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Old January 6th, 2014, 07:08 AM   #6561
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Okinawa plans to bring back railway



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Trains could run once again on Okinawa’s main island as the prefectural government will start a full-scale study in fiscal 2014 on introducing a line that would run through it, in anticipation of using land to be vacated after the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station.

The envisaged line will run between Naha and Nago and cover about 70 kilometers in about one hour. A station is planned at the site in Ginowan where the Futenma base is currently located.

The prefectural government will set up a panel of experts in fiscal 2014 that will compile a plan the following fiscal year for constructing the railway. The project is expected to emerge as a key theme for the economic development of the prefecture in the years ahead.

The island had a 48-kilometer light railway line that linked Naha and Kadena and other locations before World War II, but it was destroyed during fierce fighting on the island in 1945.

Constructing a railway line on the island has been a long cherished desire for many Okinawans. The central government earmarked ¥200 million as research funding for the project in the fiscal 2014 budget.

The prefectural government envisages a route connecting the cities of Naha, Ginowan, Okinawa and Nago, emphasizing such merits as improving convenience for commuters and tourists, reducing road congestion, and positive ripple effects on the local economy.

The government is considering building the line underground in built-up areas, including Naha. As for the restituted land, including the Futenma site, the prefectural government is considering building the railway line simultaneously with redevelopment projects in these areas to attract commuters and tourists.

Whether the train service will be commercially viable is at the crux of this project. The prefectural government expects the project will cost several hundred billion yen, and intends to apply a publicly built, privately run method that is used for Shinkansen projects, in which the central government shoulders construction costs for rail lines and station buildings.

The prefectural government is considering asking the central government to reduce or eliminate the facility usage charge, which JR companies are obliged to pay for Shinkansen bullet train services, in the event that the envisaged project is a Shinkansen.

However, an official of the Cabinet Office, which started a survey for the project in fiscal 2010, said, “We’re not considering applying special measures at this moment.”

The prefectural government plans to have the expert panel compile a project plan in fiscal 2014, and will press the central government to start construction by fiscal 2019 in the hope it can start full operations in about 2030.
The Yomiuri Shimbun
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Old January 6th, 2014, 09:23 AM   #6562
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamuraiBlue View Post
That is exactly what I said, since you asked if there are any Shinkansen that didn't head north.
Ah my question was too vague

Are there any services that don't stop at Omiya?
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Old January 6th, 2014, 03:55 PM   #6563
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sopomon View Post
Are there any services that don't stop at Omiya?
I believe there is still one Max Toki train that goes directly from Tokyo to Niigata non-stop. It's probably the only Shinkansen train that doesn't stop at Ueno and Omiya Stations, let alone Takasaki, Echigo-Yuzawa and Nagaoka Stations on the Jōetsu Shinkansen run.
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Old January 6th, 2014, 04:43 PM   #6564
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
Since there was some desire among foreign visitors for rail maps that showed the entirety of the Tōkyō rail network, here’s a fairly thorough summary of what’s available online. Some of them are a few years old, so they may be missing the Fukutoshin Line extension and new stations (Haneda Airport International Terminal, Yoshikawa Minami, etc.). Click for large size.
Quote:
Originally Posted by smithrh View Post
ABSOLUTELY!

While schematic maps have their place, I was having a devil of a time finding a geographic map in English, correctly color coded, showing all operators equally.

V1.21 fits the bill perfectly...
I agree - Quashlo, your map is the best one I've encountered. It's rather large but its relative geographic accuracy and readability are definite pluses. With tablets and smartphones and pinch-to-zoom becoming the standard, its largeness is less of an issue than it would have been in the days of printed maps.
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Old January 6th, 2014, 07:42 PM   #6565
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Thanks for all the compliments…

Unfortunately, I haven’t had the time (desire?) to update it the past few years… To be honest, I look at the map now and find much room for improvement, since I originally started it many years ago when I had no familiarity with Adobe Illustrator or any experience with creating vector graphics. If I had to do it over now, it might end up looking quite different.
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Old January 6th, 2014, 07:44 PM   #6566
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sr.Horn View Post
Okinawa plans to bring back railway
Thanks… Good to see some action being taken towards this. It most certainly won’t be cheap—the Tsukuba Express is only slightly shorter but cost ¥800 billion—but it would do wonders for making the rest of the island accessible for tourists. The elongated shape of Okinawa Island makes it difficult to get to a lot of places outside of Naha without driving or going on some sort of organized tour, but perfect for a north–south rail line combined with feeder buses, which would make it a breeze to get to some of the other sights.
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Old January 6th, 2014, 08:13 PM   #6567
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What sort of rail line would we be looking at here?

Grade crossings?

Double or single track?

Electrified? AC or DC?

Underground?

Scenery-oriented?
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Old January 6th, 2014, 11:51 PM   #6568
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
Thanks… Good to see some action being taken towards this. It most certainly won’t be cheap—the Tsukuba Express is only slightly shorter but cost ¥800 billion—but it would do wonders for making the rest of the island accessible for tourists. The elongated shape of Okinawa Island makes it difficult to get to a lot of places outside of Naha without driving or going on some sort of organized tour, but perfect for a north–south rail line combined with feeder buses, which would make it a breeze to get to some of the other sights.
if they choose to do an underground section, then it certainly will sky rocket in costs because Okinawa's unique geology requires that whatever drilling mechanism they use will require the blades to be changed every so meters.
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Old January 6th, 2014, 11:53 PM   #6569
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 00Zy99 View Post
What sort of rail line would we be looking at here?

Grade crossings?

Double or single track?

Electrified? AC or DC?

Underground?

Scenery-oriented?
I have several blue prints from different agencies when I did research on potential rail extensions for a professor.
If they're following the prefecture government's ideas, it will be mixed.
Ideally, it shouldn't be mixed since many are going to Okinawa for scenery purposes.
I also feel it should've been an LRT line but they are likely to pursue something heavier.
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Old January 7th, 2014, 10:01 PM   #6570
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Yokohama City, JR agree on improvements to Higashi-Totsuka Station
東戸塚駅の混雑緩和へJRと市が協定 改良検討案を作成へ/横浜

http://news.kanaloco.jp/localnews/article/1401060020/

In regards to strategies to alleviate rush-hour platform congestion at JR Higashi-Totsuka Station, it was revealed on 2014.01.06 that Yokohama City and JR East have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to consider specific station improvements. The two parties will flesh out several improvement options for the station this fiscal year.

According to Yokohama City officials, Higashi-Totsuka debuted as a “petition station” (請願駅) in 1980 as part of local urban planning efforts, including a land readjustment project (区画整理事業). While average daily entries and exits when the station opened were about 15,000 total, the number has since ballooned to 7.5 times that number (115,000 passengers in 2011) thanks to construction of large malls and large residential blocks.

In recent years, congestion on the station’s platforms during the morning and evening rush hours has become an acute problem, with the queues for the up escalator stretching for some distance. Since 2001, Yokohama City has requested a variety of countermeasures from JR East, including having all Tōkaidō Line and Shōnan–Shinjuku Line trains stop at the station. In the past, local residents have also gathered signatures as part of petition drives to improve the situation.

According to an agreement (「横須賀線東戸塚駅改良に関する調査設計協定書」) signed in October 2013 between Yokohama City and JR and lasting through to March 2014, the two parties would work to improve passenger convenience and alleviate overcrowding at the station. The two have already completed field surveys of station user behavior and passenger flows at the station in early October. Based on the results of the observations, the two will now develop several options for improving the station, narrowing down to a single, final plan as early as next fiscal year. The costs related to the agreement are approx. ¥10 million, which will be split half-half between JR and the city.

Up escalator queues at JR Higashi-Totsuka Station (June 2012):



===

Inbound Tōkaidō Line and Shōnan–Shinjuku Line trains racing, Totsuka → Higashi-Totsuka:

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Old January 8th, 2014, 05:25 AM   #6571
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Yokohama Line E233 series (E233-6000 series) testing began on 2014.01.07. Apparently, the first trains will enter service on 2014.02.16, so not very long at all.
All the 205 series trains on the line will be gone by August 2014.

Unit H016 departed the J-TREC plant in Yokohama and did some test runs (Zushi → Hongōdai → Ōfuna → Kamakura Rolling Stock Center). Was unaware they were making sets at J-TREC, since all we had seen thus far were the cars being manufactured in Niitsu, so I guess this means H001 through H015 will be produced at Niitsu. Unlike the other E233 series, these have special “Yokohama Line” logos on the ends and on the sides (underneath the center window of each car)—I was wondering what those covers on the sides were for in the videos from Niitsu.

Departing J-TREC in the dark, with a diesel loco (DD5515) in the lead and two ex-Tōkyū 7200 series cars behind. A bit strange, but I guess these ex-Tōkyū work cars are now the property of JR East as part of the purchase of Tōkyū Car Company.



Captured at Ōfuna:



A look from the opposite platform, where we get a better view of the insides:



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Old January 8th, 2014, 07:06 PM   #6572
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Track switchout for JR Nambu Line

A track switchout on the JR Nambu Line as part of the continuous grade-separation (連続立体交差事業) of the line between Inada-zutsumi (稲田堤) and Fuchū Honmachi (府中本町) took place between 18:30 on 2013.12.22 and the start of service on 2013.12.23.

The first phase of the project was completed with the elevation of the Inada-zutsumi – Yanokuchi (矢野口) section in October 2005, eliminating 8 grade crossings. This latest switchout marks the completion of the second phase (Yanokuchi – Fuchū Honmachi), elevating the inbound (for Kawasaki) direction and eliminating 7 grade crossings. The outbound track was completed in December 2011.

Some videos:

Local news report:



Scenes at Inagi Naganuma (2013.12.07), showing the ground-level inbound platforms and track, still in use at the time:



Workers manually controlling traffic at one of the grade crossings. The switchout required them to operate a special schedule for the line, with the Noborito – Yanokuchi section single-tracked. As inbound trains were forced to share the outbound track, the crossing arms and other safety devices wouldn’t be able to detect these trains, so staff were deployed at the crossings to stop cross traffic.



Cab view (Bubaigawara – Yanokuchi) after elevation. As you can see @ 4:45, they still have to complete the second inbound track at Inagi Naganuma, although all 15 grade crossings on this section are now eliminated.

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Old January 8th, 2014, 08:29 PM   #6573
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Ōsaka to begin formal studies on Naniwasuji Line
なにわ筋線の府市検討を正式表明 都心部に複数の駅設置

http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNZO...00C14A1LDA000/

On 2014.01.06, Ōsaka City mayor Hashimoto Tōru announced that his administration and Ōsaka Prefecture would soon begin formal evaluation of the Naniwasuji Line, a proposed rail line connecting central Ōsaka with Kansai International Airport (KIX). The news marks a major step forward for the project, which would enhance transit access to KIX and construct several new stations in the heart of Ōsaka.

The new line would travel underground between Shin-Ōsaka and the Ume-Kita (うめきた) redevelopment area on the north side of JR Ōsaka Station, forking into two branches near Namba to connect to both JR and Nankai Electric Railway. Plans for the line were first announced in 1980s, and a 1989 report by the national government’s Transport Policy Council (運輸政策審議会) included the line in its “vision” rail network for the Kansai region. However, the project failed to gain much traction due to budgetary difficulties at the municipal and prefectural government levels.

A study by the MLIT starting in FY2009 evaluated constructing several intermediate stations in between Ume-Kita and Namba, including in Nakanoshima (中之島) and Nishi-Honmachi (西本町). The estimated cost of the line ranged from ¥180 billion to ¥320 billion.

Mayor Hashimoto hopes that construction of multiple intermediate stations on the line will improve access between KIX and all of central Ōsaka, and said that he will continue asking West Japan Railway Company (JR West) and Nankai Electric Railway to participate in the planning efforts.

The city is dusting off plans for the line once more now that construction of the northern extension of the JR Ōsaka Higashi Line between Shin-Ōsaka and Hanaten, which is partially being funded with city money and will open in FY2018, is nearing completion. Mayor Hashimoto determined that leeway in the budget would be available in FY2019 and beyond to help fund construction of the Naniwasuji Line, and hinted that revenue generated by the sale of shares in the municipal subway network after privatization could also be directed towards constructing the line.

KIX executives also welcomed news of improved access to the airport, which would reduce travel times from central Ōsaka, increase passengers at the airport, and have a positive impact on the sale of the concession to operate the airport.

JR West and Nankai, which the MLIT envisions will take the lead on the project, also responded positively to the concept of improved access to KIX. The MLIT’s envisioned funding scheme for the line would involve taking advantage of the Act on Enhancement of Convenience of Urban Railways (都市鉄道等利便増進法), which requires the railway operator(s) to fund one-third of the costs. As a result, executives from some of the two railways expressed anxiety about the eventual cost of the line.

===

Hashimoto’s regular press conference on 2014.01.06, where he discussed the Naniwasuji Line:

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Old January 8th, 2014, 10:08 PM   #6574
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Looking into Kōbe’s historic tram network got me interested in Japan’s other systems…
Here’s a collection of historic maps of the some of the larger systems (there’s a lot more than this, but it’s difficult finding maps on the Web):

Sapporo (1958):
http://blogs.dion.ne.jp/pin_estate/a.../11300452.html



Sendai (1962):
http://kyoto.trolley.net/japan/



Central Tōkyō (1951):
http://yuasastudio.blog135.fc2.com/blog-entry-100.html



Yokohama (1960):
http://www.geocities.jp/u2_takahashi...m/traffic3.htm

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Old January 8th, 2014, 10:10 PM   #6575
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Nagoya (1962):
http://tsushima-keibendo.a.la9.jp/na...goya-tram.html



Kyōto (ca. 1955):
http://www.pref.kyoto.jp/shiryokan/yoshida-igai.html



Ōsaka (1957):
http://www.icom.co.jp/beacon/backnum...topix/021.html



Kōbe (1962):
http://www1.ttcn.ne.jp/~mmjuku/kobesiden.html

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Old January 9th, 2014, 01:24 AM   #6576
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New WMATA 7000 series cars make press debut

The first of the new 7000 series cars for the DC Metro, being built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries at their U.S. plant in Lincoln, Nebraska, made their debut to the press. Here’s some reports from Japan:

Kyōdō News report.



ANN report:

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Old January 9th, 2014, 05:14 AM   #6577
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Mitsubishi Heavy Industries wins 48-car option for Macau LRT
http://www.mhi.co.jp/en/news/story/1401061752.html

Quote:
Tokyo, January 6, 2014 - Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI), in collaboration with ITOCHU Corporation, has concluded an agreement with the Transportation Infrastructure Office (GIT) of Macau to supply an additional 48 cars for the Macau Light Rapid Transit (MLRT) system now being constructed under an initiative of the government of the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) of the People's Republic of China. The order follows a previous order received in March 2011 for 110 cars and machinery and electronics systems for the MLRT.

[Conceptual drawing of MLRT]


The MLRT is an automated people mover (APM) – a fully automated, driverless mass transit system operating on rubber tires – planned to run between Macau's Taipa Island and the Border Gate crossing to Zhuhai City in Guangdong Province, a distance of approximately 21 kilometers (km).

The newly received order calls for MHI to provide 48 additional cars as well as additional depot equipment to maintain them; it also includes vehicle maintenance services up to a maximum 10 years. MHI attributes the new order primarily to the smooth execution of the APM project since the signing of the initial agreement in March 2011, and to the GIT's high evaluation of the company's cars themselves.

Macau is presently enjoying steadily increasing numbers of visitors attracted by its tourist sights and casinos. Meanwhile, infrastructure projects are going forward in line with integrated development of the entire Pearl Delta Region: the area encompassing Macau, Hong Kong and Guangdong Province. GIT placed the new order for additional APM cars to meet future development and demand in anticipation of robust passenger volume – higher than initially projected – after the new system goes onstream.

The APM is a fully automated, driverless transportation system that, through the adoption of rubber tires, provides passengers a remarkably smooth and quiet ride. Besides the 158 APM cars now on order for the MLRT, MHI boasts a strong track record in orders for other urban transportation systems as well, including 108 new cars for the Yurikamome Waterfront Line in Tokyo awarded in 2010 and 57 cars (including 16 newly ordered in 2013) for the Sengkang/Punggol Lines in Singapore. MHI has also established a firm position as one of the world's leaders in the global APM market, with deliveries having been completed of systems for airports in the United States, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea and the UAE.

On the strength of this latest order, MHI aims to further boost its marketing activities for APM systems going forward - not only for new transportation networks, but also for expansion and/or replacement of existing transportation systems worldwide.
Japanese press release:
http://www.mhi.co.jp/news/story/1401065469.html
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Old January 9th, 2014, 05:15 AM   #6578
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A nice blog post sort of related to making Tōkyō’s rail network more foreigner friendly, focusing on some of the extensive existing wayfinding systems that can be extremely helpful, even if you have limited understanding of Japanese:
http://planitmetro.com/2014/01/06/to...ding-japanese/

Quote:
Which car should you use?



Where should you stand on the platform?



Which stair/escalator will get you closest to your destination?



Which car is for women only?

The “Which car should you use?” sign is one of the more helpful signs… Particularly during rush hour or other periods of overcrowding, you want to avoid having to wander at platform level looking for an exit, especially if you are a tourist dragging luggage with you—much easier to find the car of your train that will stop right at the escalator at your destination station.

Same with the “Which stair/escalator will get you closest to your destination?” sign, which makes it extremely easy to know which way to go—just look for your destination / landmark in the list at the bottom and then proceed down the platform in the direction of the corresponding arrow.
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Old January 9th, 2014, 09:26 PM   #6579
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Meitetsu, Kintetsu to consolidate central ticketing halls at Nagoya Staiton
名鉄・近鉄、中央改札口併設へ…リニア開業向け

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/atmoney/new...OYT1T00462.htm

In preparation for the 2027 opening of the Chūō Shinkasen maglev, Nagoya Railroad (Meitetsu) and Kinki Nippon Railway (Kintetsu) have finalized an agreement to relocate their central ticketing halls at their respective terminals at Nagoya Station to a consolidated location.

The relocation is designed to make it easier to transfer between the maglev and the Nagoya area’s two major private railways, which are hoping to coordinate their efforts with both Nagoya City and JR Central, which are looking to carry out major redevelopments at the station.

According to the city’s urban planning vision, a “terminal square” space would be provided to enhance the convenience of transfers between the Shinkansen and various connecting transport modes. Meitetsu and Kintetsu would relocate their central ticketing halls side-by-side at a location connected to the new terminal square.

Currently, the two railways have their central ticketing halls in separate locations, both of which are separate from the Shinkansen ticketing hall. While there is directional signage to guide passengers, some users have complained that the layout is confusing. As a result, the two railways have decided to relocate their main ticketing halls, and will now hammer out the details of the plan, including a specific location for the consolidated hall.

===

Some fresh details on this plan… Looks like it will be a simple redesign of the concourse level, but should still be a good improvement.

Map of JR Nagoya Station.

1F
Meitetsu Nagoya is at the bottom left corner in pink, while Kintetsu Nagoya is just above that in blue.


http://www.meieki.com/images/n_meieki1f101223.gif

B1F
As usual, the private railways historically didn’t necessarily worry so much about transferring with other operators—it was more about how to design their terminal to benefit them, within the confines of their site.


http://www.meieki.com/images/n_meiekib1f101224.gif
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Old January 9th, 2014, 09:29 PM   #6580
quashlo
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Meitetsu Department Store will not be “sacred cow” in Nagoya Station redevelopment
名鉄社長、名駅再開発「百貨店存続、前提とせず」

http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNZO...4A100C1L91000/

Currently, Meitetsu and Kintetsu are jointly redeveloping five buildings / parcels in and around their respective terminals at Nagoya Station into a single large-floorplate building, one of several large redevelopment projects taking place in preparation for the 2027 opening of the Chūō Shinkansen from Tōkyō to Nagoya. In particular, the following five buildings are being incorporated into this plan:

1. Meitetsu Department Store, Main Building (名鉄百本館) / Meitetsu Nagoya Station (名鉄名古屋駅)
2. Kintetsu Passe mall (近鉄パッセ) / Kintetsu Nagoya Station (近鉄名古屋駅)
3. Meitetsu Department Store, Men’s Annex (名鉄百メンズ館) / Meitetsu Grand Hotel (名鉄グランドホテル)
4. A property owned by Mitsui Fudōsan (三井不動産)
5. Meitetsu Lejac mall (名鉄レジャック)



There will be a combined podium section stretching across all five parcels and over the Sasashima intersection (笹島交差点), with separate tower sections for each parcel. This is Meitetsu’s most critical business venture at the moment, and given the size of the project, Meitetsu is actually looking at a variety of financing schemes… They began targeting foreign investors for the first time, issuing ¥25 billion worth of Euro-yen convertible bonds (転換社債) in October 2013.

Given the critical nature of the project for Meitetsu, they will look at the most practical way to recoup the real estate investment, even if that means permanently closing the Meitetsu Department Store and replacing it with a mall or other use. While the department store chain is a core member of the railway group’s distribution business, the store has been struggling to compete with the JR Nagoya Takashimaya department store and other nearby retail facilities.

In other news, the railway is also receptive to potential schemes to improve access and travel times to Toyota, a major automobile industry hub and home to the HQ of Toyota Motor Corporation. Currently, it can take close to an hour to get from Nagoya Station to Toyota-shi Station due to the need to transfer at Chiryū Station (知立駅) from the Nagoya Main Line (名古屋本線) to the Mikawa Line (三河線), as well as the presence of single-track sections.

In particular, the railway is considering double-tracking portions of the line, which would substantially increase capacity. The ongoing elevation of the Meitetsu tracks at Chiryū Station will also allow for creative service planning, such as through-services from the Nagoya Main Line to the Mikawa Line and other measures, that could decrease travel times by as much as 10 minutes. Ridership growth on the Mikawa Line is far surpassing other lines in the Meitetsu network, and the railway believes that improved passenger convenience could help capture additional latent demand.

===

Basically, the consolidation of the ticketing halls is just one part of the huge redevelopment… The potential decision to close the department store is not surprising—it’s just not a very profitable business anymore, and only a handful of railway groups in Japan have maintained a relatively strong brand image for their department stores, namely Hankyū and Tōkyū.
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