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Old June 4th, 2013, 10:27 PM   #5541
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Umegle off to a good start
エリア巡回「うめぐるバス」、運行開始から1カ月-滑り出し好調

http://umeda.keizai.biz/headline/1592/

Umegle, the shuttle bus service launched a month ago to serve the new Ume-Kita area north of Ōsaka / Umeda Station, is doing well, with many of the passengers getting on / off at Grand Front Ōsaka (the newly-opened redevelopment project), JR Ōsaka Station, and Hankyū Umeda Station. The service makes 12 stops on a one-way, 4-km, 30-minute loop, operating at 10-minute headways:

JR Ōsaka Station (East) / Ōsaka Municipal Subway Umeda Station
Grand Front Ōsaka (East)
Hankyū Umeda Station
Chayamachi (茶屋町)
Saiseikai Nakatsu Hospital (済生会中津病院)
Grand Front Ōsaka (North)
Grand Front Ōsaka (South)
JR Ōsaka Station (West)
Nishi-Umeda (西梅田)
Kita-Shinchi Station

Both PiTaPa and ICOCA are accepted as fare payment.

Due to some traffic congestion on local roadways, however, there have been some cases where a single loop takes 40 minutes, with Hankyū Bus having to deploy an additional regular bus (in beige and blue Hankyū Bus livery) displaying “Umegle” on the destination sign.

The bicycle rental program is also doing fairly well, with as many as 50 trips a day, primarily for short trips.

Some clips on the first day of service (2013.04.24). Grand Front Ōsaka was scheduled to open two days later (2013.04.26).

At JR Ōsaka Station:



Window view:



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Old June 4th, 2013, 11:53 PM   #5542
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JR West plans major upgrades to Ōsaka Loop Line
環状線 魅力アップへGO…新型車両、駅改装

http://osaka.yomiuri.co.jp/e-news/20...htm?from=main3

A bit more info on this, which we learned about when JR West announced their new business plan a few weeks ago.

In particular, the proposed improvements include replacing about 30% of the old-JNR trains on the line with modern rolling stock, renovating station buildings that have reached 50 years of age or older (such as Bentenchō Station), and capitalizing on the development potential of land underneath the elevated tracks. The plans come at a time when Ōsaka (and other Japanese cities) are seeing a resurge in inner-city residents, with keystone development projects recently coming on-line (or set to, in the near future) at major terminals on the line, including Ōsaka Station City and Grand Front Ōsaka at Ōsaka Station and Abeno Harukas at Tennōji Station).



This would mark the first major upgrades to the line since it fully opened in 1961. Investment in the line has been minimal, given that there is no competition with private railways and the station distances are short, unlike JR West’s radial lines out of Ōsaka, including the JR Kōbe Line, JR Kyōto Line, and Hanwa Line. However, Ōsaka Station City opened in 2011, followed by Grand Front Ōsaka in April of this year, and Abeno Harukas (at least the first part, encompassing the Kintetsu Department Store) in June. In addition, residential population within the loop is forecasted to increase between 2010 and 2025 by about 4% (24,000 residents) to 598,000. These factors have combined to convince JR West of the merits of a major investment in the line.

Of the 168 cars exclusively used on the Ōsaka Loop Line (excluding through-servicing trains from the Yamatoji Line and Hanwa Line), 112 are 201 series cars that debuted in 1979, with the remaining 56 cars being 103 series cars dating from the 1960s. Both series are old, steel-based designs that are much heavier and shakier and less energy-efficient than modern stainless steel stock. The first phase of upgrades will replace about 50 of the old cars with modern, more reliable stock. They will also begin renovation of Bentenchō Station (opened 1961), an interchange with the Ōsaka Municipal Subway Chūō Line), including aesthetics improvements and barrier-free upgrades. They will also construct retail facilities underneath the elevated viaduct housing drugstores and other tenants. Similar improvements are also being considered for Momodani Station and Teradachō Station in Tennōji Ward.

Evening rush (around 6:30 PM) at Kyōbashi Station on the Ōsaka Loop Line (2013.02.28).
This was shot during a minor service disruption, so the headways are slightly compressed compared to schedule.

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Old June 4th, 2013, 11:57 PM   #5543
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Obstacles remain before Kyōto Municipal Subway can reach ridership targets
京都市営地下鉄の乗客増 健全化団体脱却へ正念場

http://www.kyoto-np.co.jp/kp/rensai/...13/130515.html

The Kyōto Municipal Subway has been under strict oversight since FY2009 as part of a restructuring plan to improve its financial situation. So far, the subway is beating ridership targets, but the system must increase daily ridership by another 40,000 passengers in order to meet the FY2018 goals.

According to the Kyōto City Transportation Bureau, average daily ridership in FY2012 was 339,000 (5,000 passenger increase over last year), the highest ever for the system since opening in 1981 and beating the established FY2012 target of 329,000 by 10,000. All monthly averages exceeded 310,000 daily passengers, even for the summer and winter seasons, when tourism levels temporarily drop. The system recorded an all-time monthly average high of 371,000 daily passengers in November 2012.

Driving the ridership growth has been the opening of major trip attractors along the subway network, including the new Kyōto Aquarium in Umekōji Park in Shimogyō Ward in March of last year (daily ridership for April posted a 3.5% year-over-year increase). In addition, the Transportation Bureau also opened new “Kotochika” brand ekinaka facilities at Shijō Station and Kyōto Station, adding another ¥500 million in supplementary revenues from station retail business. The Transportation Bureau also tweaked schedules to improve late-night transfers.

The biggest obstacles still remain, however, as the ridership targets established in the restructuring plan call for increasing daily ridership by about 10,000 passengers for each of the next five years. The key to meeting these targets is capitalizing on the development potential of municipally-owned land near subway stations, including the former Yamanouchi Water Treatment Plant (山ノ内浄水場) in Sakyō Ward and the former East Clean Center (東部クリーンセンター) in Fushimi Ward. About 32,000 sq m on the south side of Oike-dōri at the Yamanouchi Water Treatment Plant is already planned for a new campus for Kyōto Gakuen University (about 2,000 students), but no plan has been finalized for the remaining 14,000 sq m on the north side. In addition, development at the East Clean Center requires demolition of existing structures at the site, and its unclear whether plans can move forward in time to meet the FY2018 ridership goals.

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Old June 4th, 2013, 11:59 PM   #5544
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Toyama Chihō Railroad to open new station in December
相ノ木-上市間に新駅 富山地鉄、12月開業目指す

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20...-kitanihon-l16

After requests from local residents and others, Toyama Chihō Railroad will construct a new, unstaffed station on the Main Line between Ainoki and Kamiichi Stations in Kami-Kyōden, Kamiichi Town. As a petition station, the project will be funded by the local (town) government using funding from the national government. Opening is scheduled for December.

Currently, Ainoki and Kamiichi Stations are separated by about 2 km, with the new station planned for a location about 700 m east of Ainoki. The new station will have platforms, restrooms, and a waiting room, in addition to a park-and-ride facility that was constructed last year. The area in question is a residential neighborhood, and there has been some local movement for a new station since about 10 years ago. This will be the second new station on the line in the same number of years, following the opening of Shinjō Tanaka Station (Tanakachō, Toyama City) last year.

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Old June 5th, 2013, 12:01 AM   #5545
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Plans in the works to relocate Mikawa Chiryū Station
三河知立駅移設を検討 県、市、名鉄の三者

http://www.chunichi.co.jp/article/ai...502000047.html



Chiryū Station is a major junction on the Nagoya Railroad (Meitetsu) network in the Nagoya area, served by both the Mikawa Line and Nagoya Main Line. Currently, the station and approach tracks are being grade-separated (elevated), but the project is running into some cost issues, as it requires a stacked structure (2 platforms, 4 tracks on 2F for the Nagoya Main Line and another 2 platforms, 4 tracks on 3F for the Mikawa Line).

The adjacent Mikawa Chiryū Station on the Mikawa Line is currently only 500 m east from Chiryū Station, but Aichi Prefecture, Chiryū City, and Meitetsu are now considering moving it about 900 m east from its current location to a new undeveloped site off the section of track to be elevated. This would mean the station would not need to be rebuilt as an elevated station but as a simple ground-level station instead, saving about ¥400 million of the total ¥61.5 billion total project cost. Of this amount, the city would save about ¥40 million in its funding commitments to the project, and there is the added benefit of potential trackside development at the new location.

The proposed site is currently home to a privately-operated parking lot and other facilities, so some negotiations and discussion with local stakeholders is needed before the plans can move forward, but if fruitful, they can begin applying for approval of the necessary changes to the project description with the national government.

A video of the construction boards set up at the station... The scale of the project is impressive, and there’s a lot of temporary construction required in order to even begin work on the permanent infrastructure:

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Old June 5th, 2013, 12:01 AM   #5546
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What do you think the issue is with the Kyoto subway attracting passengers? Do you think improved connections from other modes would help ridership?
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Old June 5th, 2013, 12:03 AM   #5547
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Tunnel boring for Sendai Subway Tōzai Line will be completed mid-July
6年9か月 東西線、来月貫通

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/miy...OYT8T01503.htm

Good news for the Tōzai Line, the new ¥229.8 billion, 13.9 km subway line being constructed in Sendai. It’s been 6 years and 9 months since the start of construction in October 2006, but they will finally complete the tunnel boring work sometime in mid-July. Currently, work on the final tunnel segment between the future Sendai Station and Ichibanchō Station (about 568 m apart) is proceeding at an accelerated pace. Opening is scheduled for summer 2015.

There were some delays resulting from the earthquake, with construction on some segments being halted for as long as half a year, but as of the end of March 2013, the project is currently 62% complete (based on budget spent), with civil works for station buildings at the new Arai Station and Aoba-yama Stations already finished.

The final remaining tunnel segment between Sendai and Ichibanchō encompasses parallel single-track tunnels. Work began from the Ichibanchō end in August of last year, reaching the Sendai end in January of this year. They still have about 140 m left on the second bore to get to Ichibanchō. After boring is complete, they will work on the stations and track.

TBM reaches Sendai Station (2013.01). Since it's underground, the progress isn’t so visible, but when I visited a few weeks ago, they did have some roadspace cordoned off for construction staging near Sendai Station.

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Old June 5th, 2013, 12:05 AM   #5548
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Sapporo City to add new bus service to Okadama Airport
札幌市、中心部から丘珠空港へ連絡バス運行 6~8月

http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNAS...3A530C1L41000/

For a three-month period starting in June, Sapporo City will operate new bus service connecting Okadama Airport and central Sapporo City, in coordination with a new Okadama – Misawa air route to be operated by Hokkaidō Air System (HAC 北海道エアシステム) starting in July with the tourism season.

The service will be contracted out to Hokuto Kōtsū for ¥2 million. There will be 7 trips on weekdays and 5-6 trips on Saturdays and Sundays to the airport, and 8-9 trips on weekdays and 6-7 trips on Saturdays and Sundays from the airport. The route will serve the Ōdōri Park area, with intermediate stops at Sapporo Station and Sakaemachi Station on the Sapporo Municipal Subway Tōhō Line. Normally, there is bus service between the airport and Sakaemachi Station, but tourists have been requesting for a more direct route to central Sapporo City, including Ōdōri Park (大通公園) and the Sapporo Clock Tower (時計台).
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Old June 5th, 2013, 12:06 AM   #5549
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Keisei opens new connecting passage between Keisei Yawata, Moto-Yawata Stations
京成本線京成本八幡駅と都営地下鉄新宿線本八幡駅の乗り換えの利便性・快適性向上へ

http://response.jp/article/2013/05/18/198229.html

Official Keisei press release:
http://www.keisei.co.jp/keisei/kouho.../130516_01.pdf

This is a new connecting passage between Keisei Yawata Station on the Keisei Main Line and Moto-Yawata Station on the Toei Subway Shinjuku Line. This is one of the common situations where JR and a parallel private railway have separate stations located several hundred meters away from each other. Moto-Yawata Station on the Toei Shinjuku Line was constructed in the middle, helping to partially bridge the gap.

On 2013.05.25, a new connecting passage was opened as part of a redevelopment project outside the station (本八幡A地区第一種市街地再開発事業). The Keisei and Toei stations are now connected by fully barrier-free access (escalator and elevator), as well as a new canopied pedestrian bridge.

Render:



I wasn’t able to find any new videos, but here is an old video showing the transfer from Toei to Keisei via the temporary ground-level passage:

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Old June 5th, 2013, 12:08 AM   #5550
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Formal studies to begin for grade-separation of Nambu Line between Musashi Kosugi and Shitte
立体交差化を調査 武蔵小杉-尻手駅間(JR南武線)

http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/ka...002000154.html

On 2013.05.29, Kawasaki City announced that will begin formal studies starting in FY2014 for the continuous grade-separation of 5.5 km of the JR Nambu Line between Musashi Kosugi and Shitte Stations. The project will require land acquisition, so the expected completion date is still about 20 years away.

Continuous grade-separation of the Musashi Mizonokuchi – Musashi Kosugi section of the line in Takatsu and Nakahara Wards was already completed in FY1995, but the segment south of Musashi Kosugi has remained as is, with eight grade crossings that remain closed for extended periods of time during the morning rush hour (開かずの踏切), six of which are especially problematic “bottleneck” crossings. There was a bicyclist fatality at one of these six bottleneck crossings—the Tsukagoshi crossing (塚越踏切) in Saiwai Ward—in February of this year, and there has been a push to get the grade-separation moving.

The very first work on the project began way back in 1997 when the City Council accepted a petition signed by 2,400 residents. The segment of the Nambu Line in question was selected in the next phase of grade-separation projects in a city plan published in FY2004, and since then, the city has been working on planning-level studies and working sessions with JR East, finally receiving confirmation of cooperation on JR East’s part for the formal studies on 2013.05.17.

The studies will take about 2 years, followed by about 3 years for environmental assessment and detailed studies, and 10-15 years for land acquisition following project initiation.

Tsukagoshi crossing:

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Old June 5th, 2013, 12:10 AM   #5551
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Construction begins on new North Exit passage at JR Kawasaki Station
JR川崎駅、北口通路新設工事が始まる/神奈川

http://news.kanaloco.jp/localnews/article/1305230033/

On 2013.05.17, JR East announced that it will begin construction of a new North Exit east-west public passage and ticketing entrance at JR Kawasaki Station on 2013.05.24. The ¥19 billion project is intended to relieve congestion inside the existing east-west public passage at the station, with the new facilities debuting in FY2017 (with the exception of some faregates).

The new 10 m wide, 115 m long passage will be constructed about 90 m distant from the existing passage towards the Tōkyō end of the station. Two new ticketing entrances will be constructed, with the first one—the so-called Central North Gate (中央北改札) facing the existing east-west public passage—opening first in FY2015. The railway will also construct a new five-story retail facility housing retail, restaurants, child-care facilities, and municipal public service facilities. A new concourse between the existing public passage and new new North Exit public passage will house a nursing room and retail facilities. The project will increase the cumulative floor area of the station and station tenant building(s) by 11,400 sq m to 54,800 sq m.

Paid concourse:



View of the station from the West Exit:

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Old June 5th, 2013, 12:28 AM   #5552
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Rinkai Line posts first ordinary profit since opening year
りんかい線、経常黒字…96年の開業以来初

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/atmoney/new...OYT1T00362.htm

Rinkai Line operator Tōkyō Waterfront Area Rapid Transit has published its financial results for FY2012, which show the line generating its first annual ordinary profit since opening year in 1996. Operating profit was ¥4.039 billion, about 2 times the previous year, while ordinary profit (subtracting out interest payments on debt, etc.) was ¥1.810 billion. Daily ridership on the line posted a 12.8% year-over-year increase to 222,500—a new all-time high for the line—thanks to the opening of Diver City Tōkyō Plaza (near Tōkyō Teleport Station) and the Ariake Campus of Musashino University (near Kokusai Tenjijō Station) in April of last year, combined with new office buildings along the line.

Passengers exiting a Rinkai Line train from Ōsaki at Kokusai Tenjijō Station during Day 3 of コミックマーケット82(Comic Market 82) (2012.08.12):

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Old June 5th, 2013, 12:30 AM   #5553
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Sasazuka – Senkawa section of Keiō Line to be elevated by FY2022
京王線「開かずの踏切」改善 笹塚―仙川を高架化
東京都など、総事業費1500億円

http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNZO...3A530C1L71000/

A bit more info on this fairly large-scale project, which is now beginning to take shape after completion of the undergrounding at Chōfu last year…

The Tōkyō Metropolitan Government will serve as project lead to grade-separate (elevate) about 7.2 km of the Keiō Line between Sasazuka and Senkawa, eliminating 25 grade crossings, all of which are 開かずの踏切, staying closed for a cumulative total of 40 minutes or more during the morning rush hour. Grade crossing queues along Inokashira-dōri near Daitabashi Station can reach as long as 270 m.

Following completion of the grade-separation works, Keiō Corporation will then work on quadruple-tracking the line to increase capacity, constructing a separate set of underground tunnels between Sasazuka and Tsutsujigaoka. Currently, there are about 800 trains on this section of the line each day, but quadruple-tracking will substantially increase the number of trains Keiō can operate on this key bottleneck segment.

In coordination with these efforts, Setagaya Ward will also implement a series of local, station area improvements including station plazas and new north-south roads. In particular, station plazas serving buses, taxis, and other connecting modes will be constructed at Meidai-mae Station and Chitose–Karasuyama Station. Neither have station plazas currently, with the situation at Meidai-mae being especially bad, as passengers generally have to walk about 200 m away to Kōshū Kaidō to try and catch a cab. Given the high building density in these neighborhoods, the station plazas will also serve critical functions as evacuation areas during emergency or disaster situations.

In addition, about 90% of a new under-construction north-south road at Meidai-mae stretching about 7 km all the way south to Todoroki is already complete. Completion is scheduled in time for completion of the rail line elevation. A separate road stretching about 9 km between Chitose–Karasuyama and the Tama River is also in the planning stages. Currently, the only major north-south arterial roads in Setagaya Ward are Kan-Nana (環七通り) and Kan-Pachi (環八通り), so this will substantially improve road connectivity.

Given the size of the project, the budget (for the elevation only) is estimated at about ¥150 billion, with 85% to be borne by the national, prefectural, and ward governments and the remainder to be borne by Keiō. The Tōkyō Metropolitan Government is hoping to obtain project approvals at the national government level this fiscal year.
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Old June 5th, 2013, 12:33 AM   #5554
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Tōkyū to add additional down escalators at Tōyoko Line’s Shibuya Station
地下化2カ月、東横線渋谷駅に下りエスカレーター増設へ

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/region/news...1420004-n1.htm



It was revealed on 2013.05.16 that Tōkyū Corporation is considering adding additional down escalators for the Tōyoko Line / Fukutoshin Line Shibuya Station. It’s been about two months since the Tōyoko Line was undergrounded, and while there are currently 10 escalators in the up direction, there are only three in the down direction, making it somewhat more difficult for the elderly and other passengers. As has been stated previously, the JR tracks are at 2F while the Tōyoko Line / Fukutoshin Line are at B5F, requiring a change in elevation of 40 to 50 m between the JR faregates and the Tōyoko Line / Fukutoshin Line platforms.

They actually removed one down escalator as part of the undergrounding, but space is limited underground, so they had prioritized up escalators. The new escalator(s) will be installed near Exit 9, with construction to begin sometime this year. They were already planning to install escalators at this location as part of the construction of an underground square to be completed in FY2016, but Tōkyū has decided that the situation deserves more immediate attention, so they will install temporary escalators for the time being.

Changing from Tōyoko Line / Fukutoshin Line to JR:

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Old June 5th, 2013, 12:34 AM   #5555
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Golden Week ridership at Motomachi–Chūkagai Station up 30%
直通運転で利用客3割増 横浜、元町・中華街駅

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/life/news/1...3030017-n1.htm

Ridership at Motomachi–Chūkagai Station on the Minato Mirai Line for the Golden Week period (2013.04.27 through 2013.05.06) was approx. 730,000, a 31.2% year-over-year increase. Ridership for all five stations from Shin-Takashima to Motomachi–Chūkagai was 1,987,000, a 16.4% year-over-year increase. Ridership at Bashamichi Station was about 233,000, a 15% increase. An annual costume parade held on 2013.05.03 also saw about 350,000 spectators, 10,000 more than last year. Obviously, a lot of people are taking the opportunity to try out the new Tōyoko Line – Fukutoshin Line connection, but I would expect some of the “novelty” to wear off next year.
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Old June 5th, 2013, 12:36 AM   #5556
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Kawagoe tourism benefits from new Tōyoko Line – Fukutoshin Line connection
川越観光伸びる 副都心線・東横線の相互直通で

http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNZO...3A510C1L72000/

In contrast to some of the other doom-and-gloom articles, Kawagoe City released new results for visitor numbers on 2013.05.14 that seem to indicate that the Tōyoko Line – Fukutoshin Line connection has brought more people to the city. In particular, visitor totals between 2013.03.16 and 2013.05.06 showed increases, including for the Ko-Edo Kawagoe Spring Festival (小江戸川越春まつり) (specifically three city-sponsored events held between 2013.03.30 and 2013.05.06). Festival visitors totaled 175,930, about 110,000 more (2.6 times) the previous year. Visitor totals at five major tourist facilities including the Matsuri Museum (まつり会館), Kura-zukuri Museum (蔵造り資料館), and City Museum (市立博物館) reached about 86,000 (year-over-year increase of 18,000 or 27%). Surveys indicated that visitors from Kanagawa Prefecture grew dramatically from 8.0% to 13.6%.
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Old June 5th, 2013, 12:59 AM   #5557
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He's baaaackkk....

LOL

Guessing another trip, if so, trip report forthcoming?
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Old June 5th, 2013, 02:36 AM   #5558
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I'm surprised it has taken this long for JR West to finally realize the 103 and 201 trainsets on the Osaka Loop Line are TOO OLD and are way overdue for replacement. How about transferring every usable 221 Series (221系) to dedicated Loop Line service?

As for replacing all the 113/115 trainsets west of Aioi, I think they will end up being upgraded 225 trainsets with beefed-up motors so it could handle the grades on the San'yō Main Line such as between Aioi and Higashi-Okayama, Saijo to Seno (the "Senohachi" grade), and Chofu to Hatabu.
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Old June 5th, 2013, 05:35 AM   #5559
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smithrh View Post
LOL

Guessing another trip, if so, trip report forthcoming?
Yeah, I will post a full report in the Japan Forum and crosspost any transit-related stuff here.
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Old June 5th, 2013, 08:21 PM   #5560
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You know, for some reason either I never knew (or just plain forgot) there was a Japan forum on this site... so thanks for the note!

Found some interesting infrastructure posts as well as links to some pretty good YouTube videos there.
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