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Old August 31st, 2013, 07:37 AM   #5981
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Kurashiki City Council petitions to accelerate elevation of Kurashiki Station
倉敷駅高架化:「早期に着手を」 市議連、知事に要望書

http://mainichi.jp/area/okayama/news...10561000c.html

An alliance of Kurashiki City Council representatives established to see through completion of the proposed grade-separation (elevation) of the tracks at Kurashiki Station submitted a petition to the governor of Okayama Prefecture on 2013.08.29, signed by 167,447 citizens. While the governor accepted the petition and said he would make good faith efforts to consider the project, he stressed the financial difficulties faced by the Prefectural Government, which, as the project lead, would need to gain support for the project from jurisdictions outside of Kurashiki.

The project would elevate 3.2 km of the JR San’yō Line, 2.2 km of the Hakubi Line, and 1.7 km of the Mizushima Waterfront Railway (水島臨海鉄道) surrounding Kurashiki Station. The cost for the project, excluding the land readjustment surrounding the new elevated station, is approx. ¥60.9 billion. The Prefectural Government and Kurashiki City would each be responsible for ¥12.7 billion, the national government for ¥31.2 billion, and the railway operators for ¥4.3 billion.

While the national government identified the station as a key focus for the national railway grade-separation (elevation) program in 1998, the Prefectural Government has delayed awarding urban planning approvals for the project, saying that Kurashiki City has not made sufficient progress in the necessary land readjustment project.
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Old August 31st, 2013, 07:38 AM   #5982
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First steps taken in preserving Kōnan Railway Ōwani Line
大鰐線存続巡り、弘南鉄道と沿線自治体が初協議

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/aom...OYT8T01527.htm

The first meeting of a special committee to allow Kōnan Railway and local governments along the Ōwani Line to discuss measures to preserve rail service and maintain the financial well-being of the line was held in Hirosaki City on 2013.08.26. As we know, the railway discussed potentially abandoning the line by March 2017 due to declining ridership (a mere 15% of peak historic ridership levels from 40 years ago), but after some local backlash, later stepped back and said it would cooperate with efforts to accelerate solvency of train operations.

In particular, some of the committee members called for better rail connections, pointing out that there was direct service between Hirosaki and Ōwani, but not between Ōwani and Kuroishi, Others suggested that more efforts be done to attract railfans to the line, which operates some fairly old rolling stock. The city has already included a one-time budget item (¥16.6 million) to fund committee efforts to revitalize the line.

===

Some fairly naïve suggestions, if I may say… Kuroishi is on the other Kōnan Railway line, the Kōnan Line, which isn’t even physically connected to the Ōwani Line, not even by JR tracks. The options—building a new connection between the Ōwani Line terminus at Chūō Hirosaki (中央弘前) and the Kōnan Line terminus at Hirosaki, or a new track connection to the JR tracks near Ishikawa and operating through-service with JR—seem a bit unrealistic (and costly).

The other suggestion about railfans is OK, but still won’t save the line… Railfans are just a small blip on the radar. Not to say that they shouldn’t do more special events or charters, though… A lot of small Japanese railways do this, and it’s an easy way to make money outside of regular revenue service and bring out and familiarize the general public (many of whom may not regularly ride the train) with the railway. Kōnan Railway already operates an annual “beer train” on the Kōnan Line:

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Old August 31st, 2013, 07:39 AM   #5983
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Increased service coming to Keiō Inokashira Line
京王井の頭線、吉祥寺駅の始発増 混雑緩和へダイヤ改正

http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNZO...20C13A8L83000/

Keiō Corporation will implement schedule changes to the Keiō Inokashira Line on 2013.09.17 designed to ease morning rush hour overcrowding at the outer terminus at Kichijōji Station, adding one Shibuya-bound departure during the 7:00 hour. The change will be implemented by extending one of the Shibuya-bound departures from Fujimigaoka to Kichijōji, and will include several other changes to destinations and timepoints for weekday trains between 5:00 am and 9:00 am.

The platforms at Kichijōji Station are most crowded between 7:30 am and 8:00 am, and there are periods where schedule gaps result in excessive passenger queues and congestion. The additional train and associated schedule changes will help to optimize platform queues and provide increased dwell times at the terminus, allowing passengers to wait inside trains.

===

Kichijōji is currently undergoing some renovation works… When I visited in early June, there were next to no visual markers to orient myself, just the directional signage:



The Inokashira Line is particularly famous for its pastel color schemes on the fiber-reinforced plastic ends of the cab cars (seven different colors total), but there’s also a “rainbow” set:

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Old August 31st, 2013, 07:40 AM   #5984
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Some video reports of the recent elevation of Keisei Hikifune Station on the Oshiage Line…

Pre-switchout (2013.08.23):



Post-switchout (2013.08.23):

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Old August 31st, 2013, 07:42 AM   #5985
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Morning rush hour action on the Tōkyū Tōyoko Line between Toritsu Daigaku and Jiyūgaoka, showing the rolling stock variety of the line (2013.08.12):

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Old August 31st, 2013, 09:55 AM   #5986
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starrwulfe View Post
Not sure if all train staff have to take judo as part of their training like police, fire, and EMT staff do in this country--but I'll ask around.

Also--Guess who was approached to work for that animation/news company?

They're based in Taipei, Taiwan though...
I forget the name but is it /those guys/ who make the ridiculous mock up vids for really small news stories?
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Old August 31st, 2013, 11:50 AM   #5987
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Quote:
First steps taken in preserving Kōnan Railway Ōwani Line
I had the opportunity to ride this line earlier this summer. I have to say, the passenger loadings on a late morning weekend were pretty small- a few high school students, perhaps on their way to club practice. And I noticed that the railway already has discount offers, like children riding free if accompanied by a parent. Central Hirosaki itself is a bit of a ghost town, many empty lots and boarded up businesses with apparently no replacement. Basically, the businesses that attract the customers have moved to the outskirts where parking is more plentiful, and that's where the popular chain stores are. I really have no sympathy for the residents when they demand the railway continue operations while they continue to use their kei jidousha (minicars) to go shopping at the Aeon superstore located on the ring road, and afterwards eat lunch at the kaiten sushi chain restaurant with the 120 parking spaces.
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Old August 31st, 2013, 12:07 PM   #5988
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Quote:
Morning rush hour action on the Tōkyū Tōyoko Line between Toritsu Daigaku and Jiyūgaoka, showing the rolling stock variety of the line
I was at this very spot only a week after this was filmed. It is called "touritsu daigaku #3 crossing"- it's pretty popular with the railfans, apparently at the time this video was made, there were 6 other fans at the same spot. When I went there, luckily there were no others, probably because it was early AM Obon weekend. Up trains climb a grade after leaving Jiyugaoka, and traverse a curve, making for a nice camera angle.
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Old August 31st, 2013, 06:28 PM   #5989
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If they elevate the San'yō Main Line at Kurashiki Station, it won't be a cheap project--the elevated tracks has to also handle the many freight trains that go through that station on a daily basis, since Kurashiki Station is not far west of the major JR Freight yard located just west of Okayama Station.
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Old August 31st, 2013, 09:11 PM   #5990
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Project info is here:
http://www.pref.okayama.jp/uploaded/...70426_misc.pdf

The proposed approaches for the viaduct are about 700 m on the east side and 900 m on the west side for the San'yō Main Line and 800 m for the Mizushima Waterfront Railway, and it's an elevation change of about 15 m. This is only a little over 2% grade max, which should be OK. Maybe high if we are talking about 2-mile-long trains like in the U.S., but Japanese freight trains are only a fraction of that.
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Old September 1st, 2013, 06:18 AM   #5991
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Delivery of the first cars of the next-generation Hankyū 1000 series to the railway’s Shōjaku Works has taken place over the last few days. That being said, Hankyū is a company built on tradition, so physically, the cars still sport the classic maroon livery and overall don’t look vastly different from existing stock.

Some clips from 2013.08.29:





Being moved by traverser:

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Old September 1st, 2013, 06:20 AM   #5992
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FNN news report on the new smart platform doors in testing at Seibu’s Shin-Tokorozawa Station:



Clips in service on the first day (2013.08.31):

Moving from 4-door configuration to 3-door configuration:



And the reverse.
The system will undergo testing through to 2014.02.

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Old September 1st, 2013, 01:20 PM   #5993
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That system is seriously advanced. What a clever design for coping with the plethora of different rolling stocks.
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Old September 1st, 2013, 08:03 PM   #5994
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One thing about Hankyu's maroon livery is it makes it look a tad old-fashioned.
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Old September 2nd, 2013, 09:07 AM   #5995
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sacto7654 View Post
One thing about Hankyu's maroon livery is it makes it look a tad old-fashioned.
Yes, old fashioned image, but one of a profitable company and one of the originators of the concept of private railways building synergistic businesses to feed traffic into their rail systems- likewise with Tokyu Rlwy. being the Kanto representative. An innovator too- Hankyu was the pioneer user (with the cooperation of Omron and a Kansai university) of automated ticket gates. Hankyu's maroon trains are throwback, but invariably spotless inside and outside.
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Old September 2nd, 2013, 10:19 AM   #5996
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k.k.jetcar View Post
Yes, old fashioned image, but one of a profitable company and one of the originators of the concept of private railways building synergistic businesses to feed traffic into their rail systems- likewise with Tokyu Rlwy. being the Kanto representative. An innovator too- Hankyu was the pioneer user (with the cooperation of Omron and a Kansai university) of automated ticket gates. Hankyu's maroon trains are throwback, but invariably spotless inside and outside.
The founder of Hankyu, Ichizō Kobayashi--despite his highly-controversial political views--was in many ways a very far-sighted person when it came to business in Japan. Hankyu Railways helped foster many housing developments along its rail lines, and the company created the famous all-female Takarazuka Revue and founded the then Hankyu Braves (now known as the Orix Buffaloes) as a means to increase even more business for the rail lines. Indeed, Tokyu Corporation is heavily modeled after what Hankyu created.

I personally think Hankyu's rail cars all being mostly the same dark maroon color looks a tad old-fashioned compared to the more colorful liveries used by Kintetsu, Hanshin, Keihan, Nankai and even JR West Urban Network in the Kansai region, but you're right--Hankyu deliberately did this because as proof they are an older, but still highly-respected company. I wonder has Hankyu thought about a complete rebuild of Jūsō Station to make it more attractive.
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Old September 2nd, 2013, 11:25 AM   #5997
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Articulated bus trial in Niigata City
BRT体験試乗スタート 新潟市、安全性など検証へ

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/region/news...2040000-n1.htm

On 2013.08.30, Niigata City began offering trial rides on a leased Citaro articulated bus from Kanagawa Chūō Kōtsū (Kanachū) in the Yokohama / Shōnan area. The ¥3 million trial is short, and will only last 25 runs over five days to 2013.09.03, but will test the vehicle and familiarize citizens with the benefits of the buses, part of the city’s BRT plan. Service on 2013.09.02 will also include testing by Niigata Prefectural Police and the local roadway authority, the MLIT’s Niigata National Highway Office (国土交通省新潟国道事務所).

The trial service will be conducted on the BRT route identified by the city, and after a public comment period, a draft report will be produced for the September City Council session, followed by a final report in November and an articulated bus procurement plan for the December City Council session.

Running along Masaya-kōji (柾谷小路):

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Old September 2nd, 2013, 11:26 AM   #5998
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In other Niigata news, the newly-improved Hakusan Station on the Echigo Line in Chūō Ward, Niigata City opened for service on 2013.09.01. For details on the improvements, see the previous post.

A pretty thorough tour on opening day:

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Old September 2nd, 2013, 11:28 AM   #5999
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Keikyū has completed a major overhaul of Unit 2101, the “top number” (トップナンバー) of its 2100 series EMUs. The 2100 series first debuted in 1998 in concert with the 100th birthday of Keikyū, with a total of 10 sets (8-car formations, 4M4T) produced. Most of the sets, excluding Unit 2133 and Unit 2141 have already undergone VVVF upgrades (spelling the eventual demise of the Siemens “musical” inverters), but this particular refurb was completed in-house by Keikyū Finetech (京急ファインテック) in Kurihama and included minor changes to the car body (elimination of one air duct in each car), as well as barrier-free improvements to the train interior.

replacement of the LED scrolls for passenger information with LCD screens; installation of door chimes; placement of yellow high-visibility markers on door and car floor edges; changes to window design at the car ends (these windows can now be opened) and installation of new roll curtains; replacement of seat moquettes in priority areas with a new red design; replacement of interior lighting with LED units; and reduction in PA speakers from 8 to 6 per car (sound level will remain the same).

First day of service (2013.08.21), captured here at Kanazawa Bunko on the Wing 1 service to Shinagawa.



For the priority seating areas, the seat moquettes were replaced with a new red pattern. Side windows near the ends of each car were replaced with new designs that can be opened by the passenger, and roll curtains were installed.



Perhaps the most visible change for passengers will be the replacement of the LED scrolls for passenger information with more modern multi-lingual LCD screens. The door and car floor edges have also been marked with yellow, high-visibility strips.



Interior lighting was converted from fluorescent to LED:



Builder’s “plate”, where Finetech is listed as the refurbisher, alongside the original manufacturer, Tōkyū Car. The operator cabs also got some minor upgrades, including conversion to LED lighting and new train information monitors to help the operator and conductor. Some of the ventilation and PA equipment was also redesigned.



Captured on the first day at Shinagawa Station operating as Wing 8 (2013.08.21):

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Old September 2nd, 2013, 11:29 AM   #6000
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Quote:
I wonder has Hankyu thought about a complete rebuild of Jūsō Station to make it more attractive.
I think they're more concerned about finishing the elevation of Awaji Station to eliminate the flat junctions there. Juso is operationally fine the way it is.
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