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Old October 20th, 2013, 05:49 PM   #6261
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I had a comment from an associate who is living in Tokyo and has done so for 30 years. They say that the emphasis being placed on malls and expansion of station facilities is also coinciding with a reduced interest in the railway side of the business - rusting steel viaducts and the like not being looked after, painted or replaced etc.

Do you guys feel this is an accurate assessment or is it a bit pessimistic to say that maintenance and beautification of the actual lines themselves is not being addressed?
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Old October 21st, 2013, 08:39 AM   #6262
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"Japan Jaunt" e-zine

I do not believed I have mentioned this on this thread.
I published a print zine, "Japan Jaunt", back in March. It went to a 2nd printing in July, and I am nearly running out of this printing's copies.
What went specifically unmentioned was that this is also available in electronic form. {It is essentially a large .rtf file with physical page breaks.}
It is 15 pages. It includes detailed articles on Tokyo & Yokohama's public transportation system. If you would like to receive a copy via e-mail, correspond to me @ jpnjnt2.pudgym29 @ xoxy.net.
I pledge to not give away, trade, or sell your e-mail address without your explicit written permission.
The e-zine will come as an attachment to a text e-mail from me. Instructions on how to print it out will be included.
I beg your pardon for this interruption. Thank you.
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Old October 21st, 2013, 09:05 PM   #6263
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Why don't you PDF it and host it somewhere?
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Old October 21st, 2013, 09:05 PM   #6264
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News feature on the new ex-Keihan 3000 series double-decker car that recently began operating on the Toyama Chihō Railroad in the Hokuriku area:

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Old October 21st, 2013, 09:06 PM   #6265
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Work begins on Sendai Station access improvements
JR仙台駅前再整備着工へ 市、バス停集約化など図る

http://www.kahoku.co.jp/news/2013/10/20131021t11036.htm

Sendai City will break ground on a redesign of the station plazas at JR Sendai Station in preparation for the opening of the Sendai Subway Tōzai Line in FY2015. Work is proceeding on major upgrades inside the station, including widening the east-west public passage, and these coordinated improvements will consolidate bus bays and add new elevators to enhance convenience and station access.

Work will begin at the East Exit area later this month, where two additional bays for highway express coaches will be constructed, bringing the number up to six. The bus stops scattered around the area will be consolidated into a single terminal, and the West Exit bus bays for tourist buses and private buses will be relocated here, with space for a total of 9 buses.

In FY2014, private automobiles will be segregated from taxis at the West Exit with the construction of a new pick-up / drop-off area for private automobiles. A new elevator will also be installed to directly connect the subway stations and the 3F Shinkansen faregates for the first time. Starting in FY2015, the number of bus parking spots at the West Exit bus pool will also be increased, using space on the Minamimachi-dōri (南町通り) side, and the over 20 spaces will be consolidated to improve efficiency.

The total project cost is approx. ¥3 billion, and completion is scheduled for sometime after FY2015. The West Exit station plaza in its current form was designed in coordination with the 1981 opening of the Tōhoku Shinkansen, but the bus pool is oversaturated with buses and bus stops are scattered around the station area. Traffic congestion inside the rotary and other issues forced the city to draft a redesign plan in December 2011 and discuss improvements with JR East.



===

A walk around the West Exit area. Sendai Station easily has one of the most impressive pedestrian decks and taxi pools I’ve seen in Japan.



Station names for 10 of the 12 stations on the Tōzai Line have largely been selected. FNN video report, showing some construction as well:

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Old October 21st, 2013, 09:07 PM   #6266
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Elevation of Tōbu Isesaki Line in Isesaki City complete
東武線高架化工事が完了

http://www.asahi.com/articles/CMTW1310211000001.html

Grade-separation (elevation) works for the Tōbu Isesaki Line through Isesaki City were completed on 2013.10.19. The new elevated station, a two-track island platform with fully-accessible vertical circulation, opened for the public with the start of service.

The grade-separation project involved elevating about 2.2 km of the line between Isesaki and Shin-Isesaki Stations, eliminating a total of 13 grade crossings, including especially congested crossings with prefectural routes such as the Maebashi–Tatebayashi and Isesaki–Ōmama routes. Together with the elevation works for JR Isesaki Station, completed in May 2010, the total project cost was ¥29 billion, but neighborhoods previously divided by the JR and Tōbu tracks are now reunited.

According to Isesaki City, a new 7,100 sq m station plaza featuring a rotary and park will be completed by FY2015, and plans call for a retail facility on about 13,000 sq m of land to the west of the station plaza, for which the city will begin the process to select a developer.



===

Late-night / early-morning construction work for the track switchout:



New station and tracks in service. Adjacent on the opposite side is the JR Ryōmō Line station elevated several years ago.

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Old October 21st, 2013, 09:09 PM   #6267
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Keikyū forecasts 10% ridership growth at Haneda Airport stations
京急、羽田空港駅の利用者数3300万人に 13年度見通し

http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNAS...3A021C1TJC000/

Keihin Electric Express Railway (Keikyū Corporation) has forecasted that ridership at Haneda Airport stations will increase to 33 million this fiscal year, a new high for the railway. Average daily ridership at Keikyū’s stations at the domestic and international terminals of the airport for the first half of the fiscal year (April to September) was approx. 91,000 passengers, a 10% year-over-year increase and far outstripping the 2% growth shown for the first half of FY2012.

According to Keikyū, a major factor in the growth was improved convenience for passengers thanks to schedule improvements that went into effect in October of last year as part of the grade-separation of the Keikyū Main Line and Keikyū Airport Line near Keikyū Kamata Station. The schedule improvements included additional express services connecting directly with Haneda Airport and a reduced travel time between Shinagawa Station and Haneda Airport International Terminal Station. The fastest trip time is now as little as 12 minutes, a time savings of one minute compared to before the schedule improvements and one minute faster than the fastest services on the Tōkyō Monorail between Hamamatsuchō and Haneda Airport. Keikyū’s ¥400 fare between Shinagawa and Haneda, ¥70 cheaper than the monorail, also appears to be a plus among users.

Meanwhile, FY2012 ridership at Tōkyō Monorail’s three stations at Haneda Airport showed negligible growth. The airport will see additional slots opened next spring, and it’s expected that ridership will increase further in FY2014.

===

Weekend midday train traffic at one of the grade crossings between Shinagawa and Kita-Shinagawa:



Window view (left side) on the Tōkyō Monorail from Haneda Airport to Hamamatsuchō:

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Old October 22nd, 2013, 12:13 AM   #6268
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French video on station melodies, which includes an interview with one of the guys who makes the melodies:



A couple months ago, there was a really good Tamori Club episode about station melodies:

[dailymotion]x141ej3[/dailymotion]
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Old October 22nd, 2013, 09:14 PM   #6269
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Kabe Line extension may be delayed one year
可部線延伸1年遅れの可能性

http://www.chugoku-np.co.jp/News/Tn201310120183.html

In regards to the electrification and extension of the Kabe Line from the current terminus via abandoned tracks to the former Kōdo (河戸) Station in Asa Kita Ward, Hiroshima City, JR West’s Hiroshima office held a press conference on 2013.10.11 and hinted that the opening may be delayed by one year from the original target schedule to spring 2016 in order to coincide with the general schedule changes that take effect every year in the spring.

The railway had originally aimed for a spring 2015 opening, and had applied for project approvals from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, hoping to break ground this autumn. Approvals are stalling, however, in part because this would be the first time that tracks have been rehabilitated to restore abandoned service. As there is no precedent in Japan, the work requires some careful attention regarding establishment of new grade crossings, as well as environmental issues in neighborhoods around the new stations.

In regards to possible service plans after the extension is complete, JR West explained that the extension would likely require changes to the schedule for the San’yō Line, which connects with the Kabe Line at Hiroshima Station. The railway indicated that a final decision on the scheduled opening for the line would have to wait until the MLIT grants its approvals, leaving open the possibility for an autumn 2015 opening.

===

Cab view on the abandoned tracks that will be restored for this extension:

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Old October 22nd, 2013, 09:15 PM   #6270
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Track curves and aging infrastructure make for slow going on Ōsaka Municipal Subway mobile coverage
大阪地下鉄:携帯工事が難航 カーブ多く老朽化も壁

http://mainichi.jp/select/news/20131...40161000c.html

Antenna installation to provide mobile coverage for passengers inside running trains on the underground portions of the Ōsaka Municipal Subway has slowed due to the abundance of track curves and the age of tunnel infrastructure. Many subway systems in Japan already provide full mobile coverage, and while Ōsaka’s original target was to cover the entire subway system by the end of this fiscal year, current progress is only at about 50%, despite the benefits in terms of passenger convenience and securing outside contact in the event of service disruptions, emergencies, or natural disasters. As a result, it’s expected that completion will be delayed into next fiscal year.

The city isn’t providing any funds for the installation. Instead, the cost to expand coverage to the subway is being entirely paid for by a public-benefit corporation (公益社団法人) formed by mobile service providers. Work began in March of last year, and the original target for completing work on the eight underground lines of the network was sometime this fiscal year. However, progress has only reached about 53.9 km (about 44%) of the 121.9 km of tunnels, covering all of the Midōsuji, Chūō, and Sakaisuji Lines, as well as the Gamō Yonchōme – Kadoma-Minami section of the Nagahori – Tsurumi Ryokuchi Line, and the Nishi-Umeda – Hanazonochō section of the Yotsubashi Line. While the remaining segments of the Yotsubashi Line are expected to be completed soon, work on the Tanimachi, Sennichimae, and Imazatosuji Lines still remains.

Work to provide mobile coverage on the Tōkyō Metro and Toei Subway was completed in March of this year, while subway systems in Sapporo, Sendai, Nagoya, and Fukuoka are also completely covered. Yokohama City expects to finish its work by year’s end. In Kyōto, the Karasuma Line is fully covered, while the Tōzai Line will be fully covered by the first half of next year. Work in Kōbe will begin early next year, starting up a few months thereafter.

According to the public-benefit corporation carrying out the installation work, the slow progress in Ōsaka is due to the greater number of curves on Ōsaka’s system, as the abundance of signal heads and other wayside systems attached to the tunnel walls, and water seepage due to the age of the infrastructure. The city’s Transportation Bureau is also carrying out seismic retrofit works during the same service window between the last and first trains of the day, requiring coordination. In fact, the public-benefit corporation says that Ōsaka has proven the most challenging to install the necessary antennas and leaky coaxial cables.

Progress:



===

In related news, KDDI is looking to expand Wi-Fi coverage to fixed-route buses, and is currently installing the necessary infrastructure onto buses operated by Keiō and Meitetsu, as well as 350 bus stops served by Kyōto’s municipal bus network:
http://www.sankeibiz.jp/business/new...0504001-n1.htm
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Old October 22nd, 2013, 09:17 PM   #6271
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The new Hankyū 1000 series for the Kōbe Line / Takarazuka Line began daytime testing on 2013.10.17, starting with the Shōjaku – Katsura section of the Kyōto Line.

Clips from yesterday (2013.10.22):

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Old October 22nd, 2013, 09:18 PM   #6272
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Tōshiba Solutions provides cloud-based train operations software for Saitama Railway

Press release:
http://www.toshiba-sol.co.jp/news/detail/131022.htm

Following on the news last week with the Yurikamome, Tōshiba Solutions announced that they will also be providing Saitama Railway (埼玉高速鉄道) with the timetable production (基本ダイヤ作成) and crew deployment (乗務員運用作成) components of its SaaS TrueLine® software suite.

Saitama Railway must frequently deal with special event schedules as a result of gamedays at Saitama Stadium 2002, including the related secondary effects to through-servicing lines such as the Tōkyō Metro Namboku Line and Tōkyū Meguro Line. Crew deployment in particular requires extensive timetabling efforts from the scheduling team.

The SaaS TrueLine® timetable production software allows the schedulers to draw stringlines by mouse on the computer screen, allowing for easy creation of a stringline diagram to help the timetabling process. Meanwhile, the crew deployment component of the software suite will allow Saitama Railway to determine the optimum staffing plan based on labor requirements such as shift lengths and layover time. The software can automatically recommend staffing plans and alert the scheduler to problems in the staffing plan. As the databases are shared between the suite programs, tasks such as producing stringline diagrams, shift schedules, train operating plans, and station-specific schedules can all be done through the program. Saitama Railway estimates that the time required for timetabling efforts will be reduced to a mere one-fourth of the current demands.

Producing stringlines:



Scheduling crew shifts:



===

Saitama Railway stock at Fudō-mae and Tamagawa Stations on the Tōkyū Meguro Line:

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Old October 23rd, 2013, 08:02 PM   #6273
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Work continues on restoration of former Hosshōji Railway car
木造の客車、往時の姿に 法勝寺電車修復作業進む

http://www.nnn.co.jp/news/131023/20131023005.html

Work on restoring a former electric railcar that carried passengers between Yonago City and Hosshō-ji Temple (法勝寺) in Nanbu Town (南部町), Tottori Prefecture is being carried out JR West’s Gotō General Rolling Stock Center (後藤) in Hinodechō 2-chōme, Yonagi City (日ノ出町2丁目) by Gotō Engineering (後藤工業), which is subcontracted to perform rolling stock work for the railway. Disassembly and inventory of the wooden passenger car and its over 10,000 components confirmed the rich historical value of the car, revealing evidence of past refurbishment work and use of valuable materials that are now difficult to find. The railway is hoping to complete the restoration work by the end of this fiscal year.

The car in question is Deha-203 (デハ203号), designated as a protected cultural property by Tottori Prefecture and operated on the Hosshōji Railway (法勝寺鉄道) before the line was abandoned in 1967. The car was afterwards put on display at Saihaku Elementary School (西伯小学校) in what is now Hosshōji, Nanbu Town, where it deteriorated over the years. The town has been carrying out the ¥30 million restoration project since FY2012.

===

NNN video report:

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Old October 23rd, 2013, 08:04 PM   #6274
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Ōbukuro Station upgrades complete
大袋駅橋上化が完成 26日供用開始 埼玉・越谷

http://www.asahi.com/articles/TKY201310220392.html

Upgrades to Ōbukuro Station (Fukuroyama, Koshigaya City) on the Tōbu Sky Tree Line are complete, and the new station building will open to the public with the start of service on 2013.10.26.

Tōbu Railway and Koshigaya City invested two years and ¥2 billion into the project, which included construction of a new public passage (自由通路) and new West Exit at the station. Previously, passengers coming from the areas west of the station needed to cross the tracks to reach the ticketing hall, but the public passage now provides a convenient, barrier-free route. Other accessibility improvements included escalators, elevators, and multi-function toilets.

The city is continuing work on a new access road connecting to the station’s West Exit that will establish a new hub for bus services.



===

Train action at Ōbukuro:

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Old October 28th, 2013, 11:52 AM   #6275
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New platform door prototype begins testing at Yayoidai Station

This is the third and last of the prototype platform door systems currently being tested by the MLIT in the Tōkyō area. Following the “smart” platform doors at Seibu Shin-Tokorozawa and the rope doors at Tōkyū Tsukimino Station, this third type is a bar design being tested at Yayoidai Station (Izumi Ward, Yokohama City) on the Sagami Railway (Sōtetsu) Izumino Line.

The design was developed by Takamizawa Cybernetics and involves moving three fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) bars up and down. The prototype was installed on one carlength along the outbound platform, at the Yokohama end. There are four openings, three 3 m wide and the final one adjacent to the side door into the conductor’s cab 4 m wide. The vertical clearance from platform to bar when open is 195 cm. When the doors are closed, the bars are at 30 cm intervals. The designed transition time is 3.2 seconds for raising the bars and 3.7 seconds for lowering the bars, and the doors are controlled by the conductor.

Testing began on 2013.10.27.
Clips:



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Old October 28th, 2013, 11:53 AM   #6276
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JR West also unveiled a prototype of its rope platform door design on 2013.10.24. They are working to start field trials of the unit on Platform 1 at Sakurajima Station on the JR Yumesaki Line in Ōsaka City early December. Overall, the design is very similar to what’s already being tested at Tsukimino Station, and is comprised of 5 stainless steel ropes arranged 50 to 120 cm above the height of the platform. The vertical clearance is about 2 m above the platform when the doors are open. The railway hopes to develop the design for mass-production by sometime in FY2017.

Kōbe Shimbun video report of the press event in Amagasaki City:

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Old October 29th, 2013, 09:19 PM   #6277
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IC card for Kumamoto City trams to debut in March 2014
熊本市電ICカード、2014年3月から開始…オリジナルカードは「でんでんnimoca」

http://response.jp/article/2013/10/29/209512.html

On 2013.10.28, nimoca, the company responsible for managing the IC farecard system for Nishi-Nippon Railroad (Nishitetsu), announced that it will launch the IC farecard system for the Kumamoto City Transportation Bureau’s trams in March 2014.

The system will cover all lines in Kumamoto’s municipally-operated tram system, and will be interoperable with JR Kyūshū’s SUGOCA, the Fukuoka City Transportation Bureau’s Hayakaken, JR East’s Suica, and 7 other nationwide cards. Similar to similar roll-outs of the nimoca system outside of Fukuoka, a special version of the card will be issued in Kumamoto called “Den-Den nimoca” (でんでんnimoca). A total of 58 of the 979 naming suggestions received in September recommended this name, fewer than the 106 votes for “Kumamon nimoca” (くまモンニモカ), named after the mascot character for Kumamoto, and the 51 votes for “Kumaden nimoca” (熊電ニモカ). “Kumamon nimoca” was not selected due to trademark issues, while “Kumaden nimoca” was dropped from contention due to potential confusion with the Kumamoto Electric Railway (“Kumaden”), a private railway operator in the city.

The city’s Transportation Bureau has already signed a formal contract with nimoca on 2013.10.18, worth approx. ¥132 million for FY2013. Circulation of nimoca surpassed 2 million cards in July 2013 and is currently at 2,067,857 cards as of 2013.10.27.

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Old October 29th, 2013, 09:20 PM   #6278
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Kusatsu City shelves plans for new station on JR Biwako Line
南草津―瀬田間の新駅凍結 草津市、JR西に伝達

http://www.kyoto-np.co.jp/economy/ar...20131029000016

Kusatsu City in Shiga Prefecture has decided to shelve plans for a new station between Minami-Kusatsu and Seta Stations on the JR Tōkaidō Line (Biwako Line), currently separated by 2.7 km. The city cited the high costs and limited potential for new ridership as reasons, and has notified JR West of its decision.

JR West originally vetted the idea of a new station in Shiga Prefecture in 2011, seeing potential to attract new riders. The city then began developing plans for the station, identifying a location in Minamigasa Higashi (南笠東) 1-chōme in Kusatsu City and coordinating with local residents. However, surrounding neighborhoods expressed concern about potential increased traffic on National Route 1 (国道1号), as well as the close proximity to Minami-Kusatsu Station. Building a station at this location, where the line is quadruple-tracked, was estimated to cost at least ¥10 billion, with the city shouldering a substantial portion of the costs. In addition, the estimated number of potential new riders is limited because it is unlikely that the railway’s special rapid (shin-kaisoku) services would stop at the station. The city also expressed concern about potential effects to the overall master plan, including the necessary changes to municipal services and infrastructure such as schools and waste facilities to accommodate the increased residential population.

Near the planned site of the station:



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Old October 29th, 2013, 09:21 PM   #6279
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Upgrades announced for Isawa Onsen Station
山梨県笛吹市とJR東日本、石和温泉駅を橋上駅舎に - 完成は2015年3月の予定

http://news.mynavi.jp/news/2013/10/29/091/

JR East recently announced that it will replace the station building at Isawa Onsen Station on the JR Chūō Main Line in Fuefuki City, Yamanshi Prefecture. The project is part of barrier-free upgrades at the station, and will include construction of an elevated station concourse and platform bridge and a new north-south public passage to allow for barrier-free access across the tracks.

The new 2-story steel-frame station building will comprise 1,740 sq m of gross floor area on a 3,288 sq m parcel, and will include elevators, escalators, and other barrier-free facilities. The new public passage through the station, measuring 6 m wide and 109 m long, will better connect neighborhoods north and south of the tracks. The project is expected to cost ¥2.38 billion, rising to ¥3.95 billion when including the additional station area improvements such as the North Exit station plaza.

Work will begin in November, with completion scheduled for March 2015. The current station building, now 76 years old and without barrier-free accessd, will be decommissioned in February 2014 and a temporary station building built adjacent to it to house station facilities while the railway builds the new station building.

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Old October 29th, 2013, 09:22 PM   #6280
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Utsunomiya City to extend planned LRT alignment east
芳賀町の要望受けLRT延長へ 宇都宮市長表明

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/toc...OYT8T01585.htm

In regards to the planned light-rail transit (LRT) line for Utsunomiya City, the mayor announced at a regular press conference on 2013.10.28 that he plans to incorporate an extension of the alignment east into Haga Town (芳賀町) into the project plans. The move is in response to a petition by Haga Town, and represents the first proposal to extend one of the mayor’s major campaign promises—the LRT line—into the suburbs of the city.

The city’s plans currently call for a 15 km east-west alignment from the vicinity of Sakura-dōri Jūmōnji (桜通り十文字) in the western part of the city leading east to the Utsunomiya Technopolis Center (宇都宮テクノポリスセンター), with a target opening in five years. On 2013.10.23, Haga Town submitted a petition to Utsunomiya City to extend the planned alignment 2.5 km further east into the Haga Industrial Zone (芳賀工業団地). The city’s LRT project office says the ultimate plan is to extend it all the way east to the Mooka Railway, which connects Mogi Town (茂木町) and Ibaraki Prefecture’s Chikusei City (筑西市). The route, stop locations, fares, and funding arrangements will be determined by a special working group to be established in November.

The mayor had expressed his intention to prioritize the eastern 12 km segment of the alignment from JR Utsunomiya Station, and intends to incorporate the Haga extension into the initial segment. According to Haga Town, the industrial zone currently employs about 20,000 people, about 10,000 of whom come from Utsunomiya.

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