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Old February 15th, 2014, 06:20 AM   #6701
quashlo
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More snow action from the last storm (2014.02.08)...
Hopefully this latest one will pass without further event.

Yamanote Line @ Shinjuku Station:



Yotsuya Station:



Ueno Station:

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Old February 15th, 2014, 06:21 AM   #6702
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Keikyū:



Tōbu Tōjō Line:



Scene from the Odakyū Line (wow!):



Tōkyū:

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Old February 15th, 2014, 06:22 AM   #6703
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And in the usually sunny Shōnan area in southwestern Tōkyō, famous for surfing and beaches:

JR Fujisawa Station:



The Enoden in Kamakura:

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Old February 15th, 2014, 09:38 AM   #6704
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New rolling stock in service:

Yurikamome 7300 series. This entered service on 2014.01.18.



Hiroden 1003 GreenMover LEX. This entered service on 2014.02.01.

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Old February 15th, 2014, 03:29 PM   #6705
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As everyone knows, my "hometown" train line, the Tokyu Toyoko Line suffered a bad accident due to the crazy wintry weather in Kanto. The offical word from Tokyu Corporation is the "brakes couldn't move to stop the train due to them being iced over"




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Old February 15th, 2014, 03:55 PM   #6706
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Old February 19th, 2014, 12:49 AM   #6707
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Vision for new rail line on Okinawa gains steam
沖縄で夢の鉄道計画始動 普天間跡に駅設置、検討委立ち上げへ

http://www.sankeibiz.jp/compliance/n...0500003-n1.htm

Okinawa Prefecture, the only prefecture in Japan to lack JR rail service, will establish a working group of academic experts and other members in FY2014 in preparation for the long-awaited plan to construct a new long-distance rail alignment on Okinawa Island. The line would connect the prefectural capital Naha City (那覇市) in southern Okinawa with Nago City (名護市), the center of northern Okinawa—a distance of 69 km—in about one hour. The plans also include a new station on Futenma Air Base (普天間飛行場) in Ginowan City (宜野湾市) after the land is returned to Japan from the U.S. military. Realization of the vision is still at least 15 years away, and requires overcoming major obstacles including the return of Futenma, but the dream to bring rail back to the island is finally gaining steam.

Before World War II, a narrow-gauge railway known affectionately by locals as the “Kēbin” (ケービン) ran on the island, connecting Naha and Kadena (嘉手納). The war resulted in severe damage to the line, and while progress was made on repairing rail infrastructure in mainland Japan, the story was different for Okinawa, which remained under the administration of the United States government until 1972. The island’s rail line was never repaired, and the island was unable to take advantage of Japan’s explosive growth in the post-war era. While the island now has a monorail serving Naha City, tourists on leisure travel inevitably require cars to get around.

Meanwhile, the unorganized urbanization patterns that developed from black markets (闇市) and the creation of huge expanses of un-usable land in the form of U.S. military installations helped spell the decline of public transit and the rise of private automobiles, leading to chronic traffic congestion on the island’s roads. According to studies by the MLIT in FY2010, traffic congestion on the island’s urban arterial roads is equivalent to levels seen in the 23 wards of Tōkyō and Ōsaka, with Naha City ranking dead last among municipalities nationwide. According to Prefectural Government staff, locals have become so used to the traffic that they don’t realize anything is wrong with the current situation.

At a meeting on December 17 of last year regarding the national government’s policy regarding Okinawa, the governor of Okinawa Prefecture vehemently called on Prime Minister Abe Shinzō to make a decision on the project in FY2014. Eight days later in a face-to-face meeting, Abe pledged the support of the national government in the project and other efforts to reduce Okinawa’s burden in housing military installations, but did not delve into specifics.

In reality, preliminary studies by the Cabinet indicate that the cumulative deficit for the line 40 years after opening would surpass •600 billion, revealing the practical difficulties in ensuring a financially viable project.

As a result, the Prefectural Government has proposed that construction of the infrastructure be handled by the national government, while the actual operations be handed by a separate entity responsible only for providing the train service. Assuming savings from value engineering the line with smaller tunnel diameters and other measures, the Prefectural Government concluded that a daily ridership of about 40,000 passengers would be sufficient to guarantee the line will operate in the black, at least on an annual budget level.

The Prefectural Government now hopes to establish a working group by March, finalizing a master plan for the project by FY2015. Construction would then begin in FY2019, with completion sometime around 2029. In order to accelerate the project timeline, the Prefectural Government is also considering inviting railway operators from outside Okinawa to operate the service.

One of the major hurdles towards achieving the project concerns whether or not the national government will approve the proposed public–private partnership for the project, with the public sector providing the funding and the private sector responsible for the train services. In addition, the national government forecasts the return of Futenma to Japanese hands would take place only in FY2022 at the earliest. As a result, any delays could cascade down to the rail project.

Spokespersons for the Prefectural Government’s transport policy division say that the line can be guaranteed to carry at least 30,000 to 40,000 passengers a day, and that fundamental changes in the perception of Okinawa natives, most of whom have grown accustomed to an auto-oriented society, could increase ridership further. A new rail line is critical to creating a transport axis for Okinawa.

Conceptual station sketch released by Okinawa Prefecture
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Old February 19th, 2014, 12:50 AM   #6708
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Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to supply battery-powered buses to Kita-Kyūshū City
http://www.mhi.co.jp/en/news/story/1402141772.html

Quote:
Tokyo, February 14, 2014 - Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) will supply two electric buses to serve in a zero emissions transportation system being planned by the city of Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. The buses - full-size, low-floor models for the city's regular route network - will operate on MHI's high-performance "MLiX" lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. In combination with a lighter body enabled by the partial adoption of carbon fiber construction, the new buses will be able to operate continuously over dramatically increased distances, providing a quiet and comfortable ride to passengers with zero gas emissions.

Kitakyushu's plans call for the new buses to go into service in the city in late March. In October, renewable energy generated by solar power will be stored in an energy storage system (ESS) for use in recharging, resulting in a zero emissions transportation system.

The new buses measure 11.065 meters (m) in length, 2.495m in width and 3.475m in height, and weigh 11,250 kilograms (kg). Use of a specially developed charger enables full recharging in approximately half the required time, compared with current CHAdeMO type quick charging systems. The buses will be able to travel up to 80 kilometers (km) on a full charge*, at a top speed of 85km per hour. Load capacity is 72 passengers.

The MLiX lithium-ion rechargeable battery to be featured on the new electric buses is lightweight, compact in size, and offers outstanding reliability and long service life. The battery has already achieved a significant track record through its widespread adoption in cargo container-type energy storage systems, hybrid forklifts and other advanced products developed and marketed by MHI.

A variety of demonstration tests of electric buses have been conducted in numerous locations both in Japan and overseas, including Sao Paulo, Brazil, in order to make contributions to the creation of more energy-efficient, low-carbon cities. Leveraging the latest order from Kitakyushu, MHI now looks to make even more contributions to the creation of smart communities through increased adoption of electric buses.

Electric Bus Specifications**



* Actual travel distances can vary widely depending on the bus's usage conditions (use of air-conditioning, etc.) and/or road and traffic conditions.
** Specifications are subject to change without notice.
*** SOC: State of charge
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Old February 19th, 2014, 12:51 AM   #6709
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Fukui Railway to debut Stuttgart tram in April
福井鉄道、4月から土電ドイツ車導入…愛称を公募

http://response.jp/article/2014/02/15/217290.html

On 2014.02.14, Fukui Railway (福井鉄道) announced that it will debut an ex-Stuttgart tram formerly used on the Tosa Electric Railway (土佐電気鉄道) in Kōchi Prefecture as a special event train for the Fukubu Line starting in April.

The tram is a GT4 series manufactured in 1965 for the Stuttgarter StraŖenbahnen for operation in what was then West Germany. Tosa Electric Railway obtained ownership of the tram in 1990, operating it starting August 8 of that year as the “735 series”. After 10 years of service, the tram was stashed away, eventually being bought in 2013 by Fukui Railway for use as an event train, part of an effort to increase awareness of the Fukubu Line and promote ridership.

The railway is accepting suggestions from Fukui Prefecture residents for a name for the train from 2014.02.17 through 2014.03.09.

===

Original news story and videos here:
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...postcount=4846
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Old February 19th, 2014, 12:52 AM   #6710
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Battery hybrid tram to operate one-month trial on Man’yō Line
エコ電車、万葉線で試験 夏の1か月間

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/toy...OYT8T01742.htm

A prototype hybrid tram capable of drawing power from both batteries and overhead lines will begin running tests on the Man’yō Line between Takaoka (高岡) and Imizu (射水) Cities this summer, part of an effort to promote environmentally sustainable, low-carbon cities. The two cities established a special liaison group for the project and finalized the details of the one-month trial on 2014.02.14.

The prototype was developed jointly by Railway Technical Research Institute (RTRI) (鉄道総合技術研究所) and other parties, and will be tested on the full 12.8 km of the Man’yō Line between Takaoka Station (高岡駅前) and Koshinokata (越ノ潟) in July and August. The trial will facilitate studies to calculate the technology’s environmental benefits and reduced electricity needs.

The tram is capable of running on track both with and without overhead power. According to the RTRI, the tram was able to run about 25 km consecutively on Sapporo’s tram network without charging, realizing a 6% to 30% reduction in electricity consumption compared to existing tram models. On non-electrified sections of JR Shikoku’s Yosan Line, the tram was able to run a consecutive distance of about 50 km.

The trial project will cost about •20 million and will also help promote tourism along the line, with forums and special events, as well as marketing efforts in preparation for the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen extension in spring 2015 and the upcoming 35th National Festival for Creating a Bountiful Sea (全国豊かな海づくり大会), which will be hosted by Imizu City next autumn.

There is a growing movement to extend the Man’yō Line into northern Imizu City and begin through-service with the JR Jōhana Line (JR城端線), and the trial is expected to play a major role in the fate of these proposals.

===

This is the Hi-tram model developed by RTRI, shown here at the RTRI research facility in Tōkyō (2013.10.12):



The Man’yō Line is also currently being extended directly into Takaoka Station, part of station access improvements coming online in preparation for the Hokuriku Shinkansen. The original tram stop at the station was located a little bit away from the JR station, but they are creating a new tram terminus on the street level of the station plaza, scheduled to open on 2014.03.29. Construction activity earlier this year (2014.01.25):

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Old February 19th, 2014, 12:53 AM   #6711
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Two disused stations on Senzan Line to be permanently abandoned
JR東日本、仙山線の臨時2駅を廃止

http://response.jp/article/2014/02/14/217256.html

JR East’s Sendai office announced on 2014.02.14 that it would permanently abandon two disused stations on the Senzan Line in Aoba Ward, Sendai City. The two stations, Nishi-Sendai Highland (西仙台ハイランド) and Yatsumori (八ツ森), are officially designated as seasonal stations (臨時駅) for special events only, but haven’t been used in recent years, and are unlikely to be used in the future.

Nishi-Sendai Highland opened as a special event platform (臨時乗降場) on 1987.03.21 between Kumagane (熊ヶ根) and Sakunami (作並), and trains began stopping there regularly following the breakup of JNR and establishment of JR East on 1987.04.01. Initially intended to serve ridership demand generated by nearby recreational parks and an amusement park, but expansion of the road network had resulted in increased visitors using private automobiles instead of the trains. All trains began skipping the station starting in October 2003.

Yatsumori Station between Sakunami and Oku-Nikkawa (奥新川) Stations opened in November 1937 as a temporary platform (仮乗降場), eventually being upgraded to a special event station on 1987.03.31. A nearby ski resort had already closed well before that in 1970, and ridership had declined, with all trains skipping the station in December 2002.



===

Both of these stations are officially within Sendai City limits, although they are well into the mountain forests west of the urbanized extent of the city:

Nishi-Sendai Highland Station:



Yatsumori Station:

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Old February 19th, 2014, 10:00 PM   #6712
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Tōkyū Group company to begin operating buses in Vietnam
日系企業がベトナムで路線バス運行へ

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/2014...349641000.html

Transport infrastructure investment is accelerating in Vietnam as a result of economic development, and the local affiliate of Japanís Tōkyū Group of companies has approved plans to operate fixed-route bus services. Other Japanese firms are hoping the decision will lead to increased interest in the export of Japanís transport infrastructure.

Increased urbanization in Vietnam has lead to a jump in the number of motorcycles and cars, and the Vietnamese government is accelerating the establishment of bus routes and construction of subway lines in an effort to alleviate worsening traffic congestion.

Currently, a local affiliate of Tōkyū Group, the conglomerate of companies centered around Tōkyō private railway operator Tōkyū Corporation, is working on large-scale urban redevelopment projects in Vietnam, including residential towers and retail facilities. According to sources, the affiliate has now approved plans to establish a subsidiary company to operate bus services in Bžnh Dương Province in southern Vietnam, incorporating Japanese bus operations knowhow.

The subsidiary is scheduled to begin operating approx. 20 km of bus routes in the central cities of Bžnh Dương Province starting in late May, marking the first time that Japanese firms will operate public transit services in Vietnam.

===

Article has a video.
The local affiliate is probably Becamex Tōkyū, the joint venture they established with a Vietnamese firm as part of their new town development in Bžnh Dương.
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Old February 19th, 2014, 10:02 PM   #6713
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Name, design selected for Okinawa IC card
沖縄本島のICカード、名前は「OKICA」…2015年度導入へ

http://response.jp/article/2014/01/29/215984.html

A name and design have been selected for Okinawa’s IC card to debut in FY2015 for use on the Yui Rail and the four major bus operators—Ryūkyū Bus Transit (琉球バス交通), Okinawa Bus (沖縄バス), Naha Bus (那覇バス), and Tōyō Bus (東陽バス)—on Okinawa Island. The card will be called “OKICA” and will do an early launch on the Yui Rail this October, with the four bus companies following in April 2015.

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Old February 19th, 2014, 10:03 PM   #6714
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Ōsaka’s four big urban rail projects:
http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASG1W5SRGG1WPTIL019.html

1. Kita-Ōsaka Kyūkō extension to Minoo
2. Ōsaka Monorail extension to the Kintetsu Nara Line
3. Naniwasuji Line
4. Nishi-Umeda – Jūsō (Shin-Ōsaka) connector

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Old February 19th, 2014, 10:04 PM   #6715
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Renovation in the works for Midōsuji Line’s Umeda Station
大阪市交通局、御堂筋線梅田駅のアーチ空間を2015年春めどにリニューアル!

http://news.mynavi.jp/news/2014/02/19/291/

In concert with the renovation of Umeda Station on the Ōsaka Municipal Subway Midōsuji Line, the city’s transportation bureau will also refurbish the arched vault space at platform level. Taking advantage of the unique form of the historic ceiling arches at the station, which opened in 1933, the renovation will transform the space into an attractive area with refreshing design elements and lighting effects. The renovation will be completed by spring 2015.

Render:

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Old February 19th, 2014, 10:08 PM   #6716
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Shizutetsu expands LuLuCa reward points program
静鉄グループ電車・バスで「乗車ポイントサービス」開始

http://www.paymentnavi.com/paymentnews/37812.html

Shizuoka Railway (Shizutetsu) (静岡鉄道) and Shizutetsu Justline (しずてつジャストライン), part of the Shizutetsu group of companies, announced that they will expand the existing LuLuCa reward points program to the railway’s Shizuoka–Shimizu Line (静岡清水線) and regular bus services operated by Shizutetsu Justline.

The group’s IC farecard, LuLuCa, was introduced in 2006 and comes in four different varieties depending on functionality. The card can be used at a variety of stores, focusing on Shizutetsu group businesses, and membership across the four card types is about 567,000 (over 300,000 in active use annually). The group’s LuLuCa points system awards card users one point for every •105 spent, which can then be exchanged in 500-point intervals for •500 coupons.

Currently, card users only accrue points when using their card at Shizutetsu Store (静鉄ストア) (the railway group’s food market brand), Shin-Shizuoka Cenova (新静岡セノバ) (the shopping center at the railway’s Shizuoka terminus), and other businesses, but card users will now also accrue points when paying fares for Shizutetsu trains and buses (excepting commuter pass usage). According to Shizutetsu, this is the first time that a private railway in Japan will incorporate public transit into a retail-based reward points program.

Specifically, riders will earn 10 points for every •100 spent on Shizutetsu fares. The fare revenue totals will be calculated on a monthly basis and any accrued points awarded in the following month in credits of •500 to the card’s electronic purse value. Additional point schemes will also take effect, allowing Shizutetsu rail passengers to earn more points the more they spend each month on fares (50 points for •5,000 to •8,000, 80 points for •8,001 to •10,000, and 100 points for •10,001 or more), as well as how many times they ride (five points for every two trips). Passengers on the railway’s Justline bus services will earn 350 points for every •5,000 they spend every month (3 points for every •10 for student tickets). The expanded rewards program will replace the railway group’s current “Premier Service” discounts.



===

Good to see Shizutetsu doing something like this… Among the smaller private railways, they seem to be relatively proactive as a business enterprise and have established a strong local base in Shizuoka.

CM for their real estate business:



The new IC card for the Sendai area will also have its own points system:
http://www.kahoku.co.jp/news/2014/02/20140204t12032.htm
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Old February 19th, 2014, 10:11 PM   #6717
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Tsukuba Express begins track improvement projects
つくばエクスプレス、入出庫線の複線化と守谷駅追越設備新設工事に着手

http://news.mynavi.jp/news/2014/02/17/414/

Tsukuba Express (つくばエクスプレス) operator Metropolitan Intercity Railway (首都圏新都市鉄道) has announced that it has recently begun construction work to double-track the connector linking Moriya Station (守谷駅) with the railway’s general maintenance and storage yard and construct new passing facilities at Moriya Station.

The approach connecting the station with the yard is about 1,400 m long and currently only single-track, making it difficult to dispatch or recall trains in the event of equipment failures. Double-tracking the connection will reduce the operational risk associated with service disruptions.

The construction of new passing facilities at Moriya Station is intended to reduce travel times for passengers who need to transfer between services, as well as equalize headways between trains. Currently, trains can only pass each other at two of the 20 total stations on the line (Yashio (八潮) and Nagareyama – Ōtaka no Mori (流山おおたかの森)), but the addition of passing facilities at Moriya will allow for improved schedules and operating plans in the future, as well as enhanced convenience for passengers.

Both projects are scheduled for completion in FY2016, and will be ready for use starting in FY2017.



===

Press release:
http://www.mir.co.jp/company/release/2014/post_27.html



Some specifics:

Timeline for the double-tracking of the yard connector:
FY2013 to FY2015: Civil works
FY2015 to FY2016: Track and electrical work
FY2016: Track switchout

Timeline for the passing facilities at Moriya Station:
FY2013 to FY2014: Civil works
FY2014 to FY2016: Track and electrical work
FY2016: Track switchout

This work involves installation of new turnouts, as well as reinforcement of and new construction of column supports.

Current layout:



Future layout:

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Old February 19th, 2014, 10:13 PM   #6718
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Action at Moriya Station, showing the north / east end of the station, which is where the track improvements will be. As indicated in the above diagrams, the current layout isn’t really designed for passing but for turning back trains and servicing pull-ins and pull-outs. The new switches will allow them to make better use of the inside tracks at the station. This was obviously the original long-term plan, as they designed the yard connector to be easily double-tracked.

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Old February 19th, 2014, 10:14 PM   #6719
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Kunitachi City to use special tax structure to rebuild Kunitachi Station building
旧国立駅舎を再築へ 国立市「ふるさと納税」用途に追加

http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/to...802000103.html

In preparation for the rebuilding of the former Kunitachi Station building, famous for its characteristic red triangular roof, Kunitachi City has now added the project to the city’s special tax deduction program (ふるさと納税) that allows residents to make a donation towards desired government projects in exchange for a tax deduction.

The station building was built in 1926, and is the oldest wooden station building within Tōkyō Prefecture limits after JR Harajuku Station. dismantled in 2006 as part of the elevation of the JR Chūō Line, with the original materials and structural elements placed under storage by the city. The city is now looking to recreate the original design at roughly the same spot by 2016, and is currently negotiating with JR East on acquiring the necessary land. The cost to recreate the station building is estimated at approx. •600 million, and the city hopes to assemble at least •100 million in funding through the special tax deduction scheme. The building will be used as a gallery and waiting space after completion.



===

Tōkyō MX video report from 2011 showing the dismantled station building in storage:

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Old February 19th, 2014, 10:15 PM   #6720
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IHI Corporation to supply bikesharing system to JR East
JR東日本の都市型レンタサイクル「Suicle」、IHIがシステム提供…2013年11月から

http://response.jp/article/2014/02/19/217518.html

On 2014.02.18, IHI Corporation announced that one of its group companies, IHI scube (IHIエスキューブ), would supply a bikesharing system to JR East Planning (ジェイアール東日本企画).

The program will be called Suicle, and will be integrated with the Suica IC farecard issued by JR East. Bikeshare program members will be able to use their Suica or other transport smartcard as a membership ID, and will be able ot pay for bike usage fees with cash, credit cards, or Suica.

The system being provided by IHI scube will manage users’ IC cards and the IC tags affixed to each bicycle, allowing the bikesharing operator to keep track of bike users and usage statistics. In addition to face-to-face rentals approved by staff, users will also be able to use terminal devices installed at bike pods to rent and return bicycles.

Suicle launched on 2013.11.03 with bike pods located at the Tōkyō University of Agriculture Nature and Science Museum (東京農工大学科学博物館) and underneath the elevated Chūō Line viaduct near Musashi Sakai (武蔵境) and Higashi-Koganei (東小金井) Stations.

IHI hopes to provide similar systems to other clients across Japan.



===

Press release:
https://www.ihi.co.jp/ihi/all_news/2...-18/index.html

Testing out Suicle:

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