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Old March 26th, 2014, 07:28 PM   #6901
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sr.Horn View Post
I think that the bridge between platforms in the Kanda/Akihabara end will be demolished because the improvements right?
Yes, I believe that's correct. Not sure if they plan to reuse any parts of the current bridge (e.g., the stairs look to be in the same place in the final design, so perhaps they'll keep those), but in any event, it won't look anything like it does right now when everything is finished.
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Old March 26th, 2014, 09:10 PM   #6902
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Kintetsu limited expresses began operating on the Hanshin Electric Railway network on 2014.03.22. Currently, these are only specials / charters and not a regularly-scheduled service, but this is the first step in that direction. The initial target is to operate about 50 of these services a year, using Kintetsu 22600 series ACE sets.

Video report of the special ceremony at Hanshin Sannomiya Station in Kōbe (2014.03.22):



Various scenes of the 22600 series set on the Hanshin network:

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Old March 26th, 2014, 09:11 PM   #6903
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In related Kintetsu news, an Asahi Shimbun article says that Kintetsu will replace over 40% of its fleet of limited express trains (of which there are about 460 cars total) with modern rolling stock. As the largest private railway in Japan by trackage, it has been especially vulnerable to continued ridership decline at smaller stations and along many of its smaller branch lines, but after recently unveiling Abeno Harukas, Japan’s new tallest building, to the public, they will continue with the next phase of their business revitalization program: limited express service.
http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASG3N4QN3G3NPLFA003.html

Specifically, they are looking at replacements for the 200 or so limited express cars that were manufactured in 1988 or earlier, which are now starting to show their age. The trains in question are painted in Kintetsu’s characteristic orange and blue livery for limited expresses:



If you remember, they introduced the new 50000 series Shimakaze trains in March of last year on services to and from the Ise–Shima area out of Ōsaka Namba and Kintetsu Nagoya terminals. This has proven popular among riders, with trains basically fully filled, and Kintetsu will be adding Shimakaze service out of Kintetsu Kyōto terminal this autumn.
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Old March 26th, 2014, 09:15 PM   #6904
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JR East has begun changing out the fare charts at stations in preparation for the new fare structures to enter into effect on 2014.04.01. As mentioned previously, this is primarily a result of the increase in the sales tax from 5% to 8%, but with the high volume of fare transactions made via Suica or interoperable systems, JR East will take this opportunity to implement a two-tiered fare structure. In general, fares paid with IC cards will be assessed to the nearest ¥1, while fares with paper tickets will be assessed the same way they currently are, rounded to the nearest ¥10.

FNN news report on the fare chart change-out at Tōkyō Station (2014.03.24):

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Old March 27th, 2014, 08:31 AM   #6905
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Mitooka Eiji to design new LRV for Kumamoto
熊本市電に新型電車「COCORO」導入へ

http://response.jp/article/2014/03/21/219594.html

On 2014.03.20, the Kumamoto City Promotion Division (熊本市シティプロモーション課) revealed the design of a new tram to be introduced onto the municipal tram system.

The new train will be called “COCORO” (Japanese for “heart”) and will be designed by industrial designer Mitooka Eiji, the man behind JR Kyūshū’s Seven Stars in Kyūshū luxury sleeper service. Cost is approx. ¥318 million. The train is expected to debut to the public in October.

===

Photos from their Facebook account:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...9723166&type=1















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Old March 27th, 2014, 08:32 AM   #6906
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Nishitetsu’s new Tabito sightseeing service linking Tenjin and Dazaifu directly began revenue service on 2014.03.22:

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Old March 27th, 2014, 08:33 AM   #6907
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JR East brings station gardening to commuters
http://www.fastcoexist.com/3027821/n...n-your-commute

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For people who spend long hours at work, it’s getting easier to get things done while you wait for a train headed home: Virtual grocery stores are popping up on subway platforms, Shanghai residents can pick up library books while riding on the train, and services like Amazon Locker are delivering packages to local transit stations in cities like London. And in Tokyo, locals who don’t have the time or space to garden at home can rent out a plot in a series of urban farms on top of train stations.

"We're promoting the greening of the city," says Makoto Kawada, a spokesperson for East Japan Railway Company, which runs train lines throughout Japan. "We started this vegetable garden business out of a desire to contribute to the environmental maintenance and the revitalization of the area along the train line."



There are five "Soradofarms" on the company’s rail network. The first was launched along with a green roof in Tokyo's Ebisu station four years ago. Since the spaces aren't huge--the garden in Tokyo is a little over 500 square feet--and they've been popular, there tends to be a waiting list to get a plot. A basic space, without any extra services, isn't cheap: The yearly price is around $980.

The train station provides standard garden tools, seeds, and some regular weeding. Anyone who hasn't gardened before can get expert advice, and people who don't have much time to take care of their plants can get help with things like checking for bugs or harvesting vegetables.



For many, it's just a place to come to relax--when commuters aren't stopping by after work, families come for picnics or to give their kids a little extra room to run around. And as locals and commuters spend time learning about how to grow kale and tomatoes, they're also getting to know each other.

"We're building community by involving the whole area in activities in which the locals can take part in and have fun with," Kawada says.
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Old March 27th, 2014, 08:34 AM   #6908
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The new platform doors at Funabashi Station on the Tōbu Noda Line began operating on 2014.03.22:

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Old March 28th, 2014, 04:15 AM   #6909
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MLIT establishes new guidelines for articulated buses
国土交通省、連節バスの導入を促進するため「ガイドライン」を作成

http://response.jp/article/2014/03/27/219942.html

Currently, articulated buses have been introduced in some areas of Japan to provide additional capacity and relieve overcrowding during the commute periods. However, introduction of articulated buses frequently requires navigating a sea of red tape and permitting processes, making it difficult for bus operators interested in purchasing and operating the vehicles. As a result, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) has now established a set of guidelines that detail the necessary steps for bus operators who want to operate articulated buses.

===

Press release:
http://www.mlit.go.jp/report/press/j...hh_000152.html

Gifu Bus (岐阜バス) just received another articulated bus, bringing their total fleet to four. The company currently operates articulated buses on the route to Gifu University Hospital (岐阜大学病院) and the Seiryū Liner (清流ライナー) City Loop, and will begin operating the buses on the Seiryū Liner Shimo-Iwazaki (下岩崎線) route starting on 2014.03.28.
http://www.chunichi.co.jp/article/gi...702000031.html

Keisei Bus articulated buses:



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Old March 28th, 2014, 04:16 AM   #6910
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Agreement reached on upgrades to JR Iwakuni Station
岩国駅舎建て替え協定 市とJR西日本

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/yam...OYT8T00075.htm

On 2014.03.25, Iwakuni City and JR West announced that they had signed a construction agreement for the proposed upgrades to JR Iwakuni Station, which include replacement of the station building and construction of an elevated concourse, platform bridge, and east–west public passage at the station. Completion is scheduled for FY2017 close.

The agreement was signed on 2014.03.24 and means that big changes are in store for the station, a junction of three JR lines on the western fringe of Hiroshima Prefecture. According to JR, the new station building will be a two-story structure and will feature a 110 m long, 6 m wide pedestrian passage. Faregates will be located on the second floor, with elevators and escalators providing step-free access to the platforms.

The construction cost for the new station building is approx. ¥3.246 billion, with the city footing about ¥3.09 billion and JR West the remainder. The cost of constructing the pedestrian passage and new entrances serving the underground passage is approx. ¥3.188 billion, of which the city will fund 100% of the cost. Detailed design will take place in FY2014, with groundbreaking at the end of March next year.

The current station building at Iwakuni was completed in 1948 and is beginning to show its age. It also lacks accessibility features such as elevators or escalators, and citizens had been lobbying to have the station building rebuilt. An MOU regarding the project was signed by JR and the city in 2009.
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Old March 28th, 2014, 04:17 AM   #6911
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Renovation of Fukuyama Station south exit almost complete
JR西日本、福山駅南口改修工事が間もなく完了 - 東棟商業施設は計12店舗に

http://news.mynavi.jp/news/2014/03/02/063/

JR West announced that renovation works at the South Exit of Fukuyama Station, underway since June of last year, are nearing completion, and that it will hold the grand opening of the new South Exit concourse on 2014.03.28.

The Sun-Ste Fukuyama (さんすて福山) retail facility in the eastern portion of the station complex will get four additional stores, bringing the total to 12 when adding the existing 8 stores underneath the elevated tracks that have also received a facelift. The remodeled Sun-Ste Fukuyama will increase in gross floor area from about 850 sq m to 1,900 sq m.

The railway hopes that the improvements will make the South Exit a more befitting entrance to a major Shinkansen station, creating new activity in the surrounding neighborhood and attracting more Fukuyama locals to the station.



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Old March 28th, 2014, 04:18 AM   #6912
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The new Jōshin Electric Railway 7000 series debuted with its new paint scheme, courtesy of some local high school students in the Takasaki area:
http://rail.hobidas.com/blog/natori/.../03/27_12.html



The defining features of the paint scheme are the Jōshin logo in three colors (green, orange, and blue) and the “brick”, which is supposed to be reminiscent of the historic Tomioka Silk Factory (富岡製糸場).





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Old March 28th, 2014, 04:19 AM   #6913
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Tōkyō Metro produces smartphone app for foreigners
東京メトロ、訪日外国人向け乗り換え検索アプリを配信へ

http://response.jp/article/2014/03/25/219737.html

Starting 2014.04.01, Tōkyō Metro will begin offering a new smartphone app called “Tōkyō Subway Navigation for Tourists” available for download. The app is programmed with Japanese, English, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, and Korean, and allows users to trip planning help.

The application covers both Tōkyō Metro and Toei Subway routes, and once downloaded can be used without the need for an Internet connection. Passengers can type the name of their desired origin or destination stations or select them from a subway map. Users can also look up major landmarks like Tōkyō Sky Tree or Sensō-ji temple, and the app will then provide them with a recommended trip itinerary, the average travel time, the fare, and the recommended station exit to use.

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Old March 28th, 2014, 04:45 AM   #6914
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
I doubt there’s many railways in countries where English is not the primary language that offer verbal (not programmed) announcements in languages other than the primary language… So to some extent, I think this is just setting the bar too high. In the event of service disruptions or emergency situations, perhaps a more realistic solution would be to design the in-train displays with foreign language programming for specific scenarios.
It isn´t, quashlo, AVE services in Spain do offer verbal announcements in English inside the trains, and also in French (in the case of the international services to France).

It´s also an issue, since not all the AVE staff speak fluent English or French, so many times it´s not very easy to understand what they´re actually saying.
But Renfe is trying to improve that. And I think it should be worth the effort.

At the stations though, the announcements are programmed.
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Old March 28th, 2014, 08:11 AM   #6915
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In my opinion, in Japan, railway companies offer good information in foreign languages. In signals at least in english and some times in chinese, korean, french (some stations on Nagano Shinkansen) and portuguese in Nagoya area.

Automatic verbal announcements I hear only in japanese and english. In my opinion is sufficient: English is the international language and I think foreigners who came to Japan must speak at least english. BTW in Korea, here in Busan automatic verbal announcements for transfer station or special stations can be heard in japanese and chinese too.

@437.001, I think Renfe must improve the automatic verbal announcements, some times are terrible: bad pronunciation and bad edition, I mean, looks like it's recorded separately. This aspect I think will need to learn from Japan. Automatic announcements sounds perfect and understandable. For the live announcements I think Renfe must have a common protocol.

Some examples.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcxBJ...Hmszk1_Ms3B9OP
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5-WCr-jF_0

Renfe must improve the information for travelers. I hope the agreement with JR West be good for something
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Old March 28th, 2014, 09:01 PM   #6916
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Quote:
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It isn´t, quashlo, AVE services in Spain do offer verbal announcements in English inside the trains, and also in French (in the case of the international services to France).
Perhaps I didn't explain myself eloquently enough, but I think you've lost the context... When you say that AVE services offer verbal announcements in English and French, are you including announcements to deal with unforeseen situations like fire or natural disaster?

Many modern systems worldwide, including those in Japan, already have programmed announcements in English for the basic things like "This train is bound for ..." or "The next station is ...". But when I say that the article (and some foreigners in Japan) are setting the bar too high, I am referring to unforeseen situations that normally aren't considered for computerized announcements like "We are currently experiencing X minutes of delay on Y Line due to a fire at Z Station" or a situation where passengers need to be directed to disembark a train that is stranded in between stations. In most situations, these types of announcements are given verbally by railway staff, and I think it's unrealistic to expect most railway staff in non-English countries to have enough English proficiency to give these types of announcements in English.
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Old March 28th, 2014, 09:43 PM   #6917
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quashlo View Post
Perhaps I didn't explain myself eloquently enough, but I think you've lost the context... When you say that AVE services offer verbal announcements in English and French, are you including announcements to deal with unforeseen situations like fire or natural disaster?

Many modern systems worldwide, including those in Japan, already have programmed announcements in English for the basic things like "This train is bound for ..." or "The next station is ...". But when I say that the article (and some foreigners in Japan) are setting the bar too high, I am referring to unforeseen situations that normally aren't considered for computerized announcements like "We are currently experiencing X minutes of delay on Y Line due to a fire at Z Station" or a situation where passengers need to be directed to disembark a train that is stranded in between stations. In most situations, these types of announcements are given verbally by railway staff, and I think it's unrealistic to expect most railway staff in non-English countries to have enough English proficiency to give these types of announcements in English.
Overall, I agree, but I'm pretty sure there are solutions that could cover quite a range of incidents and subsequent messages.

If the messages are made generic enough ("issue" instead of "fire" or what-have-you) but not too generic, then a good amount of value could be had for not a lot of complexity.

I'm not saying it would have to be instantaneous, even a minute or two to bring up the relevant message or message type would be vastly better than no information at all.

(One of my clients has quite a few similar audio generation products, they're not meant for this purpose, they're for call centers, but the idea is the same - input some parameters, and a very high quality message comes out in multiple languages)
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Old March 29th, 2014, 12:40 AM   #6918
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JR West and 7-11 sign agreement on convenience stores inside stations
セブン、売上高4割増めざす JR西に駅ナカ500店正式発表

http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNAS...20C14A3TJ1000/

On 2014.03.27, 7-11 Japan (セブン―イレブン・ジャパン) and West Japan Railway Company (西日本旅客鉄道) announced an agreement to convert about 500 convenience stores and kiosks inside JR West stations into 7-11 brand stores featuring 7-11 brand bentō boxes, onigiri (rice balls), and coffee. The five-year conversion plan is part of a strategy to increase revenues by about 40% from the current convenience stores from the current ¥44.5 billion to ¥64.0 billion.

According to the president of 7-11, the company hopes to capitalize on stations as the center of consumers’ lifestyles by bringing the convenience of its stores to working women and other passengers. The convenience store chain hopes to eventually expand its ekinaka presence through agreements with other railway companies.

The first changes will come when the company opens five stores at Kyōto Station and other locations in early June. Signing a franchise chain contract with a JR West subsidiary, the company will convert about 200 “Heart In”] (ハート・イン) stores and about 300 “Kiosk” (キヨスク) booths at stations in the Kinki, Hokuriku, and Chūgoku regions of Japan into 7-11 branded stores within five years.

===

ANN news report:



A tour of a JR East ekinaka mall at Ōmiya Station. Ōmiya is one of the larger stations in Tōkyō, so it actually makes business sense to have stores within the paid area.

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Old March 29th, 2014, 12:41 AM   #6919
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The new platform bridge, elevated concourse, and elevated public passage at JR Terai (寺井) Station on the Hokuriku Main Line in Taiseimachi, Nōmi City (能美市大成町) opened earlier this month on 2014.03.09. Previously, the station had a headhouse only at the East Exit, but the new station building includes a 32 m long, 6.5 m wide elevated public passage that provides access from both sides of the station. The project is the core of a ¥3.2 billion package of improvements for the station and surrounding area that broke ground in FY2009. Construction of new station plazas including traffic rotaries and vehicle parking (100 spaces) on about 7,200 sq m surrounding the station will be completed by next spring. In preparation for the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen extension next year, the city also petitioned JR to have the station renamed Nōmi Neagari Station (能美根上駅).

Pictures:


http://www.panoramio.com/photo/104109891


http://www.panoramio.com/photo/104109883


http://www.panoramio.com/photo/104109876


http://www.panoramio.com/photo/104109859

Existing pedestrian overpass to be dismantled:


http://www.panoramio.com/photo/104109868
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Old March 29th, 2014, 12:42 AM   #6920
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Barrier-free upgrades were completed at Fujimatsu (富士松) Station on the Meitetsu Nagoya Main Line, opening ot the public on 0214.03.23. Work began on the new South Exit and headhouse in September 2013 and has now been completed. Previously, there was only a headhouse on the north side (inbound platform side) of the station, requiring passengers using the outbound platform to use the platform bridge.

Tour of the station and the commemorative ceremony:

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