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Old June 25th, 2013, 08:00 PM   #5681
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JR East opens first IC card-only faregate array
ICカード以外はお断り? JR東、初の専用改札

http://www.asahi.com/national/update...306250019.html

In late May, JR East opened a new retail facility, nonowa Musashi Sakai, underneath the elevated Chūō Rapid Line viaduct just west of Musashi Sakai Station (Musashino City, Tōkyō Prefecture), but the interesting thing about this is that they installed their first complete set of IC card-only faregates. There’s plenty of individual faregates that accept only Suica at many stations in the network, but this is their first station entrance that will only accept IC cards. It’s a small array (only three faregates, plus a unit to add value to your IC card), but there are no TVMs and no station staff. Passengers with paper tickets or other fare media will not be able to use this entrance, and must detour about 150 m to the East Exit faregates.

An interesting development that I suspect we may see more of for secondary or redundant ticketing entrances, as there is probably a savings cost (simpler faregates with no moving parts and minimal maintenance needs, no TVMs, no staff, etc.).





A tour of the station and new ticketing entrance, including an interview with the station chief:

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Old June 26th, 2013, 08:24 PM   #5682
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Cabinet Office releases results of study on Okinawa heavy rail project
鉄軌道、全15ルート 赤字 内閣府予測

http://ryukyushimpo.jp/news/storyid-...rytopic-3.html

On 2013.06.25, the Cabinet Office released the results of a study of 15 potential routes for a heavy rail line along the north-south spine of Okinawa Island between Itoman and Nago. The study looked at both rail and exclusive-ROW LRT, but concluded that all potential routes would fail to generate operating profits on an annual basis, with the cumulative deficit 40 years after opening estimated at anywhere from ¥210 billion to ¥680 billion. The benefit-cost ratio would be between 0.4 and 0.5, well below the 1.0 threshold.

This is the second Cabinet Office study following the first one in FY2011. The new study looked at introduction of linear motor propulsion and value engineering of stations in an effort to keep costs down, but the study only showed b/c ratio improvements of 0.02 to 0.06.

Estimated construction costs are between ¥620 billion and ¥920 billion for heavy rail and ¥410 billion to ¥610 billion for LRT. At-grade, elevated, and underground segments were selected based on road traffic conditions, terrain, and geology. The main route would connect Itoman (糸満) and Nago (名護), with an alternate route along the western coast of the island from Ginowan (宜野湾) to Onna Village (恩納村) and three branches connecting to Motobu (本部), Nanjō (南城), Yaese (八重瀬), and Naha Airport (那覇空港). Between Itoman and Nago, there would be 30 stations for the heavy rail option and 41 stations for the LRT option.

In order to be financially viable, a heavy rail option would need to generate 2.0 to 4.5 times the forecasted ridership, while LRT would need to generate 1.7 to 3.2 times the forecasted ridership.

The Cabinet Office will continue studies for the project, looking at ways to further improve the b/c ratio and increase ridership, incorporating the effects of fare structure, operating schedule, bike and automobile parking facilities, and passenger information provision on ridership.



The results of this study appear to be at odds with the study done by Okinawa Prefecture, although the scope for this one is substantially larger, with three branch lines.
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Old June 26th, 2013, 08:25 PM   #5683
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Kotoden Bus installs cycle-and-ride facilities at three bus stops in Takamatsu City
バス停3カ所に専用駐輪場 ことでんバス、乗り継ぎ促進へ 香川

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/region/news...2060001-n1.htm

In an effort to attract potential passengers away from private automobiles, Kotoden Bus has installed cycle-and-rides (the bicycle version of park-and-rides) at three bus stops in Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture.

Takamatsu City established a new grant program for bus operators to support construction of bike parking, hoping to increase usage of bikes and public transit. Kotoden Bus filed an application and received about ¥700,000 for a 20-space facility at Sun Messe Kagawa (サンメッセ香川) (Hayashichō district 林町), an 8-space facility at Kirido (切戸) (Kawashima Honmachi district 川島本町), and a 9-space facility at Fuji Grand Sogawa (Sogawa Higashimachi district 十川東町). All three stops are in areas where the only public transit service is buses, but with sufficient ridership and space to accommodate bike parking.

Cab view on a Kotoden Bus route from Takamatsu Airport (高松空港) to Sanuki Kodomi no Kuni (さぬきこどもの国):

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Old June 26th, 2013, 08:26 PM   #5684
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One of the more interesting developments regarding the future of Seibu Railway… This article seems to indicate that JR East was considering supporting Seibu Holdings in an effort to fend off a buyout from American investment fund Cerberus. Apparently, the news was originally reported in the morning edition of the Nikkei Shimbun, although JR East was reported to have concluded that it’s legal advisors did not find a solid, logical reason to step in.
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Old June 26th, 2013, 08:28 PM   #5685
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Urban planning approvals for Keiō grade-separation, quadruple-tracking in FY2013
13年度中に都計認可取得/笹塚-つつじヶ丘駅連立・複々線化事業

http://www.kensetsunews.com/?p=15374

A few more details regarding the proposed grade-separation and quad-tracking of 8.3 km of the Keiō Line between Sasazuka Station (specifically, 渋谷区笹塚1丁目) and Tsutsujigaoka Station (specifically, 調布市東つつじヶ丘2丁目). This will be a major undertaking, with the Tōkyō Metropolitan Government serving as lead for the grade-separation (elevation of 7.1 km of the existing line) and Keiō Corporation serving as lead on the quadruple-tracking (constructing new underground tracks on 8.3 km of the line). Both the TMG and Keiō are aiming to obtain urban planning approvals sometime this fiscal year, allowing them to begin land acquisition, with a target groundbreaking for the grade-separation work in FY2015. The quad-tracking work will consist of bored tunnels, and will require them to wait until completion of the elevation work, so groundbreaking could take place in FY2024 at the earliest.

The project will eliminate 25 grade crossings on the line and elevate 7 stations (Daitabashi, Meidai-mae, Shimo-Takaido, Sakurajōsui, Shimo-Kitazawa, Roka Kōen, and Chitose–Karasuyama), all located in Setagaya Ward. Shimo-Takaido and Roka Kōen will be side platform layout, while the remaining stations will be island platform layout. The line between Sasazuka and Hachiman’yama Stations would be replaced with a 10.5 m wide, 4.5 m to 14 m tall viaduct. Between Hachiman’yama and Senkawa, the tracks would be placed on a 9 m wide, 4.5 m tall embankment.

For the new underground tracks, the segment between Daitabashi and Sakurajōsui will be a single, double-track tunnel (10.5 m diameter), while Sakurajōsui to Senkawa will be twin single-track tunnels (6.5 m diameter each) in a stacked configuration. The tunnels will be anywhere from 6 m to 32.5 m underground. These sections will be bored with shield machines. The portal sections near Daitabashi and Tsutsujigaoka will be cut-and-cover, anywhere from 6 to 13 m wide and up to 12 m belowground. Sasazuka is currently elevated, so the segment between Sasazuka and Daitabashi will be a viaduct. Ventilation facilities will be constructed near Sakurajōsui, and will serve as the launching pit for the shield machines. Transformer stations are planned near Sakurajōsui and between Chitose–Karasuyama and Daitabashi.

According to the plan as evaluated in the environmental assessment, land acquisition would begin starting in FY2013, followed by construction of temporary tracks and the elevated viaduct starting FY2015. The outbound track would be completed in 4 years, the inbound track in 7 years. Grade-separation is expected to take 10 years total. Work on the new underground tracks would begin thereafter, with one year for land acquisition and groundbreaking starting in FY2024.



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Old June 26th, 2013, 08:36 PM   #5686
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
JR East opens first IC card-only faregate array
ICカード以外はお断り? JR東、初の専用改札

http://www.asahi.com/national/update...306250019.html

In late May, JR East opened a new retail facility, nonowa Musashi Sakai, underneath the elevated Chūō Rapid Line viaduct just west of Musashi Sakai Station (Musashino City, Tōkyō Prefecture), but the interesting thing about this is that they installed their first complete set of IC card-only faregates. There’s plenty of individual faregates that accept only Suica at many stations in the network, but this is their first station entrance that will only accept IC cards. It’s a small array (only three faregates, plus a unit to add value to your IC card), but there are no TVMs and no station staff. Passengers with paper tickets or other fare media will not be able to use this entrance, and must detour about 150 m to the East Exit faregates.

An interesting development that I suspect we may see more of for secondary or redundant ticketing entrances, as there is probably a savings cost (simpler faregates with no moving parts and minimal maintenance needs, no TVMs, no staff, etc.).





A tour of the station and new ticketing entrance, including an interview with the station chief:

Now that should be considered with the busier train lines in Japan to lessen the hassles of commuting, especially those who want to save time walking to and from the train station. Not only it reduces the manpower of manually inspecting tickets at such turnstiles, but it also promotes using the IC cards even more to facilitate quicker entry and exit at a station, making commutes a breeze. Perhaps such technologies may still be far from reality here in the United States, but, with enough ridership, this system could be justified in small numbers.
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Old June 26th, 2013, 08:42 PM   #5687
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
Urban planning approvals for Keiō grade-separation, quadruple-tracking in FY2013
13年度中に都計認可取得/笹塚-つつじヶ丘駅連立・複々線化事業

http://www.kensetsunews.com/?p=15374
This is quite interesting since they will be using both a tunnel and elevated tracks to upgrade the line. I can't seem to recollect any other line where they done the same. It's especially great for the future commuters on the Express trains, the tunnel should give some serious time savings on this 8 km long part of the line.
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Old June 26th, 2013, 10:59 PM   #5688
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Great news! I used to live in Seijo, right between Keio Sengawa station and Odakyu Seijogakuenmae. I used to take Odakyu, even though it was much more crowded throughout the day, because it was much faster to Shinjuku than Keio. With the upcoming expansion, this should change.
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Old June 27th, 2013, 07:27 AM   #5689
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We could maybe consider it a preview of how to do the Chūō Main Line quadruple-tracking west of Mitaka to Tachikawa, if they ever decide to move forward with that. They just finished elevating the tracks, but they'd need to build new tunnels carrying the second pair of tracks for rapid trains. Then the locals can take over the elevated tracks.
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Old June 27th, 2013, 05:18 PM   #5690
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
One of the more interesting developments regarding the future of Seibu Railway… This article seems to indicate that JR East was considering supporting Seibu Holdings in an effort to fend off a buyout from American investment fund Cerberus. Apparently, the news was originally reported in the morning edition of the Nikkei Shimbun, although JR East was reported to have concluded that it’s legal advisors did not find a solid, logical reason to step in.
Rather a strange proposal, though not an unlikable one given how Cerberus seems to be intent upon culling "unprofitable" services.

Would it not be more logical, if JR East wanted to get involved, to simply buy up the railways that Seibu are talking about mothballing and running them all themselves or through a third-party company?
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Old June 27th, 2013, 09:25 PM   #5691
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The article is a bit ambiguous, but it would seem that JR's actual intention was to outbid Cerberus by offering to purchase shares at a higher price, fending off the buyout.

Don't think JR East would be interested in one-off purchases for single lines... There's probably not much money to be made in small, mostly neighborhood-serving lines, even if some of them are already connected to their existing network. The value is in the entire Seibu rail network, plus the side businesses (Toshima-en Amusement Park, Seibu Prince Hotel, and the Seibu Lions).
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Old June 27th, 2013, 09:26 PM   #5692
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Tōshiba receives order for electrical equipment for Rio de Janeiro suburban trains
http://www.toshiba.co.jp/about/press...20130627-2544e

Quote:
TOKYO—Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO:6502) today announced that it has received a major order from a consortium of China National Machinery Imp. & Exp. Corp. (CMC), a Chinese trading company, and Changchun Railway Vehicles Co., Ltd. (CRC), a Chinese rolling stock manufacturer, for trains operated in suburban Rio de Janeiro by Secretaria de Estado de Transportes (SETRANS), the Rio state transportation authority. The order covers propulsion systems, auxiliary power systems and a train monitoring systems for 60 train sets, a total of 240 cars, and has a value of about 6 billion yen.

Toshiba electrical equipment is already installed in 50 trains, a total of 200 cars, running on SETRANS's suburban Rio railway. Their proven performance and reliability is underlined by the new order, which covers drive systems integrating Toshiba's power saving VVVF inverter and traction motors, auxiliary power systems for in-car lighting and air-conditioning etc., and the train monitoring systems. The equipment will be delivered during the period September 2013 to December 2014.

The Brazilian government is preparing for the World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016 by promoting a growth acceleration program that includes investments in developing natural resources, electricity generation and transmission, and upgrades of road and rail transportation. Modernization of railway networks is scheduled for big cities that will host the events, including as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, as a means to upgrade infrastructure and alleviate the chronic traffic jams that plague the cities. Under its growth acceleration program (PAC2) budgets the government will invest over US$26 billion in rail in the 4 years 2011-2014.

Toshiba positions Brazil, which is expected to see significant growth in coming years, as an important emerging market, and is proactively reinforcing its presence in the country across its business lines.

In recent years, Toshiba has won major orders for electrical equipment for rolling stock in Japan, the USA, Taiwan and other markets, and is now proactively promoting sales to enhance the business globally.

Japanese press release:
http://www.toshiba.co.jp/about/press...=20130627-2545
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Old June 27th, 2013, 09:27 PM   #5693
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Hitachi signs agreement with JR East to provide Suica usage stats for marketing
日立が「スイカ」履歴を元にマーケティング情報販売 ビッグデータ分析で

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/economy/new...6110018-n1.htm

On 2013.06.27, Hitachi announced that they will begin offering a service providing marketing information derived from Suica usage stats starting 2013.07.01. There are close to 43 million Suica cards in circulation, providing a wealth of potential information for marketers. The service will provide stats on gender and age demographics of station users, their purpose at the station and how much time they spend there, as well as time periods when transfers are being made. The data will be compiled and processed into monthly reports, which will then be offered for purchase to small retailers and restaurants around stations, as well as real estate firms.

JR East will be providing the data at a macroscopic level (no privacy concerns), and Hitachi will then use its data analysis software to analyze and compile the data. The minimum price for one year of data at 10 stations is ¥50,000.
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Old June 27th, 2013, 09:29 PM   #5694
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JR East considering platform doors at Shin-Koiwa Station
新小岩駅:JR東、ホームドアを検討 飛び込み相次ぎ

http://mainichi.jp/select/news/20130...40096000c.html

The latest development in this (I think I posted some news a while ago), but there was an unfortunate accident at 2:40 PM yesterday (2013.06.27) where a man in his 30s trying to jump in front of a Narita Airport-bound Narita Express from Yokohama bumped into a woman in her 40s waiting on the platform, causing her to also come into contact with the train. The man died immediately, but the woman is still alive, with contusions on both her legs. A total of six trains, including 4 limited expresses, were canceled, and a total of 28 trains and 7,000 passengers were affected, with a maximum delay of about 50 minutes.

If you remember, there was a recent accident in July 2011 where a woman who jumped was struck and catapulted back onto the platform and into one of the platform convenience kiosks, injuring 4 other passengers. But according to JR East’s Chiba office, there have been a total of 13 “passenger-train contacts” (接触事故)—including this most recent one—since that particular accident. Katsushika Ward formally petitioned JR to install platform doors in July of last year, and JR East has said they are considering installation. Not sure if that is just lip service or not, but it seems like this would be a relatively good candidate for installation, as the rolling stock on the Sōbu Rapid Line is entirely uniform (E217 series). Apparently, since that particularly gruesome July 2011 accident, they’ve been deploying security guards on regular patrols and playing “healing music”.
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Old June 28th, 2013, 02:53 AM   #5695
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It sounds to me as if JRs plan to invest in Seibu was a bit of a knee-jerk "defend Japanese railways against the evil foreign fund" reaction. Considering that Seibu is a major JR East competitor to their (second?) most valuable Line (Chuo Line) I'd rather have them independent, thank you very much.

Cerberus problem is that they think they can play the game as if this was a US company. Bring in high profile board members, announce to close down unprofitable business elements, stage an open takeover battle... You can do that in Japan, but it won't fly well with them. Now that they've thrown out the baby with the bath water it's too late. They'd have been much more successful if they had done the round to meet everyone involved (Seibu investors, board members, local governments, the MLIT ...) and brokered a deal behind closed doors that gives a few bits and pieces to everyone, as such things are done in Japan.

Well, maybe their intent was to show that US-style takeovers work in Japan.
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Old June 28th, 2013, 10:37 PM   #5696
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Well, I wouldn’t try to glean too much from an article consisting of a couple of paraphrased sentences... After all, JR East isn’t the only one interested:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/...0F40ZP20130628

Quote:
U.S. private equity firm TPG is interested in investing in Japan's Seibu Holdings by either buying a stake from top shareholder Cerberus Capital Management or by acquiring new shares, people with knowledge of the matter said.

TPG sees potential value in Seibu's businesses, which include its Prince Hotel chain in Japan, and held initial talks with Seibu management earlier this year, according to the sources, who asked not to be named.

...
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Old June 28th, 2013, 10:38 PM   #5697
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Nippon Sharyō begins work on SMART cars
http://www.northbaybusinessjournal.c...mart-railcars/

Quote:
In what officials are calling a milestone, an Illinois factory configured to construct 12 railcars for the planned Sonoma Marian Area Rail Transit system officially opened its doors today, with the first set of railcars expected to arrive in the North Bay for testing by the third quarter of 2013.

The cars, to be manufactured in six two-car sets, will be built at a cost of $39.9 million, according to SMART. The factory, run by Sumitomo of America/Nippon Sharyo USA, is projected to create 250 direct jobs.

The factory will also construct 12 similar cars for Canadian rail agency Metrolinx, which paid SMART $750,000 to purchase those units through SMART’s order. SMART said that the winning bid was negotiated at a savings of $23 million below expected cost.

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Old June 28th, 2013, 10:40 PM   #5698
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45 new platform door installations in FY2012

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) released an update on the progress of platform door installations nationwide:
http://www.mlit.go.jp/report/press/t...hh_000041.html

Currently, 564 stations nationwide are outfitted with platform door systems, with 45 new installations coming online in FY2012:

Code:
Operator        Line                 #  Stations
==============  ==================  ==  ========
JR East         Yamanote Line        2  Ōsaki, Ikebukuro
JR Central      Tōkaidō Shinkansen   2  Tōkyō, Shin-Ōsaka
Tōbu            Tōjō Line            1  Wakō-shi
Keiō            Keiō Line            4  Chōfu, Fuda, Kokuryō, Shinjuku
Odakyū          Odawara Line         1  Shinjuku
Sapporo Subway  Namboku Line        15  Asabu - Makomanai
Tōkyō Metro     Yūrakuchō Line       1  Ginza Itchōme
Toei Subway     Ōedo Line           19  Ryōgoku - Kasuga - Shinjuku Nishi-guchi, Hikarigaoka - Higashi-Nakano
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Old June 28th, 2013, 10:41 PM   #5699
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City, private transit operators at odds over Kumamoto IC card project
市民の利便性確保を 熊本市のIC乗車券で議論

http://kumanichi.com/news/local/main/20130628008.shtml

At a meeting on 2013.06.28, the Kumamoto City Public Transit Council (熊本市公共交通協議会) discussed the proposed IC card system for Kumamoto City for the first time.

In particular, the city stated its interest in a system with mutual nationwide interoperability, and said that it plans to begin the bidding process to select a systems provider in mid-July. Five private transit operators running buses and trains in the city, however, said they are primarily interested in a regional-only system, with potential one-way nationwide interoperability for the convenience of tourists and others visiting the city. The private operators stated that they would bear the full ¥1.2 billion in initial investment costs for an IC card system, but that the city should provide 100% of the funding for the one-way interoperability. The city later replied that the private operators should bear at least some of the costs, even for one-way interoperability.

The last article on this was a bit ambiguous, but now it’s clear that the city’s goal is for a system with mutual interoperability—in other words, Kumamoto’s system would accept any of the 10 nationwide cards, while anyone with Kumamoto’s card would be able to use it in the “home” coverage areas of any of the 10 nationwide cards.

The article doesn’t say specifically which private operators are involved, but it seems likely we are talking about three bus-only operators—Kumamoto City Bus (熊本都市バス), Kyūshū Sankō Bus (九州産交バス), and Kumamoto Bus (熊本バス)—plus the Kumamoto Electric Railway (熊本電気鉄道), which operates both rail and bus services. Combined with city-operated buses and the city’s tram network, the system would pretty much cover all of urban Kumamoto.
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Old June 28th, 2013, 10:42 PM   #5700
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Kōnan Railway considering abandoning Ōwani Line
弘南鉄道大鰐線廃止

http://news24.jp/nnn/news8765318.html

Seems like it’s only a matter of time really, but I hadn’t read anything about it until now… It’s a very brief article, but it does mention that the line is bleeding red (cumulative deficit for the past nine years has been ¥230 million).

This is a minor local line operated by private operator Kōnan Railway in Aomori Prefecture, connecting Hirosaki City and Ōwani Town. Like many of these types of situations, it parallels the JR mainline (in this case, the Ōu Main Line) but provides more local-oriented service with many more stops.

Recent clips on the line (2013.04.29). Very interesting line that doesn’t get much attention at all. Perhaps I should have stopped in Hirosaki on my last trip—next time I get a chance, it may be too late to ride this line.

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