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Old February 7th, 2010, 09:39 PM   #861
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Debate over Sapporo streetcar extension to begin soon
http://mytown.asahi.com/hokkaido/new...00001001290004

Quote:
Sapporo City is proceeding with evaluation of four candidate areas in the city for extension of the 8.5 km municipal streetcar line linking Nishi-Yonchōme and Susukino. The extension is a campaign promise made by Mayor Ueda Fumio before winning his second term. The project is expected to enhance mobility in the central city and improve convenience for seniors and other passengers, as well as produce environmental benefits through the reduction of cars in the central area. However, many are doubtful that expanding the system will prove financially feasible. The city plans to submit an extension plan, including a preliminary estimate of costs and revenues, to the City Council in early March, with serious debate incorporating the public to start in April.

Four candidate areas, “green” anticipation
The city is considering the following four areas for the extension of the streetcar:
  • Central city area, connecting Sapporo Station, Susukino, and Nishi-Yonchōme
  • Northeast area, including Sapporo Factory and Naebo Station
  • Sōen area, including Sapporo General Hospital
  • Yamahana-Minami area, south of the streetcar yard
All four areas were selected based on a 2006 study by the city of transportation conditions and encompass areas that a preliminary financial analysis has indicated could operate in the black after combination with and financial reform of the existing line. Construction cost for each of the extension alternatives is ¥4 to 5 billion.

The city is focusing on the streetcar line because it is environmentally-friendly, producing zero emissions and helping to limit automobile use inside the central city. The city also believes the streetcar can entice seniors, as well as other people who have difficulty driving, back into the central ditrict. The number of municipalities looking at these benefits to streetcar systems have been increasing, with Toyama City garnering attention for its introduction of a light rail transit (LRT) system in 2006.

Sapporo International University associate professor of local management studies Yoshioka Hirotaka, who has been pushing for introduction of an LRT system in Sapporo, says, “An LRT line would improve mobility in the central city and put the public facilities in the urban areas of the city to active use. In the future, we can export this knowhow of urban transport systems to the rest of Asia.”

Financial restructuring also anticipated
Since FY2002, the streetcar line has been operating in the red. As a result of ridership decline after the relocation of several schools along the line, current expenses in FY2008 (including personnel costs and other expenses) reached ¥1.27 billion, posting an operating loss of ¥22 million.

The streetcar infrastructure is also beginning to show its age. The 200 series, with 18 cars, is the workhorse of the fleet, but these cars are around 50 years old. The carbarn was constructed in 1942 and its roof leaks in several locations, but renovation is difficult when the line operates in the red. Most of the maintenance works are contracted out, and the city has exhausted most of its cost-cutting measures. It has been advertising free tickets during weekends and holidays together with tourist activities along the line, but these efforts have yet to produce an improvement in the balance sheet for the streetcar line.

But elimination of a streetcar line that carries over 20,000 passengers daily would mean the need for a replacement mode of transport. The city could revive bus lines which it has already eliminated, or provide funding to a private operator to run the streetcar line. Including removal of the track and electrical infrastructure, elimination of the line would cost ¥4 to 5 billion.

After conducting a comprehensive evaluation of the issue, the city has decided to improve the line by making investments for the future and placing bets on the environmental benefits of the streetcar and its ability to bring seniors back into a livable central city. The city says the line can shift people from cars to public transportation, pushing the streetcar line back into the black. The city is also looking at contracting out operations of the line to a private firm or completely privatizing the line. After ground studies and design work, the city expects to begin construction starting in 2013.

CCI opposition
The LRT line introduced into Toyama City was accompanied by a restructuring of the city’s network of suburban trains and streetcar lines, with the 2,000 daily passengers on the former JR Toyama-kō Line doubling to approx. 4,000 with the LRT. For three years straight until last fiscal year, the line has been posting an operating surplus. In addition, cities such as Fukuoka City and Kyōto City, which had abandoned their streetcar systems, are now looking at the possibility of bringing them back.

On the other hand, LRT plans by municipal governments in Utsunomiya City and Sakai City have met with stiff resistance by opponents who say that the financial burden of the systems is too high and are doubtful of the financial feasibility. In Sapporo as well, the Sapporo Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) has expressed its opposition to the proposed extension. “We have doubts about the financial and policy aspects of the project, and we oppose the Sapporo Station extension as it duplicates investments towards the subway and underground pedestrian network.”

Within Hokkaidō, Hakodate City says it is also considering extensions of its lines in the future, but has yet to take any action.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 09:40 PM   #862
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Kawagoe City: Three lines, four stations
http://mytown.asahi.com/saitama/news...00380912120001

Quote:
Consolidation plan surfaces, then disappears
Kawagoe City is a major city of Saitama Prefecture, located in its southwestern area. In the city center run three train lines and four stations: Kawagoe Station on the JR Kawagoe Line, Kawagoe Station and Kawagoe-shi Station on the Tōbu Tōjō Line, and Hon-Kawagoe Station on the Seibu Shinjuku Line.

JR and Tōbu’s Kawagoe Stations are adjacent to each other, but the other two stations are each as far as one km away from Kawagoe Station. During the mornings and evenings, one can find fleet-footed commuters moving swiftly between Kawagoe and Hon-Kawagoe Stations. There must be more than a few people who think transferring would have been much more convenient had it all been consolidated into one location.

The history of railways in Kawagoe is old. In March 1895, track between Kokubunji and Kawagoe was opened by what was then the Kawagoe Railroad, now the Seibu Kokubunji Line and Shinjuku Line. The track connected to Kokubunji Station on the Kōbu Railroad (now the JR Chūō Line), which was already running all the way out to Hachiōji Station. The goods route, which was dependent on water transportation along the Shingashi River, shifted to trains, and transport speed increased exponentially.

In May 1914, track between Ikebukuro and Tanomozawa was opened by Tōjō Railroad, which received financial assistance from Tōbu Railway. Kawagoe-machi Station (lit. Kawagoe Town Station) later opened one station away from Tanomozawa Station in the direction of Ikebukuro (the Kawagoe-machi – Tanomozawa section was subsequently closed in 1916), followed by the opening of Kawagoe Nishimachi Station (lit. Kawagoe West Town Station) the next year. When Kawagoe became Saitama Prefecture’s first incorporated city in December 1922, Kawagoe-machi Station was renamed as Kawagoe-shi Station (lit. Kawagoe City Station).

Meanwhile, the national railroad’s Kawagoe Line opened in July 1940. During wartime, the goal was to secure an alternative route connecting the Tōhoku and Tōkaidō areas without passing through central Tōkyō. The Kawagoe Line’s Kawagoe Station was constructed next to Kawagoe Nishimachi Station on the Tōjō Line, and Kawagoe Nishimachi Station was renamed Kawagoe Station, while the Seibu Line’s Kawagoe Station was renamed Hon-Kawagoe Station.

Thus, a new “Kawagoe Station” served by both private and national railroad lines opened, but for many years, the station was under the sole management of Tōbu, and the ticket gates between the two operators were shared. Only in March 1989—two years after the Japanese National Railways (JNR) became JR East—was a new station completed, with separate exclusive ticket gates.

According to Rikkyō University professor Oikawa Yoshinobu (59yo), who is an expert on Saitama’s railway history, there was a proposal to consolidate stations on the three lines into a single station when the Kawagoe Line was being constructed, but the plan was put on indefinite hold after strong opposition from neighborhood commercial associations. Plans for a consolidated station would resurface multiple times later, but none were realized, and urban development occurred separately around each station. Kawagoe’s three lines and four stations will continue their relationship of coexistence and mutual benefit, and the movement of commuters on foot between stations is unlikely to be resolved in the near future.
Map:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...,0.038581&z=15

Tōbu Kawagoe Station: 122,400 daily entries and exits (2008)
JR Kawagoe Station: 37,900 daily entries (2008)
Tōbu Kawagoe-shi Station: 34,200 daily entires and exits (2008)
Seibu Hon-Kawagoe Station: 48,700 daily entries and exits (2008)

Kawagoe Station

image hosted on flickr

Source: nobbyf on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

Source: dariko on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

Source: oda.shinsuke on Flickr

Hon-Kawagoe Station

image hosted on flickr

Source: daikix on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

Source: komatsuma on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

Source: yamaryu on Flickr

Kawagoe-shi Station

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Source: iwakei3 on Flickr
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Old February 7th, 2010, 09:40 PM   #863
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Kawagoe City unveils draft plan for city’s three main stations and surrounding area
Kensets Tsūshin Shimbun

Quote:
Kawagoe City in Saitama Prefecture has completed a draft plan for the grand design of Kawagoe Station’s West Exit. The new plan reconsiders the Kawagoe Station West Exit Area Basic Plan drafted in 1994, and encompasses a study area of approx. 121 ha containing the Kawagoe Station West Exit Area and Hon-Kawagoe Station Area, strengthening coordination between all three of Kawagoe City’s main stations—Kawagoe, Kawagoe-shi, and Hon-Kawagoe. The plan calls for formation of an urban center through active use of publicly-owned parcels of land and various basic infrastructure improvements (as well as resulting land use opportunities) in a two-stage process. Spokespersons for the city’s Urban Planning Section say, “The next issue to address is how we can get specific projects moving forward.”

The Kawagoe Station West Exit Area is planned to be home to the Western Region Community Center (temporary name) to be developed jointly by the city and Saitama Prefecture, into which the Prefectural Government’s Kawagoe Regional Office will relocate its functions. Active reuse of the former Regional Office site as well as city-owned land currently used as temporary bike parking have become important issues in the project. In addition, together with the Hon-Kawagoe Station Area, the Kawagoe Station West Exit Area is planned for an array of urban infrastructure improvements.

The latest draft plan is aimed at jumpstarting changes in land use and crafting an urban center for Saitama Prefecture’s western region by carrying out these urban infrastructure improvements in stages.

In the first stage, the following improvements are proposed:
  • Construction of the Western Region Community Center (temporary name) and development of an urban center through active reuse of city-owned land and the former site of the Prefectural Government’s Kawagoe Regional Office.
  • Completion of roadways (Chūō-dōri Route, Kawagoe-Tokorozawa Route, and City Loop Route).
  • Construction of a West Exit and West Exit station plaza at Hon-Kawagoe Station, as well as a connector road between Hon-Kawagoe Station and Kawagoe-shi Station.
  • Redesign of the West Exit station plaza at Kawagoe Station.
The second stage of improvements includes elevation of the concourse of Kawagoe-shi Station (and construction of a West Exit) and elevation of the Seibu Shinjuku Line.

In regards to the site of the Prefectural Government’s Kawagoe Regional Office, the city is aiming to house prefectural and national govermment facilities and introduce higher-level city and administrative service functions. Since there is a possibility that Saitama Prefecture may purchase the site, the city hopes to acquire the land first and submit an efficient reuse plan to the Prefectural Government.

The redesign of the West Exit station plaza at Kawagoe Station involves construction of a pedestrian deck above the plaza to allow for direct access to the Kawagoe Station – Minami-Ōtsuka Route. In order to meet a variety of bus needs, the city is considering decentralizing bus terminal functions to city-owned parcels instead of focusing these operations solely inside the station plaza area.

In the draft plan, the city establishes the area immediately surrounding the West Exit at Kawagoe Station—including the future Western Region Community Center and the site of the existing Kawagoe Regional Office—as a regional business zone. The area between Hon-Kawagoe and Kawagoe-shi Stations and the area around the Nisshinbō plant are identified as mixed-use residential and commercial zones to be developed with cooperation from the railway companies.
Short tour around the East Exit of Kawagoe Station


Source: machilogmovie on YouTube

Short tour around the West Exit of Kawagoe Station


Source: machilogmovie on YouTube
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Old February 7th, 2010, 09:41 PM   #864
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JR East begins work on Shinbashi Station; Keikyū Store evicted
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/to...002000137.html

Quote:
Due to improvement works at JR Shinbashi Station (Minato Ward, Tōkyō), the Shinbashi branch of Keikyū Store, which has been in business beneath the elevated tracks at the station for 55 years, will close on January 31.

Shinbashi Station features a brick elevated structure, and materials from when the station first opened in 1909 still remain. As part of the improvement works, JR East is planning to seismically retrofit the station and install elevators, as well as expand the concourse. In order to take measurements of the elevated structure and survey its strength, JR East requested that Keikyū Store and the other stores operating beneath the tracks leave.

The Keikyū Store at Shinbashi Station opened in 1955 and has been a valuable treasure for providing food products to nearby restaurants, lunch for people on the job, and shopping needs on the commute home. It’s undetermined whether the store will return to the space after the works are complete. The store is looking for a space to relocate in the surrounding area, but has had no success yet.
I posted an earlier article about Shinbashi Station, its brickwork, and the hole-in-the-wall eateries underneath the tracks here:
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...&postcount=448

Apparently, this work is indirectly related to the Tōhoku Through Line. Expansion of the concourse is intended to help deal with the increased flow of passengers when the Utsunomiya Line / Takasaki Line / Jōban Line begin running through-service with the Tōkaidō Line.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 09:42 PM   #865
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New Tsurumi Station building to open in 2013
http://news.kanaloco.jp/localnews/article/1001210046/

Quote:
Station building COMIN at the East Exit of JR Tsurumi Station will be reborn into a new building in FY2013. JR East’s Yokohama Branch Office announced the news at a press conference on January 21. The building operator and tenants have yet to be determined, but the railway says it hopes to coordinate with redevelopment projects in the area surrounding the station to help revitalize the area.

The station building is already closed, and demolition work will begin in March. In spring 2011, the railway will begin construction of the new station building.

The new station building will span six aboveground floors and one belowground floor, and is slightly smaller than the existing building (seven aboveground floors and two belowground floors). Gross floor area will drop by approx. 1,000 sq m to 17,000 sq m.

Daily entries and exits at Tsurumi Station are 150,000, and JR East Yokohama Branch Office president Hamada Kenji says, “We hope to make this a pleasant and lively station for our customers.”

COMIN opened in 1965. Deterioration of the building and facilities was substantial, and COMIN was closed in September 2008.

On one parcel (1.2 ha) in between JR Tsurumi Station and Keikyū Tsurumi Station, a redevelopment building housing a hotel, commercial space, the Tsurumi Ward Cultural Center, a nursery school, and high-rise condominium units (approx. 300 units) is scheduled for completion in September, and eyes are on the rebuilding of COMIN.
The redevelopment project mentioned in the article is a 31-story tower right at the East Exit of the JR Tsurumi Station (JR Tsurumi Station and Keikyū Tsurumi Station are effectively right across the street from each other). Rendering of the tower (the new station building is the building peeking in at bottom right).


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

The now-shuttered Tsurumi COMIN.

image hosted on flickr

Source: marahami on Flickr
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Old February 7th, 2010, 09:42 PM   #866
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New passage and gates at Kawasaki Station to begin construction in 2012
http://mainichi.jp/area/kanagawa/new...40294000c.html

Quote:
Regarding the North Exit public passage and construction of new faregate locations at JR Kawasaki Station, Kawasaki City announced on January 22 that it has come to an agreement with JR East on the scope of the improvements and the funding arrangements. The work will begin in FY2012, with completion scheduled for FY2017 or 2018.

The faregates at Kawasaki Station are located at a single location accessed from the east-west public passage at the station. To improve convenience and access to the station and reduce congestion, survey and detailed design for a new faregate location has been proceeding since FY2007.

The North Exit passage (10 m wide) will be constructed approx. 70 m north of the east-west passage. Like the existing east-west passage, it will be constructed at the third level of the station (approx. 7 m above ground level) and connect the West Exit buspool and East Exit station building, with two escalators and elevators. After completion, two faregate locations (a Central South Gate and Central North Gate) will connect to the east-west passage, and a North Gate faregate locatation connecting to the North Exit passage will open (all gate names are unofficial). The concourse near the the North Gate will feature three elevators and escalators, as well as retail space. The cost of the project is approximately ¥20 to 30 billion, of which the city will fund 50 to 60 percent.

In addition, three elevators will also be installed at the existing faregate location. Construction on those improvments will begin next month and be completed in February of next year.
I also posted about improvements to the East Exit at Kawasaki Station here:
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...&postcount=100
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Old February 7th, 2010, 09:43 PM   #867
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New master plan for Kanazawa Hakkei Station East Exit Area calls for Seaside Line extension
http://www.city.yokohama.jp/me/machi...ei_hakkei.html

Quote:
The Kanazawa Seaside Line opened in 1989 with the current Kanazawa Hakkei Station as a temporary facility, and the section to all the way to the Keikyū Main Line’s Kanazawa Hakkei Station has yet to be constructed. With the progress on the Kanazawa Hakkei Station East Exit Area land readjustment project, however, we will begin work on the unfinished section and extend the line all the way to the Keikyū Main Line’s Kanazawa Hakkei Station.

With the connection of the line to Kanazawa Hakkei Station on the Keikyū Main Line, we will revise the location of the new station to make use of parcels originally planned under the land readjustment project for a station plaza.

As a result, we will modify the area limits of the Kanazawa Seaside Line.

With this modification, we are also considering construction of a public passage to improve access from the west side of the station and improve the convenience of transfers with the Keikyū Main Line.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 09:43 PM   #868
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Seibu Railway to institute schedule changes March 6
http://www.seibu-group.co.jp/railway...0809_2241.html

Quote:
Seibu Railway Co., Ltd. (HQ: Tokorozawa City, Saitama Prefecture; President: Gotō Takashi) will institute service changes on Saturday, March 6.

For limited express Red Arrow services, on the Ikebukuro Line, we will add an additional train between Hannō and Seibu Chichibu during the evening period and push back the last departure from Ikebukuro bound for Seibu Chichibu, while on the Shinjuku Line, we will add an additional train between Seibu Shinjuku and Hon-Kawagoe during the weekday evening period, increasing passenger convenience. In addition, to make limited express Red Arrow services easier to use, we will schedule all Ikebukuro departures (bound for Seibu Chichibu) every hour on the half-hour and all Shinjuku departures (bound for Hon-Kawagoe) on the 0-minute and 30-minute (excepting a portion of departures).

In addition, we have reevaluated our operations and will increase through-service trains across lines. On the Sayama Line (Nishi-Tokorozawa – Seibu Kyūjō-mae), during the midday period, we will operate two direct-service trains between Ikebukuro and Seibu Kyūjō-mae per hour in each direction, which, together with Nishi-Tokorozawa – Seibu Kyūjō-mae trains, results in 15-minute frequencies on the line. On the Kokubunji Line (Kokubunji – Higashi-Murayama), we will add two of the popular Shinjuku Line direct-service trains in each direction during the evening period. On the Seibuen Line (Higashi-Murayama – Seibuen), we will discontinue additional special service trains on cycle racing days between 10:00 and 15:00, and operate direct-service Kokubunji – Seibuen trains at 20 minute headways.

We will also modify our special train operations on baseball game days at Seibu Dome. Currently, we operate additional trains regardless of the game end time, but after the schedule changes, we will operate express and rapid trains in coordination with the end time of the game, reducing travel time and increasing passenger convenience.
  • Limited express Red Arrow (Ikebukuro Line / Seibu Chichibu Line):
    • Weekdays:
      • The 21:30 departure from Ikebukuro for Hannō will be extended to Seibu Chichibu, pushing back the last train for Seibu Chichibu by 30 minutes
      • The 21:00 departure from Ikebukuro for Seibu Chichibu will be shortened to end at Hannō, and the 20:30 departure from Ikebukuro for Hannō will be extended to Seibu Chichibu, consolidating Seibu Chichibu-bound trains every hour on the half-hour
    • Weekends and holidays:
      • The 21:30 departure from Ikebukuro for Hannō will be extended to Seibu Chichibu, pushing back the last train for Seibu Chichibu by one hour
      • The poorly-utilized 6:11 departure from Tokorozawa for Seibu Chichibu will be discontinued
      • The 7:30 and 8:30 departures from Ikebukuro will be scheduled for timed transfers with direct-service trains onto the Chichibu Railway (at Yokoze to Nagatoro-bound trains, and at Seibu Chichibu to Mitsumineguchi Station)
  • Limited express Red Arrow (Shinjuku Line):
    • Weekdays:
      • A 23:55 departure from Seibu Shinjuku for Hon-Kawagoe and a 23:00 departure from Hon-Kawagoe for Seibu Shinjuku will be added
      • The 22:37, 23:11, and 23:39 departures from Seibu Shinjuku will be changed to depart at 22:30, 23:00, and 23:30, consolidating departures to the 0-minute and 30-minute every hour
    • Weekends and holidays:
      • The 21:39, 22:09, and 22:58 departures from Seibu Shinjuku will be changed to depart at 21:30, 22:00, and 23:00, consolidating departures to the 0-minute and 30-minute every hour
  • Sayama Line – Ikebukuro Line direct-service trains
    • Weekdays:
      • During the midday period, semi-expresses between Ikebukuro and Seibu Kyūjō-mae (the 10:18 arrival at Seibu Kyūjō-mae is a local train) will operate two trips an hour in each direction
    • Weekends and holidays:
      • During the midday period, semi-expresses between Ikebukuro and Seibu Kyūjō-mae (the 9:50, 10:20, 10:50, and 11:19 arrivals are rapid trains) will operate two trips an hour in each direction
  • Kokubunji Line – Shinjuku Line direct-service trains
    • Weekdays, weekends, and holidays:
      • During the 16:00 and 17:00 hours, an additional Kokubunji – Shin-Tokorozawa direct-service train will be added in each direction (resulting in two direct-service trains per hour in each direction)
  • Seibuen Line – Kokubunji Line direct-service trains
    • Weekdays, weekends, and holidays:
      • Between 10:00 and 15:00 on cycle racing days, three direct-service trains will operate between Kokubunji and Seibuen per hour in each direction, and additional special service trains will be discontinued
  • Changes to departure times for Chichibu Railway direct-service trains
    • Weekends and holidays:
      • Nagatoro- and Mitsumineguchi-bound rapid expresses will be scheduled to depart Ikebukuro earlier at 7:05 and 8:05
  • Seibu Dome baseball game day special service
    • Weekdays, weekends, and holidays:
      • Three to four limited-stop (express / rapid express) special service trains will be scheduled to depart Seibu Kyūjō-mae with the game end time
      • At game end time, a portion of Seibu Kyūjō-mae departures bound for Nishi-Tokorozawa will be extended to Kiyose
      • Direct-service trains onto the subway and Shinjuku Line departing from Seibu Kyūjō-mae (bound for Shin-Kiba, Shibuya, Seibu Shinjuku, and Hon-Kawagoe) will be operated as extended service on trains that currently terminate at Nishi-Tokorozawa
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Old February 7th, 2010, 09:45 PM   #869
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Schedule changes for Yūrakuchō Line / Fukutoshin Line on March 6
http://www.tokyometro.jp/news/2010/2010-06.html

Quote:
Tōkyō Metro (HQ: Taitō Ward, Tōkyō; President: Umezaki Hisashi) will implement schedule changes to the Yūrakuchō Line and Fukutoshin Line on Saturday, March 6, 2010.

These schedule changes are designed to increase convenience for passengers and include converting Yūrakuchō Line semi-expresses to local trains to increase boarding chances for passengers at skipped stations, as well as having Fukutoshin Line expresses on weekends and holidays stop at Meiji Jingū-mae Station.

With weekend and holiday Fukutoshin Line expresses now stopping at the station, Meiji Jingū-mae Station will now be identified as Meiji Jingū-mae (Harajuku) Station.

Details
  • Yūrakuchō Line: Semi-expresses converted to local trains
    All semi-express trains will be changed to local (all-stop) trains, increasing boarding chances for passengers at the six stations skipped by semi-express trains. As a result, the Yūrakuchō Line will return to all local services.
    • Chikatetsu Narimasu, Chikatetsu Akatsuka, Heiwadai, and Hikawadai Stations: 4tph → 6tph
    • Senkawa and Kaname Stations: 8 tph → 10 tph
  • Fukutoshin Line: Stop added to expresses on weekends and holidays
    All express trains on weekends and holidays will now stop at Meiji Jingū-mae Station, increasing convenience for passengers using the Station, as well as passengers transferring to and from the Chiyoda Line. During weekends and holidays, there are 67 expresses daily bound towards Shibuya and 66 expresses daily bound towards Kotake – Mukaihara.
  • ”Harajuku” added to Meiji Jingū-mae Station signs
    Meiji Jingū-mae Station is our closest station to the Harajuku area, and with the beginning of weekend and holiday Fukutoshin Line express service at the station, we will add “Harajuku” to the station name in an effort to increase customers bound for the Harajuku area during weekends and holidays.
Changes in conjunction with Seibu Railway changes.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 09:46 PM   #870
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Pre-opening tour of Shakujii Kōen Station
http://thankyou2200.blog.so-net.ne.jp/

Seibu Railway held an official open house at the new elevated Shakujii Kōen Station on January 30, open to all members of the public. This was one week before the official switch of the inbound (towards Ikebukuro) track of the Seibu Ikebukuro Line from ground level to the new elevated track.

From the west end of the platform, in the direction of Ōizumi Gakuen Station.



The inbound platform is an island platform with two tracks to allow for passing and cross-platform transfers between slow and fast trains. The station is also being designed with storage tracks (the switch at bottom leads to what will be the storage tracks).



The east end, closer to Ikebukuro.







Pandrol clips hold the rail in place.





The sound wall uses honeycomb aluminum panels.



Platform structural design



Continuous welded rail







Plenty of space underneath in case the worst happens…



A switch in the sleeper design and ballast type.



Looking at the station from outside the North Exit. The station makes ample use of glass.



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Old February 7th, 2010, 09:48 PM   #871
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New Musashino Line station to be named Yoshikawa Minami
http://mainichi.jp/area/saitama/news...40244000c.html

Quote:
In regards to the new station scheduled to open on the JR Musashino Line’s former Musashino Yard in Yoshikawa City, JR East’s Ōmiya Branch Office announced on January 27 that the name of the new station will be Yoshikawa Minami. In August of last year, the city accepted name suggestions from the public, and the name is one of three proposals presented to JR officials.

According to the plan, the new station will be constructed approximately midway between Yoshikawa and Shin-Misato Stations, which are currently approx. 3.2 km apart. Construction work began late last year. Two platforms and a station building with elevated concourse will be constructed. In addition to one regular-operation track per direction, an additional siding for switching back trains is also planned in the event of service disruptions. Projected daily entries and exits at the station are 11,900. The total project cost is approx. ¥7.816 billion, of which approx. ¥5.008 billion will be borne by the city.

According to city plans, large-scale new town development is planned north and south of the station, and a substantial increase in population is expected. Mayor Tobari Taneshige said, “The new station will be a big boost to new development.”
Renderings:
Source: Yoshikawa City



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Old February 7th, 2010, 09:49 PM   #872
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Seibu Yūrakuchō store to close in December
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/business/T100127006696.htm

Quote:
The Seibu department store in Tokyo's Yūrakuchō area will close Dec. 25, parent company Seven & i Holdings Co. announced Wednesday.

Seven & i Holdings decided the chances were slim for a recovery in the Yūrakuchō store's business performance, amid the stagnant economy and consumers' defection to lower-price stores. The store's 59 regular employees will be transferred to other Seibu branches.

The closure of the Yūrakuchō store, located next to the Ginza and Marunouchi commercial districts in central Tōkyō, highlights the extremely difficult circumstances facing the department store industry.

Since opening in 1984, the Yūrakuchō Seibu benefited from its prime location in an area filled with major companies and large commercial facilities. It redefined itself in 1995 as a fashion store aimed primarily at young women, but competition from casual clothing stores such as Uniqlo has intensified in recent years. As a result, the Yūrakuchō Seibu has been in the red at least since fiscal 2005, a source familiar with the situation said.

Seven & i Holdings has been restructuring the department stores under its umbrella, shuttering the Sogō Shinsaibashi store in Ōsaka in August and the Seibu Sapporo store in September. After Seibu Yūrakuchō closes up shop, there will be 14 Seibu department stores left operating in this country.

The number of large department stores that have closed or are scheduled to close in 2010 has already equaled the number from the previous year. The wave of closures may spread further across the nation, including major stores in urban areas.

Total department store sales in 2009 were 6.58 trillion yen, the lowest figure in 26 years. Department stores' total sales were overtaken by those of supermarkets in 1976 and by convenience stores in 2008, and there still are no clear signs of a recovery for department stores.

Department stores used to fold often in regional areas and the suburbs of large cities, where price competition is fierce. Today, however, such competition is sweeping over department stores in Tōkyō as well, as casual clothing stores from overseas open stores one after another in Ginza.
Tōkyō MX report (2010.01.27):



Seibu Department Stores originally began as part of the Seibu Railway group, but hasn’t been associated with the railway for decades now after splitting off. In 2001, the company formed a partnership with struggling department store chain Sogō, and in 2006, became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Seven & I Holdings, which also owns 7-11 Japan and Itō Yōkadō.

The "department store problem" of late has been a bit of a headache for railway groups, which historically depended on these stores as a vital revenue generator. Odakyū’s approach was to renovate their Shinjuku store (http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...&postcount=364), as is happening all over Ōsaka as well at Namba and Umeda Stations. The closure of the Yūrakuchō Seibu and Kawaramachi Hankyū, however, is just another blow to an industry that has been struggling for years now, and we could see some railways get out of the industry altogether.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 09:51 PM   #873
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History of Kawasaki’s stationmasters partially revealed
http://www.townnews.co.jp/020area_pa...kawa_top2.html

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A portion of the names of JR Kawasaki Station’s earliest stationmasters, who have remained unknown for many decades, has been discovered through research by the Railway Museum and JR Kawasaki Station Stationmaster Ono Takahiro.

JR Kawasaki Station opened in 1872 on the fifth day of the sixth month in the old calendar (July 10 in the new calendar), and 66 people have served as stationmaster.

Inside the stationmaster’s room at the station, a wooden board holds the names of all the people who have served as stationmaster, including Ono, but the names of the first through the 13th, as well as the 17th, stationmasters have remained a mystery. When Kawasaki Station celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1972, then-stationmaster Yoshimura Tarō compiled The History of Kawasaki Station, but the book omitted the names of the 14 stationmasters. It’s believed that the reason was that all documents were destroyed when the station burned completely down in the Kawasaki Air Raids in 1945.

After Ono asked the Liberal Arts Department at the Railway Museum in Saitama City to research the issue in September 2009, they discovered four of the former stationmasters: Yatabe Eizō, Suzuki Saijirō, Sakai Saijirō, and Shibuya Gensuke. The research efforts also found that the 16th stationmaster, Noguchi Ushihiko, served around 1918. After Ono confirmed the information by looking through government gazettes and other resources, new plates for the four stationmasters were added to the board inside the stationmaster’s room. But while the research efforts were able to determine the approximate terms of each of the stationmasters, the details still remain a mystery.

“We can open the doors to the past and find things that have sunk into the depths of recorded history,” said Ono, who was happy with the results of the research efforts. During the process, he was able to confirm that the current Kawasaki Station is the sixth station to bear the name. “I hope we can share the history of Kawasaki Station, which is part of the history of railways in Japan. And maybe this will be a chance for passengers to feel a little more attached to the station,” remarked Ono.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 09:53 PM   #874
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Chiba, Kanagawa take separate roads in Haneda-Narita maglev proposal
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/s/article/...401000590.html

Quote:
On February 4, Chiba Prefecture announced that it will not include in its proposed budget for FY2010 expenses to conduct preliminary estimates of ridership and economic benefit of the proposed maglev line linking Narita and Haneda Airports, a project it has been working on in coordination with Kanagawa Prefecture.

At a February 4 press conference, Governor Morita Kensaku cited financial difficulties, saying, “The analysis would require ¥30 to 40 million, an amount Chiba Prefecture can’t cover on its own.” The Governor also commented, “In discussions with (Kanagawa Prefecture) Governor Matsuzawa Shigefumi, it became clear that we each had differing lines of thought. Now, Chiba will do its own thing, and Kanagawa will do its own thing.”

In May of last year, the two prefectures established the Chiba Prefecture / Kanagawa Prefecture Maglev and Super High Speed Rail Working Group. But while Governor Matsuzawa called for a line out to Saitama Shin-Toshin, Governor Morita called for a direct route linking the two airports.

Governor Morita also expressed his intention to not include working group-related expenses in the proposed budget. He expressed his plan to strengthen lobbying efforts soon with the national government, saying, “In order to develop both airports as international airports, I hope the project is advanced at the national scale.”
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Old February 7th, 2010, 09:53 PM   #875
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Utsunomiya City to build new bike station near JR Utsunomiya Station
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/toc...OYT8T00007.htm

Quote:
Utsunomiya City, which bills itself as a “bike town,” has finalized a goal next fiscal year to construct a “bicycle station” near the West Exit of JR Utsunomiya Station, offering maintenance and repair of bicycles and a place to relax for cyclists. The project is part of an effort to improve the convenience of bicycle use and increase the attractiveness of the city.

According to the plan, in addition to providing maintenance and repair services for bicycles, the bike station will also feature showers and changing rooms. The station will also feature an information corner introducing recommended cycling routes, such as along the Kinu and Tagawa Rivers. The station is also expected to see use by tourists cycling in from outside the city, as well as long-distance bicycle commuters. In the future, the city hopes to install a similar facility near Orion-dōri in the central district.

Starting next fiscal year, the city will also launch a tourist rent-a-cycle program that places bicycles at hotels in the central district and provides them free of charge for hotel guests to rent, in the hopes of increasing visitors to the city.

The city plans on including a total of ¥24 million for both projects in its preliminary budget for FY2010. Field tests will begin this autumn, with the city incorporating user feedback as it rolls outs a permanent program. A city spokesperson says, “As a ‘bike town,’ we are hoping to develop an environment that makes bicycling easy.”
Utsunomiya Station West Exit, home to an expansive pedestrian deck.

image hosted on flickr

Source: nodoca on Flickr
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Old February 7th, 2010, 09:54 PM   #876
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Solar panels for Tōkyō Station
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/to...102000053.html

Quote:
Approx. 3,800 sq m of solar panels will be installed atop the canopies over Tōkaidō Line platforms at JR Tōkyō Station. JR East is billing the project as a green energy campaign at Tōkyō’s gateway station.

The panels will stretch approx. 330 m at a width of 10 to 17 m, a sizeable installation in the heart of Tōkyō. The panels will generate 450 kW of electricity—less than one percent of the station’s total electricity load, but reducing annual carbon dioxide emissions by approx. 98 tons. The installation is scheduled to come online early next fiscal year at a total construction cost of approx. ¥1.43 billion, of which approx. ¥130 million is funding from the national government. The railway is also considering installing a monitor display allowing station users to see how much electricity is being generated.

The restoration of Tōkyō Station to the red brick structure at the time of its construction is currently underway, and the station will be changing on the environmental side as well. Chiyoda Ward is also considering providing funding support to the project as a model of green design.
The restoration of Tōkyō Station involves reconstruction of the third floor of the Marunouchi Station Building and replacement of current octagonal domes with the original circular domes. The third floor and domes received damage in the Tōkyō Air Raids, but the third floor was never reconstructed and the domes were redesigned in an octagonal shape. Restoring the Marunouchi Station Building is the centerpiece of JR East’s Tōkyō Station City project, which also includes large-scale redevelopment immediately adjacent to the station:
  • Sapia Tower: 35 stories (+4 stories underground), office / hotel tower (approx. 79,000 sq m GFA)
  • GranTōkyō North Tower: 43 stories (+4 underground), office / department store tower (approx. 212,000 sq m GFA)
  • GranTōkyō South Tower: 42 stories (+ 4 underground), office (approx. 140,000 sq m GFA)
A new station retail facility called GranSta (station retail) also opened inside the station. The three towers and the new station retail all opened in 2007, and the restoration of Tōkyō Station is the last major piece of the project.

Renderings:
Source: JR East





Tōkyō Station City CM


Source: Puoehlahxiik on YouTube
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Old February 7th, 2010, 09:55 PM   #877
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JR East continues LED-illuminated signage program
http://www.jreast.co.jp/press/2009/20100202.pdf

Quote:
JR East Group is carrying ongoing efforts to combat global warming. In our latest program, an attempt to reduce energy consumption in stations and offices, we will begin installing directional signage using LED illumination (“green” thin-panel electric signage) at stations primarily in the Tōkyō area, including Mejiro Station on the Yamanote Line and Ichigaya Station on the Chūō Line. About 1,800 LED-illuminated signs have been installed at approx. 120 stations, helping reduce energy consumption. JR East will continue its campaign to reduce energy use and carbon dioxide emissions in the coming future.

The “green” thin-panel electric signage was developed to reduce energy consumption in stations, and was perfected after field testing at Mejiro Station and Ichigaya Station to evaluate the design of the unit and color quality on the sign surface.

The manufacturer of the LED-illuminated signage system, Shin-Yōsha (HQ: Toshima Ward, Tōkyō; Representative Director and President: Murakami Keiichi), was awarded the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) Energy Conservation Award (Award of the Director-General, Small and Medium Enterprise Agency) on January 29, and is scheduled to attend the award ceremony on February 10, 2010.

Characteristics
  • 60 percent cut in electricity consumption compared to existing signage using fluorescent lighting: By switching the lighting source from fluorescent to LED, energy consumption is reduced, and through adoption of a constant current system that does not use electrical resistance, less electricity is lost in transmission from the source.
  • Uniform brightness across the entire sign surface: By diffusing the light from the LEDs attached to the top of the electric signage unit, brightness on the surface of the sign is now uniform.
  • Lifetimes of approx. 40,000 hours or more (approx. 3 times the lifetime of fluorescent lighting)
History and implementation schedule
2007.10: Start of development
2008.05: Completion of the first prototype unit and beginning of testing process
2009.01: Experiemntal field introduction (50 units) at Mejiro Station on the Yamanote Line and Ichigaya Station on the Chūō Line as part of our effort to reduce energy consumption at stations
2009.02: Permanent installation at Tōkyō Station (70 units)
2009.03: Permanent installation at Nikkō Station (14 units) as part of the Nikkō Line Retro project

Including the above, we have installed about 1,800 units across approx. 120 stations primarily in the Tōkyō area since February 2009. We will continue actively introducing the LED-illuminated signage systems as we carry out electric signage system replacement and station information improvement programs.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 09:56 PM   #878
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Tōbu Railway receives ¥85 billion in investment loans for Tōkyō Sky Tree
http://www.asahi.com/business/update...002030382.html

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As capital financing for the Tōkyō Sky Tree development under construction in Sumida Ward, Tōkyō Prefecture, twenty-one financial institutions including the Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) will co-finance project executor Tōbu Railway with a total of ¥85 billion in syndicated loans. DBJ and Tōbu Railway announced the transaction on February 3.

Tōkyō Sky Tree will become the largest transmission tower in the world at a height of 634 m, and is scheduled to open in spring 2012. The total construction cost, covering surrounding office buildings, an aquarium, and other facilities is estimated at ¥140 billion. The syndicated loan includes ¥16 billion from loan arrangers DBJ and Mizuho Corporate Bank and ¥11 billion from The Chūō Mitsui Trust and Banking Company. The balance is covered by eighteen financial institutions including banks and life insurance companies.
Cab view from Asakusa to Narihirabashi, followed by a view of the construction site. The former Tōbu headquarters near the station is now gone.


Source: tokyoskytreemovie on YouTube

A quick tour of the construction site by bike, from mid-January.


Source: 0r1h0m0t0m0h1r0 on YouTube
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Old February 7th, 2010, 09:57 PM   #879
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More first shots of Yamanote Line 4-door replacement cars

The first four cars were transported from the factory by locomotive. Because Car No. 7 and Car No. 10 in Yamanote Line trains are trailers, the new cars were sandwiched into an existing E231-0 series train normally used on the Chūō-Sōbu Line (local). Interesting to note is that the 4600 class (Car No. 10 replacements) are designed more like E233 series cars, with laminate-finished doors and special floor treatments. The 600 class (Car No. 7 replacements) are designed more like existing E231-500 series cars on the Yamanote Line, without laminate on the doors.


Source: karibajct on YouTube

In testing


Source: SAKURAZUKASOUKEN on YouTube
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Old February 15th, 2010, 07:47 AM   #880
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Fukuoka City Council special committee selects Canal City alignment for Nanakuma Line extension
http://kyushu.yomiuri.co.jp/news/nat...OYS1T00785.htm

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In the proposed extension of the Fukuoka City Subway Nanakuma Line (Hashimoto – Tenjin Minami, 12 km), the Fukuoka City Council’s Transportation Strategy Special Committee finalized a report on February 12 that identifies a 1.4 km extension alignment from Tenjin Minami Station to Hakata Station via large-scale retail facility Canal City Hakata.

Out of four alignment alternatives being considered, the City Transportation Bureau had identified the Canal City alignment as a “priority alignment appropriate for implementation,” citing it as the best of the four in the preliminary financial analysis, which looked at ridership projections and cost-benefit.

The Special Committee will finalize the details to be reported to the main session of the City Council on February 23. Based on opinions from the City Transportation Bureau, the Committee members agreed to “move forward with studies and evaluation, bearing in mind the financial state of both the city and the subway operations.”

Based on the Special Committee report, the city will decide whether or not to move forward with the project. From requesting project approvals from the national government to opening the line, the city foresees a schedule of about ten years.
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