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Old January 30th, 2010, 06:19 AM   #801
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Hankyū unveils new uniforms for 100th anniversary
http://holdings.hankyu-hanshin.co.jp...01001142N1.pdf

Quote:
With our 100th anniversary in March of this year, Hankyū Corporation will introduce new uniforms for our station staff and train crews on March 14, coinciding with the opening of the new Settsu-shi Station. In addition, Nose Electric Railway, which shares our uniforms, will also feature the new uniforms.

In order to instill trust and connection with our customers, Hankyū has redesigned its uniforms, with gratitude on the part of each and every one of our employees to the passengers that have supported us for an entire century. With aspirations towards building another 100 years of the Hankyū Electric Railway, we will continue our efforts into improving service.

The new uniforms not only use comfortable stretch fabrics, but also are designed for easy visibility by all of our customers, featuring larger nametags with employee position and last name also presented in English. The dress shirt fabric is an environmentally-friendly design, making use of recycled polyester from used plastic bottles.

This uniform change is the first since our summer uniforms changed in 1990 and winter uniforms changed in 1996.

Uniforms for our information staff will also be changed.
The press release contains images.
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Old January 30th, 2010, 06:20 AM   #802
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Ōsaka Municipal Transportation Bureau auctions off items
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/tabi/domest...OYT8T01137.htm

Quote:
On January 7, the Ōsaka Municipal Transportation Bureau announced that it would offer up for online auction 77 subway- and bus-related items (a total of 15 different types of items) which are no longer of use.

The items, including a unique subway model setup used in training Bureau employees, are set to draw the attention of railfans.

This is the third time the Bureau has offered items up for auction, and this time around, the star item up for grabs is a 32 mm gauge (“O” gauge) subway model setup. The aluminum train car is 9 cm tall, 43 cm long, and 8 cm wide, and is scheduled to be offered at an estimated price of ¥3,500.

The Bureau is also offering other items, including old directional signs and fare charts once used in subway stations. Three of the frog-shaped trash receptacles for used newspapers and magazines, popular in previous auctions, will also be offered up for bid. The total estimated price of all the items being offered is ¥298,000. The items would otherwise have been consigned as industrial waste, but Bureau spokespersons say they hope to make even a little money off of them.

The items are being offered through an auction site at Internet giant Yahoo! (http://koubai.auctions.yahoo.co.jp), and the bidding period will last from January 13 to February 4.
The userpage for the Bureau is here:
http://koubai.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/k_osa_osaka_traffic

In addition to the items mentioned in the article, the Bureau is offering signal heads and boxes, roll signs, car number plates, car manufacturer plates, car headlights and taillights, and operator dashboards, as well as bus-related items.
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Old January 30th, 2010, 06:21 AM   #803
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Keihan CEO in line to become chairman of Ōsaka CCI
http://www.asahi.com/travel/rail/new...001150115.html

Quote:
On January 15, the Ōsaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) announced that with the upcoming departure of Chairman Nomura Akio (Chairman of Ōsaka Gas), it will promote Vice-Chairman Satō Shigetaka (CEO of Keihan Electric Railway) to the post of Chairman. It’s expected that Satō will assume the post after a formal decision at a regular meeting of chamber members in March 29.

Satō has been strengthening Keihan Electric Railway’s financial structure by stepping out of money-losing business markets and reorganizing the railway group’s companies. Through the opening of the new Nakanoshima Line within Ōsaka, Satō has also played an active role in the urban development of Ōsaka. Satō has been vice-chairman of the OCCI since 2005, and was also chairman of the Japan Private Railways Association up until May of last year.

At a press conference in Ōsaka City, Satō remarked, “As they say, ‘With duties comes responsibility.’ I want to devote my efforts to the development of Ōsaka and the entire Kansai area.” Chairman Nomura, who is leaving his post approximately a year and a half before the end of his term, said, “Keihan Electric Railway has contributed to the development of the region for 100 years. I am hopeful that Satō will inherit that DNA as our new leader.”

The chairman OCCI typically fills two to three terms of three years each, and leaves the post in the middle of the last term. Satō will first assume the remaining period of Nomura’s term until October 2011, after which he will be reelected as chairman on November 11.

The last time someone from the railway industry served as chairman was six years ago, when Tashiro Wa (former President of Kintetsu Corporation) left his post in 2004 after a five-year run. Satō will also be the second Keihan executive and the first in ninety years to serve as OCCI chairman.
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Old January 30th, 2010, 06:22 AM   #804
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Sankei Shimbun interviews Keihan CEO
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/economy/bus...1420018-n1.htm

Quote:
Keihan will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in April.
With the start of another century for our company, the one thing we must not forget is entrepreneurial spirit. I’m in the process of compiling a review of our company’s 100-year history, and I recall the philosophy of Shibusawa Eiichi (1840-1931), who was the founding chairman of our company. I recall how we cleared a path for ourselves from the end of World War I through to the Shōwa Depression. Our company has a history of creativity and ingenuity, from stocking electricity during the nighttime periods for use during the morning rush hour, to developing batteries for the end cars on our trains, and there are many things to learn from our past, including creative ways to cut down costs.

Last year, group company Hotel Keihan opened hotels in Asakusa, Tōkyō and Sapporo.
Tōkyō and Sapporo are nowhere near our railway network, but we hope the customers who have developed our brand locally will use our hotels elsewhere. When I went on a tour of the hotels, there were women who use Keihan trains every day who learned about the opening of hotels and came to visit. In other words, our brand area is expanding. We’re scrutinizing our hotel business very closely, what with the economic downturn, but we are also looking to secure properties with the right conditions.

Last year was the one-year anniversary of the Nakanoshima Line (Tenmabashi – Nakanoshima), but ridership on the line appears to be lower than projected.
Once the new Festival Hall and Ōsaka City’s contemporary art museum are finished, the Nakanoshima area will change drastically within five to six years. The railway network makes a positive contribution to urban development. The vitality from last year’s Aqua Metropolis 2009 event was incredible. After seeing the interest among our employees in bringing vitality to Nakanoshima as part of their work, I was ecstatic.

How will you combat declining ridership across the board?
We established a company executive system, separating strategic and business operations lines, but our business lines are still not sufficiently independent. We will be increasing the purity of business operations, improving the efficiency of our management structure as we continue to reevaluate our ventures. We will be looking at just how we can increase profits in the hopes of creating a large and robust company.

Satō Shigetaka: Graduated with a law degree from Kyōto University and joined Keihan Electric Railway in 1965. After serving as board member, executive director, and president, he became CEO of the railway in June 2007. At the end of March 2010, he is scheduled to become the 25th chairman of the Ōsaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He was born in Ōsaka City and is 68 years old.
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Old January 30th, 2010, 06:23 AM   #805
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Ōsaka governor pushes back proposed timeline for Naniwasuji Line five years
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/lo...1105000-n1.htm

Quote:
In the dilemma surrounding the Kansai region’s three airports, on January 12 Ōsaka Governor Hashimoto Tōru, who has been championing the closure of Ōsaka (Itami) International Airport, said, “Completion of the Naniwasuji Line, which is a prerequisite for the closure of Itami, would be difficult to realize in ten years, meaning the closure would have to occur 15 to 20 years from now.” Initially, Governor Hashimoto had been calling for a closure in 2035, but later shortened his target timeframe, saying, “If the Naniwasuji Line opens, we can close Itami within ten years from now.” In regards to the closure, the governor also advocated, “Airport strategy is national strategy. Approval by jurisdictions adjacent to the airport is not required.”

On January 6, Governor Hashimoto explained that the Naniwasuji Line connecting to Shin-Ōsaka and Namba would substantially improve access between central Ōsaka and Kansai International Airport (KIX), and that his goal was to close Itami within the next ten years. After hearing from relevant agencies that completion of the Naniwasuji Line within ten years would be difficult, however, the Governor said he revised his target timeline.

In regards to the closure of Itami, the Governor also remarked, “It is the duty of municipalities to evaluate ways to revitalize their neighborhoods based on the policies adopted by the national government,” saying closure was possible without the need for approval from the local jurisdictions.
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Old January 30th, 2010, 06:23 AM   #806
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Ōsaka Station redevelopment area to be known as Ōsaka Station City
http://osaka.yomiuri.co.jp/news/20100123-OYO1T00396.htm

Quote:
On January 22, JR West announced that the name for the redevelopment area surrounding Ōsaka Station (Kita Ward, Ōsaka City) will be Ōsaka Station City.

As a “new landmark” scheduled for completion in spring 2011, the gateway to Ōsaka is beginning to show its new face. Construction is proceeding on a dome roof spanning all platforms at the station, a building set to become home to department store JR Ōsaka Mitsukoshi–Isetan (90,000 sq m total), and other facilities, with a topping-out ceremony scheduled on the construction site on January 28.

The 28-story aboveground, three-story belowground building under construction on the north side of the station is the North Gate Building. JR West also announced that the building will house not only Mitsukoshi–Isetan, but also a total of 196 tenants including restaurants and goods retailers. The building is targeted at women in their 20s to early 30s and will be called Lucua.

On the south side of the station, Acty Ōsaka is being expanded and will become home to Daimaru’s Umeda store, which will expand almost 60 percent beyond its current floor space. The building will be named the South Gate Building, putting an end to the name “Acty,” which the public has known for close to 30 years.
The name appears to be taken from the Tōkyō Station City project at Tōkyō Station.

Some pics of the Acty Ōsaka expansion (2010.01.18). This terminal building is owned by the JR West Group, and tenants include Daimaru Department Store, the Hotel Granvia Ōsaka (part of JR West Hotels), and medical offices. This building will become the South Gate Building of Ōsaka Station City. This is from the east.


Source: http://building-pc.cocolog-nifty.com/map/

From the west.


Source: http://building-pc.cocolog-nifty.com/map/

From the observation deck inside the Hankyū Grand Building.


Source: http://building-pc.cocolog-nifty.com/map/

Views of the future North Gate Building and platform area (2010.01.18). The exterior on the highrise tower is mostly finished.


Source: http://building-pc.cocolog-nifty.com/map/

You can see the helipad being worked on atop the roof of the highrise.


Source: http://building-pc.cocolog-nifty.com/map/

Progress has been made on the large platform canopy.


Source: http://building-pc.cocolog-nifty.com/map/

Some ground-level and platform-level pics from 2010.01.


Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/


Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/

This will be the location of the pedestrian bridge connection to Hankyū Umeda.


Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/


Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/

Now, some shots from platform level.


Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/

Looking at the Ōsaka Loop Line platforms during the morning rush hour, as construction on the canopy proceeds overhead.


Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/

Looking at Acty Ōsaka as a regional rapid (kukan kaisoku) from the Yamatoji Line enters the station.


Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/


Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/


Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/
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Old January 30th, 2010, 06:25 AM   #807
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Kyōto Municipal Subway adds trains during evening periods  
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/kyo...OYT8T00034.htm

Quote:
In order to increase the convenience of the Kyōto Municipal Subway, the Kyōto Municipal Transportation Bureau will add four roundtrips after 9:00 pm on the Tōzai and Karasuma Lines starting in late March, increasing convenience for passengers. The service changes will also make headways more uniform, decreasing transfer time between the two lines at Karasuma Oike Station. Although the change will mean increased operating costs for the subway, a spokesperson for the Transportation Bureau says, “We’re taking a ‘preemptive strike’ to increase ridership in the hope that it leads to an improved financial situation.”

The last increase in scheduled trains was 10 years ago in 2000. Between 9:00 and 11:00 pm, the Bureau will add one roundtrip on the Karasuma Line and three roundtrips on the Tōzai Line.

The Bureau also reevaluated its schedule, which up until now had a tendency for headway irregularity during the evening periods. Headways will be made uniform to approx. 10 minutes and the schedule is now designed such that trains on the two lines will arrive at Karasuma Oike Station simultaneously, waiting as long as five minutes to allow for transfers. In the current schedule, passengers wait for as long as fifteen minutes when transferring during the 9:00 to 10:00 pm hour, and many customers complained.

In addition, departure times for the last trains at Karasuma Oike Station bound for all four directions (north, south, east, and west) will be set at 11:55 pm. As a result, passengers taking the last train from any station to Karasuma Oike Station will no longer have to waste time transferring at the station.

The increased trains and schedule changes will increase operating costs by ¥17 million annually, but the Transportation Bureau expects to see an increase in daily ridership of 500 as new passengers switch from other transport modes, increasing annual revenues by about ¥35 million.
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Old January 30th, 2010, 06:25 AM   #808
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JR West expands small-scale tenant building developments
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/economy/bus...2351036-n1.htm

Quote:
On January 22, it was announced that JR West Group’s efforts to create small- to mid-size tenant building developments on idle land surrounding train stations have surpassed 30 locations, centered in the Keihanshin (Kyōto – Ōsaka – Kōbe) area. The program assembles an array of restaurants, clinics, and other facilities inside tenant buildings to meet neighborhood needs, and is aimed at boosting the image of neighborhoods along the line through unique urban design. The railway hopes to create a connected series of stations with attached buildings and facilities that support the lifestyle needs of railway customers in order to expand its passenger market.

JR West Group began development of tenant buildings on land it inherited from the former Japanese National Railways in 1999. At a current total of 31 locations surrounding stations, the railway has succeeded in luring tenants ranging from clinics and restaurants to convenience stores and wholesale electronics retailers. The program is aimed at creating unique urban development that meets neighborhood needs, and has received high praise from local residents.

In September of last year, a “health-oriented” retail building (five stories, with gross floor area of 4,860 sq m) opened outside Suma Kaihin Kōen Station in Kōbe City’s Suma Ward, designed to contribute in efforts to meet the needs of an aging population and provide medical care. In addition to rental housing exclusively for seniors, an internal medicine clinic, pharmacy, and fitness club also signed leases in the building. In the area surrounding the station, JR West Group is in the process of developing condominium housing, with completion scheduled in March 2011. The railway group’s project manager says, “We’ve succeeded in attracting facilities that provide access to health care at the neighborhood level, without the need to visit large general hospitals in the city’s central areas.”

In February 2008, a convenience store and a private night school signed leases inside a building (three stories, with approx. 570 sq m of gross floor area) that opened on the west side of Minami-Kusatsu Station in Kusatsu City, Shiga Prefecture. Inside another building (approx. 1,000 sq m of gross floor area) that opened in March 2008 just northwest of Kakogawa Station in Kakogawa City, Hyōgo Prefecture, a drugstore and restaurants are open. JR West Group says, “We will continue our efforts in community development through active reuse of our land, such as multifamily housing developments on the site of former company housing.”

President Sasaki Takayuki of JR West explains, “By developing unique, small- to mid-size tenant buildings one by one at each of our stations, we will help develop neighborhoods along our railway network that when assembled together, can provide a wide array of services to local residents.” And by connecting these unique station-side neighborhoods, the railway will also see increased ridership.
Suma Kaihin Kōen Station
This station opened fairly recently in March 2008 on the JR Kōbe Line (San’yō Main Line).

image hosted on flickr

Source: misijp on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

Source: kiha185uzushio on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

Source: kamoda on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

Source: kamoda on Flickr

Minami-Kusatsu Station
I posted some pictures here: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...&postcount=560

Kakogawa Station
This station was elevated in 2005, so it’s basically an entirely new station. It’s on the JR Kōbe Line (San’yō Main Line) and Kakogawa Line, with 21,700 daily entries (2007).

South Exit.


Source: Wikipedia

North Exit.


Source: Wikipedia


Source: Wikipedia

The station’s retail center is named Vierra Kakogawa.


Source: Wikipedia
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Old January 30th, 2010, 06:26 AM   #809
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Kōbe Electric Railway Ao Line in dire straits 
http://www.kobe-np.co.jp/news/shakai/0002656312.shtml

Quote:
The Kōbe Electric Railway (Shintetsu) Ao Line (Suzurandai – Ao), which has been in the red annually by over ¥1 billion for the past eight years, could be on the brink of abandonment. In response to requests by Shintetsu that it will be difficult to maintain the line on its own, officials from the local jurisdictions of Kōbe City, Miki City, and Ono City and local representatives formed a Revitalization Working Group (Chairman: Ono City vice-mayor Kobayashi Seigō) in November of last year. The group is scheduled to launch a detailed funding assistance program starting in April, but it remains to be seen whether the efforts will lead to increased ridership.

“As a result of an aging population, our ridership has dropped to half of what it was during its peak. We’ve already converted trains to one-man operation and taken other measures, so there’s not much else we can do to reduce personnel expenses and other costs,” explained a Shintetsu project manager of the railway’s dire situation, as he presented data to the first session of the working group held on December 11 of last year at Miki City Hall.

According to Shintetsu, the population along the line within “commuting” age (either to school or work) is dropping by 1 to 1.5 percent annually as a result of population aging. The line must also deal with competition from buses, all factors which have combined to bring down revenue.

Fixed expenditures alone, such as maintenance of tracks and station buildings, surpasses revenue, but even if the company continues corporate efforts such as making stations unmanned and cutting employee wages, the deficit will only increase.

Other lines of business which serve to offset the Ao Line’s deficit are also facing reduced profits, with ordinary profit from these businesses not even reaching ¥100 million. As a result, the railway says, “Maintain operations on a line that has an annual deficit of ¥1 billion has become extremely difficult for us.”

As part of its stabilization plan, the railway has received a total of approx. ¥930 million in funding support since FY2004 from the national, prefectural, and municipal governments to cover the cost of safety improvements. But the plan expired in FY2009, and citing a lack of ridership increase despite all the funding, the railway petitioned for the establishment of the working group.

Under the Act on Revitalization and Rehabilitation of Local Public Transportation Systems enacted in 2007, the working group can receive funding from the national government if its assistance program is approved. The group is working to develop an assistance plan through January, finalizing a specific plan by March to be implemented starting in April.

The working group’s executive office, Ono City, constructed locally-operated restaurants and community facilities at Ao Station and Kashiyama Station last year. The city hopes to increase affection for the station and increase ridership through the effort. The same concepts helped increase ridership on the JR Kakogawa Line when it was electrified in December 2004.

The city’s project manager says, “We are considering having city employees take the lead by commuting in an environmentally-friendly way by riding Shintetsu trains. We hope to build a movement with local residents to keep the line running.”

In addition to proposals to maximize operational cost-efficiency, such as by reducing train lengths during the midday periods when ridership is low, the working group plans to jointly sponsor events with Shintetsu, such as hiking and other activities. In addition, students at the Prefectural Ono High School who use the line to commute to school have begun to feel the crisis, and have submitted their own revitalization plans.

According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), 79 percent of the country’s local railroads, including small- to mid-sized private railways and third-sector railways, are operating in the red. In the ten year since 2000, 30 lines have been abandoned stretching approx. 635 km.

Working group chairman and Kōbe International University urban policy professor Doi Tsutomu points out the need for public funding support: “Railways are a social infrastructure, and are a critical means of mobility for seniors and others who cannot drive. Countries whose governments don’t support railway operations are a minority. If the line is abandoned, it will be difficult to bring it back.”
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Old January 30th, 2010, 06:27 AM   #810
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New station building at JR Takarazuka Station to open February 20
http://mytown.asahi.com/hyogo/news.p...00001001230003

Quote:
On January 22, JR West and Takarazuka City announced that the new station building at JR Takarazuka Station will open to the public on February 20. In addition to more convenient transfers with Hankyū due to the elevation of the faregate locations and concourse level, new retail facilities inside the station will open in March. The traffic circle outside the station is also scheduled for widening, promising to drastically change the flow of people directly outside the station.

The new station is a three-story steel-frame structure with approx. 1,500 sq m of floor area. The faregates and concourse are located on the second floor, and are directly connected to a pedestrian bridge to and from Hankyū Takarazuka Station. Up until now, the faregates have been located on the first floor, and passengers transferring from the Ōsaka-bound platforms to Hankyū have been forced to go up and down several flights of stairs. The hassle of moving through the station has now been alleviated, however, with the new station featuring four new escalators and two new elevators connecting the platforms and paid area of the station.

On the east side of the concourse, new retail facility Eki Marché Takarazuka will open March 8. Four retail tenants will fill the space, including foods shop Deli Festa, which receives its products from Ikari Supermarket, and a fashion accessories store.

Starting this summer when JR’s temporary station structure will be demolished, the city will begin work on expanding the traffic circle outside the station by approx. 800 sq m from its current size of approx. 7,900 sq m. The work is scheduled for completion as early as autumn of next year. The sidewalk and parking lots will be widened and the curved road on the JR station side will be straigtened, smoothing the flow of cars inside the traffic circle.
This is JR’s main terminus for Takarazuka City, and sees 31,000 daily entries (2007). The station sits just across from Hankyū Takarazuka Station.

First, some pictures of construction from 2009.06:
Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/

Rendering



Steel frame of the station under construction.



Hankyū Takarazuka Station.



A bit in the distance on the east side of the station, Geo Tower Takarazuka is under construction, a pair of 32- and 33-story residential towers being developed by Hankyū. Takarazuka has strong ties to Hankyū Railway, and is home to the Takarazuka Revue.



Some newer pictures from 2009.10:
http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/







From the pedestrian bridge.



Archrival Hankyū.



From the existing platform bridge. The tracks will remain at-grade, but the new station is being designed to wrap above the platforms with an elevated concourse.



A rapid on the Fukuchiyama Line (JR Takarazuka Line) waits at the station.

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Old January 30th, 2010, 06:29 AM   #811
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JR Nada Station renovation

This is a minor station on the JR Kōbe Line located in Nada Ward, Kōbe City. Daily entries are 22,300 (2007). The works at the station involved accessibility / barrier-free improvements, construction of an elevated concourse spanning the platforms, and construction of a north-south public passage that allows access over the tracks for the general public. The new station officially opened to the public in September 2009, but work on putting the finishing touches and demolishing the temporary station still remains. The original station featured historic wooden architecture that survived World War II, but would not have been possible to preserve while at the same time meeting the needs of the new station, so instead, the new station features some exterior architectural elements that are designed to be reminiscent of the old station. Work on the renovation began in 2006.

Some recent photos (2010.01):

Exterior. Work is still proceeding on the new north entrance.


Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/

Rendering posted at the construction site.


Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/

New ticketing area.


Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/


Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/

The platforms are still receiving work as well, although these escalators, with semi-transparent glass sides, are open.


Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/


Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/

The new station concourse now spans the platforms. The station consists of two island platforms and four tracks, but the outside tracks are used by passing rapid and special rapid trains.


Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/

Some nighttime pics…
The new faregate array.


Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/wwdsinyuidaisukisugifandayoruid/

The destination boards are plasma screens.


Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/wwdsinyuidaisukisugifandayoruid/

Station retail.


Source: Wikipedia


Source: Wikipedia
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Old January 30th, 2010, 06:29 AM   #812
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Kintetsu announces name of Uehonmachi mixed-use development

Kinki Nippon Railroad (Kintetsu Corporation) has announced that the name of their major mixed-use development in Uehonmachi will be Uehommachi YUFURA. The project is located immediately adjacent to one of Kintetsu’s main Ōsaka terminals, Ōsaka Uehonmachi Station, and is one of the projects commemorating Kintetsu’s 100th anniversary. The development is built on the site of the former Kintetsu Theater and will house the Ōsaka Shin-Kabukiza kabuki theater, a shopping zone, and office uses. Total gross floor space is approx. 38,000 sq m, and completion is scheduled for summer 2010.

The official project site is here: http://www.uehommachi.jp/

First, some renderings (there are more on the official website):

The building is 13 stories aboveground and one story belowground.


Source: http://www.uehommachi.jp/

Shopping zone.


Source: http://www.uehommachi.jp/

Ōsaka Shin-Kabukiza


Source: http://www.uehommachi.jp/

A few construction photos (2010.01):

Exterior appears to be almost completed.


Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/


Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/

The black building will house the kabuki theater.


Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/

The adjacent Kintetsu Department Store is also getting a facelift.


Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/
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Old January 30th, 2010, 06:31 AM   #813
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Nankai opens naming competition for new Wakayama University station
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/wak...OYT8T01421.htm

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On January 25, Nankai Electric Railway announced that the new Wakayama University Station (temporary name; Naka, Wakayama City) in northern Wakayama City, currently under construction between Kyōshi and Kinokawa on the Nankai Main Line, is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2012. Starting February 1 until February 28, the railway will accept suggestions from the public for the name of the new station.

The new station is located approx. 3.5 km away from Kinokawa Station in the direction of Namba. In addition to Wakayama University, the new station is also close to the Fujitodai new town development being undertaken by private developers and the Wakayama City Wakayama University Station Land Readjustment Union. A large Aeon (HQ: Chiba City) shopping center is also planned for the development.

The new station will be designed with an elevated concourse level that spans the platforms. Three faregates will be installed. A 6 m wide public passage between the Fujitodai side and National Route 26 side of the station will be constructed, allowing for easy access through the station. The railway is currently evaluating which trains beyond local services would stop at the station.

The new name for the station must consist of kanji, hiragana, or katakana characters and must be less than six characters in total. The New Station Naming Committee, composed of the Prefectural Government, Wakayama City, and the Redevelopment Union will select finalist entries, with Nankai Electric Railway to decide the final winner. To submit an entry, you must be either a resident of Wakayama City or commute to the city for work and school. The winner will be announced in the summer. Nankai representatives said, “We are looking for entries that will stick in the minds of locals and station users.”
Rendering of the new station:


Source: Nankai Electric Railway
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Old January 30th, 2010, 06:31 AM   #814
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Movement on proposed East Exit at Sugimotochō Station
http://www.asahi.com/kansai/travel/n...001270070.html

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It was made public that JR West and Ōsaka City have been considering an improvement project at Sugimotochō Station (Sumiyoshi Ward, Ōsaka City) on the JR Hanwa Line, to start construction in FY2010, that would install a new exiton the east side of the platforms. The project is an effort to reduce accidents at the grade crossing on the north side of the station, which is infamous for rarely opening.

The city responded to local citizens’ group The Association for the Promotion of an East Exit at JR Sugimotochō Station on January 26. According to the city, work on the improvements would be finished by FY2011 and would involve the installation of a new East Exit at the station and elevators at both west and east sides of the station, all designed with the possibility of future elevation of the rail line.

Sugimotochō Station is the closest station to Ōsaka City University, but a station exit has yet to be installed on the east side of the station, where the campus is located. Up until now, reaching the campus required exiting from the west side faregates and crossing through the congested grade crossing inside the station grounds. According to JR, four accidents have occurred in the area since April 2006, with three fatalities and one serious injury.
I posted an earlier article about this here:
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...&postcount=511
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Old January 30th, 2010, 06:32 AM   #815
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Meitetsu 7700 series to retire from regular service in February
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/aic...OYT8T00059.htm

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On January 15, Nagoya Railroad (Meitetsu) announced that it will retire the 7700 series, originally used as a limited express train, in late February. It is the last of the 7000 series, nicknamed “panorama cars” because of an end design that allowed for good views of the scenery. With the retirement of the 7700 series, the 7000 class will disappear forever.

The 7700 series was manufactured by Nippon Sharyō and debuted in 1973, built with the same technical specs as the 7000 series to permit cross-coupling of units. Until 1999, the series held down limited express runs on the various lines in Meitetsu’s network, but now operates on the Mikawa Line. The decision to retire the series comes as the trains have been showing their age and difficulties have arisen in procuring parts. A special “farewell run” will operate on March 21.
I posted about the retirement of the related 7100 series here:
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...&postcount=721
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Old January 30th, 2010, 06:33 AM   #816
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Aonami Line to receive ¥40 billion in financial support
http://chubu.yomiuri.co.jp/news_top/100113_4.htm

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On January 12, Nagoya City finalized a plan to provide a total of ¥40 billion in financial support to Nagoya Waterfront Rapid Railway, the third-sector operator of the Aonami Line, which continues to operate at a substantial loss. The city will assume a portion of the operator’s debt through the issuance of municipal bonds, and forfeit it’s claims on money it has already lent the operator.

Ridership projections for the Aonami Line, which opened in October 2004, estimated 66,000 passengers daily, but as a result of delayed development along the line and inconvenient transfers, ridership has been struggling. The line saw 26,000 passengers a day last fiscal year, and is operating at an annual shortfall of ¥2 billion. The balance of the company’s debt to the city, Aichi Prefecture, and financial institutions is expected to reach ¥44.8 billion by the end of FY2009, resulting in insolvency on the order of several hundred million yen for the fiscal year.

In the proposed financial support plan, ¥26.6 billion in debt to the city and ¥3.9 billion in debt to Aichi Prefecture will be converted into stock in the company—effectively a forfeit of their claims on debt owed by the company. In addition, ¥14.2 billion in debt owed to the Development Bank of Japan will be shouldered by the city through third-sector reform promotion bonds.

The city’s Special Transport Finance Administration Office says, “The JR Central Railway Museum will open in spring 2011. With the financial support plan, we expect the line will achieve an operating surplus in FY2013.”
Some clips of the Aonami Line at Nagoya Station and Nagoya Keibajō-mae Station.


Source: 2008KEIBA on YouTube
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Old January 30th, 2010, 06:33 AM   #817
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Sendai Airport Line may see split operations-maintenance
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/miy...OYT8T00086.htm

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In order to improve its budget situation, third-sector railway operator Sendai Airport Transit has been considering the introduction of a split operations-maintenance structure, where train operation and railway facilities maintenance are administered separately, as well as a fare raise on some sections. The Miyagi Prefectural Government reported the news on January 21 to the Prefectural Assembly’s Construction Business Standing Committee. After opening in March 2007, ridership has fallen far short of original projections, and the railway is expected to fall into insolvency starting in 2013, leading the Prefectural Government to launch major funding assistance with the start of the new fiscal year in order to stabilize the railway’s financial situation.

Sendai Airport Transit is a third-sector railway company operating between Sendai Airport and Natori, running through-service onto the JR Tōhoku Line at Natori Station all the way to Sendai as the Sendai Airport Access Line.

According to the railway operator’s essential plan for financial stabilization released by the Prefectural Government on January 21, the company will seek to improve its financial situation across a five-year period starting with the new fiscal year, by increasing ridership, increasing fare revenue, and reducing personnel costs and other expenses. Increasing fares could potentially reduce ridership as well, so the company plans to primarily look at fare increases for airport users only. The company did not reveal just how much the fares could increase, and plans to consider its options in the near future.

In addition, through various events along the line and special campaigns offering gift certificates to passengers using commuter and school commuter passes, the company plans to increase daily ridership from approx. 6,500 (FY2008) to a target of approx. 8,200 in seven years.

Split management and operations structures are spreading throughout the nation as a strategy to protect third-sector railways which have fallen into poor financial standing. Prefectural governments and other local jurisdictions own and maintain the land and tracks, while the railway company administers train operation. The structure reduces the fixed asset tax and other financial burdens on the railway company.

The Prefectural Government’s Airport Area Department said, “The Airport Line is a vital means of transport for airport users and local residents. We hope to offer financial assistance by helping to both increase ridership and improve the railway’s budget situation.”
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Old January 30th, 2010, 06:34 AM   #818
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JR Shizuoka – Shizuoka Airport bus service downsized
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/shi...OYT8T00124.htm

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On Januay 26, Shizuoka Prefecture and two bus companies including Shizutetsu Justline made public that they would be reducing the number of trips on the three bus routes connecting Shizuoka Airport and JR stations such as JR Shizuoka Station. The measure comes after faltering ridership demand, and the total trips will be reduced to around 20 per day.

For some time after the June 2009 opening of the airport, the connecting bus services had been scheduled with the arrivals and departures of flights at the airport. But after a growing number of complaints due to weather-instigated delays and reroutes, the schedules were improved starting in September 2009 to offer almost twice the number of trips and provide uniform headways of approx. 30 minutes or one hour. In addition to the drop in first-time visitors who have come to tour the airport, operations have recently stabilized and the number of cancelled or delayed flights reduced, some trips in the schedule run with virtually no passengers. As a result, in addition to reducing the number of scheduled runs, the schedule will be returned to the previous scheme, with buses scheduled to coincide with flight arrivals and departures to improve the ease of transfers.

In the September 2009 service improvements, the Prefectural Government used government subsidies to contract out operations of the extra bus runs to Shizutetsu and Enshū Railway, but with the upcoming service cuts, corresponding amendments to the contract amount will also be made.
I posted about the September 2009 improvements here:
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...&postcount=332
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Old January 30th, 2010, 06:34 AM   #819
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Redevelopment project at JR Gifu Station breaks ground
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/gif...OYT8T01674.htm

Quote:
The groundbreaking ceremony for the Toiyamachi Westside South Block Type-1 Urban Redevelopment Project, which would construct a condominium tower outside JR Gifu Station, was held on January 12 on the project site, with members of the National Diet and representatives from the general contractors joining in wishing safe construction.

The project would construct a 37-story East Tower, 11-story West Tower, and a parking structure (6 stories) on approx. 6,900 sq m of land. The new buildings would wrap around the existing Mitsui Building and Daidō Building in a U-shape, and a pedestrian deck directly connected to JR Gifu Station will also be constructed. The total project cost is approx. ¥16.5 billion, and the scheduled completion date is in autumn 2012.

After the ritual blessing, redevelopment union director Yamauchi Michio greeted the crowd of attendees, saying, “It’s been 20 years since we established a study group to look at redevelopment in 1990, and now we’re finally breaking ground. I’m flooded with emotion. We will strive forward to bring back the vitality Toiyamachi once had and create a city that our children will be proud of.”

Chairman Katō Hisao of preferred project agent Toda Corporation, which will be responsible for construction as well as selling and disposing of completed floors in the building, remarked, “Safety first, schedule adherence, and a good job… I promise you these three things as our company devotes its entire energies to this project.”
I posted about this project here:
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...&postcount=471
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Old January 30th, 2010, 06:35 AM   #820
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University students help boost image of Jōban Line
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/tok...OYT8T00103.htm

Quote:
“Compared to other lines, it has an unpolished image.” In an effort to improve the Jōban Line’s image, local jurisdictions and students from Tōkyō University of the Arts have teamed up to hold art events. On January 23, they will open a unique event inside JR Kita-Senju Station featuring art created from umbrellas left by passengers inside trains.

Tōkyō University of the Arts has campuses at Ueno and Toride (Ibaraki Prefecture) on the Jōban Line (Ueno – Toride), along with a Senju Campus in Adachi Ward completed in September 2006. In July 2006 before the opening of the Senju Campus, Toride City—which believed the general public had an image of areas along the Jōban Line as “crude,” with “old men with cup sake in hand boarding trains”—assembled representatives from the university; Taitō, Arakawa, Adachi, and Katsushika Wards in Tōkyō; Matsudo, Kashiwa, and Abiko Cities in Chiba Prefecture; and JR West’s Tōkyō Branch Office. As a result, the JŌBAN Art Line Committee was established to boost the line’s image through the power of art.

In the beginning, the Committee’s activities primarily focused on the exchange of information concerning events such as concerts and exhibitions being held in each local jurisdiction, but in November 2008, students from the university held an event at Kita-Senju Station where each of the students created 10 posters on the spot. Completed posters were placed inside various stations along the line.

In this next event in the series, JR surrendered 220 lost umbrellas which had been unclaimed by passengers. University graduates and eleven visual art-major students were allowed free reign to create unique pieces of art, using the umbrellas in place of their canvas. The committee intends to put the umbrellas on display inside galleries near Toride Station.

University graduate and art producer Sobajima Ken (30yo) from Toride City, who called on students to participate in the program, says, “The art students know the Jōban Line very well. There are many neighborhoods along the line where the atmosphere makes it easy to feel at home, and I hope we can share that with everyone.”
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