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Old January 12th, 2010, 10:19 AM   #761
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Kansai private railways announce ridership performance for New Year period
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/economy/bus...2111043-n1.htm

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On January 4, Kansai’s five major private railways announced their ridership performance for the New Year period (December 30 to January 3). Due to the concurrence of the New Year’s break with a weekend and the effects of the wave of cold weather, many people stayed home, but the Hanshin Namba Line, which opened last March, is performing well, helping to boost ridership numbers.

Ridership (non-commuter pass only) was as follows:
  • Hanshin Electric Railway: 961,000 (17.6 percent ↑ over the previous year)
  • Hankyū Corporation: 3.29 million (3.0 percent ↓)
  • Keihan Electric Railway: 1.628 million (3.5 percent ↓)
  • Kintetsu Corporation: 4.007 million (1.0 percent ↑)
  • Nankai Electric Railway: 1.141 million (1.4 percent ↓)
    TOTAL: 11.027 million (0.1 percent ↑)
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Old January 12th, 2010, 10:19 AM   #762
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Ōsaka governor calls for expedited Itami closure, Naniwasuji Line opening
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/lo...2056005-n1.htm

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In the dilemma surrounding Kansai’s three airports, Ōsaka Prefecture governor Hashimoto Tōru, who has been championing the closure of Ōsaka (Itami) International Airport, remarked on January 6, “There is no need to have the closure of Itami Airport concide with the scheduled opening of the Chūō Maglev Shinkansen. We should close Itami within ten years.” The comment reveals the Governor’s intention to speed up the closure of the airport, which he had originally proposed occur in 2035. In addition, in order to decrease landing fees at Kansai International Airport (KIX), the Governor expressed his desire to see a switch to a public-private partnership, with the national government owning the land and Kansai International Airport Co. responsible for management and operations.

After executives from Federal Express (FedEx), which has said it will increase its flights at KIX, paid a courtesy visit to the Ōsaka Prefectural Offices, Hashimoto appeared in front of press reporters.

“If we continue with a three-airport structure, we won’t be able to solve the high costs, FedEx will leave KIX, and the Kansai region will suffer,” explained Governor Hashimoto, reemphasizing the need to close Itami. “We cannot pass over this chance to see increased FedEx flights. We need to resolve the issue with Itami immediately.”

If the proposed new Naniwasuji Line connecting with Shin-Ōsaka and Namba is realized, Governor Hashimoto believes access to KIX from central Ōsaka will improve considerably, and said, “The minute we open the Naniwasuji Line, I will close Itami Airport. I am aiming for closure within the next 10 years.”

Up until now, Governor Hashimoto had submitted a plan calling for consolidation of the management of KIX and Itami in 2011 and the closure of Itami in 2035. Under the old plan, the Governor was calling for the closure to occur once the Chūō Maglev Shinkansen between Tōkyō and Ōsaka opened, but if the Naniwasuji Line opens, he believes access to KIX will improve, justifying an earlier closure for Itami. Construction of the Naniwasuji Line would be partially funded by revenue gained from selling land within the Itami Airport site.
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Old January 12th, 2010, 10:20 AM   #763
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Nankai Namba Station renovation complete

The article about this project is here: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...&postcount=407

Some belated pictures right after Phase 1 of the station renovation and other improvements was completed (2009.10.18):







Connection to the Ōsaka Municipal Subway (Midōsuji Line, Yotsubashi Line, Sennichimae Line), Kintetsu Namba Line (Nara Line), and Hanshin Namba Line.



The signage was completely replaced.







The atrium section was converted from the former Rocket Plaza and rebranded as Namba Galleria.











The renovated Third-Floor North Gate.











Walking down the grand staircase from the third-floor concourse.







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Old January 12th, 2010, 10:21 AM   #764
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JR West to introduce new train color schemes
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/economy/bus...1417019-n1.htm

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On January 8, JR West announced that it will start consolidating liveries on its trains outside of the Keihanshin area into special one-color schemes by region. With the economic downturn and a drop in ridership as a result of the expressway toll discount, the railway hopes to keep down paint costs and reduce overall expenses. The new color schemes will reflect regional character, but will mean the end of the line for liveries that have become familiar for commuters to work and school as well as visitors. It seems likely that many passengers will bemoan the loss.

According to JR West, the regions with changing liveries and their new color schemes are as follows:
  • Kyōto: deep green
  • Wakayama: blue-green
  • Chūgoku: Yellow
  • Hokuriku / Nanao Line (Ishikawa Prefecture): red
Liveries on a total of 25 different electric and diesel train series (approx. 1,400 cars in total) will be changed across eight years starting in FY2010. However, trains on the railway’s non-Shinkansen lines in the Keihanshin area—the so-called “urban network” centered on Ōsaka—will not receive color changes.

Among the targeted regions is the Kyōto region, where three lines including the San’in Line (Kyōto – Sonobe) and Kosei Line will receive a new color scheme. The current trains feature two-tone liveries of an orange stripe on green back or a brown stripe on beige back, but these schemes will be replaced with a dark green reminiscent of green tea, tree leaves, and other images of “traditional Japan.”

The blue-green for the Wakayama region (Kisei and Wakayama Lines) is based on the vivid colors of the Pacific Ocean, while the yellow for the Chūgoku region (San’yō and San’in Lines) represents the rays of sunlight reflecting off the Seto Inland Sea. The Nanao Line will be repainted in a deep red reminiscent of Wajima lacquerware, while other trains in the Hokuriku region will be consolidated to the blue scheme used on existing trains.

Up until now, JR West has left the design of train liveries up to its branch offices, but the new effort makes the first time the railway has decided on a company-wide livery program. JR West says this “reform” will minimize painting costs and painting time, saving approx. ¥20 million in FY2010. “We hope our passengers will come to like the new color schemes,” say JR West representatives.
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Old January 12th, 2010, 10:21 AM   #765
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Carsharing expands to Ōsaka and Hyōgo area train stations
http://www.asahi.com/kansai/travel/n...001090016.html

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Membership-based carsharing services are set to begin in earnest in Ōsaka and Hyōgo Prefectures. On January 8, the largest firm in the industry, Orix Auto Corporation (HQ: Tōkyō), announced that it would launch its service on January 15, deploying 54 vehicles at 43 locations including Shin-Ōsaka, Umeda, and Hyōgo Prefecture’s Sannomiya.

Carsharing service caters to short trips of around 30 minutes at a time, such as to pick-up or drop-off children, go shopping, or take care of business errands. Up until now, carsharing in the Ōsaka area has consisted of programs by Mazda Car Rental Corporation, Nippon Parking Development (HQ: Tōkyō), and JR West primarily centered on Ōsaka City, but the total amounts to only a few locations.

Orix Auto has already launched a 55-location, 66-vehicle system in Kyōto. Inside Ōsaka City, the company deployed three vehicles at two locations in the summer of 2008, targeted at condominium residents.

Inside Ōsaka Prefecture, the company will open a total of 36 locations inside central Ōsaka City between Shin-Ōsaka and Shinsaibashi, as well as at JR Takatsuki, Hankyū Ibaraki, Kintetsu Fuse, and other stations. In Hyōgo Prefecture, the company will open a total of five locations in areas surrounding stations, including JR Sannomiya and Amagasaki Stations. This is Orix Auto’s first venture into Hyōgo Prefecture.

After signing up with the program, users can reserve vehicles over the Internet. After touching the IC card to a reader near the driver’s seat, the doors are unlocked, and users may take the keys inside the vehicle and drive.
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Old January 12th, 2010, 10:22 AM   #766
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Keihan expands station retail to health care
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/economy/bus...1404008-n1.htm

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You will soon be able to access health care inside train stations. Keihan Electric Railway, Kansai Medical University, and others are planning to establish health check-up booths inside major terminal stations on the Keihan network. Under the program, the booths will allow passengers to check their blood pressure and blood sugar level, which will be sent to Kansai Medical University for diagnosis by a physician. Advice on dietary habits and exercise techniques created by private-sector gym instructors affiliated with the university will then be distributed to patients’ homes over the Internet. The program is called the Keihan Line Health Project and is the first such program in the country, but is likely to grab attention as a new form of ekinaka (in-station) business.

Doctors from Kansai Medical University working towards prevention of lifestyle-related diseases approached Keihan representatives with the proposal. According to the plan, booths would be set up inside major stations along Keihan’s rail network, and trained instructors would measure passengers weight, blood pressure, blood sugar level, and other data. The data would then be sent to university computers, where doctors would diagnose any abnormalities in the data.

The data would then be sent to private-sector health facilities such as fitness centers, where instructors contracted by the university would develop a dietary plan and fitness routine for distribution to the passenger. A system is also being developed to allow users to periodically check their health status at home by looking at the data trends on their television screen. Users would sign up for the program beforehand and pay fees for the service.

Professor Kimura Yutaka of the university’s Health Sciences department says, “In order to prevent lifestyle-related diseases, we need to create a system that allows people to casually check on their health status without even needing to leave the house. The program will also boost Keihan’s image and the appeal of living along the Keihan lines.” Spokespersons for Keihan expressed the railway’s positive response to the plan: “The program will help develop healthy lifestyles for residents along our system and create activity inside our stations.” Keihan says it will install booths inside main terminal stations on the Keihan Main Line this year, expanding the system to ten stations total within a few years. OMRON Corporation and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation have said they will cooperate in the provision of medical equipment.

Ekinaka business, which develops retail inside stations, has recently been diversifying across an array of markets. Daycare centers inside stations were introduced about ten years ago by Hankyū and Tōkyō’s Keihin Electric Express (Keikyū). In 2006, JR West opened fee-based, women-only makeup lounge ANGELBE inside Ōsaka Station, which is especially popular among female officeworkers in their 20s and 30s.

It’s believed that ekinaka business originally began when Hankyū Corporation opened a company group convenience store inside one of its stations, and the trend has since spread from the Kansai area across the country. Book1st, a bookstore under Hankyū Corporation’s group of companies, and Juicer Bar, a juice bar under Keihan Electric Railway’s group of companies, have even stepped beyond station retail and successfully entered the Greater Tōkyō market.

Ono Yuri, chief research officer of Mitsubishi Research Institute’s Regional Finance Research Department, says, “Station retail no longer means standing soba shops. Railway companies are continuing efforts to develop uniquely individual services, and I expect that experimental business development will continue in the ekinaka market.”
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Old January 12th, 2010, 10:22 AM   #767
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Hankyū, Keihan, Randen to celebrate 100 years in 2010
http://www.asahi.com/business/update...912270019.html

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Hankyū, Keihan, and other private railways in the Kansai area are all set to celebrate their 100th anniversaries this year. Railways first developed at the beginning of the Meiji Era under the direction of the national government, but in the Kansai area, famous for its enterprising people, the private sector had resources to build its own lines, and the Kansai area saw Japan’s first private railway networks established a century ago. In the hope of spurring even small increases ridership, which is struggling as a result of the economic downturn, the railways are putting efforts into anniversary campaigns.

From January 12 to the end of June, Hankyū Corporation will run an eight-car “Museum” train, featuring a special wrap ad commemorating the railway’s 100th anniversary, on the Takarazuka Main Line and Minoo Line. “We hope the 100th anniversary will help people understand and appreciate everything that’s good about railways,” said Hankyū’s PR spokesperson.

From July until October, Keihan Electric Railway will temporarily convert an existing train into a moving “Museum Train” to be stationed at major terminal stations. The seats and overhead racks will be removed, making room for displays of train equipment from the various periods of Keihan’s history. The train will be stationed at platforms not used during the midday periods and will thus not impact regular operations.

The Keifuku Electric Railroad Arashiyama Line (Randen), running through Arashiyama and other districts in Kyōto, has launched a special campaign starting March 25 of last year to find people residing in Kyōto who are celebrating their 100th birthdays. The deadline for the program is the end of January, and participants will receive special commemorative gifts. “We want to build a Randen brand that will continue to make people happy for another 100 years,” said a spokesperson for the railroad.

Japan’s first railroad opened in 1872 (Meiji 5) between Shimbashi and Yokohama. The first 100 percent private railway in Japan is believed to be the Hankai Railroad (now Nankai Electric Railway) linking Ōsaka and Sakai, opening in 1885. Twenty years later, the trend switched from steam locomotives to electric trains, and Hanshin Electric Railway was the first to open in 1905 between Ōsaka and Kōbe. As a result of the economic strains from the Russo-Japanese War, the main private railroads at the time were temporarily nationalized, but around 1910, another private railway boom began in the Kansai area.

In March 1910, Hankyū Corporation began service as the Minoo-Arima Electric Railroad on the Takarazuka Main Line (Umeda – Takarazuka) and Minoo Branch Line (Ishibashi – Minoo), followed by the Hyōgo Electric Railroad (now San’yō Electric Railway) and the Arashiyama Electric Railroad (now Randen). Keihan Electric Railway also opened in April between Ōsaka and Kyōto.

Saitō Takahiko, a professor of transportation economics at Kinki University, says, “In the Kansai area, the private railway ventures opened one after another in the Meiji period, and their business model expanded to Tōkyō at the beginning of the Shōwa Era.” However, Saitō also notes, “The railway network developed in bits and pieces, making through-service operations with the subway difficult from a technological standpoint. As a result, we’ve been left with a structural deficiency in central Ōsaka where construction of critical lines has yet to occur.”
Special campaign websites:

Keihan 100th Centenary ~Eternal Promises~: http://www.keihan100th.jp/
Hankyū 100th: http://hankyu100th.jp/

Some YouTube videos to take us back to 1983. He has other historic Kansai footage on his channel (just search for “Keihan,” “Hankyu,” “Kintetsu,” or “Nankai”).
Source: chmr103 on YouTube

Hankyū

Parallel running on the six-track section between Ōsaka Umeda and Jūsō.



Hankyū Sannomiya Station in Kōbe and the famous tunnel portal. The building was irreparably damaged in the Kōbe Earthquake and was demolished.



Keihan

Trains at Keihan Sanjō Station, when it was still an aboveground station.



Inside a Keihan 3000 series limited express departing Kyōto, bound for Ōsaka.

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Old January 12th, 2010, 10:23 AM   #768
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Streetcars making a return
http://chubu.yomiuri.co.jp/news_top/100108_1.htm

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March 1962, in the House of Councillors Budget Committee. At the time, streetcars were seen as “nuisances” because they caused congestion on narrow urban streets. When questioned about the future of streetcars, the first thing Transport Minister Saitō Noboru said was, “I will order them to be removed one by one,” expressing his intention to abandon all routes in the future. It has been half a century since then, but these nuisances are gathering attention as environmentally-friendly means of public transport.

Approximately five kilometers from JR Toyohashi Station in a Toyohashi Railroad streetcar maintenance facility, the latest Hotram train enters the yard, gliding on the road.

“It’s like a dream.” Part-time worker Morishima Tomehiro (60yo), who gets a chance once every week during maintenance checks to stand inside the cab of the Hotram, has been with the railroad for 45 years, including as a conductor and train operator and has seen his share of streetcars come and go.

Ridership on Toyohashi Railroad’s streetcars began declining after a peak in 1963 at approx. 9.57 million, but when Morishima joined the railway in 1965, there were still long queues of passengers waiting to board at stops. It was a mere six years later that the streetcars were converted to one-man operation and the layoffs began. Twenty-five conductors were transferred to other departments, but only Morishima remained, as a train operator. “Seven of our younger train operators left the company, fearing that it had no future. It was really depressing.”

The decline in ridership continued, with the streetcars becoming known as “rain trains,” only becoming full on rainy days when people switched from their bikes to the streetcar.

In the last one to two years, however, the situation has changed dramatically. On weekends, railfans visit the line, and annual ridership has increased. With deep emotions, Morishima welcomes the Hotram: “It’s your time now. Good luck.”

===================================

In the past, streetcars ran in 65 cities throughout Japan with a total track length stretching approx. 1,480 km. Although they have since retreated to only 17 cities and approx. 205 km of track, proposals for new routes in places such as Matsue City and Takamatsu City have been surfacing. Last month, Toyama City celebrated the return of its Loop Line for the first time in 36 years.

Meanwhile, streetcar lines have been opening one after another since the late 1970s in over 110 cities, including Strasbourg, France and Seattle in the United States, as an environmentally-friendly means of transport. In preparation for the Winter Olympics set to open next month in Vancouver, Canada, streetcars will make a return for two months on a 1.8 km line connecting the Athletes’ Village and one of the city’s main districts.

“You can board trams straight from the street, and they’re convenient for short-distance travel—almost like the city’s ‘flat escalator.’ There’s no congestion, and they can carry more people than cars,” says urban transport researcher Hattori Shigeyoshi (55yo) of the benefits of trams. Hattori began his work in the field of research after seeing Nagoya’s municipal streetcars abandoned during his high school years and wondering just what was wrong with trams.

===================================

The introduction of the Hotram came only after the steady work of citizens and support from the railway and government.

Artist Ina Hikosada (75yo), vice-chairman of the Toyohashi Streetcar Supporters Association composed of shopowners and other members, has been selling calendars featuring artwork of streetcars running through the city’s former neighborhoods every year since 1992, helping to build a movement for the streetcars.

In 1998, Ina drew for the first time a scene that did not exist at the time: a modern streetcar running through the streets of Toyohashi City. “I was hoping to see this scene in real life…”

Ina’s hope of making modern streetcars a symbol of the city spread to the other members of the Association, which then began a fundraising campaign in 2007. The effort became a catalyst, with the national and prefectural governments providing funds, and ten years after Ina’s artwork, his dream had become reality. Coexistence with the automobile and revitalization of the city’s central districts… Ina has believed all this time that streetcars were part of the solution.
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Old January 12th, 2010, 10:24 AM   #769
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Matsue City proposes LRT line to open in 2012
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/lo...0915001-n1.htm

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Matsue City has decided to begin operation of a light rail transit (LRT) line using low-floor streetcars in FY2012. The proposed route would run between JR Matsue Station and Matsue Shinjiko Onsen Station on the Ichibata Electric Railway, and the city plans on holding a symposium to consider LRT introduction in Feburary.

Through the LRT line, Matsue City hopes to contribute in the effort to prevent global warming by reducing automobile emissions. In November of last year, the city’s New Transit System Working Group (Chairman: University of Tsukuba Professor Taniguchi Mamoru), composed of experts in the field, held its first session, and will prepare its recommendations for introduction in June of this year.

The basic route would run between JR Matsue Station and Matsue Shinjiko Onsen Station, but the city is studying four alignments serving Matsue Castle, the city’s General Gymnasium, Shimane University, and the Shimane Art Museum.

Matsue City will now hammer out the details of the LRT line’s financial feasibility and operations plan. The LRT movement began starting in 2006 in Toyama City with a third-sector operator. A planned introduction of LRT in Sakai City, Ōsaka Prefecture has been halted as a result of high project costs and other factors.

The LRT would operate with low-floor (nonstep) vehicles and be user-friendly for elderly and physically-disabled passengers. Motors would be powered with an environmentally-friendly battery system.
Matsue City is a minor city in western Japan and the capital of Shimane Prefecture. Rail service includes JR West’s San’in Main Line and the Ichibata Electric Railway.

In terms of battery-powered trams, Kawasaki Heavy Industries’ SWIMO and the Railway Technical Research Institute’s LH02 are the two most famous. Both were tested in regular operation by the Sapporo Municipal Transportation Bureau in its tram network.

SWIMO


Source: Wikipedia

Kawasaki SWIMO brochure: www.kawasakirailcar.com/SWIMO-Overview.pdf

LH02
This is a joint development by the Railway Technical Research Institute, Tōyō Denki Seizō, GS Yuasa Corporation, Tōkyū Car Corporation, and Alna Sharyō.


Source: Wikipedia
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Old January 12th, 2010, 10:24 AM   #770
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Naha City to launch pre-LRT experiment in 2011
http://www.okinawatimes.co.jp/article/2010-01-05_1260

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It was announced on January 4 that Naha City has been advancing plans to launch a field trial using buses in FY2011 with the goal of introducing a full-fledged light rail transit (LRT) line. In February, the city will survey public opinion to be used in the determination of a specific alignment for the line. The city’s Transportation Master Plan Working Group (Chairman: University of Tōkyō Professor Harada Noboru) will submit its findings in March, after which the city will then begin negotiations with bus companies.

The basic alignment would start and end in the residential districts in the Mawashi area, traveling along Kokusai-dōri and through Naha’s new city center, intersecting with the Okinawa Urban Monorail. Based on surveys of citizens’ travel behavior during commute periods and other times of the day, the city determined that needs for such a system were high, and will now hammer out the details of the field trial, including the length of the trial and fare structure.

According to city representatives, the city is served by a web of buses operated by four different companies. To help provide information useful in proposing a final LRT alignment, the city believes it’s necessary to determine ridership and usage frequency among passengers by taking multiple bus lines operated by different companies and simplifying them into “model” lines.

In February, the city will ask citizens about route alignment and their vision for a model line that is user-friendly for everyone, from children to the elderly. Along frequently-congested Kokusai-dōri, the city plans to canvass public opinion on what an easy-to-use public transport system would look like.

The city’s Transportation Master Plan, incorporating comments from citizens, will be finalized in March. “Once we receive the findings from the working group, we will enter into discussions with the bus companies. I want to establish a path for introduction of an LRT system ten years from now,” says Mayor Onaga Takeshi.
Naha City is the capital of Okinawa Prefecture and is located on the main island (Okinawa Island). Although the city had rail service in the past, most of them had already been abandoned or damaged in World War II. Currently, it’s only rail-based transit system is the Okinawa Urban Monorail (YuiRail), which opened in 2003 and connects Naha Airport and Shuri Castle via the city’s central districts.

A comprehensive tour of the YuiRail, from Naha Airport to Shuri, with a short visit to Shuri Castle.


Source: mkurashina on YouTube
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Old January 12th, 2010, 10:25 AM   #771
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Sapporo City looking to extend municipal streetcar line
http://mytown.asahi.com/hokkaido/new...00001001040013

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Towards central city revitalization
Sapporo City has finalized a policy to look into extending the municipally-operated streetcar line running in the southwest area of the city. The city will now consider the specifics of the extension alignment and financial feasibility. City officials say they hope to help increase activity in the city’s central district, while at the same time solving the streetcar system’s operating deficit and, in the future, helping in the fight against global warming by limiting automobile use in the central district.

The city opened its subway in 1971 only a short time before the city hosted the Winter Olympics. At the same time, the city continued abandonment of its streetcar system, which reached 25 km in length at its peak, until operations were down to a single line (8.5 km) in 1974, running from Nishi-Yonchōme to Susukino. The winds are now changing in favor of streetcars in regional cities throughout the country, including in Toyama City, which introduced a next-generation streetcar system (light rail transit, LRT) in 2006.

According to the Sapporo’s Citizens’ Urban Development Bureau, the candidate extensions include the following:
  • Sapporo Station and central Sapporo City
  • Northeast, towards Naebo Station
  • Northwest, towards the Municipal Hospital
  • South, towards the Yamahana-Minami district
Each of the extensions has an estimated project cost of ¥4 billion to ¥5 billion, but it’s possible that multiple extensions may be implemented together. In FY2010, the city plans on hearing public opinion before formally deciding on which extensions to implement.
Scenes of Sapporo’s last remaining streetcar line:


Source: m6s24hst on YouTube
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Old January 12th, 2010, 10:26 AM   #772
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Kotoden elevation project likely to be suspended
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/kag...OYT8T01382.htm

Quote:
In response to the Kagawa Prefectural Government expressing its intention to halt the elevation of the Takamatsu – Kotohira Electric Railroad (Kotoden), the Prefectural Public Works Projects Evaluation Committee (Chairman: Kagawa University Professor Emeritus Ihara Takeo) decided on January 8 to issue a recommendation to Kagawa Governor Manabe to stop the project. The Prefectural Government expects to formally approve the decision by the end of March, sending the project, which had been on the ice since FY2005 due to financial difficulties, back to square one.

The project was intended to relieve roadway congestion at grade crossings by elevating 2.6 km of the Kotoden Kotohira Line and 1 km of the Nagao Line through the central district of Takamatsu City, and the Prefectural Government had been working with the national and municipal governments to advance the project. Of the total project cost of ¥34 billion, the Prefectural Government was scheduled to shoulder ¥13 billion. Thus far, the prefecture has funded a total of ¥4.7 billion towards land acquisition, but has stopped progress in an effort to reign in its budget.

On December 8, six members of the committee deliberated over the project. The committee concluded that “a halt to the project is unavoidable,” citing the critical state of the Prefectural Government’s finances and a less apparent need for the project after decreases in street traffic. The Prefectural Government’s Urban Planning Section says, “We didn’t expect that traffic volumes would decrease. To ensure that the money we’ve already invested isn’t put to waste, we’re hoping to make active use of the land we’ve acquired.”
Scenes of Kotoden 1200 series (ex-Keikyū 700 series (2nd gen.))


Source: norimonopodcast on YouTube

Scenes of some of Kotoden’s oldest cars, painted in sepia and cream, from 2007.
The 1000 series and 3000 series were constructed in 1926.
The 60 series are ex-Keikyū trains dating all the way to 1913.
These no longer run in regular service. The 1000 and 3000 series are preserved, but the 60 series was scrapped.


Source: norimonopodcast on YouTube
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Old January 12th, 2010, 10:26 AM   #773
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Aichi Prefecture increases funding to Linimo
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/s/article/...090094249.html

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Aichi Prefecture has finalized a plan that would provide supplementary funding of ¥2.86 billion for the next four years to Aichi Rapid Transport (President: Aichi Prefecture governor Kanda Masaaki), the third-sector operator of the Linimo (Tōbu Kyūryū Line), which continues to operate in the red. As the first-year’s worth of funding, the Prefectural Government itemized ¥560 million in its budget proposal for FY2010, and will also ask five jurisdictions along the line, including Nagoya City, Seto City, and Nagakute Town for additional funding support.

The effort is an attempt to stabilize the company’s financing by increasing funding, but as the financial situation for the local jurisdictions worsens, it’s likely there will be debate over the request for additional funds.

The Linimo opened in 2005 as a means of transport access to the Aichi World Expo. Up until the second year, daily ridership was above 50,000, but plummeted the third year into service. Ridership levels have dropped to about half of the original ridership forecast of 31,000, resulting in a persistent operating shortfall for the line.

After Aichi Rapid Transport claimed that it expected to default on its loans in its FY2008 financial statement, Aichi Prefecture, as majority investor, converted ¥390 million of its loans into stock in the company that same year, providing financial support outside of loan repayments for the first time. The upcoming effort marks the second series of financial support for the company.

According to the company’s near-term financial stabilization plan, a total of ¥4.8 billion in supplementary funding sources is needed until FY2013. Of this amount, Aichi Prefecture will bear ¥2.86 billion, with the remaining ¥1.94 billion divided among the five local jurisdictions. The total funding contribution from the five jurisdictions for FY2010 is expected to be ¥380 million.

The Prefectural Government and five local jurisdictions will continue with the conversion of debt into company stock, strengthening the financial base of the railway through monetary support.

Linimo ridership must grow by two percent per year in order to meet the goal of 25,000 daily riders by 2020, a target number that has already been revised down from the original ridership goals. In addition, there is a fear that additional financial support may be necessary starting in 2014 in order to control debt. A comprehensive counterstrategy to increase ridership demand is required, and prefectural representatives have asked for understanding from the public, saying, “Development leading to increased population and location of facilities along the line is critical.”
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Old January 12th, 2010, 10:27 AM   #774
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Tama opens Twitter page

Wakayama Electric Railway opened a Twitter page for their mascot cat Tama:
http://twitter.com/ekichoTAMA

I posted a video about Tama here:
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...&postcount=473
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Old January 12th, 2010, 10:28 AM   #775
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Nagoya City expands student pass program
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/aic...OYT8T00105.htm

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On December 28, Nagoya City announced that it will expand the use of “student commuter passes” on the municipal subway and buses to beyond simply commuting to and from school to include to trips to afterschool study sessions and part-time jobs. This is the first time in Japan that a student commuter pass is being sold for both bus and subway services without limits on the trip purpose or coverage area.

Up until now, the city has been selling “school commuter passes” where the trip purpose is limited to trips to and from school, and the coverage area is restricted to the shortest route between the student’s house and the nearest station to the school. Starting March 1, however, the city will begin offering “student commuter passes,” where trip purpose is unrestricted and discounts are 40 to 50 percent above a regular commuter pass.

Students from nursery school to university can purchase the tickets, but must show their student identification card. Currently, approximately 100,000 customers use the school commuter pass.
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Old January 12th, 2010, 10:29 AM   #776
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Retirement of Meitetsu 7100 series

I didn’t have a chance to post this one earlier…
Last day of regular service was November 27, with special charter run on November 29.

Last days of service


Source: ayokoi on YouTube

Farewell charter run


Source: AGUIMOVIE on YouTube
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Old January 12th, 2010, 10:30 AM   #777
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Keikyū signs deal with ANA to compete against Tōkyō Monorail
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/to...002000046.html

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The battle between Keihin Electric Express Railway (Keikyū) and Tōkyō Monorail to win passengers traveling between Haneda Airport and central Tōkyō is set to heat up in 2010.

Keikyū has signed a deal with All Nippon Airways (ANA) and will launch a special campaign between January 12 and March 11, 2010. The campaign is targeted at passengers using ANA flights departing from or arriving at Haneda. Passengers who show their boarding tickets or ANA Mileage Card will receive special discounted tickets on Keikyū, reducing the roundtrip fare between Shinagawa and Haneda Airport by ¥200 to ¥600. Passengers can purchase the tickets at Haneda Airport Station, Shinagawa Station, and Yokohama Station.

Spokespersons for Keikyū say, “Up until now, we’ve been offering special discounted tickets to and from Haneda, but only on certain air routes. With the positive response from our customers, we’ve expanded the program to all of ANA’s flights at Haneda.”

Meanwhile, Tōkyō Monorail is using its ties as part of the JR East Group to strengthen its campaign programs with JR Kyūshū, Nishitetsu (Fukuoka City), and the Fukuoka City Transportation Bureau. Starting in March 2010, IC farecards from all four companies will become interoperable.

The three Kyūshū railway operators combine to create a wide network through the northern parts of Kyūshū, including a direct subway service to Fukuoka Airport. By allowing use of the three Kyūshū farecards on the Tōkyō Monorail, the company hopes to lure passengers away from Keikyū.

In commemoration of interoperability between the four IC farecards, JR East and the three Kyūshū operators will issue commemorative farecards featuring all four mascot characters.

According to a study by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), the share of transport to Haneda Airport is fairly even, with 30 percent for the Monorail and 28 percent for Keikyū. The two companies are continuing the battle to win passengers by reducing fares and travel times.
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Old January 12th, 2010, 10:30 AM   #778
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Kachidoki Station improvements to relieve congestion from development boom
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/na...702000233.html

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A new platform is set to be constructed at the Tōkyō Metropolitan (Toei) Subway Ōedo Line’s Kachidoki Station (Chūō Ward), which is extremely congested during the morning periods. With the development boom in the area surrounding the station, ridership at the station has skyrocketed. The Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation has devised makeshift solutions such as increasing station entrances at surface level, but says the station is “at its limit” without major improvements. Condominium construction along Tōkyō’s waterfront areas has been continuing, with measures to alleviate congestion such as new faregate locations also being undertaken at Toyosu Station (Kōtō Ward) on the Tōkyō Metro Yūrakuchō Line.

According the Tōkyō Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation, Kachidoki Station consists of a single island platform, and passengers boarding and alighting trains in both the counterclockwise direction towards Ryōgoku and the clockwise direction towards Daimon use the same island. The Bureau will construct a new platform parallel to the existing island, alleviating congestion by providing exclusive platforms for the counterclockwise and clockwise directions.

This marks the first time platforms have been added to a station on the Toei Subway, and preliminary construction will begin in 2010 at an expected total project cost of approx. ¥10 billion. The Bureau will now request Master Plan approval, as well as approval from the national government, but representatives say, “The work is the equivalent of building an entirely new station,” and that completion is five years or more into the future.

Average daily entries and exits at Kachidoki Station for FY2008 were 82,000, an eight percent increase over the previous year, and almost triple the 30,000 entries and exits when the station opened in 2000. In 2001, Harumi Island Triton Square, with a mix of condominiums, office buildings, and retail facilities, opened nearby, and construction of high-rise condominium towers has been continuing.

Congestion is particularly bad during the 8:00 to 9:00 am hour. Passengers disembarking trains swarm the platform, with the next train arriving before the crowd has even cleared. Even after exiting the faregates, passengers wait in long queues to reach the surface, with some people using the nearby Tsukishima Station instead to avoid the congestion.

As a result, the two surface entrances proposed in the planning stages even before the line opened have been doubled to the current four entrances. The Bureau has experimented with ways to improve passenger flow, including deployment of eight security staff to control the crowds and increasing the speed of the up escalator from the platforms to the station concourse level from 30 m per minute to 40 m per minute.

“This is all we can do for now. Development projects will continue, and we won’t be able to keep pace without substantial improvements,” says a Bureau representative.

The same development boom is happening around Toyosu Station. According to Tōkyō Metro, average daily entries and exits at the station for FY2008 were 123,000, an 11 percent increase over the previous year and twice what it was five years before in FY2003, when the number was a little over 50,000 entries and exits. Tōkyō Metro is currently constructing improvements at the station to increase faregate locations from one to two by March 2012.
Some aerials, showing the scale of the development in the area:

Kachidoki (2009.11)
The Ōedo Line runs underneath the left-right (east-west) road in this picture. The taller tower under construction is Kachidoki View Tower, a 55-story condo tower. The shorter one will be a 45-story condo tower.


Source: http://building-pc.cocolog-nifty.com...2009-7731.html

Toyosu (2009.12)
The Yūrakuchō Line runs underneath the wide up-down (roughly south-north) road.


Source: http://building-pc.cocolog-nifty.com...post-48ba.html
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Old January 12th, 2010, 10:32 AM   #779
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TX spurs rapid development in Kashiwa City
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/ch...602000110.html

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A new urban plan for Kashiwa City’s Northern Kashiwa Central District began in 2000. With the opening of the Tsukuba Express (TX) in 2005, the areas around stations within the district have become home to large-scale retail facilities and high-rise condominium towers, completely transforming the town within the last ten years. In adjacent areas, research facilities have been sprouting one after another, spurring an advanced style of urban development that incorporates industry, government, and academia.

“This used to be a golf course. There were forests, but virtually no large buildings whatsoever,” said Masuda Shigeo (59yo), a local town councilor in the Northern Kashiwa Central District, as he recounted memories of what the area was like ten years ago.

Masuda was born and raised in this area. Growing up, “roads” meant dirt roads, and there was nothing but the paths between ricefields, overgrown with grass. It was a quiet rural area, with farmers’ homes scattered within seas of crop fields.

But with the opening of the TX nearing, land readjustment projects kicked off ten years ago, and the sound of heavy machinery soon began echoing through the landscape. Forests were sliced down and large bulldozers leveled the ground.

“There are all sorts of opinions regarding the cutting-down of the trees, but for me, I’m full of anticipation more than sadness. It’s good to see our town quickly embracing new urban development,” said Masuda, smiling.

Development in the Northern Kashiwa Central District is proceeding in the area surrounding Kashiwa no Ha Campus Station on the TX. The area covered by Chiba Prefecture’s land readjustment project stretches across approx. 273 ha, or 58 Tōkyō Domes. The project is scheduled for completion in FY2022.

In the area surrounding the station, large-scale shopping center LaLaport Kashiwanoha (opened 2006) and high-rise condominium towers, in addition to a hospital and banks, have already been constructed. Office buildings, condominiums, and hotels are also scheduled to be constructed soon.

Meanwhile, various research institutions have settled into the adjacent Kashiwa no Ha District. Starting with the National Cancer Center in 1992, the Prefectural Government’s industrial support facility Tōkatsu Techno Plaza (1998), the University of Tōkyō’s Institute for Cosmic Ray Reseach (2000) and Institute for Solid State Physics (2000), and Chiba University’s Center for Environment, Health, and Field Sciences (2003) followed. The University of Tōkyō is also looking to relocate laboratories into the district.

In an effort to take full advantage of the benefits, universities, governments, and private industry have collaborated to develop the Northern Kashiwa Central District into a science city and cutting-edge green city. Field experiments involving shared use of zero-emissions electric bicycles and regular bicycles among residents are being conducted.

Kashiwa City has two faces—the first is the central area near the gateway to the city, Kashiwa Station, and the second is the historical southern areas of the city in the former Shōnan Town district. Kashiwa City’s central area is filled with shopping districts and is known as an active area, alive with people, while it’s southern area is known for the Kitanosaku Kofun Group—some of the oldest kofun mounds in all of Higashi-Katsushika—and ruins related to Taira no Masakado.

A woman working for a non-profit organization familiar with Kashiwa City’s urban development says she is hopeful of the development of northern Kashiwa City as an “academic town”: “The entire city will benefit by becoming more attractive. It’s wonderful to see a city develop with multiple facets, so I’m waiting in anticipation of the growth in the northern parts of the city.”
Kashiwa no Ha Campus Station (10,100 daily entries (2008))

image hosted on flickr

Source: oda.shinsuke on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

Source: oda.shinsuke on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

Source: batta on Flickr

An aerial from 2008. The east side of the station is residential towers (Park City Kashiwa no Ha), while LaLaport Kashiwanoha occupies the west side.


Source: http://building-pc.cocolog-nifty.com...2008-405a.html
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Old January 12th, 2010, 10:32 AM   #780
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Suicides account for almost half of all service disruptions in Tōkyō
http://www.asahi.com/national/update...912290320.html

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The new year is approaching, and almost everyday there is news of some train being delayed somewhere—the most common reason is suicide. In one day, there were as many as four cases within the span of a mere two hours. According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), of the 679 cases of service disruptions last fiscal year in Tōkyō and the surrounding three prefectures (Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba), suicides accounted for 307 (45 percent) of the cases. That share is increasing year-by-year.

On December 21, the MLIT held a conference with representatives from 12 railway operators in Greater Tōkyō to discuss cancelled service and major service disruptions causing delays of 30 minutes or more, as well as ways to counteract suicides.

According to the MLIT, suicides by railway in the Tōkyō area have been increasing year-over-year since FY2004, reaching 307 cases in FY2008. For FY2009, 170 cases have already occurred as of the end of November at facilities under the administration of JR East, on pace to match the numbers for FY2008, which saw the highest recorded number of cases in recent history.

The installation of waist-high platform doors is seen as a countermeasure to prevent passengers from coming into contact with moving trains, but railway operators have yet to identify a strategy to combat suicides. Some railway executives were quoted as saying, “These incidents have an impact on our customers’ privacy, so we don’t retain the details of the accidents, even internally.”

A spokesperson for the Japanese Private Railway Association, which is composed of 72 private railway companies throughout Japan and conducts various studies, admitted, “We’re still extremely naïve about the topic. While it definitely seems like something we need to be addressing, we currently have nothing established as of yet.”

This autumn, JR East installed blue light-emitting diode (LED) lighting on platforms at all 29 stations on the Yamanote Line. The railway hopes that the color blue, which is said to calm people, will help prevent suicides.

After installation of the blue LED lighting, the railway says the number of people jumping onto Yamanote Line tracks has dropped slightly, but that experts are split on the actual scientific benefit of the measure.

Four suicides in two hours
The evening of December 9, in the span of a mere two hours, four people committed suicide by train in the Tōkyō area. I looked at the situation surrounding each of the cases to understand why these people chose the railway to end their life.

5:15 pm. At a JR station in Chiyoda Ward, Tōkyō, a 51yo man from Ibaraki Prefecture was struck by a rapid train and died. The man, who was standing on the platform, jumped onto the tracks. He left no will behind.

5:55 pm. An unemployed man (65yo) entered a grade crossing on the Keisei Line in Katsushika Ward, Tōkyō, was struck by a train, and died. Some victims, such as this man, crawl beneath the crossing arms to enter the track. He lived in a cheap rooming house in San’ya and was receiving government assistance. According to friends, lately he had been troubled by health issues.

6:09 pm. A woman was struck by a JR train in Saitama City. The Saitama Prefectural Police are confirming her identity at the moment, but it appears she was a foreigner living nearby. As one of her children living in Japan was about to have a grandchild for her, she moved to Japan. The contents of her will said, “The language and lifestyle (here) is too different… I can’t take it.”

7:25 pm. A man jumped off the platform and in front of a Tōkyū Line express train entering a station in Yamato City, Kanagawa Prefecture. The contents of his shoulder bag showered the scene of the incident. Among them was a memo: “I’m sorry.” The man was a pharmacist. An employee at the hospital where he worked said, “The family had told us it was an accident.”
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