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Old November 9th, 2009, 08:47 AM   #561
quashlo
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JR East stations with over 100,000 daily station entries:

1. Shinjuku: 766,020 (-2.5%)
2. Ikebukuro: 563,412 (-4.5%)
3. Shibuya: 426,317 (-4.4%)
4. Yokohama: 402,193 (-0.3%)
5. Tōkyō: 394,135 (-0.5%)
6. Shinagawa: 328,439 (+1.3%)
7. Shinbashi: 251,021 (+0.6%)
8. Ōmiya: 239,720 (+0.3%)
9. Akihabara: 224,084 (+3.2%)
10. Takadanobaba: 206,890 (-2.5%)
11. Kita-Senju: 194,724 (+1.9%)
12. Kawasaki: 186,485 (+1.6%)
13. Ueno: 181,244 (+0.1%)
14. Yūrakuchō: 169,391 (+1.7%)
15. Hamamatsuchō: 158,700 (+3.4%)
16. Tachikawa: 158,123 (+1.3%)
17. Tamachi: 154,124 (-0.4%)
18. Kichijōji: 143,178 (-0.5%)
19. Funabashi: 136,365 (+0.6%)
20. Kamata: 135,701 (-0.4%)
21. Ebisu: 134,616 (-2.3%)
22. Gotanda: 134,512 (+0.1%)
23. Nishi-Funabashi: 125,785 (+1.8%)
24. Nakano: 124,645 (+1.3%)
25. Kashiwa: 124,311 (-0.9%)
26. Ōsaki: 123,918 (+7.3%)
27. Machida: 108,214 (+2.4%)
28. Kokubunji: 107,847 (-0.1%)
29. Chiba: 107,122 (+0.2%)
30. Totsuka: 106,301 (+0.4%)
31. Meguro: 106,132 (+1.0%)
32. Kanda: 105,753 (-0.9%)
33. Ochanomizu: 104,632 (-2.4%)
34. Tsudanuma: 103,453 (+0.1%)
35. Fujisawa: 102,629 (+0.9%)
36. Matsudo: 102,062 (-0.8%)
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Old November 9th, 2009, 08:49 AM   #562
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Tōkyō: Part 15

We start off our final day in the capital on a morning rush hour ride on the Yamanote Line, but from an unusual vantage point. We’ve just departed Ikebukuro Station on the clockwise loop towards Ueno and Tōkyō. In this view from behind the operator’s cab, we can see a Tōbu Tōjō Line train peeking in at top left as we prepare to dive below the Saikyō Line tracks.

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To the right is the Yamanote Cargo Line, a separate set of tracks used primarily by a few cargo trains, the Shōnan Shinjuku Line, and several special service trains (limited expresses, homeliners, etc.).

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Approaching Ōtsuka Station.

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None of the Yamanote Line loop is underground—the trains operate in trenches, at ground level, or elevated via bunkers or structures. As a result, train operators get a unique view of Tōkyō that most people rarely, if ever, see.

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We get off at Nippori Station. Here, we’re on the Jōban Line platforms as a Jōban Line rapid train on a long-distance commuter run empties its passengers, most of whom are bound for the Yamanote Line and Keihin-Tōhoku Line.

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Inside the concourse area of the station. Nippori is the major transfer station between JR and Keisei, and for this reason, there’s a lot of passengers coming to and from Narita Airport via the Keisei Skyliner, the cheaper alternative to JR’s rival Narita Express express. As I was going to be taking the Skyliner to Narita in the afternoon, I came here to leave my luggage in one of the lockers inside the station after checking out of my hotel. The big lockers only cost ¥500 and are perfect for holding large items you don’t want to lug around with you.

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We board a northbound Keihin-Tōhoku Line train (a new E233 series train) and enter neighboring Saitama Prefecture.

Typical seating design on the newer JR East commuter trains. The benches between doors hold seven “bucket” seats, which are clearly delineated and feature low backs which protrude slightly in for back support. The moquette differs from line-to-line but each line generally has a different pattern / color. The grills below the seats house the heaters, now much smaller than in the past, increasing legroom. The high, non-translucent panels at the end of the benches allow people to stand near the door with their back against the panel without bothering the adjacent seated passenger. The cut in the panel allows for a little extra arm room.

The windows actually consist of two separate sections—a large sealed window and a smaller window that can open. Although the smaller windows typically stay closed, they were put in to allow air circulation in the event of power failure.

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E233 series trains on the Keihin-Tōhoku Line feature extra-large 17-in LCDs, two above each set of doors. The left display runs news, weather, and advertisements, while the right display is strictly for passenger information, including service delays on other parts of the network. Here, the display indicates there are delays due to car inspection on the Saikyō Line, with through-service to and from the Kawagoe Line suspended. A map of the JR network in Greater Tōkyō is placed on the ceiling near the door.

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The wheelchair space. There are two of these in each train, in the end cars No. 1 and No. 10.

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Priority seating areas are three-seats long and feature a different moquette design than the general seating area. The floor area is striped to increase visibility. The yellow section of the poles features a special surface to improve grip.

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Our train is bound for Minami-Urawa, which won’t get us to our ultimate destination, Urawa. We alight at Platform 2 of Warabi Station and wait for the next Ōmiya-bound train.

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This section of the Tōhoku Main Line is six-tracked. Only local trains—i.e., Keihin-Tōhoku Line trains—stop at Warabi. The next set of tracks is for the mid- to long-distance commuter services (Utsunomiya Line and Takasaki Line), while the next set over is the Tōhoku Cargo Line, used by Shōnan Shinjuku Line trains. This is facing SSW.

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Commuters, two to three per door, queue up in the Tōkyō direction. Stickers on the floor of the platform indicate door locations and car numbers. All trains on the Keihin-Tōhoku Line are 10-car, four-door trains, but on lines with more complex services or mixed rolling stock, the stickers can get quite complicated.

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Facing NW.

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The wide-bodied E233 trains contrast with the 209 series trains they’re replacing, which have straight sides. Full-color LED for signs is the standard nowadays on trains, which helps distinguish the different services that typically run on a single line.

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We arrive at Urawa Station, where work is proceeding on the elevation of the station. These pictures are from May, so the new inbound platform, shown here as only columns and beams, is already nearing completion and will enter service on December 19.

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The new platforms on the Keihin-Tōhoku Line were completed in May 2008.

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Our train departs, proceeding down back to ground-level.

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Looking NW from the north end of the platform.

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Looking south.

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These glass panels on the exterior of the station were added as part of the renovation. After the elevation of the station is complete, a new road will be created underneath.

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We move towards the other end of the platform, where they are already constructing the canopy over the new Utsunomiya Line / Takasaki Line platforms.

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The existing platforms are on the other side of the new platforms, at ground level. Beyond that are the already-elevated tracks for the Tōhoku Cargo Line. Once elevation of the Utsunomiya Line / Takasaki Line is complete, space will be freed to construct new platforms on the Cargo Line to allow Shōnan-Shinjuku Line trains to also stop at the station.

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The bus and taxi zone at the East Exit of the station.

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The East Exit, home to a PARCO store, has been completely redone.

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The historic core of the area, once part of Urawa City but now consolidated under Saitama City, is the West Exit area. The elevation of the station will improve access between the areas on both sides of the station.

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We make our way to the existing Utsunomiya Line / Takasaki Line platforms, where we board a Shōnan-Shinjuku Line train bound for Tōkyō.

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We disembark at Akabane Station, another JR hub. Here, people cram into a Saikyō Line train to make their way to the west side of the Yamanote Line loop. This train is a through-service to the Odaiba area and Shin-Kiba on the Tōkyō Waterfront Area Rapid Transit Rinkai Line. The Saikyō Line uses 205 series trains which are now approaching 20 years in service, and together with the Keiyō Line, have some of the oldest trains on JR’s main lines into central Tōkyō. The Keiyō Line, however, will soon get its own fleet of E233 series trains, so the Saikyō Line is certainly due for some new stock.

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The Saikyō Line features two six-door cars (No. 2 and No. 3) transferred from former Yamanote Line 205 series trains. The current six-door cars on the Yamanote Line, which will eventually be replaced with regular four-door cars for the installation of waist-high platform doors, could get transferred to the Saikyō Line and used as part of new trains, but this would probably mean waiting several more years before replacing Saikyō Line stock.

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Above the Saikyō Line are the tracks for the Tōhoku Shinkansen. The section of the Saikyō Line north of Akabane was actually only recently constructed (compared to the rest of the JR network) together with the construction of the Tōhoku Shinkansen, opening in 1985.

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While it’s already the shoulder of the peak, around 8:50 in the morning, the queues continue to replenish quickly. To pick up this demand, some Saikyō Line trains enter service at Akabane. Before the 2004 start of the Shōnan-Shinjuku Line, which offers direct alternative service from the station to the west side of the Yamanote Line loop, overcrowding was an even more acute problem, as passengers from the Tōhoku Main Line needed to transfer to the Saikyō Line.

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As a major JR hub, there are 4 island platforms (eight tracks). To our left are the platforms for the Utsunomiya Line / Takasaki Line—the closest platform is for the outbound direction, toward Ōmiya, Takasaki, and Utsunomiya. Beyond that, a Keihin-Tōhoku Line train is stopped at the station.

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The Keihin-Tōhoku Line train departs the station.

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The view north of the station. The Saikyō Line curves off to the left from the Tōhoku Main Line, following the alignment of the Tōhoku Shinkansen.

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An Utsunomiya Line train rolls into the station

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In 10+5 configuration.

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A Saikyō Line train signed as a commuter rapid (tsūkin kaisoku) arrives to clean house on Platform 7. As a result of the earlier delays related to a car problem, the train is signed to turn-back at Shinjuku instead of continuing on to Ōsaki and the Rinkai Line. I ended up stuffed inside a Shōnan-Shinjuku Line train on my way back into central Tōkyō, with some stop-and-go inside the Yamanote Line loop starting at Ikebukuro due to trains piling up. I eventually got off and switched to a Yamanote Line train to get me the rest of the way to Shibuya.

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To be continued…
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Old November 11th, 2009, 02:02 AM   #563
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That's the coolest art I've ever seen!
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Old November 11th, 2009, 06:13 PM   #564
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fantastic liveries
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Old November 11th, 2009, 11:33 PM   #565
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Tōkyō Metro and Toei discuss possible merger
http://www.asahi.com/business/update...911110456.html

Quote:
President Umezaki Hisashi of Tōkyō Metro revealed that Tōkyō Metro is in talks with the Tōkyō Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation’s Toei Subway to consider a possible merger of the two subway operators. Tōkyō Metro says that elimination of the Toei Subway’s massive accumulated deficit is critical to the merger, but is just one of many issues that must be resolved in order to carry out the financial merger over a short period of time.

At a press conference to release Tōkyō Metro’s September 2009 mid-term financial statements, Umezaki said he had discussed the merger with officials from Toei Subway. The national government owns 53 percent of Tōkyō Metro stock, while the Tōkyō Metropolitan Government owns 47 percent, but Tōkyō Metro is currently making preparations to go public. Tōkyō Metro believes that the incorporation of the Toei Subway will offer substantial improvements in operations in Tōkyō’s subway network and reduce costs by improving business efficiencies.

Tōkyō Governor Ishihara Shintarō has expressed a positive attitude towards the merger, including a statement in March this year where he described the unification of the two companies as “ideal.”

However, the Toei Subway’s accumulated deficit at the end of FY2007 was approximately ¥460 billion. Tōkyō Metro says absorbing Toei Subway, with its large deficit, would be difficult, indicating the debate over the merger will take some time.

In 2004, Tōkyō Metro switched from a semi-governmental corporation to a stock company. Tōkyō Metro carried approximately 2.3 billion passengers in FY2008. The Toei Subway carried approximately 800 million passengers in FY2007.
Looks like that article several months ago had some truth behind it...
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...&postcount=157
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 09:05 AM   #566
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12,800 sign petition to solve JR Hanwa Line at-grade crossing problem
http://www.asahi.com/kansai/travel/n...911200067.html

Quote:
In response to the frequent injuries or deaths as a result of at-grade crossings that rarely open near Sugimotochō Station on the JR Hanwa Line in Sumiyoshi Ward, Ōsaka City, an Ōsaka citizens group submitted a petition signed by 12,800 people to Mayor Hiramatsu Kunio and JR West President Sasaki Takayuki calling for construction of an elevated corridor spanning both directions of track.

The citizens group is the Association for the Promotion of an East Exit at JR Sugimotochō Station, formed by faculty and staff from nearby Ōsaka City University and local residents. On the morning of October 8, a woman who had slipped under the crossing arms at the grade crossing located inside the station was struck by a rapid train and died. Murata Keizō, a professor at the City University and a representative for the association, said, “This problem is only getting worse, and we need a solution immediately.”
Sugimotochō Station has 9,000 daily entries (2007).

Some images:
Source: Hyougushi on Flickr

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There is technically already an elevated corridor spanning the tracks. However, there is only one exit, on the west side of the station, meaning passengers coming to and from the east must use the at-grade crossings.

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Unused tracks for the Hanwa Cargo Line, stretching 11.3 km to Kyūhōji Station on the Yamatoji Line.

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At-grade crossing.

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Old November 22nd, 2009, 09:06 AM   #567
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Kyōto Municipal Subway harnesses station retail to resolve deficit
http://osaka.yomiuri.co.jp/news/20091119-OYO1T00764.htm

Quote:
“Welcome to our shop.”—Starting November 20, the financially-troubled Kyōto Municipal Subway will begin selling original Japanese confectionaries inside its stations. The goal of the project is to attract users to the system by offering special items that can only be available via the subway, and some of the plans include an experimental market offering local Kyōto-grown produce and tsukemono (pickled vegetables). After the subway became the only one out of Japan’s nine publicly-operated subways to be subject to a Financial Rehabilitation Plan as a result of its 2008 financial statements, it has launched an effort to improve its revenue stream through a uniquely Kyōto-style ekinaka (station shop) business.

“We don’t want this to be just a station… We want to offer gifts and other items that represent Kyōto and make it a place that attracts people,” says the subway’s operator, the Kyōto Municipal Transportation Bureau, which solicited suggestions for confectionary items to offer. Among the ten submissions, the Bureau selected a yuzu-flavored steamed castella (sponge cake) from Kyō Emaki Main Shop (Kamigyō Ward), wrapping the cakes in a special paper featuring a cartoonish-looking Imperial Court noble. Starting November 20, when the flow of visitors coming to the area to see the autumn scenery reaches its peak, special booths located inside Kyōto and Shijō Stations will sell the cakes for ¥150 each.

A morning market selling tsukemono and local Kyōto-grown produce such as Kujō onions and Kamo eggplants takes place outside the faregates of Yamashina Station five days a week. The market will continue on a trial basis until the end of March, and could be expanded to other stations. With the help of these strategies, the subway hopes to increase daily ridership by 50,000 by 2018.

The high construction costs and interest rates from the bubble period have become a burden for the subway, with the accumulated deficit for FY2008 reaching ¥304.0 billion. With a large deficit in funding compared to its operational budget needs, the subway became subject to a Financial Rehabilitation Plan.
Cab view of the Kyōto Municipal Subway Tōzai Line to Uzumasa Tenjingawa Station.

Source: baltJ on YouTube
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 09:07 AM   #568
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JR East launches new campaign against chikan
http://www.asahi.com/national/update...911190401.html

Quote:
On November 19, JR East announced that it will hold a Zero Chikan (Groping) Campaign in Tōkyō, Kanagawa, Chiba, and Saitama Prefectures from November 24 to December 4. This is the first campaign sponsored solely by the railway company. The campaign will feature more collaboration with law enforcement and is a direct response to an increasingly vicious and sinister trend in the crime, including the appearance of online message boards to call for accomplices to attack specific train lines.

After consulting with the head offices of the prefectural police in all four prefectures, the railway will deploy police officers and security guards along lines with a high number of reported cases of groping. The campaign aims to increase the visibility of policing, placing 1,500 posters—each featuring “Groping is a crime” in large print—in 400 stations and increasing the frequency of announcements inside trains.

Among the total number of arrests and charges filed by the Metropolitan Police Department for the first half of the fiscal year, the largest share (11 percent) were on the Saikyō Line, where incidents have been occurring frequently as a direct result of the message boards. During the campaign period, JR East will establish a “Customer Consultation Office” to receive victims of groping at terminal stations at Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, and Ōmiya. Police officers will be available from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm to receive visitors.
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 09:08 AM   #569
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Sales volume of new Hakata Station Building estimated at ¥130 billion annually
http://kyushu.yomiuri.co.jp/keizai/d...OYS1T00228.htm

Quote:
On November 18, the Kyūshū Branch of the Development Bank of Japan compiled the results of a study estimating the economic benefits and impacts of the new Hakata Station Building opening in Spring 2011. While sales volume inside the new station building was estimated to increase to ¥130 billion annually, sales volume for the Tenjin area was expected to decrease by approximately ¥30 billion.

The preliminary estimates included virtually of Fukuoka City and a portion of the surrounding municipalities in the station building’s customer catchment area, and assumed there was no change to other stores after the opening of the station building. Data such as the population inside the catchment area and the total retail space were inputted into a special function to estimate the change in sales volume after the opening of the new station building.

As a result, the station building—among whose tenants will be a Hakata branch of the Hankyū Department Store temporarily known as Hakata Hankyū, with an annual sales target of ¥40 billion—was estimated to generate a sales volume of approximately ¥130 billion. As a result of the station building however, the sales volume of the Tenjin district was estimated to decrease by ¥30.1 billion.

The Tenjin district, however, will see the opening of big-name fashion store PARCO next spring, and developer NTT Urban Development (HQ: Tōkyō) is planning to construct a commercial building with a target completion date of August 2011, promising that sales volume for the area will continue to remain in flux.
I posted another article and some pictures on this project earlier:
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...&postcount=467
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 09:11 AM   #570
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SUGOCA surpasses 200,000 cards
http://www13.jrkyushu.co.jp/newsrele...b?OpenDocument

Quote:
Sales of JR Kyūshū’s IC farecard SUGOCA surpassed 200,000 on November 11, 2009 (256 days after first being released).

In addition, SUGOCA is becoming more and more convenient each day, with the number of stores accepting the card as electronic money reaching 843 as of the end of October.

Starting with the launch of interoperability with Suica, nimoca, and Hayakaken next spring, SUGOCA will continue to expand its convenience and attractiveness.

Personal / non-personal SUGOCA: 107,000
SUGOCA commuter pass: 93,000
Total: 200,000

5,000 cards in circulation reached on March 20, 2009 (20 days after release)
10,000 cards in circulation reached on April 6, 2009 (37 days after release)
200,000 cards in circulation reached on November 11, 2009 (256 days after release)

Share of SUGOCA commuter passes among total passengers using commuter passes at JR Kyūshū Hakata Station: 57 percent

Ekinaka shops (inside stations) accepting SUGOCA: 636
Shops outside of stations accepting SUGOCA: 207
Total: 843
Commercials for SUGOCA:


Source: JRKyushu on YouTube


Source: JRKyushu on YouTube
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 09:12 AM   #571
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Myōkaku Station’s loghouse
http://mytown.asahi.com/saitama/news...00380910310001

Quote:
Myōkaku Station on the Hachikō Line linking Hachiōji and Station and Takasaki Station. After alighting from a diesel-powered train now rarely found in the Tōkyō area, a loghouse-style station welcomes me.

The old station building at Myōkaku Station was destroyed by fire in 1988. At the time, JR East was planning to reconstruct the station building using steel, but after hearing of the railway’s plans, Tokigawa Village (now Tokigawa Town) petitioned JR East to construct a wooden station building. The village’s primary industry was lumber, and officials were trying to develop the village as an “epicenter for wood-related culture.” The village’s dream was realized, with the station building constructed by local carpenters.

As a result, a new station building was inaugurated the following year on September 5, making ample use of locally-produced lumber. A large festival was held to commemorate the new gateway to the village. Even now, exactly 20 years from that day, the station building stands watch over trains arriving and departing, looking just as it did when was first built.

“We’ve got fewer children, more people are driving, and less people are riding their bicycles, but in the past, the station used to be bustling with people heading for Yokota Air Base and surrounding factories. But even now, there are people who’ve been using this station for two or three generations,” says Masaki Teruo (77yo), who has been operating a bicycle facility at the station since after World War II. He’s just a little bit older than Myōkaku Station itself, which was established in 1934. “I love it here. This place has forests and hot springs, and it’s surrounded by nature,” says Masaki.

Sakurazawa Kenji (53yo), Stationmaster of Moro Station two stops away, is also responsible for Myōkaku Station. According to Sakurazawa, many visitors come to the station for hiking and other activities. “When the cherry blossoms outside the station are in full bloom, many photographers come to take pictures of the station.”

In 1997, Myōkaku Station was selected as one of the Top 100 Must-Visit Stations in the Kantō Region. In commemoration of Railway Day (October 14), which marks the anniversary of the opening of Japan’s first railroad, the then-Kantō Transport Bureau of the Ministry of Transport selected a total of 100 stations between 1997 and 2000. The Bureau selected unique stations, such as stations with histories to tell and landmarks such as commemorative plaques and historic sites, as well as multi-purpose stations with public functions.

Other stations within Saitama Prefecture selected for the Top 100 Must-Visit Stations include Kōkū Kōen Station on the Seibu Shinjuku Line, Seibu Chichibu Station on the Seibu Chichibu Line, Takasaka Station on the Tōbu Tōjō Line, Nagatoro Station and Mitsumineguchi Station on the Chichibu Railway, and Fukaya Station on the JR Takasaki Line. There are many stations with stories still to tell. How about visiting some, and getting to know the locals?
Myōkaku Station on the Hachikō Line

Source: Wikipedia

Kōkū Kōen Station on the Seibu Shinjuku Line

Source: Wikipedia


Source: Wikipedia

The station is near Tokorozawa City’s Aviation Park (Kōkū Kōen), and an aircraft is on display immediately outside the station.
image hosted on flickr

Source: tataquax on Flickr

Fukaya Station on the JR Takasaki Line.
The station is modeled after Tōkyō Station.

Source: Wikipedia


Source: Wikipedia

image hosted on flickr

Source: OSM2000 on Flickr
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 09:14 AM   #572
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Citizens group helps Toyohashi streetcar
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/aic...OYT8T01354.htm

Quote:
The Toyohashi Streetcar Supporters Association (Chairman: Suzuki Kunio), a citizens group formed of Toyohashi City residents, has produced Streetcar Scenes, a calendar based on the theme of the streetcars that run through the central city. The group is selling the calendars at bookstores and other outlets in Toyohashi City.

The Association was established in 1990 with the goal of encouraging urban and community development that takes advantage of the city’s streetcars. To fund the association’s efforts, artist and Association vice-chairman Ina Hikosada produces watercolor paintings of streetcar scenes for a calendar released every year.

This year’s calendar (53 cm tall by 38 cm wide) features a total of seven expressive illustrations, including images of the Hotram all low-floor LRV introduced last December, the former streetcar stop outside the city’s General Hospital, and winter scenes.

The calendars are ¥1,000 (incl. tax) and are on sale at several locations, including at Shin-Toyohashi Station on the Toyohashi Railroad (Toyotetsu) Atsumi Line and bookstores Seibunkan and Hōsendō.
I posted an earlier article about the Hotram, which won one of this year’s Laurel Awards:
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...&postcount=131
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 09:15 AM   #573
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Movement to ban walking on escalators takes hold
http://kyushu.yomiuri.co.jp/magazine.../li_091102.htm

Quote:
Passengers using escalators at railway stations stand on one side to allow others to walk up the other side of the escalator. However, a movement is slowly starting in areas throughout Japan to prohibit the commonplace custom of standing to one side and walking on the other as dangerous behavior. Why is this well-established custom so bad? We took a look at the current situation and examined the future prospects.

It’s a weekend afternoon. With the arrival of every train at the platforms of Hakata Station on the Fukuoka City Subway, passengers head for the up escalator.

The cold sound of hard-soled shoes and high heels on the metal steps of the escalator echoes in the station. While it isn’t the rush hour, there are many passengers who walk up the escalator. One man made his way up bumping into the people standing on his left side.

The same trends were observed at the down escalator, with some passengers running down the escalator when hearing the announcements or bells that signal a train’s imminent departure. Some women rushed their way down, big purse in hand.

“It’s very scary to think of what could happen if someone suddenly trips and falls down. They won’t just hurt themselves, they’ll almost certainly hurt other passengers in the process,” said Taniguchi Kazuo of the Japan Elevator Association’s Kyūshū Branch Office (Fukuoka City) as we both watched the scene.

Some passengers have even complained to the Fukuoka City Transportation Bureau, which operates the subway:
“They climb up the steps just centimeters away without saying a word to alert us.”
“When I stood on the right side, the people behind me asked me to ‘move out of the way.’”
“I almost tripped when people started pushing me from behind.”

Three years ago, the City Transportation Bureau began efforts to educate passengers that walking up the escalator was prohibited. Currently, the agency has placed posters at the entrances and exits of escalator shafts and run audio announcements 16 times a day: “Please refrain from walking or running up the escalator, as there is a danger of tripping and falling.”

The level of adherence, however, doesn’t appear to be necessarily high. In a survey questionnaire launched by the City Transportation Bureau last year targeting 148 users who were part of the subway monitoring system, close to seventy percent of the 136 respondents said they weren’t aware walking on the escalators was prohibited, and said they themselves do so.

In April 2007, a female passenger in her 50s who was standing on the left side of an up escalator at Fukuoka Airport Station was struck by a passenger running up the escalator to the right, causing her to fall and suffer injuries to her head and elbows.

“Walking up the escalator has become well-established over a period of many years, and it’s difficult to get passengers to understand the problem. Instead, some users complain that we should be telling people to stay to the left if they want to stand and keep the right side open,” say representatives from the City Transportation Bureau.

The Kyūshū Branch Office of the Japan Elevator Association has also installed illuminated advertisements at the platforms at Hakata and Tenjin Stations on the subway. The advertisement shows a cartoon of a man running down the escalator who is about to fall after bumping into parents with young children, with the tagline, “Are you in a rush?” The same advertisements will make their way inside trains starting November 5.

The Ōsaka World Expo Theory
There’s a theory that leaving one side of the escalator open for users to walk on first took hold in 1970 in preparation for the Ōsaka World Expo, when Ōsaka private railways urged passengers to do so. Apparently, the custom was borrowed from European cities such as Paris and London. The behavior later took hold in Tōkyō in the 1990s and spread to the rest of the country. There are differences in interpretation depending on region, with people in Tōkyō and Fukuoka standing on the left while people in Ōsaka standing on the right.

Safety standards designed for standing, not walking
According to elevator industry group Japan Elevator Association (HQ: Tōkyō), there are approximately 62,000 escalators throughout the country as of March 2009. In recent years, the number has been growing by about 2,000 units annually. Part of the reason is likely the Transportation Accessibility Improvement Law, which entered into effect in 2000 and mandates installation of escalators and other equipment when constructing new transportation facilities such as stations and terminals.

In parallel with the increase in escalators is an increase in the number of incidents. In a survey conducted by the association every five years, approximately 674 human-related incidents were recorded in the two-year period of 2003 to 2004, approximately 1.6 times the incident rate of 420 cases from 1998 to 1999.

The association says the safety standards are based on the assumption that all passengers stand on the escalator, and that the escalator itself may actually come to an emergency halt due to vibrations from walking. As a cautionary measure to escalator operators, the association says “walking or running on escalators is dangerous and prohibited behavior.”

Nagoya: Five years in and slowly gaining acceptance
The Nagoya Municipal Subway also prohibits walking on escalators. In addition to hanging up posters, the subway operator—the Nagoya Municipal Transportation Bureau—also imprints signs on escalator handrails (“Do not walk or run on the escalator”) and broadcasts announcements on station platforms and inside trains. Once a month, staff stand near escalators at main stations and directly advise passengers that the behavior is prohibited.

The educational efforts began in July 2004. According to the agency, response from users was about 50-50. Recently, however, the efforts are slowly proving effective, with less and less people objecting to the measure and many voicing their support for the measure:
“It’s much easier to ride escalators now that everybody is standing.”
“We should look at expanding this throughout the country.”

Online debates
At online message board Hasshin Komachi on Yomiuri Online (the home page for Yomiuri Shimbun), a debate surrounding the issue of walking on escalators is unfolding. In July, a “salaryman in his 40s” posted that he is in full support of prohibiting walking on escalators, with over 300 responses in agreement.

Comments from supporters included the following:
“If I have to leave one side of the escalator unobstructed, I can’t hold hands side-by-side with my child.”
“Because of physical disabilities, I can only hold onto the right-side handrail, but then the people behind me shout at me to move out of the way.”
“Walking on escalators is the same as people who drive dangerously.”

On the other hand, opponents returned the following:
“Walking on escalators is critical for smooth transfers and moving large amounts of people.”
“In places where there are no stairs or the escalators are really long, we have no choice but to allow people to walk.”
“The current setup is the most logical solution as it serves both people who want to walk and people who want to stand.”

Other comments included the following:
“How about making the escalators one-person wide so nobody can slip by?”
“The escalator speed should be increased.”
“They should move the posters to more visible locations.”
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 09:16 AM   #574
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Hiroden and JR West cut service in Hiroshima
http://mytown.asahi.com/hiroshima/ne...00000911130001

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Due to impacts from the recession and the substantial discounts on expressway tolls, railway operators in Hiroshima Prefecture are cutting down on service. After its October 26 schedule changes, Hiroshima Electric Railway reduced trains across its network. The Hiroshima Branch Office of JR West has also expressed its intention to reduce service on a portion of its lines through to next year, but users are likely to voice their objections.

According to Hiroshima Electric Railway (Hiroden), a total of 47.26 million trips were made on Hiroden trains for the first half of the fiscal year (April to September), 4.6 percent less than the same time the previous fiscal year. As a result, the company will reduce annual vehicle-km across its lines by 6.4 percent. The company expects to save approximately ¥60 million annually by reducing service—reduced frequency on midday Miyajima Line through-service trains from every 7-8 minutes to every 9 minutes, and reduced weekday midday frequency on Hiroshima City line No. 3 (Nishi-Hiroshima – Hiroshima Harbor) from every 10 minutes to every 12 minutes.

At a November 9 press conference to announce financial results, President Ōta Tetsuya said, “I’d like to have at least a few of the trains on the lines running out to Hiroshima Harbor instead turn back at Ujina Nichōme, which has declining ridership,” announcing his intention to cut service further in spring of next year.

In March of this year, the Hiroshima Branch Office of JR West revised a portion of its services, including eliminating three midday rapid services on the San’yō Line. Ridership continues to decline, however, partially due to the discounts for expressway tolls, and JR West’s farebox revenues for the first half of the year for Shinkansen and non-Shinkansen lines dropped 8.1 percent from the same period last fiscal year. Ridership on the San’yō Shinkansen (Okayama – Fukuyama) also dropped 7.4 percent compared to the same period last fiscal year.

A reduction in travel due to the May swine flu scare resulted in a whopping 15.4 percent drop in mid- to long-distance farebox revenues compared to May 2008, a new record. With the exception of September, which benefitted from the long holiday Silver Week, Shinkansen users were anywhere from 6.5 to 10.6 percent lower each month than the respective time from the previous year.

At an April press conference, Branch Office President Shibata Shin said, “We’re reevaluating our midday, early morning, and late evening service on lines with declining ridership, while still protecting service for commuters to work and school.”
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 09:17 AM   #575
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7-11 opens station stores at Keikyū Shinagawa and Yokohama
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/economy/bus...1720010-n1.htm

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On the afternoon of November 12, 7-11 Japan and Keihin Electric Express Railway (Keikyū) launched a trial pre-opening event at two small-scale convenience stores inside Keikyū Shinagawa Station (Minato Ward, Tōkyō) and Yokohama Station (Nishi Ward, Yokohama City). The two stores will formally open on November 13. This marks the first time 7-11 stores have opened inside the faregates of a station.

The stores will operate 365 days a year from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm. The shop on the inbound platform at Shinagawa Station is stocked with approximately 750 products ranging from magazines and newspapers to onigiri (rice balls), and also features an ATM.

On November 12, 7-11 President Isaka Ryūichi and Keikyū President Ishiwata Tsuneo made an appearance at an opening ceremony held at Keikyū Shinagawa Station. “The stores will offer many new conveniences, including allowing customers to pay public utility bills,” said President Ishiwata, who was upbeat about the openings.
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 09:18 AM   #576
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Rebuilt Tajimi Station opens
http://chubu.yomiuri.co.jp/news_kan/kan091030_10.htm

Quote:
The north-south public passage at JR Tajimi Station, a project spearheaded by Tajimi City, as well as a new station building with an elevated transfer corridor have been completed. A large ceramic mural by Chairman Katō Kōhei of the Mino Ceramic Art Association was also revealed to the public for the first time on October 29. The new facilities will open to the public on November 1.

Up until now, people traveling from the north side of the station to the south side needed to use a connecting passage, and many citizens called for improvements to the situation. With the partial elevation of the new station building, the faregates are now directly connected to the new north-south corridor (10 m wide by 100 m long), making access easier from both the north and south sides of the station. The total project cost was approximately ¥5.1 billion.

The ceramic mural titled “Echoing Voices”—4 m tall and 10 m wide and composed of approximately seven tons of clay—depicts animals such as people, birds, insects, and fish living amidst nature. “It is an image of all living things on earth, their voices echoing together,” said Chairman Katō. Afterwards, nursery school students in a drum and flute band made a performance before officials crossed over the tracks via the corridor for the first time.
Tajimi Station is the central station for Tajimi City in Gifu Prefecture, northeast of Nagoya. The station is served by the JR Central Chūō Main Line and Taita Line. Average daily entries are 14,800 (2007).

New station building


Source: Wikipedia

New corridor above the tracks


Source: Wikipedia

Elevated concourse above the Chūō Line tracks.

[/url]

The mural inside the station is here:
http://www.mino-tougeikyoukai.org/info4.html
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 09:19 AM   #577
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Sakai City residents fight to protect Hankai Line
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/osa...OYT8T00112.htm

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After Sakai City mayor Takeyama Osami called off the light rail transit (LRT) plan for the city’s central area, the Hankai Line was forced to abandon hope that the LRT project would help improve its financial situation. There is a growing movement in Sakai City to preserve the Hankai Line—city residents have begun holding exhibitions of photographs and watercolor paintings featuring the streetcars, and a special symposium was held on November 14 to discuss a vision for public transportation.

The symposium, “Global Warming and Regional Public Transportation,” was sponsored by citizens group Roadway Environment Citizen’s Forum, which was established after the Nishi-Yodogawa air pollution lawsuit. With the cooperation of the Sakai Streetcar Supporters Association and other groups, approximately 100 city residents participated.

In the panel discussions, the case study of the former Nankai Kishikawa Line (Wakayama Prefecture), a line which was considered for abandonment but instead transformed through the cooperation of city residents and public officials into Wakayama Electric Railway, was presented. In response to Sakai’s LRT plan, panelist Fukui Ryūichirō from the Streetcar Supporters Association said, “The biggest problem was that the city didn’t explain the project enough. The citizens must stand up to protect the Hankai Line.”

Meanwhile, at Gallery Irohani in the Yamanokuchi Shopping Arcade (Sakai Ward) along the Hankai Line, an exhibition titled Streetcars to the Future is on display until November 18.

The project is sponsored by the Streetcar Preservation and Adaptation Committee, established by citizens who helped obtain signatures three years ago as part of a petition to keep the Hankai Line running. The exhibition features several items on display, including 23 photographs of running streetcars and 14 watercolor sketches of trackside neighborhoods created by Streetcar Supporters Association Executive Secretary and artist Iwamoto Kazue, from Nishi Ward. The exhibition also offers pastries shaped like streetcars and postcards featuring Iwamoto’s artwork for sale. “We hope to educate more people about the difficult situation the Hankai Line is in, and want this to become a chance for city residents, the railway company, and public officials to get together to consider how we can keep the streetcars running,” said committee manager Shiga Kazuko.
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 09:20 AM   #578
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Tōkyō to host conference on LRT and future transport
http://rail.hobidas.com/news/info/article/109176.html

Quote:
Following Utsunomiya, Kyōto, and Yokohama, the 4th National Conference for User- and Environmentally-Friendly Transport will be held on Saturday, December 5 on the Hongō Campus of Tōkyō University.

The theme of this year’s conference is “coordination” between the various cities throughout the country that are aiming for transport that is both user-friendly and environmentally-sustainable.

On December 5, researchers and citizens will make presentations based on material in a treatise containing the results of 60 research efforts across the country, in an effort to combat global warming and develop regional transport systems that make travel easy for all people. The conference will also feature two workshops to introduce and discuss efforts by regions and private firms throughout the country, as well as a forum on the theme of advancing transportation-based urban design by regional coordination.

In addition, Toyama City mayor Mori Masashi, whose city is the first in Japan to introduce light rail transit (LRT) in Japan and has succeeded in revitalizing neighborhoods, will make the keynote speech at the conference. Top officials from Utsunomiya City and Toshima Ward, which are both working to realize LRT projects, will be present at a panel discussion.
Poster:
http://rail.hobidas.com/news/info/article/109176_1.html
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 09:21 AM   #579
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Kansai group looks to Boston’s Big Dig for ideas on North Yard
http://osaka.yomiuri.co.jp/eco/news/...OYO8T00273.htm

Quote:
On November 17 (November 18 in Japan), a group representing the Kansai Association of Corporate Executives touring the United States visited the Boston Redevelopment Authority in Boston, Massachusetts to learn about Boston’s Big Dig redevelopment project. The project undergrounded a freeway and converted most of the former right-of-way into greenery and parks, and members of the visiting delegation said that the project should be used as a case study in the redevelopment of the Umeda North Yard on the north side of JR Ōsaka Station.

Starting in the 1990s, approximately 12 km of elevated freeway running through central Boston were undergrounded as part of a state redevelopment project. Construction costs reached a total of ¥1.600 trillion, but after removal of the elevated freeway, approximately 11 ha, or 80 percent, of the freed-up land was converted into parks and open space.

There was a plan to sell parcels to private developers to cover the cost of construction, but BRA Deputy Director Prataap Patrose said, “We determined that this was a once-in-a-century chance to create large green open space in the center of the city.” As a result, land values in the surrounding area have increased and new luxury hotels are opening up, creating new activity.

“To enhance the attractiveness of our city, we should construct an expansive area of green open space in the North Yard, the gateway to Ōsaka Station. I hope we can use this concept in our upcoming proposal,” said Shinozaki Yukiko, Chief of the Urban Life Research Institute and Chairman of the Kansai Association of Corporate Executives’ Umeda North Yard Committee.
Personally, I don’t want to see a massive park in the middle of Ōsaka unless they can identify at least some auxiliary uses to put in it, like museums or other attractions. And from a funding perspective, the Big Dig was a boondoggle, so if they do choose to somehow emulate it, here’s to hoping the North Yard project doesn’t end up in a similar situation.
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 09:22 AM   #580
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Kichijōji Station to get a facelift
http://www.jreast.co.jp/press/2009/20091101.pdf

Quote:
As part of our efforts to create safe and pleasant stations that become landmarks for neighborhoods, JR East has begun work on the station improvements and station building renewal at Kichijōji Station.

In addition to seismic retrofit work, the station improvements will include widening of the north-south public passage at the station in coordination with Musashino City and Keiō Electric Railway and improvements to transfer convenience and barrier-free access, transforming the station into the “face” of Kichijōji.

The station building renewal will broadcast the appeal of Kichijōji as a town rich in culture and create a station building that will develop together with the neighborhood.

Station building renewal
  • Phase 1 of the station building renewal will open in April 2010. The opening of Phase 2 in autumn 2010 will mark the full opening.
  • The tenant composition will maintain the existing main customer base in their 40s and older, while expanding to attract the main visitors to the neighborhood—women in their late 20s to 30s—who were previously not considered.
  • The renovated shopping center will create a new lifestyle that combines station and neighborhood by hosting a variety of music, art, and other events that showcase the appeal of Kichijōji and foster unity with our local customers.
  • The aging shop interiors and constrained, difficult-to-follow floor space will be redone. The interior design of the facility will include carefully located open spaces throughout to allow customers to stroll at leisure.
  • As a result of replacement of equipment during the building renewal, the project will emit approx. 13 percent less carbon dioxide (approx. 1,500 tons) annually.
Station improvements
  • The elevated track and station structures will undergo seismic retrofit (a portion of this work has already been completed).
  • The north-south public passage through the station will be widened from the current 8 m to 16 m, matching the width of the central axis through the neighborhood.
  • Barrier-free improvements will be implemented (installation of three elevators and construction of a multi-function restroom inside the paid area of the station).
  • The layout of the station will be simplified and convenience improved. JR’s three faregate locations will be consolidated onto the second floor. A new View Plaza office will be constructed just outside the central exit.
  • The façade of the station will become a new “face” for Kichijōji. The station area will be open and airy and the exterior of the station will feature an attractive façade design.
This is the press release from JR East.

I posted an earlier article about this here:
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...&postcount=241
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