passengers, young and old, male and female, the renovation incorporates barrier-free design, through the installation of elevators and escalators, leveling of vertical gaps and height changes, and installation of tactile detectors in floors. The station rebuilding project will also relieve traffic congestion on National Route 1, which runs alongside Hakone Yumoto Station. The roadways around the station are notorious for severe congestion on holidays and weekends when visitors to Hakone flood the area. As a result, the first floor of the new station will include construction of a bus plaza and taxi circle.
Renovated Hakone Yumoto entrance (June 2009).

Source: Wikipedia

Cab view of Hakone Tozan Railway, from Kazamatsuri to Hakone Yumoto (May 2009).
An Odakyū through-service train, wrapped in special Hakone Tozan Railway colors, makes an appearance around 2:30. The line is entirely single-track, but is split in half at Hakone Yumoto. Partially due to steep grades and switchbacks, the west half actually uses different rolling stock at a different gauge (1,435 mm) than the eastern half, which uses Odakyū rolling stock (1,067 mm gauge). As a result, passengers need to do a cross-platform interchange at Hakone Yumoto to continue from one half of the line to the other. There is a short section of dual-gauge track that accommodates both types of rolling stock (for car yard access purposes).

Source: VVVF2100 on YouTube
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 09:57 AM   #419
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Odakyū’s history: 82 years of challenges
Part 3: Department store renovation

http://www.business-i.jp/news/cultur...909190009a.nwc

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Shinjuku, Tōkyō—one of Japan’s premier commercial districts. As a railway terminal, Shinjuku Station is served by not only Odakyū, but also East Japan Railway Company (JR East), Keiō Electric Railway (Keiō), Tōkyō Metro, and the Toei Subway. The average number of daily users, who come to Shinjuku Station from all directions on commutes to work and school or for shopping and other needs, reaches approximately 3.46 million. This figure is, of course, number one in the world. Blessed with a prime location, the various railway companies have ventured into the department store business, with Keiō Group, Odakyū Group, and other companies developing their own department stores, each fighting tooth and nail against each other to lure customers.

Fit for a gateway
Odakyū Group first seriously entered the department store retail industry 48 years ago, in 1961. With the aging facilities at Shinjuku Station, the decision to completely renovate the station became the turning point in the establishment of the Odakyū Department Store. For the Odakyū Line, Shinjuku Station is the first station. In order to transform the station into an entrance fit for a gateway, Odakyū decided to open a department store inside the station building. In 1962, before the new station building was completed, the department store partially opened for business inside the Tōkyō Tatemono Building at the West Exit of the station. In 1967, seven years after construction began, the new station building—consisting of two underground levels and twelve aboveground levels—was completed, and the department store finally did a complete formal opening.

Department stores, which had continued to grow in business thanks to the economic growth in the country, were faced with a bitter struggle after the bubble burst. Their financial footing became more precarious, and with the economic downturn from last autumn, the trend to save among consumers has increased, leaving department stores struggling to survive. According to the Japan Department Stores Association, total sales at nationwide department stores was down 11.7 percent from the same time last year, to approximately ¥618.5 billion. Sales have continually been lower than the previous year for 17 months straight, with no sign of improvement in sight.

Women’s daily goods and sports items
Faced with a difficult situation, the Odakyū Group has taken a preemptive strike. From summer 2008 to summer 2009, the Odakyū Group has undertaken a massive renovation of the Shinjuku flagship Odakyū Department Store. The renovation was centered around the women’s wear and women’s accessories sections, the main battlefield of the struggle. In the women’s wear section, the store expanded its selection of popular-brand casual clothing and other items to appeal to working women.

In addition, the Halc Sports Shinjuku store began work on its own major renovation project.

The renovation would reconfigure Basement Level 1 into a sports fashion floor, in addition to existing space on Floors 1 and 2. As a result, the retail floor area will increase by 50 percent to approximately 4,500 sq m. The sports fashion floor will be the largest in the country. The selection of golf, running, outdoor, and cycling goods will also be strengthened, with the hope of of capturing new customers.
In addition to the Shinjuku flagship store, Odakyū Department Store has two additional stores at Machida Station (Odawara Line) and Fujisawa Station (Odakyū Enoshima Line). The one at Machida is particularly interesting as it is the typical hybrid station / department store, with Odawara Line trains stopping at the platforms, which are located in between Floor 2 and Floor 3 of the department store.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 09:57 AM   #420
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Odakyū’s history: 82 years of challenges
Part 4: From quadruple-tracking to “urban oasis”

http://www.business-i.jp/news/cultur...909190019a.nwc

Quote:
Odakyū Electric Railway has placed its entire interests on the line to complete its quadruple-tracking project, but as construction progresses, the Setagaya area is undergoing a complete transformation. Among the various neighborhoods along the Odakyū nework, the area around Seijō Gakuen-mae Station, which saw its platforms undergrounded, looks nothing like it did in the past. After the platforms were placed below ground, commercial facility Seijō Corty was constructed on the freed-up space at the cost of approximately ¥4.7 billion yen, opening in September 2006. In addition to restaurants and general stores, Seijō Corty includes a daycare facility, hospital, and other facilities, creating an “urban oasis” where neighborhood residents can gather.

Beginning gardeners get a shot
In addition, the Odakyū Group has embarked on a new concept made possible by the undergrounding of the platforms: converting the space above the tracks into a farm. In March 2007, the Odakyū Group launched Agris Seijō, a membership-based program that leases vegetable garden space to its members. The gardens are located a minute walk from the West Exit of Seijō Gakuen-mae Station, with 307 garden spaces in an area totaling approximately 5,000 sq m. The gardens also feature a clubhouse with a lounge. To allow anyone an easy opportunity to enjoy vegetable farming, the program not only allows members to rent gardening tools, but also offers a service where employees will cultivate and maintain members’ gardens. The clubhouse also occasionally holds special programs to teach beginners how to grow vegetables, and it’s not rare to find members carefully taking notes during the lectures. The usage fees for one lot (approximately 6 to 7.5 sq m) range from ¥11,000 to ¥14,500 a month. The popularity of the program is increasing, with over 200 of the 307 total lots currently under a lease. As the general public focuses more and more attention on food safety, “the program is receiving a strong response from everyone ranging parents in their 30s raising small children to empty-nester families in their 60s” (Odakyū Electric Railway CSR / Public Relations Department).

Convenient rentable storage
The space freed up by the quadruple-tracking of the line doesn’t end here. A large amount of space was gained below the elevated section between Setagaya Daita and Izumi Tamagawa (approx. 8 km). The first possible uses to come to mind for the space are bicycle and vehicle parking, which Odakyū Group is already actively pursuing. The capacity of bicycle facilities will increase to approximately 37,100 bicycles across 77 facilities, while the capacity of vehicle parking will increase to approximately 4,500 cars across 91 facilities. In addition, Odakyū Group has launched Odakyū Closet, which offers rentable storage space underneath the elevated tracks at six locations, including Gōtokuji, Kyōdō, Chitose – Funabashi, and Soshigaya – Ōkura. The units have been completely outfitted with climate control and security systems, and are becoming neighborhood residents’ “storage sheds.”

The Odakyū Group has also begun development on approximately 33,000 sq m of land on the east side of Kyōdō Station formerly used as a train yard. The parcels will be divided into four zones, and the plans call for construction of commercial facilities, apartments, a sports club, and other facilities. While keeping in step with the station plaza and roadway improvement plans being undertaken by Setagaya Ward, the Odakyū Group is aiming for a 2011 opening for the project.


Agris Seijō, a membership-based garden-leasing program. On weekends, many families come to enjoy vegetable gardening.


Development is currently proceeding on the site of the former Kyōdō car yard. A complete opening is scheduled for 2011.
Images of Seijō Gakuen-mae Station, after the Odawara Line platforms were undergrounded:

North Exit

Source: Wikipedia

West Exit


Seijō Corty
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