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Old September 22nd, 2009, 09:58 AM   #421
quashlo
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Odakyū’s history: 82 years of challenges
Part 5: Streamlined precursor to the Shinkansen

http://www.business-i.jp/news/cultur...909190007a.nwc

Quote:
Odakyū Electric Railway—it links Shinjuku to visitor destinations such as Odawara, Hakone, and Enoshima. There are many passengers who use it not just for commuting to work or school, but also to go sightseeing or on short vacation trips. And when most people think of Odakyū’s limited express trains for visitors, they probably immediately think of the Romancecar. But in fact, passengers on Odakyū’s Romancecar trains aren’t limited to just visitors—a substantial number of passengers use the trains for commute or shopping trips. Annual ridership on Romancecar trains is over 13 million, making the trains an invaluable asset to Odakyū Electric Railway.

The Romancecar trains were transformed into what they are today—limited express trains with both indoor comfort and high-speed performance—over 50 years ago in 1957. The first real Romancecar was the SE 3000 series. The streamlined exterior completely revolutionized rolling stock design concepts of the time. The train looked like it might fly off into the sky like an airplane if wings had been added. It’s often cited as the precursor to the Kodama, JNR’s first limited express train which began service in November of the following year (1958), as well as the Shinkansen.

From the introduction of the SE series to current times, a total of eight types of Romancecars have made their debut. Among them, the SE and NSE series have ended their duties and are already retired. Currently, six types of Romancecar trains transport passengers day in and day out.

Romancecars have drawn avid attention from not only regular passengers, but also railfans.

The Blue Ribbon Award, handed out by the Japanese Railfan Club composed of train lovers throughout the nation, is awarded to the finest new train series to enter service each year. Among the eight Romancecar types, only the EXE series has not been given the award.

SE 3000 series
Odakyū Electric Railway’s first series exclusively for limited express service, entering service on July 6, 1957. The series is recognized as the pioneer of limited express trains. The trains incorporated the latest in railway technology at the time, including super-lightweight car bodies, a design with a low center of gravity, and other features. The trains set the world speed record for narrow-gauge railways at 145 kph. The series was also the first in Japan to use musical horns. In March 1992, 35 years after its debut, the series made its exit, with many users regretfully bidding their last farewells.

NSE 3100 series
The NSE series entered service in March 1963. As the next generation of trains following the popular SE series, the trains were named New Super Express (NSE). To allow passengers to better experience the scenery outside the train windows, the operator’s cab was raised in a turret design and a row of special observation seats installed at the very front of the train, the first Romancecar to do so. The observation seats were immediately popular, allowing passengers to experience the journey from the perspective of a train operator, and became so-called “platinum seats” due to the difficulty in obtaining reservations. The series was retired in July 1999.

LSE 7000 series
The LSE series entered service in December 1980. The name is an abbreviation of Luxury Super Express. The train was designed as the “second-generation NSE,” with an improved end car design, operator equipment, and controller and braking equipment. Ride comfort was also substantially improved. At the time of its debut, the trains were dressed in a three-color livery of orange, silver gray, and white, but in 1995, this was changed to a two-tone livery of wine red and white. The trains are still in service today.

HiSE 10000 series
The HiSE was designed as Odakyū’s 60th anniversary train and next-generation limited express train, debuting in December 1987. The trains’ refreshing style and livery garnered attention from both railfans and passengers. The train was the first Odakyū train to make use of a high-deck design, with a high floor the full length of the train except for the end observation seats. The trains featured large windows to allow passengers in all seats to enjoy the scenery passing by.
SE 3000 series

Preserved at Ebina Car Yard.

Source: Wikipedia


Source: Wikipedia

Snack bar.

Source: Wikipedia

NSE 3100 series

Preserved at Kitami Maintenance Facility.

Source: Wikipedia

LSE 7000 series

Repainted in original livery.

Source: Wikipedia

[img]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/25/Model_3100_of_Odakyu_Electric_Railway.JPG/800px-Model_3100_of_Odakyu_Electric_Railway.JPG[img]
Source: Wikipedia

HiSE 10000 series


Source: Wikipedia

VSE (Vault Super Express) 50000 series


Source: Wikipedia

image hosted on flickr

Source: rc! on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

Source: nicenature on Flickr
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 09:59 AM   #422
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Ekimelo boom in the making
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/life/lifest...0823006-n1.htm

Quote:
Special goods using ekimelo (station melody) music played when trains approach or depart platforms are experiencing a boom. The increasing array of examples include not just CDs containing collections of ekimelo along specific lines, but also alarm clocks and mobile phone ringtones that adapt ekimelo, leading to what might be called “the second ekimelo boom.” JR East representatives, however, admit that there is a possibility the ekimelo may cause some passengers to rush onto trains, and is currently reconsidering the use of departure music, which could put the brakes on the ekimelo boom.

An expanding array of goods
Starting in August, Keihin Electric Express Railway (Keikyū) (HQ: Minato Ward, Tōkyō) changed the “train approaching” melody at Namamugi Station (Yokohama City) to a tune used in commercials for Kirin Beer’s Ichiban Shibori brand of beer. The change was a response to the fact that Kirin Beer has a factory and other facilities nearby the station.

In March of this year, Keikyū released “Keikyū Station Melody Original” (Universal Music), a CD containing 15 ekimelo chosen by public submission, as well as recordings of trains passing through grade crossings, automatic announcements at platforms, and other train-related sounds. So far, the CD has sold 15,000 copies and has become an unprecendented hit.

Other CDs containing ekimelo include a collection released by Keihan Electric Railway (Keihan) (HQ: Chūō Ward, Ōsaka City) in November of last year. According to Keihan representatives, “Sales of the CD beat our expectations, so we are only accepting mail orders now.”

Other goods making use of ekimelo have also been met with a warm response. In March 2006, rolling stock manufacturer Nippon Sharyō (HQ: Nagoya City) released an alarm clock that uses ekimelo from the JR Yamanote Line. Alternative versions for the Chūō Line and Keihin-Tōhoku Line have also been released, and the product has become an exceptional hit, with a total of approximately 46,000 units sold.

The number of people who take ekimelo with them by using them as mobile phone ringtones is also increasing.

From April to June of this year, Keikyū opened the Ekimelo Rally, allowing fans to download ekimelo from each station onto their mobile phones. The service saw about 40,000 downloads. The company had previously distributed the songs with a fee, which requires users to sign up with the program first, but now allows people to download the songs for free directly from computers installed at specific stations.

“Of course, there are railfans who are interested, but there are also an increasing number of local residents who use the trains every day and download the songs on their way home from work. It’s possible that passengers have begun to identify with their local station’s ekimelo,” say PR representatives from Keikyū.

Ekimelo are also popular on ringtone web sites. A man from Tōkyō in his 40s who had set his ringtone to the ekimelo for Platform 1 at JR Tōkyō Station (the Chūō Line) said, “I found it on a ringtone site. I’m a bit of a closet railfan, so I felt I needed to download it.”

Study underway to review safety issues
On the other side of the issue, there is a movement underway that could put the brakes on the ekimelo boom. Believing there might be a possibility that the ekimelo partially encourage passengers to rush onto trains, JR East conducted an experiment from December of last year to March of this year, omitting ekimelo or using shorter ekimelo at Shinjuku and Tōkyō Stations.

The data is currently being analyzed and it’s still uncertain what specific impact the ekimelo actually have on passengers, but there is a possibility that the use of ekimelo as departure songs could be discontinued in the future. After the evaluation of the data, it’s also possible that the ekimelo could be switched to play only when trains approach the platforms.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 10:00 AM   #423
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New wave handrail series released
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/nag...OYT8T00077.htm

Quote:
Sasebo City startup firm Qunetto Japan (CEO: Nakamura Satoshi), which manufactures and sells the Qunetto wave-shaped handrails for use in stairwells and other facilities, has developed the new Qunetto 355 series. The series is a modified version in keeping with the New Accessibility Law which came into effect in 2006, and was introduced to the market on September 10.

The Qunetto is a wiggly, wave-shaped handrail. The product first entered the market in 2001 and is currently installed in over 40,000 locations throughout the country, including train stations, as well as the Glover Garden and Sasebo City Hall within Nagasaki Prefecture. Compared to previous models, the latest series expands the near-vertical and horizontal sections of the handrail by approximately 1.5 times. The “wavelength” has been increased by 52.6 mm to 335.4 mm.

The New Accessibility Law promotes the reduction of vertical gaps at some transportation facilities and other public facilities and the creation of reduced-grade stairs. The latest Qunetto series is designed to take advantage of the new stairwell standards, improving grasp when climbing stairs and providing body support when descending stairs.

The new handrails were installed at four stations on the Hanshin Electric Railway (Ōsaka City) Namba Line, which opened in March. After conducting surveys of passengers and receiving high compliments, such as for the flat sections that make it easier for passengers to descend the stairs, the model was chosen as the new standard for Qunetto.

Prices range from ¥15,000 per meter for resin handrails and ¥28,000 per meter for stainless steel handrails. Qunetto Japan says the new handrails take the wave shape to its fullest and best use.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 10:02 AM   #424
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Namba Line beats fare revenue projections in first half-year
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/economy/bus...2035014-n1.htm

Quote:
On September 18, Hanshin Electric Railway announced that by the end of August, fare revenues for the Hanshin Namba Line had reached approximately ¥1.615 billion, 16 percent above the initial estimates. The line, which is nearing its half-year anniversary on September 20, has an average daily ridership of approximately 58,000 passengers—which is so far below the first-year target of 67,000 passengers—but the railway said ridership growth is progressing nicely and patted itself on the back.

In particular, the opening of the Namba Line has improved access to Kōshien Stadium from southern Ōsaka Prefecture. Ridership is continuining to grow, reaching an average of 63,000 daily passengers in August, when local teams from the Kinki Region participated in the Kōshien High School Baseball Championships.

In August, entries and exits at Sannomiya Station increased by 7.7 percent, while on the Namba Line itself, entries and exits increased by as much as 18.5 percent at Nishi-Kujō Station. As a result, ridership at Umeda Station on the Hanshin Main Line has dropped 12.4 percent, reflecting the shift in passengers along the Kōbe end of the line to Minami, Ōsaka via the Namba Line.

Commuter pass revenue is currently approximately 39.8 percent of all fare revenue, falling short of the first-year target of 50 percent. The railway, however, says commuters are still in the process of switching out their commuter passes, and announced that it will strengthen its efforts to advertise to companies in the Minami area, stressing the merits of the new line, including increased convenience and low costs.
Some more clips of the Hanshin Namba Line:

Cab view, Part 1 (Amagasaki to Nishi-Kujō).
This is the older section that has been renamed as part of the Namba Line.

Source: webmk on YouTube

Cab view, Part 2 (Nishi-Kujō to Ōsaka Namba).
This is the new section that was constructed.
Some features to note:
  • Sound wall north of Nishi-Kujō to the underground section (0:00)
  • Layover / switchback track just before Sakuragawa Station (4:15)
  • Switch from Hanshin to Kintetsu crews (5:00)
  • Joint between Kintetsu and Hanshin tunnels (6:30)

Source: webmk on YouTube
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 10:02 AM   #425
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Yamanote Line receives blue LED lights to prevent suicides
http://www.asahi.com/national/update...909150394.html

Quote:
On September 15, JR East’s Tōkyō Branch Office announced that it will introduce blue light-emitting diode (LED) illumination to platforms at all 29 stations on the Yamanote Line. The color blue is believed to have a calming effect on passengers, and the project is an effort to prevent an escalating number of suicide attempts. Such installations at this scale, along the full length of a rail line, are rare.

According to JR East, suicides by jumping onto tracks have been increasing annually at stations under its jurisdiction, from 42 in 2006 to 58 and 68 in the following years. This year, 18 victims have died as of the end of August. Since cases where victims jump onto the tracks just as the train enters the station are common, the lights will also be installed at the platform ends.

Previous examples of use of blue LED lighting include JR West’s installation at grade crossings on the Hanwa Line and other lines in December 2006, as well as examples among private railways in the Tōkyō area, including Keihin Electric Express Railway’s installation at the platforms at Gumyōji Station (Minami Ward, Yokohama) in February 2008, and other cases. While experts still disagree on the actual scientific effects of the color blue on people’s psyche, railway companies throughout the nation have been introducing them.

Within JR East, the Takasaki Branch Office was the first to install the lights in February of this year, on platforms at Kita-Ageo, Okegawa, and Kitamoto Stations on the JR Takasaki Line in Saitama Prefecture. Blue fluorescent lamps are also installed at Ogikubo and Nishi-Ogikubo Stations on the Chūō Line.

On the Yamanote Line, blue LED lights will be installed at the platform ends, where both clockwise and counterclockwise trains enter the stations. Currently, seven stations have already been outfitted with the new lights, including Tōkyō, Shinbashi, and Yūrakuchō, with completion scheduled by the end of October. JR East’s Tōkyō Branch Office also plans on introducing blue LED lighting to the Chūō Line in the future, and if there is a positive effect on the suicide rate, to other lines as well.


Blue LED lighting at Yūrakuchō Station, designed to stop potential suicide victims.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 10:03 AM   #426
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Kyōto Municipal Subway diversifies business to fight debt
http://mytown.asahi.com/kyoto/news.p...00000909140007

Quote:
Development of original subway-themed goods, major renovation of Shijō Subway Station to expand in-station retail space… In an attempt to improve the financial state of the subway, which is burdened by piling debt, Kyōto City is expanding into new areas of business. Due to a lack of funding, as of early September the national government now requires that the subway submit a financial stabilization plan in accordance with the Sound Finance Act. If the financial state of the subway continues to degrade, it will be placed under the control of the national government. “We hope that the smallest of efforts can contribute greatly to reducing debt,” say representatives.

In an attempt to lure young people to the subway, the subway devised a stapler (¥800 with tax) in the shape of trains on the Karasuma Line. The stapler is the second such “original” goods item, following one last year that was extremely popular. Since production is limited to only 4,000, customers have been constantly asking about where it is being sold, giving the subway hope that the project will help boost revenues.

According to the Municipal Bureau of Transportation, approximately 320,000 people use the subway daily. Although ridership is increasing by the year, the subway was constructed during the bubble period, when material costs were high. The total cost of construction reached approximately ¥850 billion, with approximately ¥300 billion in debt payments still remaining.

In an attempt to get the subway in the black for good, the Bureau began promoting commercial space inside stations starting last year. The subway now sells cakes and other sweets from popular bakeries on a monthly rotation inside Kyōto, Sanjō Keihan, and Yamashina Stations, in addition to occasional produce markets held on an irregular basis. The Bureau is also working with local university students and major corporations to develop original subway-themed goods to be sold inside subway stations.

To secure tenants for retail space inside stations and expand its ekinaka retail business, the Bureau will also begin renovation of Shijō Station. According to the Bureau, approximately 88,000 passengers use the station on a daily basis, rising to 100,000 on busy days. The planned renovation would shorten the 40 m distance between the train platforms and station concourse to approximately 25 m, relocating the mechanical room currently in between the two to expand usable space for retail businesses.

The renovation project will make use of a portion of the ¥2.2 billion in regional revitalization and economic stimulus funds. At the June emergency meeting of the City Council, a budget of ¥500 million for the project was approved, with construction scheduled to begin in the winter. The project is expected to generate ¥100 million in profit.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 10:03 AM   #427
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Suica and PASMO spread environmental awareness
http://www.business-i.jp/news/ind-pa...909210044a.nwc

Quote:
Starting October 1, “Ecomusubi,” a campaign designed to encourage environmental awareness among consumers through the use of Suica and PASMO IC cards, will launch in the Tōkyō districts of Ōtemachi, Marunouchi, and Yūrakuchō.

Consumers who join the Ecomusubi program will earn one point for each ¥100 they spend using their Suica cards on shopping and dining at participating stores in the three districts. The accumulated points can be exchanged for furniture, stationery, and other goods made from recycled items. Members can also choose to donate one percent of their total IC card purchases towards a fund for environmentally-sustainable urban planning and design. The campaign is sponsored by Daimaruyū Ecopoint Committee, composed of JR East, Mitsubishi Estate, and other firms.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 10:04 AM   #428
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Renovation of Nakano Fujimichō Station on Marunouchi Line
http://www.tokyometro.jp/news/2009/2009-45.html

Quote:
Tōkyō Metro (HQ: Taitō Ward, Tōkyō; President: Umezaki Hisashi) is currently renovating Nakano Fujimichō Station on the Marunouchi Line. New restrooms at the station were unveiled September 15.

The design for the renovated Nakano Fujimichō Station maintains harmony with the surrounding neighborhood through the use of fresh, warm colors. Renovation work is proceeding on the surface station building, ticketing hall, and platforms, as well as installation of general-use and multi-function restrooms.

In addition to Nakano Fujimichō Station, Tōkyō Metro is continuing renovation work at other stations to provide a pleasant experience for all our passengers.

Station renovation program:
  • Chiyoda Line, Nezu Station (Completed April 2009)
  • Chiyoda Line, Yoyogi Kōen Station (Completed June 2009)
  • Marunouchi Line, Shinjuku Gyoen-mae (Completed September 2009)
  • Tōzai Line, Kagurazaka Station (Scheduled for completion first half of 2010)
  • Ginza Line / Marunouchi Line, Akasaka-Mitsuke Station (Scheduled for completion latter half of 2010)

Surface station building:


Ticketing hall:
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 10:19 AM   #429
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Tōkyō: Part 12

We leave JR Yokohama Station and enter the Yokohama Municipal Subway portion of the station. Many of the lines at Yokohama Station also run through to Tōkyō, so these trains do double duty serving both Tōkyō’s (much larger) commuting sphere, as well as Yokohama’s commuting sphere. The Yokohama Municipal Subway, howver, was constructed primarily to improve access within the city itself and consists of two lines. The Blue Line was the first line constructed, with its first section completed in 1973 and various extensions completed afterwards.

image hosted on flickr


At 40.4 km, the Blue Line is surprisingly long and connects much of Yokohama in a half-circle from Azamino (Tōkyū Den’en Toshi Line), via Yokohama, Sakuragichō, Kami-Ōoka (Keikyū Main Line), Totsuka (JR Yokosuka Line, Shōnan-Shinjuku Line), to Shōnandai (Odakyū Enoshima Line, Sōtetsu Izumino Line). All stations are equipped with platform gates.

Here, a Blue Line train (Yokohama Municipal Subway 3000 series) for western Yokohama and Shōnandai arrives at Platform 1.

image hosted on flickr


The system is mostly designed as a medium-capacity system, with smaller consists than typical Tōkyō trains. Blue Line trains are six cars long, with three-door cars.

image hosted on flickr


Much of the train empties at Yokohama, the largest transfer station along the entire line.

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On Platform 2, a train arrives, bound for northern Yokohama and Azamino. These trains are built by Nippon Sharyō.

image hosted on flickr


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We board a Blue Line train and get off Center Kita Station. This area is part of Kōhoku New Town. A look at some of the peculiar-looking development near the station, from the Blue Line platforms. Immediately in front of us is the tracks and infrastructure of the Municipal Subway Green Line, which opened March 30, 2008.

image hosted on flickr


Both the Blue Line and Green Line are elevated on this section, running parallel for two stations, Center Minami and Center Kita. Development of the new town began in the 70s, with the first residents moving in during the 80s.

image hosted on flickr


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Blue Line platforms.

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We cross over to the Green Line platforms via the overhead walkway. As shown here, the narrow strip of land between the two lines has been designed as a linear pedestrian corridor.

Before the Green Line opened for service, the only access from the new town to central Tōkyō (excepting the Shinkansen at Shin-Yokohama) was via the Blue Line to Azamino, where you needed to transfer to the Tōkyū Den’en Toshi Line. The Green Line, which connects at its eastern terminus (Hiyoshi Station) with two additional Tōkyō-bound lines (Tōkyū Tōyoko Line and Meguro Line), has now increased travel options to central Tōkyō and redistributed some of this passenger traffic.

image hosted on flickr


To minimize costs, the Green Line was designed as a “mini-subway,” with smaller trains similar to the Toei Subway Ōedo Line, Ōsaka Municipal Subway Nagahori – Tsurumi Ryokuchi Line, etc. The trains only have four cars.

image hosted on flickr


We board a Green Line train and get off at Hiyoshi.

The line uses 10000 series units manufactured by Kawasaki Heavy Industries. While typical Tōkyō trains place LCDs above train doors, due to limited ceiling height, the screens have been placed to the sides of the doors.

image hosted on flickr


A look at the stairwell and escalator to concourse level. Automation of escalators to save energy is now pretty much ubiquitous in new railway construction. To the left, an attendant switches out ads in the train. Ad revenue is big business for railway operators, so teams of attendants occasionally work terminal stations to quickly switch out ads before the trains are scheduled to depart.

image hosted on flickr


After making our way to the surface, we head over to Tōkyū Hiyoshi Station.

image hosted on flickr


The West Exit area, with small plaza and taxi zone / pickup area.

image hosted on flickr


Neighborhoods along the Tōkyū lines are some of the most desirable neighborhoods in the Tōkyō area. Partially as a result of Tōkyū’s trackside developments and marketing, these areas maintain an image among the general public as fashionable, safe places to raise families. The Hiyoshi Campus of Keiō University, a prestigious private university (not related to Keiō Electric Railway), is also immediately adjacent to the station on the East Exit, so there is a large population of students that add a “college town” dimension to the area.

image hosted on flickr


A look at the station building, which houses a large mall directly above the train platforms. Tōkyū Hiyoshi Station sees 164,000 daily entries and exits (2008), an impressive number for a seemingly not-so-major station located outside of central Tōkyō.

image hosted on flickr


A closer look at the station concourse from the East Exit.

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The station itself consists of two island platforms and four tracks. The two center tracks are for the Meguro Line and through-service Tōkyō Metro Namboku Line and Toei Subway Mita Line trains. The outside tracks are for the Tōyoko Line and through-service Tōkyō Metro Hibiya Line and Yokohama Rapid Railway Minato Mirai Line trains.

Although unintentional, I managed to capture three different trains in this picture. On the left, a Tōkyō Metro 9000 series train through-servicing from the Namboku Line waits at Platform 3, bound for Hatogaya on the Saitama Rapid Railway. The train is signed as a Meguro Line local. To its side is a Toei Subway 6300 series train through-servicing from the Toei Mita Line which has just arrived at Platform 2. The train is signed as a Meguro Line express train, a service which recently started in 2008 with the extension of the Meguro Line to Hiyoshi. On Platform 1 is a Tōkyō Metro 03 series local train through-servicing from the Hibiya Line, on a local run bound for Kikuna.

image hosted on flickr


A Tōkyū 9000 series train on a Tōyoko Line local run for Shibuya waits at Platform 4.

image hosted on flickr


Doors closing…

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Back on Platform 3, the Tōkyō Metro train has departed, replaced by Toei train on an express run for Nishi-Takashimadaira on the Mita Line. The out-of-service train on Platform 2 departs the station to eventually switchback.

image hosted on flickr


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We board a Tōyoko Line express for Shibuya. Here, we get off the train on the disembark-only platform at Shibuya terminal.

image hosted on flickr


An express bound for Motomachi – Chūkagai on the Minato Mirai Line waits for departure. The platforms have gotten extremely narrow at the ends as the track layout has been reconfigured and platforms progressively extended over time.

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A look at the track layout.

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Our train, a 9000 series that first entered service in 1988 holds at the station. As older rolling stock is gradually decommissioned, rollsigns are disappearing, replaced by LED signs.

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Heading towards the exit…

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A 5050 series train has just pulled into Platform 3 and discharged its passengers.

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We reach the surface at the West Exit of Shibuya Station, which has a small, but busy, bus plaza served by Tōkyū Bus, Keiō Bus, and Toei Bus. The buses in gray and red livery are operated by Tōkyū Bus.

image hosted on flickr


Keiō Bus. In the background is the pedestrian corridor connecting the Shibuya Station complex to Shibuya Mark City.

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Tōkyō is perhaps somewhat unique in that buses only play a small, secondary role as feeder lines to rail stations or on routes where there is no rail access. Trains enjoy the majority of the public transport share.

With a limited amount of space in the immediate vicinity of the station, the bus plaza here is actually sandwiched in the median of the roadway. The vehicle on the left is a Toei Bus, operated by the Tōkyō Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation, which also operates the Toei Subway.

image hosted on flickr


Here, the left lane of this roadway is striped and coned off as a bus-only lane.

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The bus plaza is split in half by a pedestrian path and crosswalk that leads to the station complex.

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A special circulator / shuttle line that winds its way around Shibuya Ward.

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The pedestrian scramble outside the Hachikō Exit of Shibuya Station.

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Hachikō Plaza. Walking straight ahead will take us to JR Shibuya Station.

image hosted on flickr


This is the busiest exit of Shibuya Station and gets especially crowded at nighttime.

image hosted on flickr


To be continued…
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Last edited by quashlo; September 22nd, 2009 at 07:20 PM.
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Old September 23rd, 2009, 12:03 AM   #430
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Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
Odakyū’s history: 82 years of challenges
Part 3: Department store renovation

[.
I visited the Shinjuku Odakyu department store late last year and I agree it's about time it gets a face lift as the interiors were starting to show its age. I would say the same for the Keio's department store just next door as well

Great link to the Hanshin Namba vid btw.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 09:18 AM   #431
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Tōyō Rapid Railway redesigns uniforms
http://www.toyokosoku.co.jp/info/uniform/uniform.pdf

Quote:
Starting Thursday, October 1, Tōyō Rapid Railway will change the design of uniforms for our station agents and train crews.

With a new uniform design, we hope to improve our image and passenger service by enhancing our employees’ work ethic.

Concept: New TŌYŌ Style
Following our business principle of “Safety – Cleanliness – Service” and in an attempt to more clearly reflect the resolve of Tōyō Rapid Railway to develop and grow together with the neighborhoods along our lines, the uniforms which have been in use since the start of service will be redesigned.

Recognizing our duty as a railroad that our customers trust and feel close to, the new uniforms incorporate elements that instill trust and dignity from our passengers without being overbearingly formal. The uniforms also incorporate functionality, modernity, and originality.

The new uniforms will also instill pride and a sense of status among our employees, and encourage a diversity of trust, comfort, and intimacy with our passengers.
Images of the new uniform design are in the pdf.

Tōyō Rapid Railway is a small, one-line private railway in Funabashi City and Yachiyo City in Chiba Prefecture, just of Tōkyō. The nine-station line was opened in 1996 and runs through-service with the Tōkyō Metro Tōzai Line and beyond to the JR Chūō Line local.

Daily ridership:
Nishi-Funabashi: 52,000 entries
Higashi-Kaijin: 5,200 entries / exits
Hasama: 15,000 entries / exits
Kita-Narashino: 35,600 entries / exits
Funabashi Nichidai-mae: 11,400 entries / exits
Yachiyo Midorigaoka: 27,500 entries / exits
Yachiyo Chūō: 18,800 entries / exits
Murakami: 3,400 entries / exits
Tōyō Katsutadai: 30,800 entries / exits

One of the factors limiting ridership is the fares. A single-ride fare from Tōyō Katsutadai to Nishi-Funabashi (16.2 km) costs a hefty ¥610.

Window view (edited) from Tōyō Katsutadai to Nishi-Funabashi:

Source: seigen120kaihin on YouTube
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Old September 29th, 2009, 09:19 AM   #432
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More schedule improvements for Tsukuba Express
https://www.mir.co.jp/uploads/20090911114442.pdf

Quote:
Tsukuba Express (TX) operator Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company will initiate schedule changes on Thursday, October 1 to improve service during the morning, evening, and late night time periods.

Schedule changes:
  • Additional 8 trains during weekdays
    • Morning period: One additional semi-rapid train (both directions) between Akihabara and Tsukuba
    • Evening period: One additional rapid train (outbound) from Akihabara to Tsukuba; one additional local train (outbound) from Akihabara to Moriya; one additional semi-rapid train (inbound) from Moriya to Akihabara
    • Late night: One additional local train (both directions) between Akihabara and Moriya
  • During weekday mornings, three inbound local trains which wait at Yashio Station for trailing limited-stop trains during the 8:00-9:00 hour will be rescheduled to arrive at Akihabara before limited-stop trains, reducing travel time to Akihabara by 5 minutes.
  • During weekday evenings between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm, eleven outbound local trains which wait at Yashio Station for trailing limited-stop trains will be rescheduled to instead wait at Nagareya – Ōtaka-no-Mori, reducing travel time to Nagareya – Ōtaka-no-Mori by 5 minutes.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 09:20 AM   #433
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Enoden and Keifuku sign sister relationship
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/economy/bus...1656010-n1.htm

Quote:
On September 25, Enoshima Electric Railway (Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture) and Keifuku Electric Railroad announced that they will sign a sister relationship on October 14, agreeing to cooperate in efforts to encourage tourism. Enoden serves Kamakura, while the Keifuku Arashiyama Line (nicknamed the “Randen”) serves Kyōto, both former capitals of Japan with a large number of visitors and tourists. The sister relationship is rare among railroad operators nationwide.

The two companies will paint a portion of their respective fleets in the other’s livery, running the trains from October 14 to the end of March 2011. The companies will also display pictures of famous landmarks along each other’s lines inside trains.

Both companies will sell special identically-designed commemorative tickets on October 14. Starting next March, a special stamp rally campaign will launch that allows participants to win prizes by riding trains and collecting stamps.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 09:21 AM   #434
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Wakayama Electric Railway enters bicycle rental business
http://osaka.yomiuri.co.jp/news/20090921-OYO1T00371.htm

Quote:
On September 20, Wakayama Electric Railway launched a bicycle rental business at Idakiso Station (Wakayama City) on its Kishikawa Line. The 20 rental “Tama Bicycles” feature a motif based on calico cat and honorary Kishikawa Station stationmaster Tama. Tama made an appearance at the ceremony marking the launch of the business, with visitors borrowing bicycles and going on tours of the areas surrounding the station.

As part of its planned program for special local employment revitalization funds from Wakayama Prefecture, Wakayama City contracted out the project to Wakayama Electric Railway. The project is an attempt to make it easier for visitors to access Idakiso Shrine, Shiki no Sato Park, and other spots surround Idakiso Station. The bicycles are all-red, with a plate on the front featuring a cartoon of Tama.

Wakayama Electric Railway president Kojima Mitsunobu was present at the ceremony to cut the tape. With Tama in the bicycle’s front basket, President Kojima later set off with 17 other bicycles carrying families and children for a short tour. “It’s a good opportunity to get a little exercise and get in touch with nature. It’s great to feel the wind in your face,” said office worker Okayama Takako (32yo) from Wakayama City.

The bicycle rental office will be open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. The cost is ¥300 per bike for up to four hours, with an additional deposit of ¥1,000 per bike. The bicycles will be free for use until October 9.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 09:21 AM   #435
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Suica and PASMO help revitalize Yokosuka
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/region/kant...2020003-n1.htm

Quote:
A new system that allows customers at the Kinugasa Commercial District (105 shops) and Kinugasa Naka-dōri Commercial District (88 shops) to accumulate special “Kinugasa Points” when using their Suica and PASMO cards as electronic money will launch on October 1. The two neighborhood commercial areas are located close to JR Kinugasa Station in Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture. The campaign is the first such project in Kanagawa Prefecture.

By registering their existing Suica or PASMO cards, customers can earn Kinugasa Points when making payments using the cards, which can then be used for other purchases. The campaign will launch with 73 participating stores, with the aim of eventually expanding the scope. For customers without Suica or PASMO cards, special Kinugasa Point Cards can be issued which aren’t valid on trains.

“We want to revitalize our neighborhood commercial centers by engaging young people, as well as commuters and students who take trains and buses,” said representatives from the two commercial districts.
Kinugasa Station is a minor station on the JR Yokosuka Line, with approximately 9,300 daily entries. The station is about 50 km from Yokohama and 70 km from Tōkyō. This section of the Yokosuka Line is actually single-track, meaning there are substantially fewer trains than Keikyū, the private railway competitor in this area.

Yokosuka Line cab view from Yokosuka to Kurihama. This is the single-track section of the line. The area has a lot of hills and mountains, so both the Yokosuka Line and Keikyū Line have many tunnels through this section.

Source: presario1203 on YouTube
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Old September 29th, 2009, 09:22 AM   #436
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Alignment analysis complete for Nanakuma Line extension
http://kyushu.yomiuri.co.jp/news/nat...OYS1T00711.htm

Quote:
For the proposed extension of the Fukuoka City Subway Nanakuma Line (Hashimoto – Tenjin Minami, 12 km), the Fukuoka City Transportation Bureau released the results of a preliminary financial analysis for the four alignment options at a September 25 meeting of the City Council’s Transport Strategy Special Committee.

Of the four proposed alignment options for the extension, the alignment from Tenjin Minami Station to JR Hakata Station, passing by Canal City Hakata on the way, was estimated to generate an operating surplus only six years after opening. The City Transportation Bureau has indicated that it is the most attractive of the options and explained, “The chances of choosing this option as the final alignment are high.”

The proposal to extend the Nanakuma Line 1.4 km to Hakata Station via Canal City Hakata is known as the “Alternative Alignment.” The alignment was proposed in January by the City Transportation Bureau as an alternative to the 2.5 km “Hakata Station Alignment,” which would connect Yakuin Station on the Nanakuma Line with Hakata Station, and the 2.3 km “Waterfront (WF) Alignment,” which would extend the line from Tenjin Minami Station via Nakasu Kawabata Station to Hakata Pier and the waterfront area.

Construction costs are estimated at ¥80 billion for the Hakata Station Alignment and Waterfront Alignment, but only ¥45 billion for the Alternative Alignment.

The extension would reach an operating surplus fastest under the Alternative Alignment, only six years after opening. The other routes would take anywhere from 26 to 64 years to get in the black. For accumulated deficit, which generally must be eliminated within 40 years after opening for the extension to be deemed financially feasible, the Alternative Alignment would need only 12 years. The accumulated profit or loss for the entire subway network in forty years would be ¥10 billion in the black under the Alternative Alignment. The other alignment options would result in accumulated deficits of ¥10 billion to ¥40 billion.

In addition, the City is aiming for all accumulated debts for the Nanakuma Line to be paid off by 2069. The goal would be achieved 27 years ahead of schedule under the Alternative Alignment, but only 17 years ahead of schedule under the Hakata Station Alignment. However, the City Transportation Bureau, which had estimated average daily ridership on the line in 2009 to reach 117,000 passengers before it opened, revised down its estimates to 65,200 passengers in its financial outlook approved in February of this year. The line was also estimated to reach an accumulated surplus in 2026, but this was later pushed back 43 years.

At the September 25 committee meeting, several attendees questioned the validity of the results. “Is the financial feasibility analysis for the Alternative Alignment accurate? I’d like to see the basis behind these results,” said Councilmember Kuramoto Tatsurō (Japanese Communist Party). The City Transportation Bureau admitted, “The projection methodology used for the opening of the Nanakuma Line was too optimistic. We are doing everything we can right now to increase the accuracy of our ridership projections.”
The Fukuoka City Subway has three lines, the Nanakuma Line (12.0 km), the Hakozaki Line (4.7 km), and the Airport Line (13.1 km). It first opened in 1981. Trains on the Airport Line run through-service with the JR Chikuhi Line as far as Chikuzen Fukae.

Hakata Station is the Shinkansen station for Fukuoka City and the largest station in Kyūshū. It’s technically already connected to the subway via the Airport Line, but the Nanakuma Line is not directly connected to the other two lines. There is an underground connection between Tenjin Minami Station on the Nanakuma Line and Tenjin Station on the Airport Line, but this requires a bit of a hike.

Fukuoka City Subway map:

Source: Wikipedia

The Nanakuma Line is a linear motor subway. It has some of the more attractive-looking stock in all of Japan, manufactured by Hitachi.


Source: alfsroom on YouTube
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Old September 29th, 2009, 09:23 AM   #437
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Kansai private railway Keihan enters Tōkyō real estate market
http://www.keihan.co.jp/news/data_h21/2009-09-18.pdf

Quote:
As part of the expansion and strengthening of property rental business spelled out in our midterm financial plan “Attack 2011” (2009-2011), Keihan Electric Railway (HQ: Chūō Ward, Ōsaka; President: Ueda Seinosuke) has secured a beneficial interest in the land and building associated with the Intage Akihabara building, a property in a prime location within five minutes walk of JR Akihabara Station.

Intage Akihabara is a high-grade office and luxury apartment building, and is blessed with a high level of transport convenience, located within walking distance of not only JR Akihabara Station, but also stations on the Tsukuba Express and Tōkyō Metro Hibiya Line. Combined with the relatively large scale of the building, in addition to modern equipment and relatively young age, Keihan expects that the building will contribute favorably to our real estate business.

Keihan Group believes the recent downturn in the real estate market is the perfect opportunity to expand business, and will continue to actively obtain information on properties. Through investing in properties to expand the scale of our real estate business, we also hope to expand the geographical scope of our business.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 09:23 AM   #438
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Toyama Chitetsu loop line construction underway
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/toy...OYT8T00943.htm

Quote:
Completion of a loop route for the Toyama Chihō Railroad’s (Toyoma Chitetsu) Toyama City Line is proceeding full speed ahead within the center of Toyama City. The new track will open in late December, with city officials hoping that it will contribute to increased use of public transportation and the revitalization of the city center.

New track section
The creation of the loop requires the construction of approximately 940 m of new track from the Marunouchi intersection to the Nishichō intersection. The tram line is a split operations and maintenance structure, with the city responsible for track improvement while Toyama Chitetsu is responsible for operating the trains. The total construction cost for the project, paid for by the city, is approximately ¥3 billion.

Three new tram stops between Marunouchi and Nishichō will be constructed—Kokusai Kaigijō-mae (International Conference Center), Ōte Mall, and Grand Plaza-mae. Through increased transport use by local residents and increased visitors to the Daiwa Toyama Store and surrounding shopping district, the city is expecting an increase in ridership of 10 percent (approximately 1,000 passengers) over existing daily ridership.

Construction schedule
Track construction is currently proceeding at locations along the new section, including outside the International Conference Center. The new sections of rail will be delivered by the end of September, and tracklaying will be completed by the end of November, followed by construction of the new tram stops.

The rolling stock will be the same design as the Toyama Light Rail, with three new trams in white, black, and gold livery scheduled to be delivered to Toyama Chitetsu’s Minami-Toyama Car Center in mid-November. Operator training will begin after delivery of the trams, and once officials from the national and prefectural government have finished inspection, the new section will open for service in late December. Construction of pedestrian facilities around Nishichō will continue until the end of next March.

Fares and operating schedule
Toyama Chitetsu will decide the fare and operating schedule for the loop line, and has conceptually proposed one-way operation between Marunouchi and Nishichō, at headways of 10 to 15 minutes. Travel time between the two intersections will be approximately 20 minutes.

At a press conference on September 1, Mayor Mori Masashi expressed his expectation that the fare will be ¥200, consistent with the rest of the city’s existing tram network.

However, Chitetsu will introduce a new fare collection system using IC cards this fiscal year, and the city plans to request that a discount be provided for transfers from the Toyama Light Rail. Members of the City Council’s Public Works Committee commented, “Transferring from the Light Rail to the trams would require ¥800 total for a roundtrip. If the fares are too high, ridership won’t get very far.”

The City’s Streetcar Implementation Office responded, “There are also plans to create a north-south line through Toyama Station after the Hokuriku Shinkansen begins service. In order to create a public transportation system that is easy to use for city residents, we will be discussing operation plans, both for the trams, Light Rail, and buses.”
Toyama Chitetsu is a separate system from the Toyama Light Rail, although they both operate as trams within Toyama City.

Some scenes of operation:


Source: cattram on YouTube
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Old September 29th, 2009, 09:24 AM   #439
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Umeda North Yard redevelopment to become global information hotspot
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/s/article/...201000417.html

Quote:
In interviews with Kyōdō News, Japan Research Institute (JRI) Chairman Terashima Jitsurō (62 yo), who has been calling for the establishment of a thinktank for international issues—the Asia-Pacific Institute (API)—in the Umeda North Yard Redevelopment Area on the north side of JR Ōsaka Station, says he expects the North Yard area to become a “magnet for global information that attracts intellectual experts and forges new industries.”

The API is scheduled to be established as part of the North Yard’s main facility, the “Knowledge Capital.” The facility will feature portable devices that automatically translate between spoken Japanese, English, and Chinese and become a hotspot for research into pioneering technologies.

“Connections will be created between the API—a center for information exchange—and the multilingual research center,” says Terashima, stressing the importance of the Knowledge Capital facility. “If we can attract experts from overseas as well, we can accumulate a large base of knowledge and create new synergies.”

In September, Terashima was selected as a special advisor to Ōsaka City. When asked about the proposed relocation of the Ōsaka prefectural offices into the Ōsaka World Trade Center Building, Terashima approved of the relocation, responding, “It will be a real paradigm shift for all of us.”
A recent video of what the area looks like now, with all the construction going on, plus some clips of JR Ōsaka Station. The new station building under construction and the Umeda North Yard Redevelopment will transform this entire area.

Source: matu1511 on YouTube
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Old September 29th, 2009, 09:25 AM   #440
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Primary corridor between Hankyū Umeda and JR Ōsaka closes for construction
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/life/trend/...1423007-n1.htm

Quote:
Due to reconstruction for the Umeda flagship Hankyū Department Store (Kita Ward, Ōsaka), the passageway connecting JR Ōsaka Station and Hankyū Umeda Station was temporarily closed starting September 24. Commuters were forced to detour to the north side of the station, but no major problems occurred. The passageway will reopen when construction finishes in spring 2012.

The closed passageway is a 70 m long indoor corridor, and the one used by most passengers going between the two stations. The corridor is extremely busy, with approximately 7,000 people using the passageway during the peak hour from 8:00 am to 9:00 am on weekdays.

Hankyū Electic Railway, which maintains the corridor, began notifiying users of the closure approximately one month ago through banners and other means, and will temporarily deploy approximately 100 security guards for the first few days after the closure to guide passengers.

During the morning of September 24, a few office workers stopped short in their tracks when realizing the passageway was closed, but with security leading passengers to the detour routes, no major problems occurred.



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