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Old October 12th, 2009, 12:59 PM   #481
Sr.Horn
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Quashlo makes probably the best transport thread IN SSC. I follow very closely. I would like to collaborate but from Spain is currently difficult to follow the Japanese railways news :P

Congratz!
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Old October 18th, 2009, 11:29 PM   #482
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Chiba Monorail to receive new trains
http://rail.hobidas.com/news/info/article/107779.html

Quote:
Chiba Monorail has announced that it will replace the oldest vehicles in its current operating fleet, which have been running for 20 years since the start of service, with all new rolling stock.

The current plan is to introduce three trains (six cars total) by 2012, with the first train completed at the beginning of 2012 and entering revenue service the same year after operator training.

The structure of the new trains will be based on existing rolling stock, but will include necessary equipment and design features to meet barrier-free measures and new technological standards. As a “skyrail line,” the trains will be based on a design proposed by the Chiba Monorail New Rolling Stock Design Committee with sharp features and advanced technology that will make the trains a new symbol of Chiba.

Procurement cost: approx. ¥580 million (per 2-car train)
Manufacturer: Chiba Urban Monorail Rolling Stock Production Consortium (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Electric)

Main characteristics of new rolling stock:
  • Exterior design. Trains will be shaped as upside-down trapezoids to accentuate the unique qualities of suspended monorails. The profile wedge shape will be expressed in the design, creating a new image for Chiba City into the future.
  • Observation areas. Several features will allow passengers to enjoy the urban landscape beneath them, including expansion of the glass area separating the operator’s cab and passenger cabin.
  • Human comfort. The seats and floor will feature dark tones for a soothing interior, with orange accents to create a modern casual style. Seating comfort will be improved, using bench-style longitudinal bucket-type seats with a strong hold to prevent shoulder contact between passengers during acceleration and deceleration.
  • Safety measures. Trains will be equipped with automatic train control (ATC), which automatically maintains the train’s speed below the established limit. Black box equipment, which constantly records train status, as well as equipment to respond in operator-related emergencies will be installed. The train features improved fire resistance and other equipment to satisfy new safety standards.
  • Barrier-free. The trains will feature various barrier-free measures, such as information displays above doors with opening and closing chimes and creation of a utility space in the passenger area behind the operator’s cab that doubles as wheelchair space.
  • Environmental efficiency. The trains will feature Chiba Monorail’s first energy-efficient, lightweight, compact, and low-maintenance DC motors. The braking system utilizes regenerative braking to reduce net energy consumption. In addition, as a result of finer motor control with inverters, passenger comfort during acceleration and deceleration is also ensured, creating a high-quality transport option.
The new train is nicknamed the “UFO.”

Source: Chiba Urban Monorail

(Additional images in source link at top of post)
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Old October 18th, 2009, 11:29 PM   #483
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Ōta Ward launches community bus trial
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/to...702000077.html
http://www.tokyubus.co.jp/top/news/2009/1011_tama.html

Quote:
Starting October 11, Ōta Ward will launch its first community bus service, serving the Shimo-Maruko and Yaguchi districts in areas which previously lacked bus or rail service.

The new service is nicknamed Tamachan Bus and uses mini low-floor buses. The mascot of the new service is Tamachan, a seal, who is featured on the outside of the bus.

The route starts and begins from Musashi Nitta on the Tōkyū Tamagawa Line, traveling a 6.2 km loop route in 30 minutes. Buses will depart every 30 minutes, with 15 trips a day. Fares are a flat ¥150.

The bus company purchased the vehicle using funding provided by the ward government. In the event that the line’s operating budget goes in the red, the ward will also provide additional funding support. The service will run as a trial this year, and after analysis of ridership data and passenger surveys, could be converted to a regular service.

The two areas have seen population rise as housing has replaced former factories and industrial uses. The new service is the first fixed-route bus service in the area for years.
Google Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=3...,0.038238&z=15
The line will serve areas between the Tōkyū Tamagawa Line and the Tama River.

The bus is operated by Tōkyū Bus Corporation, and is very similar to the Hachikō Bus introduced for community service in Shibuya Ward, primarily aimed at seniors and other passengers with mobility issues.
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Old October 18th, 2009, 11:30 PM   #484
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Retirement of last Port Liner 8000 series fast approaching
http://osaka.yomiuri.co.jp/news/20091017-OYO1T00444.htm

Quote:
The first-generation 8000 series trains, which began service in 1981 for the Kōbe Portopia exposition on Kōbe’s Port Liner, the world’s first urban transport automated guideway transit (AGT), will run for the last time on November 8.

According to the line’s operator, Kōbe City-owned third-sector company Kōbe New Transit, replacement of the older trains with new stainless-steel 2000 series trains has been proceeding since 2006, with only a single 8000 series train (6 cars) left.

Starting from 10:30 am on November 8, a retirement ceremony will be held on the platforms at Sannomiya Station, and the last train will make its journey bound for Kōbe Airport. From 1:00 to 4:00 pm, a special photography session will be held inside the car depot on Port Island.
Old and new:

Source: Wikipedia

8000 series train at Sannomiya


HD cab view
Source: ishimako on YouTube

Kōbe Airport to Shimin Byōin-mae


Shimin Byōin-mae to Sannomiya
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Old October 18th, 2009, 11:30 PM   #485
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New train enters service on Shōnan Monorail; operations back to normal
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/ka...402000063.html

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The Shōnan Monorail connecting Ōfuna and Shōnan Enoshima introduced a new three-car train—known as a 5000 series train—to revenue service on October 13. The start of service for the new train marks the return to normal operations for the monorail a full one year and eight months after the February 2008 overrun incident at Nishi-Kamakura Station.

The monorail normally operates a fleet of seven trains (each train has three cars) with enough slack to handle routine vehicle maintenance, but as a result of the incident, the monorail was short one train.

After a full examination of the effects to the damaged train and consideration of safety countermeasures, the train involved in the accident is scheduled to reenter revenue service some time between the end of this year to the start of the new year.

At the ceremony for the new train held at Fukasawa Car Yard in Kamakura City, President Tanaka Kōji pledged a new start. “Taking a lesson from the accident, we will work together with our employees to ensure safe operations and regain the trust of our passengers,” said Tanaka.
Testing of the new 5000-series train, which sports a new green color scheme that distinguishes it from the rest of the fleet, which is red.

Source: miznetx on YouTube
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Old October 18th, 2009, 11:32 PM   #486
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Yotsubashi Line extension to Sakai City to be evaluated
http://osaka.yomiuri.co.jp/news/20091010-OYO1T00624.htm

Quote:
In order to push support behind the proposed relocation of the Ōsaka Prefectural Offices into the third-sector Ōsaka World Trade Center Building (WTC, Suminoe Ward, Ōsaka City), the Yumeshima – Sakishima Area Urban Planning Committee (Chairman: Ōsaka City mayor Hiramatsu Kunio)—formed of top representatives from prefectural and city government, as well as the financial world—have begun considering a possible extension of the Ōsaka Municipal Subway Yotsubashi Line (Nishi-Umeda – Suminoe Kōen) towards Sakai City. After Sakai City mayor Takeyama Osami was elected to his post for the first time thanks to support from Ōsaka Prefecture governor Hashimoto Tōru, the previously dormant expansion proposal has resurfaced. Consideration of the extension is expected to be agreed upon at the October 15 committee meeting, where members will debate towards a mid-term summary.

The extension of the Yotsubashi Line into Sakai City had originally been proposed by Ōsaka City. After the April 1987 extension of the Ōsaka Municipal Subway Midōsuji Line to Nakamozu Station (Kita Ward, Sakai City), however, Ōsaka City’s policy shifted from construction of new lines outside of city limits to prioritizing lines within city limits.

Sakai City officials later told representatives from Ōsaka City that they would be willing to take the project lead on the extension, but with ex-Sakai City mayor Kihara Keisuke focusing his efforts on constructing a new light-rail transit (LRT) line, the proposed Yotsubashi Line extension had effectively run into a dead end.

In the current version of the proposal, Sakai City would still become the project lead agency for the extension. Mayor Takeyama, who was inaguarated on October 8 and has historically called for a reevaluation of the proposed LRT line, has so far demonstrated a receptive attitude to the Yotsubashi Line extension. The extension alignment and funding arrangement is yet to be determined, but one proposed alignment would connect the Sakaihama area, home to Sharp’s new LCD panel manufacturing plant, with Ōsaka City.

In its mid-term summary, the Urban Planning Committee plans to place the Yotsubashi Line extension together with the extension of the JR Sakurajima Line to the WTC as the two primarily schemes for improving transport access to the area.

The mid-term summary will also identify reevaluation of the management scheme for the international exhibition center Intex Ōsaka as an issue to resolve. Currently, the facility is operated by a government-funded group headed by former top officials in Ōsaka City government, but prefectural and city officials, along with private sector interests are expected to draft a new framework with private sector leadership. Governor Hashimoto’s proposals for creation of casino and entertainment functions in the area will be identified as mid- to long-term issues.
Extending the Yotsubashi Line into Sakai City is not a direct connection to the WTC. Instead the extension would supposedly improve access to the WTC by allowing access to the area from Sakai City via a transfer to the Nankō Port Town Line (New Tram) at Suminoe Kōen.

Map:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...13&lci=transit
The group of red markers is the Sakaihama area. The WTC is in the upper left corner of the map, Suminoe Kōen is in the center.
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Old October 18th, 2009, 11:32 PM   #487
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New Sakai City mayor welcomes proposed Yotsubashi Line extension
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/region/kink...0216000-n1.htm

Quote:
On October 14, Sakai City mayor Takeyama Osami held his first regular press conference, expressing his pleasure at the Yumeshima – Sakishima Area Urban Planning Committee’s Mid-term Summary, which includes the extension of the Ōsaka Municipal Subway Yotsubashi Line (Nishi-Umeda – Sumiyoshi Kōen) into Sakai City. He further stressed his public promise to have city representatives allowed into the committee, saying, “As one of the local jurisdictions involved, Sakai City also hopes to be involved in committee discussions as quickly as possible.”

“The extension of the Yotsubashi Line is critical to revitalizing the whole Ōsaka Bay waterfront area. We hope to see the line extended to Sakai Station on the Nankai Main Line, helping to revitalize the Sakai Station area and developing a second urban node for the city alongside Sakai-Higashi Station,” remarked Mayor Takeyama. The expected cost of the extension, however, is ¥30 billion per km. With respect to funding contributions towards the project, Mayor Takeyama says, “Funding contribution will be a mid- to long-range issue for the next 10 to 20 years up until the opening of the extension, so we must ensure due diligence in analyzing the best way to use the tax money collected from city residents.”

In regards to the possible abandonment of the Hankai Line as a result of his mayoral campaign promise to suspend the proposed light-rail transit (LRT) line between Sakai Station and Sakai-Higashi Station, Mayor Takeyama expressed a receptive attitude towards funding assistance: “I would like to discuss the feasibility of keeping the line with Hankai Tramway. I’m a fan of the streetcars myself, so I want to ascertain how the city government can support the line.”

In response to the support of rival mayoral candidates by political and commercial groups affiliated with the Sakai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the mayor expressed his disapproval, saying, “It’s difficult not to see collusion with the political administration when a public agency with a public interest using taxes collected from city residents carries out political and election efforts with the express intent of supporting a specific mayoral candidate.”
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Old October 18th, 2009, 11:33 PM   #488
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Umeda North Yard redevelopment could house InterContinental Hotel
http://osaka.yomiuri.co.jp/eco/news/...OYO8T00240.htm

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On October 8, it was discovered that foreign luxury hotel operator InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) of the United Kingdom was in discussions with Mitsubishi Estate and other land development corporation alliances to open a hotel in the Umeda North Yard redevelopment area north of JR Ōsaka Station. According to representatives close to the project, IHG is aiming to open a hotel in 2012 in the upper levels of a 33-story tower to be built in the area. A total of four skyscrapers ranging from 33 to 50 stories will be built in the North Yard area.

IHG operates several hotel brands around the world, including Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn, but plans to open a hotel in the area under its luxury brand InterContinental Hotel.
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Old October 18th, 2009, 11:34 PM   #489
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Hankai Line in financial trouble after Sakai City LRT project evaporates
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/life/lifest...1519007-n1.htm

Quote:
On October 10, it was revealed that the 7.9 km Sakai City section of the Hankai Tramway (HQ: Ōsaka City) Hankai Line (Ōsaka – Sakai-shi), Ōsaka’s last streetcar, is currently being considered for elimination. The Hankai Line was originally planned to be upgraded and operated as part of a light-rail transit (LRT) system proposed by Sakai City. In the city’s September mayoral elections, however, new mayor Takeyama Osami was elected. Mayor Takeyama has said he plans on putting a halt to the LRT plan, leaving the Hankai Line, which already operates at a deficit, with few remaining options. At the current pace, the tramway is facing a crisis and will likely go bankrupt in 2010 or 2011, with company representatives saying they would have little choice but to abandon the line without strong financial support.

The Hankai Line is the descendant of the former Hankai Electric Tramway established in 1910, and is a 14.1 km streetcar route running from Ebisuchō in Naniwa Ward, Ōsaka City to Hamadera-eki-mae Station in Hamadera Kōen-chō, Sakai City. The line has been serving Sakai City residents for close to 100 years as everyone’s “neighborhood streetcar.”

Due to a series of factors including the spread of private automobiles, however, ridership has dropped. In particular, the section of the line inside Sakai City suffers from a substantial operating deficit, and in 2003, Hankai Tramway submitted a memorandum of understanding to City officials stating its desire to “abandon the non-profitable section inside Sakai City.” In 2004, the city announced a policy to strengthen its funding support for the line.

In 2007, it was decided that Phase 1 of the proposed LRT line through central Sakai City would be operated by Hankai Tramway and parent company Nankai Electric Railway. Tramway representatives and city officials negotiated to improve the Hankai Line as part of the LRT project.

Agreement was generally being reached on a structure of public ownership and private operation. The tramway would hand over ownership of the tracks, rolling stock, and other tramway facilities and loan out land to the city, while the tramway would operate the services. There were additional proposals to convert the Hankai Line section to low-floor light-rail vehicles (LRVs).

However, new mayor Takeyama has called for a stop to the LRT project. “I want to keep the Hankai Line as is, but it’s not something that the city can do alone,” says the mayor, indicating a delicate situation for the portion of the project dealing with the Hankai Line.

Hankai Tramway’s tramway operations posted a ¥213 million operating deficit for the year ending March 2008. The section inside Sakai City actually posted an operating deficit of ¥221 million, snuffing out the minimal surplus earned by the company’s lines within Ōsaka City. “Without the public-private partnership originally proposed, we would have no choice but to abandon the line,” says Hankai Tramway President Yamamoto Takurō with a grim face.
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Old October 18th, 2009, 11:35 PM   #490
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Art installation program along Tōkyū Tamagawa Line wins award
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/to...102000056.html

Quote:
The Tamagawa Art Line Project Committee (Ōta Ward, Tōkyō), which brings modern art to train stations and neighborhoods, has received the 2009 Mécénet Award for Regional Network, given to corporations that have made a contribution to the promotion of the fine arts.

The committee’s parent entity is a non-profit organization composed of local corporations and individuals. The ten art pieces are primarily displayed at seven locations along the Tōkyū Tamagawa Line and include a stained glass installation at Tōkyū Kamata Station.

The project began in 2007, with artists who had ties to particular stations displaying their artwork. One work featured a special train featuring rainbow stripes running in revenue service. Last year, the program’s coverage was expanded, with installations in Haneda Airport and works by artists from China and Korea. This year, the program will install works at local factories based on the theme of “Art in Factory.”

The Mécénet Awards are given out by the Association for Corporate Support of the Arts (Chiyoda Ward, Tōkyō), and are usually awarded to individual corporations as opposed to group entities. The award ceremony will be held on November 27.

“I’m pleased to see that efforts related to urban and community design receive the award. I hope the local individuals and artists who have supported us until now take the award as a sign of our gratitude,” says Committee Director Tanaka Hirohito. A consolidated symposium for the last three years will take place next March and will look to establish a framework for extending the system to a fourth year and beyond.
“Rainbow Steps” (Tamagawa Station):
http://tamagawa-art-line.jp/2007/10/rainbow_steps.html

“Yamai” (tearoom inside Tamagawa Station):
http://tamagawa-art-line.jp/2007/10/post_17.html

“Musical Register of Time” (Numabe Station):
http://tamagawa-art-line.jp/2007/10/post_15.html

“Nagori-isu – made in Ota” (Musashi Nitta Station):
http://tamagawa-art-line.jp/2007/10/...de_in_ota.html

“Infinity Light” (Kamata Station):
http://tamagawa-art-line.jp/2007/10/infinity_light.html

“Rainbow Train”:
http://tamagawa-art-line.jp/2007/10/rainbow_train.html
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Old October 18th, 2009, 11:36 PM   #491
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Seibu Chichibu Line celebrates 40th anniversary
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/sa...002000081.html

Quote:
On October 14, the Seibu Chichibu Line will celebrate its 40th anniversary since beginning service. At the time, the Chichibu area lacked a direct rail connection at the time, despite being only 70 km from central Tōkyō. Currently, Red Arrow limited express trains join Seibu Chichibu Station and Seibu Ikebukuro Station on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line in 78 minutes, creating an artery that connects Chichibu to the central city.

In 1953, local jurisdictions including Chichibu City formed the Working Group for Construction of the Seibu Railway Chichibu Line and began efforts to gather support for the project. In 1961, Seibu Railway received permission to begin construction of the line, with work officially beginning in July 1967.

The line stretches approximately 19 km from Agano Station in Hannō City to Seibu Chichibu Station in Chichibu City. A total of five new stations were constructed, including Seibu Chichibu Station. As the line runs through mountain areas, there are sixteen tunnels scattered along the line, reaching a total of 7.8 km in length—nearly half the length of the line. After construction was complete, direct service from Seibu Chichibu Station to Ikebukuro Station (76.8 km) began.

A grand opening ceremony was held at Seibu Chichibu Station on October 13, 1969, with about 1,500 people attending, including Princess Chichibu Setsuko of the Japanese Royal Family. The line opened for service the next day, official Railway Day.

Daily ridership (entries and exits) at Seibu Chichibu Station during the starting years of the service was approximately 4,500, which has since grown to 7,500 in 2008. Despite a population decline, ridership has been increasing, hinting at a large share of riders who are tourists from central Tōkyō. In addition, commuting workers and students bound for central Tōkyō, Tokorozawa, and Hannō have been increasing by the year.

“With a direct connection between Ikebukuro and Chichibu, which is rich in natural beauty, the increased cultural and economic exchange in tourism and other industries is something we can’t forget,” says Ogino Kunio, director of the Chichibu Sightseeing Association.

To celebrate the Chichibu Line’s 40th anniversary, the preserved end of a first-generation Red Arrow train, which ran from the start of service until 1996, will be on display at the Village Plaza at Seibu Chichibu Station until the end of October.
Chichibu is a small city (pop. ~70,000) in western Saitama Prefecture, located in the mountains northwest of the Kantō Plain, which houses most of the rest of Tōkyō’s population. The Seibu Chichibu Line is itself almost an extension of the Ikebukuro Line, although only limited express “Chichibu” services (using Red Arrow trains) and a couple weekend rapid expresses make the journey all the way to / from Ikebukuro Station. Most other services are local trains that run between Seibu Chichibu and Hannō, where passengers can transfer to Ikebukuro Line trains and through-service trains onto the Tōkyō Metro Fukutoshin Line and Yūrakuchō Line. A handful of services also run through-service onto the Chichibu Railway at the other end, Seibu Chichibu. Service is generally three to four trains per hour.

Window views:
Source: takedanobuharu on YouTube
Seibu Chichibu to Yokoze: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUo7fF4wU8M&hd=1
Nishi-Agano to Agano: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MP1Kz8DAGcc&hd=1
Agano to Higashi-Agano: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-AcSR5Cv2g&hd=1
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Old October 18th, 2009, 11:37 PM   #492
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Senseki Line 103 series to be retired
http://rail.hobidas.com/news/info/article/107654.html

Quote:
The last remaining unit of JR East’s 103 series trains, which held down lines in Greater Tōkyō, currently operates as a four-car train on the Senseki Line.

The train was popular on the Senseki Line as the “Blue Train,” and was used by both commuters to work and school, as well as visitors to Matsushima. This 103 series train, which has earned the affection of many people along the Senseki Line, will be retired from regular service on October 21.
The Senseki Line (52 km) is part of JR East’s network in Miyagi Prefecture and serves Sendai City, Matsushimachō, and Ishinomaki City. During the peak hour, frequency is 10 tph, off-peak is 4 to 6 tph. The line is underground in central Sendai, between Aoba-dōri and Rikuzen – Haranomachi. Close to 3,500 cars were produced between 1963 and 1984, becoming one of the workhorses of JNR’s operations in the Tōkyō and Ōsaka area. In Tōkyō, the last line to retire the units was the Jōban Line, which kept running them until as late as 2006. The unit on the Senseki Line is the last of these 103 series from the Tōkyō area still operated by JR East. Interestingly enough, several of JR East’s units were transferred to PT Kereta Api (public railway operator in Indonesia) for commuter service in the Jakarta area. Units of this series also continue to operate across JR West’s network in Ōsaka and other cities.

Arriving and departing Aoba-dōri.

Source: ayokoi on YouTube

Between Geba and Nishi-Shiogama.

Source: ayokoi on YouTube

JNR 103 series trains in action in Greater Tōkyō:

Keihin-Tōhoku Line. Also notice that the Yamanote Line trains in the video are still only 10 cars and have no six-door cars.

Source: wo8279 on YouTube

Racing on the Jōban Line. It’s surprising to think that these lasted until 2006. Everything from the motor sounds to a full-body paint scheme have largely disappeared from JR East's commuter trains in the Tōkyō area.

Source: OCHANEZU on YouTube
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Old October 18th, 2009, 11:38 PM   #493
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Chiba’s 113 series will disappear soon
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/life/trend/...1601004-n1.htm

Quote:
Another storied train is about to disappear from Chiba Prefecture.

Starting in October, JR East will replace inner-suburban 113 series trains on the Sōbu Main Line, Narita Line, Uchibō Line, and Sotobō Lines with newer commuter-style trains. According to JR East’s Chiba Branch Office, the aging 113 series units are scheduled to be completely replaced by the newer trains by the end of 2011.

The trains to be retired from regular service include 113 series trains which began production in 1963 and entered service on the Chiba area lines six years later, as well as 211 series trains which began production in 1960 and entered service in the Chiba area in 2006.

The trains will be replaced by 209 series trains.

The 113 series features cars with three doors per side and is a classic example of the inner-suburban trains used on mid-distance services. The trains featured rollsigns and Japanese-style toilets, with both side-facing and box-style seating. The box seating was popular among tourists and visitors, offering a place to eat and drink.

During its heyday, the 113 series even ran on the Tōkaidō Line and Yokosuka Line.

Editor Imazu Naohisa of railway magazine Railway Pictorial says, “The 113 series was one of the standard trains of the Japanese National Railways (JNR) era, and a large number of units were produced. The ends of the train featured three windows side-by-side—a unique design that endeared it to many fans.”

The project manager at JR East’s Chiba Branch Office says the replacement trains will feature four doors per side and help reduce overcrowding, but with the loss of yet another unique train, Imazu says he expects railfans to be making more trips to the Chiba area.
In Yokosuka colors at Chiba Station, bound for Katsuura Station on the Sotobō Line:

Source: Wikipedia

A 113 series train (11+4) in the traditional green-and-orange Shōnan livery. These two color schemes are still used on newer stock. Here, the unit is traveling between Kawasaki and Shinagawa on the Tōkaidō Line, bearing a headmark commemorating the last days of 113 service on the Tōkaidō Line.

Source: Wikipedia

Clips of Tōkaidō Line 113 series.

Source: KEYOHH on YouTube

At JR’s underground platforms at Tōkyō Station on the Sōbu Line (rapid) / Yokosuka Line.

Source: kuroshio381 on YouTube

The replacements, renovated 209 series units have already begun entering service. Here, a train in 4+6 configuration departs Chiba.

Source: KomakiManaka1541 on YouTube
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Old October 18th, 2009, 11:39 PM   #494
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Call for greater action after Tamagawa Station wheelchair incident
http://www.asahi.com/national/update...910130084.html

Quote:
In an incident last September at Tamagawa Station (Ōta Ward, Tōkyō) on the Tōkyū Tōyoko Line where an 81yo female passenger in a wheelchair fell off the platform and died the next day, efforts by Tōkyū Corporation to warn passengers about the unusually steep 2.5 percent slope were insufficient. Installation of platform doors that only open when trains have arrived at the platform are ideal, but through-servicing has proved an obstacle to implementation due to trains with different door locations. As a result, railway companies are having difficulties coming up with countermeasures to prevent incidents.

According to Tōkyū Corporation and the Den’en Chōfu Precinct of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), the incident occurred on the outbound platform at around 4:30 PM on September 13. The victim, whose wheelchair was being guided by her eldest daughter (61yo), boarded the elevator from the first-floor concourse, alighting at the platforms on the second floor of the station. The daughter stationed the wheelchair facing the edge of the platform and let go of the handles to press the “close” button on the elevator for passengers waiting on the concourse level. After releasing the handles, the wheelchair began to drift towards the edge of the platform, traveling 5 m along the platform before falling off the edge and onto the tracks 1.2 m below.

Platforms are generally designed with a slight slope towards the edge to help with drainage, and according to Tōkyū Corporation, the average slope is 1 percent (a 1 cm drop per 1 horizontal meter). Because of track curves, trains at the station cant in towards the platform, and to level the height difference between the train floor and platform, the platform was designed with a steeper slope of 2.5 percent.

On September 25, 2007, another female passenger (95yo) in a wheelchair fell off the platform near the same elevator, suffering a broken left leg. Similar to the recent case, the incident occurred when a family member who was guiding the wheelchair released the handles. When the family members admitted that they had forgotten to set the brake on the wheelchair, Tōkyū did not thoroughly consider the danger of the platform’s slope, only verbally instructing station staff to warn passengers in wheelchairs. The MPD is currently investigating Tōkyū’s response to the 2007 case.

“It was oversight on our part for not realizing that passengers weren’t aware of the platform slope. We should have taken countermeasures after the 2007 incident,” admits Ōta Masafumi, executive manager of Tōkyū’s Railway Operations Department.

After the latest incident, Tōkyū has placed a 1.2 m tall, 5.5 m wide barrier between the elevator and the platform edge to prevent passengers from falling. By November, barriers will also be placed at seven other stations with slopes greater than 2 percent, including Naka-Meguro, Jiyūgaoka, Shin-Maruko, and Musashi Kosugi on the Tōyoko Line, and Shibuya, Saginuma, and Nagatsuta on the Den’en Toshi Line.

Platform doors—obstacles remain

After the Transportation Accessibility Law (now the New Accessibility Law) entered effect starting November 2000, installation of elevators and leveling of height differences has been proceeding at stations across the country. According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), approximately 70 percent of stations with 5,000 or more average daily users had received modifications as of March 2009. As a result, passengers in wheelchairs can now access areas inside the station without substantial help from other people.

According to MLIT ordinances, the standard for platform slope for drainage is 1 percent, to allow passengers in wheelchairs safe and easy use of the platform. However, when necessary due to structural or design constraints, the MLIT permits greater degrees of platform slope.

Incidents of platform falls as a result of slope have occurred with other railway companies—all occurring when the passenger guiding the wheelchair released the handles.

According to JR East, in August 2008, a passenger in a wheelchair who had disembarked from a train at Kami-Suwa Station (Suwa City, Nagano Prefecture) on the Chūō Line fell off the platform and onto the tracks while still in the wheelchair. The slope on the platform was 1.4 percent. In 2002, a wheelchair at Ueno Hirokōji Station (Taitō Ward, Tōkyō) on the Tōkyō Metro Ginza Line proceeded down a 1.7 percent slope. The victim was thrown onto the tracks and suffered minor injuries. Tōkyō Metro is currently installing pathways and barriers parallel to the trackway at elevator entrances on platforms with slopes of more than 2 percent.

Kawachi Yoshihiko (56yo), a professor of life design at Tōyō University and director of the Japanese Association for an Inclusive Society, has been using a wheelchair on public transport for 36 years. He says that even a 1 percent slope can cause wheelchairs to begin moving.

Kawachi says that the most effective solution to prevent platform falls is platform doors. But each company’s trains are designed to different standards and feature different door locations, posing a problem when different companies operate through-services. As a result, little progress has been made in their installation.

It’s also not uncommon for similar accidents to occur with baby strollers. “Railway companies need to double their efforts to prevent platform falls for all passengers, including passengers in wheelchairs or passengers with baby strollers. I can only hope that passengers also understand that platforms can be dangerous places,” says Kawachi.


The platform at Tamagawa Station from which the female victim fell off. After the incident, a barrier was installed and security guards were stationed at the platform.
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Old October 18th, 2009, 11:40 PM   #495
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High school students create book on 201 series
http://www.asahi.com/travel/news/TKY200910130093.html

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The last of the 201 series trains on the JR Chūō Line are set to be retired by next year. Seven high school students at Kyōritsu Women’s Academy in Chiyoda Ward, Tōkyō have created a picture book about the 201 series trains, nicknamed the “orange trains.” The seven young girls spent a year interviewing people to gather stories for the book, which features text and pictures they created on their own.

The book is called Do You Remember the Orange Trains?. The story takes place on a 201 series train that has departed Tōkyō Station bound for Takao Station, soon to be retired. Representatives with the project described the book, page by page: one man who boards one car in the train reminisces of his college years when he commuted on the train, while in another car, a JR employee teaches children about the unique qualities of the 201 series, such as low energy consumption and high reliability. The pages feature images created using colored pencils.

Students from the academy use trains on the Chūō Line at least several times a year for sports competitions and fieldtrips, boarding from nearby Ochanomizu Station. There are students at the academy who also use it regularly to commute to campus. After learning that the 201 series would soon be taken out of service, geography teacher Ikesue Kazuyuki (39yo) brainstormed the idea of producing a picture book.

When he called for volunteers to help, the seven students responded. One is a regular user of the Chūō Line. None of the students are railfans, but they all felt a special attachment to the orange 201 series trains. “I want young kids to know about the orange trains,” says senior Morita Narumi. Okuda Nana says, “I hope adults can look at the book and remember when they used to ride the trains.”

The group interviewed with 13 people, including former chief engineer and JR Shikoku president Matsuda Kiyohiro, a former editor of a railway magazine, and a former employee at a noodle shop at Musashi Koganei Station. The interviews filled over six sheets of A4 paper per person. With the basic rules of 150 characters or less and the use of words that children could understand, the students constructed their stories one a time. After coming together to discuss the images and composition for the picture book, students who were applying to art colleges created the illustrations for the book.

Through her interviews, senior Bandō Saori learned that the 201 series was a revolutionary “high-tech train” for its time. “It was difficult to write it in a way that young kids could understand, but when I did a trial reading at a nursery school, the children immediately recognized the trains and enjoyed the story,” she says.
The picture book is posted online at:
http://chienomi.net/201_remember/

These trains first entered service in 1979. Only two remain in service, holding on as supplemental trains while elevation of the Chūō Line tracks from Mitaka to Kokubunji continues.

Source: RAILWAYMOVIES on YouTube

Window view of Chūō Line rapid from Tōkyō to Shinjuku.

Source: seigen120kaihin on YouTube
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Old October 18th, 2009, 11:41 PM   #496
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Stronger countermeasures needed against typhoons
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/life/lifest...0820002-n1.htm

Quote:
On October 8, Typhoon No. 18 traversed the length of the country, the first in two years. In the Tōkyō area, JR East, which has strict standards with regards to winds, was forced to cancel much of its services. But as most of the nearby private railways continued service, regular users of JR trains have begun to raise questions. Railways are built upon convenience and safety first, but with standards and weather impacts differing from line to line, passengers will likely be forced to accept the resulting temporary delays.

No unified standard
According to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Typhoon No. 18 came closest to Tōkyō between 9:00 and 10:00 am on October 8. In the capital region, the JR Yamanote Line came to a complete halt a little after 8:00 am, when windspeed exceeded safe limits. Tōkaidō, Chūō, Keihin-Tōhoku, Saikyō… One after another, JR’s main lines—the arteries of Greater Tōkyō—came to a screeching halt, with the chaos continuing into the afternoon.

On the other side, the private railway lines were largely in regular service, despite a few delays and cancelled services as a result of overcrowding as passengers detoured from JR.

The root cause of the situation is JR East’s stricter regulations on windspeed following the Uetsu Line derailment in Yamagata Prefecture in 2005, when a limited express train derailed and turned over, leaving five passengers dead. JR East increased its anemometer installations, revising the standard from “slow operations at windspeed 25 mps or greater, full stop at greater than 30 mps” to “slow operations at windspeed 20 mps or greater, full stop at greater than 25 mps.”

According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), the situation differs depending on several factors such as location and car design, so each railway company defines their own standard. There is also no unified standard for the installation of anemometers.

“The situation for JR and the situation for private railways is different,” explains railway journalist Umehara Atsushi. According to Umehara, JR generally has longer distances between stations than the private railways, so station staff only have visibility over a limited area. As a result, it takes a substantial amount of time to verify whether or not trains can run safely on the track. In addition, JR has many long-distance lines such as the Shōnan-Shinjuku Line running from Kanagawa Prefecture to Tochigi and Gunma Prefectures. When windspeeds exceed limits on even a portion of the line, the entire line grinds to a halt.

In regards to JR East’s response in the latest typhoon, Umehara applauded the company for taking safety first, but didn’t fail to point out the critical need for the company to strengthen its countermeasures, such as installation of wind fences on lines that are particularly susceptible to wind.

What about rain?
In the latest typhoon, wind was the main source of damage, but when rain falls, it’s subways that can be affected.

“Water stops are installed at subway station entrances and exits, designed to prevent water from entering even if there is substantial water present around it,” says Tōkyō Metro’s public relations section. In addition to sealing ventilation shafts that open onto the sidewalk to prevent water from flooding the subway, drainage pumps are installed in the event that water makes its way into the tunnels.

But Umehara says, “When it’s completely flooded outside, it’s uncertain just how effective the pumps will be.” In addition, in the event of “guerilla rains”—unlike typhoons, which can be foreseen—it’s possible that the countermeasures may not be initiated in time.

Tōkyō Metro’s PR representatives respond, “In order to act as quickly as possible against heavy downpours, our system receives information every two-and-a-half minutes from the Japan Weather Association.” Special hazard maps have been created for each station, and representatives say the railway is undertaking special effort to ensure a quick response.

JR West runs without hitch
In the Kansai area, with a mix of JR and private railway lines similar to the Tōkyō area, what effect did Typhoon No. 18 have?

According to JR West, the company’s windspeed limits are virtually identical to those of JR East, and there are a large number of areas where service will stop at windspeeds of 25 mps. Outside of a reduced number of trains and temporary service disruptions, however, JR West’s primary lines did not see any full-blown cancellations the morning of October 8.

“Typhoons have a tendency for stronger winds on the right side of the typhoon’s trajectory. As a result, the Kantō area especially experienced higher winds when the typhoon passed on the left,” say representatives from the JMA.


All JR service out of Tōkyō Station, with the exception of the Shinkansen, saw cancelled service. Passengers gathered at the faregate area to find out the established alternative routes and ask for certificates to prove that service was delayed.


The frenzied South Exit of Shinjuku Station after cancelled services on all of JR’s lines. Departure times have disappeared from the schedule boards above.
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Old October 18th, 2009, 11:42 PM   #497
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Major step in elevation of JR Urawa Station to be completed in December
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/sa...602000154.html

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In the JR Urawa Station elevation project, begun in 2001, construction for the new Ueno-bound platforms for the Utsunomiya Line and Takasaki Line is largely finished, with the switch from old to new tracks scheduled to occur after the last train on December 19 and through the night until the following day December 20. After grade-separation of the Keihin-Tōhoku Line tracks and platforms was completed in May 2008, the Ueno-bound platforms of the Utsunomiya Line and Takasaki Line will be switched to the new elevated platforms. Completion means one more step towards the realization of local residents’ long-desired wish of improving traffic connections between the east and west sides of the station, originally separated by the tracks.

The series of construction works will be over when platforms are completed on the two passing tracks west of the station to allow the Shōnan-Shinjuku Line to serve the station, with Saitama City and JR East emphasizing that the full completion of the project is still scheduled for Spring 2013.

According to JR East, the last piece in the elevation of the Ueno-bound platforms and tracks on the Utsunomiya Line and Takasaki Line involves joining the elevated track to the existing track. The nighttime construction job in December will require closing off Urawa Station and bringing in approximately 1,000 construction workers. The work will require using crowbars to remove several hundred meters of track and ties, but to ensure precision to the millimeter level, approximately 50 workers will be on hand to help position the track.

The next stage of the project involves elevation of the Ōmiya-bound platforms for the Utsunomiya Line and Takasaki Line, to be completed by March of next year. Afterwards, work will begin on constructing the new platforms for the Shōnan-Shinjuku Line, a central faregate area, and an east-west public passageway that will allow easy access through Urawa Station. The existing Nakamachi Pedestrian Subway on the north side of the station, which dives steeply below the tracks, will be redesigned to run at ground level. The Tajima – Ōmaki route on the south side of the station will be expanded to 25 m in width as a four-lane roadway.

The focus of the grade-separation project is revitalization of a neighborhood that was originally split in two by the tracks. However, no specific gameplan has yet been created for what to do with the area, a key gateway for the capital of Saitama Prefecture.

The Saitama City Urban Master Plan (drafted in 2005) makes only vague references to the Urawa Station area, calling for “continuing development of the area as an urban node, with an appearance befitting of a major school town.” As for the urban reconstruction east and west of the station, the plan calls for “encouraging commercial and business uses, cultural and social uses, as well as urban residential uses, to help create a new node of activity”—in other words, the area is proposed for anything and everything.

Daily entries and exits at the station in 2008 were approximately 160,000, playing second fiddle to the larger stations in Saitama, including Ōmiya and Kawaguchi. The grade-separation and construction of new Shōnan-Shinjuku Line platforms is a complicated, 10-year effort with a pricetag of approximately ¥40.5 billion, but in this year’s mayoral elections in May, the project was largely a non-issue.

With the elevation of the station, a large amount of space will be freed below the elevated tracks. The ultimate fate of this “prime real estate” is up to JR and the City. When asked, City representatives bluntly responded, “The fate of the space will be decided after discussions.” Project completion is fast approaching, only four years from now.
I posted some pictures of this project under the following:
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?p=39818864

I had a chance to visit this in May as well, so I can post some more recent pictures later.
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Old October 18th, 2009, 11:42 PM   #498
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Tōshiba Finance to introduce Suica-compatible employeed IDs
http://www.jreast.co.jp/press/2009/20091009.pdf

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As part of the relocation of its headquarters this coming November, Tōshiba Finance Corporation (President: Kawai Shinzō; HQ: Chūō Ward, Tōkyō) will introduce “Suica-compatible Employee IDs,” which double as IC-card employee identification and as Suica cards, with commuter pass and regular ticket functionality, as well as electronic money functionality. East Japan Railway Company (JR East) (President: Seino Satoshi; HQ: Shibuya Ward, Tōkyō) will sell the cards, with Tōshiba Plant Systems & Services Corporation (President: Ishii Tetsuo; HQ: Ōta Ward, Tōkyō) assisting the data management and coordination, as well as implementation.

The Suica-compatible Employee ID is a combination of IC-card employee identification and Suica. Through the consolidation of these two functions in one card, cardholders can use it as a commuter pass or regular train ticket (commuter pass information is printed on the face of the card), as well as electronic money at Suica-accepting member stores both inside and outside stations. As an official form of employee identification, the card carries information about the cardholder and can be used for management of entry and exit in restricted areas as well as print control.

As a result, employees of Tōshiba Finance will be able to use the card not only as a security card for entering and exiting headquarters, but also as a commuter pass or regular train ticket, and as Suica electronic money.

With respect to the card’s function as employee identification, Tōshiba Finance will introduce cardholder verification in print control, computer login systems, and other systems at the headquarters office. In particular, the print control function will help to substantially reduce the number of fax machines, printers, and combined print production units, as well as the amount of printed paper, resulting in large cost savings.
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Old October 18th, 2009, 11:43 PM   #499
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Events celebrate 100th anniversary of Yamanote Line naming
http://www.asahi.com/national/update...910140176.html

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The Yamanote Line, which runs in a loop around central Tōkyō, is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its naming. Completing a full circle along the 34.5 km route in about an hour, the Yamanote Line is the artery of the capital, used by several million passengers daily. October 14 is officially Railway Day, which celebrates the opening of Japan’s first railway in 1872 between Shinbashi and Yokohama. JR East is launching a large-scale campaign to commemorate these historic events.

According to JR East, the concepts for the 100th Anniversary campaign are “bright,” “fun,” and “clean.” Tanabe Shigeru, President of JR East’s Tōkyō Branch Office, says, “The Yamanote Line is a mainstay of our revenue stream. We want to thank all the passengers who have used the trains up until now.”

“Bright” means running the lights on in-station advertisement boards until the last train. There are approximately 2,800 advertisement boards across the 29 stations on the Yamanote Line, but up until now, empty boards were turned off at 11:00 pm. But with the recession in full gear, unsold advertising board space has risen from 9.6 percent in 2007 to 13.3 percent. As a result, passengers complained that stations were too dark.

In addition, installation of blue light-emitting diode (LED) illumination at platforms at all stations on the line will be complete by the end of the month. The advertisement boards and blue LED lighting increases safety by making stations brighter, and hopefully will help prevent suicide attempts on the line, which have increased by 60 percent in three years.

“Fun” means the release of the “Yamanote Line Pass” for use on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays in October (adult ¥480, child ¥100). The pass is valid for one day, allowing unlimited travel on JR lines within the Yamanote Line loop. In-station retail tenants including bentō (boxed meal) sellers and outlets of convenience store Newdays are offering various discounts based on the theme of “100.”

A “Reprint Wrap Train” featuring old JNR livery for the Yamanote Line began running in September and will continue until December 4. JR East has also launched a “Touch Rally” for the entire month, allowing passengers to be placed in a lottery to win special commemorative goods when visiting five stations on the Yamanote Line using contactless IC card Suica.

“Clean” means frequent cleaning of refuse at stations and on tracks by station agents and employees of station retail tenants.

Yamanote Line
The Yamanote Line was officially named by the Railway Bureau (predecessor of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism) on October 12, 1909 after combining the Shinagawa Line (Shinagawa – Shinjuku – Akabane), the Toshima Line (Ikebukuro – Tabata), and a cargo branch line (Ōsaki – Ōi Junction).

In 1925, elevation of the Ueno – Akihabara – Tōkyō section was completed and full loop operations began. The brown-colored trains which ran for over half a century starting before the war were replaced in 1963 with trains bearing the symbol color of the line, lime green. In 1971, the alternative pronunciation of “Yamate Line” was dropped and the name consolidated under “Yamanote Line.”

Currently, the first trains depart from Ikebukuro Station and Ōsaki Station around 4:30 am. The last trains at these stations are after 1:00 am. The Yamanote Line runs at 2m 30s frequencies during the rush hour commute periods, and features only one at-grade crossing, between Komagame and Tabata. Among station advertisement fees, Shinjuku and Shibuya are tops, above Tōkyō Station.
Yamanote Line HD cab view (counterclockwise loop)
This was filmed during track construction work on the Yokosuka Line as part of the new Musashi Kosugi Station. As a result, Yokosuka Line and Shōnan-Shinjuku Line service was altered, so the automatic announcements are turned off and announcements are handled by the conductor.
Source: nimo5 on YouTube

Ikebukuro to Shibuya


Shibuya to Shinagawa


Shinagawa to Tōkyō


Tōkyō to Tabata


Tabata to Ikebukuro
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Old October 18th, 2009, 11:44 PM   #500
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The ever-present Yamanote Line: Part 1
Noodle shop stories at Shinagawa Station platform

http://mytown.asahi.com/tokyo/news.p...00550910100002

Quote:
Irasshaimase!

After diving underneath the noren curtains outside the restaurant’s entrance, a small woman at the counter greets me in a pleasant voice. In the next moment, her eyes moved to the ticket in my hand. After shouting my order, a team of three in the kitchen began moving.

For soba, she dips the noodles in boiling water, transfers it to a bowl, places the condiments, and dashes some broth on top—a process that takes 20 seconds. The team responds quickly to any order on the 30-dish menu: udon, rice bowls, curry.

“Speed is especially important for our shop,” says manager Sonobe Yoshiko (68yo), who has been working in this standing soba noodle shop at Shinagawa Station owned by Tokiwaken for 33 years. As a “charismatic shop owner,” she has been invited by other companies in the industry to work for them, recognizing her skills in food service. Eleven years ago, she began working at the shop located on the Yamanote Line platforms at the station.

The turnover is as fast as the Yamanote Line. Including the kitchen, the shop covers barely 30 sq m on the platform. There’s only space for 10 customers at a time, but according to Sonobe, “During the morning rush hour, passengers will get off the train, order something, finish their meal in two to three minutes, and get on the next train.” With the 2003 start of Shinkansen service at the station, she says transferring passengers with an eye on their watches have also increased.

Every morning, she leaves her home in Ōta Ward before 4:00 am and begins preparations at 5:00. Between the six Tokiwaken-owned standing soba restaurants at Shinagawa Station, the flavor of the broth is actually different for each shop. At the Yamanote Line shop, Sonobe does the seasoning.

“The secret is in extracting the bonito broth used used for the noodle sauce. I make it a little milder,” she says.

After opening at 6:00 am, the peak for breakfast customers continues until 7:30. Lunch is between 11:30 and 1:30 pm. Throwing in breaks in the middle, she serves an average of 300 customers a day until 2:00pm.

Sonobe is standing the whole time. Since she uses fire, she keeps the temperature around 40℃. With having to wash the dishes, clean the tables, and maintain the ticket machine, she has little time for breathers. When she suffered a stroke 20 years ago, she was back on the job after a three-month period in the hospital rehabilitating. “It’s busy, but I enjoy what I do. As long as the customers keep coming, I’ll keep working,” she says.

The most popular dish on the menu is ¥420 tempura fritter soba. Perhaps a result of increased fast food shops everywhere, students coming to her shop have decreased, with most of her customers being men aged 30 to 50 dressed in suit and tie.

“The small chit-chat with customers I don’t recognize is the best. During the mornings, I feel like their mother or wife, sometimes. In the past, it was probably much slower-paced… Nowadays, there’s a lot of customers who don’t say much,” she says with a lonely look on her face.


Sonobe Yoshiko watches as her first customer of the morning finishes his extra-large order of soba.
These standing noodle shops for soba and udon are not uncommon at major stations and are popular “fast food.”
They’re found both on the train platforms and in the concourse areas of stations.

At Aoto Station on the Keisei Line:
image hosted on flickr

Source: eveco.tw on Flickr

At Numazu Station (Shizuoka Prefecture) on the Tōkaidō Line:
image hosted on flickr

Source: cyawan on Flickr
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