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Old February 21st, 2010, 12:49 PM   #921
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Details of TOICA electronic money service released
http://jr-central.co.jp/news/release/nws000468.html

Quote:
With the schedule changes set to take place on Saturday, March 13, 2010, as part of new efforts for our non-Shinkansen IC card service TOICA, JR Central will launch three new campaigns: “TOICA Coverage Area Expansion,” “TOICA Commuter Pass Shinkansen Service,” and “TOICA Electronic Money Service.”

With regards to the TOICA Electronic Money Service, we have finalized the details surrounding which shops will accept TOICA cards for payment. Please look forward to a more convenient TOICA.

Shops and other locations where TOICA will be accepted:
  • 250 shops
    • Kiosks on platforms and inside paid areas, Bellmart shops (convenience store chain), and ekiben shops at Tōkaidō Shinkansen Nozomi stops (Tōkyō, Shinagawa, Shin-Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyōto, Shin-Ōsaka), Shizuoka Station, Hamamatsu Station, and Toyohashi Station
    • Restaurants and goods stores adjacent to Nagoya Station’s concourse, as well as some stores in the area surrounding Nagoya Station
    • Shops inside the ASTY facilities at Shizuoka Station and Kyōto Station
  • 335 drink vending machines
    • Drink vending machines on platforms, inside the paid area, and adjacent to the concourse at all of the above stations (except for Toyohashi Station) (some shops and drink vending machines will not accept TOICA)
  • TOICA will also be accepted at Suica- and ICOCA-affiliated shops (approx. 68,000)
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Old February 21st, 2010, 12:50 PM   #922
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Groundbreaking on Kawauchi Station, Ōgizaka Tunnel on Sendai Subway Tōzai Line
http://mainichi.jp/area/miyagi/news/...40135000c.html

Quote:
In Sendai City’s Tōzai Subway Line Project (total length: 13.8 km), which is scheduled to open in FY2015, the joint venture (JV) carrying out construction held a special groundbreaking ceremony on February 18 for Kawauchi Station (temporary name; Kawauchi, Aoba Ward) and the Ōgizaka Tunnel on the site of the future station. Approx. 60 contractors and city employees gathered for the ceremony to pray for worker safety during construction.

Construction of Kawauchi Station and the Ōgizaka Tunnel began in 2009, but pile-driving and other major public works construction will now begin. A tunnel approx. 740 m in length will be excavated and connected to the adjacent Sendai International Center Station (temporary name) on the east. Separate JV teams were awarded the contracts for Kawauchi Station and the tunnel construction, and work is scheduled to finish in FY2012. Sendai City Transportation Bureau’s Tōzai Line Construction Department chief Saitō Fuminobu, who attended the ceremony, said, “The city is working towards a compact urban development pattern, and the Tōzai Line is a critical part of that plan as a means to improve access.”
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Old February 21st, 2010, 12:51 PM   #923
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Urban design students craft dream for Machida Station
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/tok...OYT8T01400.htm

Quote:
Three architectural design research assistants at the Machida Design College (Morino, Machida City) near Machida Station have revealed an ambitious redevelopment proposal outside Machida Station. The plan would relocate all traffic lanes and parking facilities underground, and construct a deck above the freed-up space, supported by steel columns. The deck would be used as park space and a rest area and, from above, would be designed to look like a petal from the scarlet sage, the official flower of Machida City. Redevelopment around Machida Station has become a critical issue in Machida City’s mayoral and City Council elections on February 21, and the plan is drawing eyes.

The name of the design proposal is “A Town in Bloom.” Kojima Taisuke (21yo), Katō Kōdai (21yo), and Kasuya Konoe (21yo) devised the plan across two months starting in December of last year, under the guidance of Iida Arito, head of the college’s Architectural Design Department.

The three students are all Kanagawa Prefecture natives. “With Machida’s future as a theme, the three of us put our heads together, taking all our experiences from having lived in the city for three years now,” said Kojima.

The design proposal covers the Nakamachi and Morino districts on the north side of Odakyū Machida Station. The students first conducted a street-corner survey of about 40 residents, many of whom responded that streets were narrow, park and open space was insufficient, and there were too many parking facilities. To resolve these issues, the students devised a plan that placed all the cars underground and constructed a two-level space above ground, with parks on the top level and retail on the bottom level.

For the site of the current Machida City Hall building, the students propose constructing a bus terminal underground and a manmade deck above ground, with both deck levels providing park space.

“By creating an open, airy space, we want to bring back openness and calm to the neighborhood and people as well,” said Kojima, explaining the design’s guiding principles. Department Head and advisor Iida remarked, “The likelihood of realizing the plan is small, but they’ve presented the existing problems from the viewpoint of students, and we’re eagerly waiting to hear responses, good and bad, from the public.”
Machida Station (map) is a major rail hub served by the Odakyū Odawara Line and JR Yokohama Line, and the station sees a lot of passengers transferring between these two major lines. Machida City is in the Tama District of western Tōkyō Prefecture, bordering Kanagawa Prefecture. The station itself is on the border between Tōkyō and Kanagawa.
  • JR Machida: 108,000 daily entries (2008)
  • Odakyū Machida: 292,000 daily entries and exits (2008)
Morning ride into central Tōkyō. Machida Station is still 30 km away from Odakyū’s terminal at Shinjuku, about 45 minutes on the express during the morning rush hour. Odakyū trains are some of the most crowded among Tōkyō’s private railways, with average ridership of the Odawara Line at 1.513 million riders daily (2008).

image hosted on flickr

Source: go_adb_go on Flickr

JR Machida is immediately to the left. Odakyū Machida is dead ahead. The area around the station is blanketed with extensive pedestrian decks and bridges, and the ground level of the station is home to a busy bus terminal.

image hosted on flickr

Source: shingo on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

Source: shingo on Flickr

Odakyū platforms

image hosted on flickr

Source: shingo on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

Source: oda.shinsuke on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

Source: H410 on Flickr
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Old February 21st, 2010, 12:52 PM   #924
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Musashino City to construct new bicycle parking at Kichijōji Station
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/to...702000054.html

Quote:
In an effort to combat illegal bicycle parking around JR Kichijōji Station, Musashino City will construct paid bicycle parking facilities at two locations outside the station starting in April. The two facilities together will have a total capacity for 1,700 bicycles. Musashino City included approx. ¥300 million in costs related to the project in its proposed FY2010 budget.

Public and private bicycle parking scattered around the station currently has capacity for approx. 10,000 bicycles, but many bicyclists park their bikes illegally on sidewalks, blocking the flow of pedestrians and causing visual impacts to the neighborhood.

One facility will be located along Kichijōji Ōdōri at the station’s North Exit, while the other will be a private bike parking facility at the South Exit. The city will lease empty space in a commercial building to construct the North Exit bike parking facility, at the cost of approx. ¥280 million. For the South Exit facility, the city will fund approx. ¥30 million of the construction costs. Parking fees are expected to be ¥2,000 for monthly parking and ¥100 for daily parking.

Starting with the site of the Isetan Kichijōji department store, set to close its doors in March, redevelopment is proceeding in Kichijōji, and the city hopes the bicycle parking will help keep customers coming to the area.
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Old February 21st, 2010, 12:54 PM   #925
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Totsuka Station West Exit under transformation
http://mytown.asahi.com/kanagawa/new...00001002180002

Quote:
In the Totsuka Station West Exit Redevelopment Project, which has been under construction in Totsuka Ward, Yokohama City since 2007, the first phase, which includes the Totsukana redevelopment building housing 167 local shops, has been completed, and will open to the public on April 2. When the public facility zone, which will be home to the Totsuka Ward Office, opens in three years, the project will be complete. About 50 years after master plan approval in 1962, the area surrounding Totsuka Station is about to be transformed.

The redevelopment area encompasses approx. 4.3 ha, and the total project cost is approx. ¥108.5 billion, with Yokohama City contributing ¥43.7 billion.

Totsukana is a commercial building spread across seven aboveground floors and two underground levels. The gross floor area is approx. 70,000 sq m, split between the Totsukana Mall housing 111 locally-owned shops, and a Tōkyū Land Group specialty-retail area consisting of 56 shops. The building will have a 600-space parking garage, and will open to the public on April 2.

In the area immediately adjacent to Totsukana, Transport Plaza No. 1, a terminal for buses and taxis, will be constructed. Up until now, the bus center was located approx. 300 m away from the station, but now users can access the terminal directly by passing through Totsukana, reducing the distance by approx. 100 m. Underneath the plaza, Yokohama City’s largest bicycle facility, with capacity for 3,100 bicycles, is being constructed, and will open on April 1.

Work will now turn to demolition of the temporary Totsuka West facility opened in 2007, and construction of the public facilities building (nine stories aboveground, four stories belowground) to house the Totsuka Ward Office and Citizens’ Cultural Center, as well as Transport Plaza No. 2 to serve taxi loading and private autos. A bus zone will also be constructed next to the station.

In conjunction with the redevelopment project, the Kashio–Totsuka Master Plan Road, diving underneath the JR tracks via tunnel and connecting the east and west sides of the station, is scheduled for completion in FY2014, approximately 60 m towards Yokohama Station from the grade crossing between the JR tracks and National Route 1.

According to Yokohama City, the commercial district in the West Exit area grew in the post-war years, but the roads outside the station are narrow, and the bus terminal is located away from the station. In addition, old wooden-frame homes are clustered together, and it was necessary to improve the existing situation from a fire safety standpoint.
Totsuka Station is a major rail hub in Yokohama City, served by both JR (Tōkaidō Line, Yokosuka Line, Shōnan-Shinjuku Line) and the Yokohama Municipal Subway (Blue Line). JR Totsuka sees 106,000 average daily entries, and the subway station sees 40,200 average daily entries.

Rendering of redevelopment project. Totsukana is at top left, and is directly connected to Totsuka Station, at top center. The large area and pedestrian deck directly outside of Totsukana and the station is what they’ve dubbed “Transport Plaza No. 1.” The public facilities building is the gray box at top right.


Source: Yokohama City

Aerial of the site (2010.01). The redevelopment area is the area outlined blue. JR tracks run left-to-right in this picture, while the Municipal Subway Blue Line runs perpendicular to the JR lines underground.


Source: Yokohama City

Some construction photos from 2008:

image hosted on flickr

Source: Rick Cogley on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

Source: Rick Cogley on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

Source: Rick Cogley on Flickr

One picture of the building from 2010.01, from the opposite side of the JR station. I quite like the façade...

image hosted on flickr

Source: toytrack on Flickr
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Old February 21st, 2010, 12:55 PM   #926
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More Tōyoko Line / Minato Mirai Line construction photos

Some pictures from February to update the status on the undergrounding of the Tōkyū Tōyoko Line between Daikan’yama and Shibuya and the start of through-service operations with the Tōkyō Metro Fukutoshin Line.

First, some pictures of the platform extension work happening up and down the line. Since the Tōyoko Line and Minato Mirai Line as currently designed can only handle eight-car trains at maximum, platforms at express stations along the lines need to be extended to accommodate ten-car trains used on the Fukutoshin Line and interlined Tōbu / Seibu networks.
Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/

The north end of Kikuna Station, towards Shibuya, where they’ve got some space cleared out for the platform extension.
Kikuna is the furthest extent of regular through-service trains to / from the Tōkyō Metro Hibiya Line. Once the Fukutoshin Line through-service begins, there will be two different Tōkyō Metro lines interlined with the Tōyoko Line, and this doesn’t include the Namboku Line and the Mita Line, which through-service with the Meguro Line (the Meguro Line and Tōyoko Line run parallel for about 5 km).



The north end of Tsunashima Station, towards Shibuya, where construction will proceed right against homes.



The north end of Jiyūgaoka Station, towards Shibuya. Here, they need to do some substantial shifting of the outside track at the station to accomodate the platform extension, pushing out the switch with the main track.



The south end of Gakugei Daigaku Station, towards Yokohama. This is an island platform station, so they will extend the platform out at both ends about one car-length each.



At the other end of the station towards Shibuya, the platform has already taken shape, but still needs the surface finishes.



At the south end of Naka-Meguro Station, towards Yokohama. Naka-Meguro is the junction between the Hibiya Line and the Tōyoko Line, so the track layout is more complex than at the other stations, with layover tracks for Hibiya Line trains and sidings for maintenance cars. The station is also getting other improvements in conjunction with the Fukutoshin Line-related work, such as new escalators and a new exit.



The inbound (towards Shibuya) platform, at the north end.



The Minato Mirai Line is also getting similar platform extensions to accommodate ten-car trains (the Minato Mirai Line is basically an all-underground extension of the Tōyoko Line from Yokohama Station). They are extending platforms at five of six stations on the line—all stations except for Shin-Takashima.

A few pictures from 2010.01:
Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/

East end of Yokohama Station, towards Shibuya. Largely finished, but still fenced off.



The opposite end, towards Motomachi – Chūkagai, is also finished, but still fenced off.



South end of Nihon-Ōdori Station, towards Motomachi – Chūkagai, partially enclosed for the work.



Now, some photos from the Daikan’yama – Shibuya section, which is the part being undergrounded.
Source: http://okiraku-goraku.com/

The east end of Daikan’yama Station, closer to Shibuya. They’ve already removed some of the temporary wooden slats in the trackbed used for construction vehicles.



At Shibuya Grade Crossing No. 1, looking west towards Daikan’yama. The tunnels are being bored directly beneath the existing right-of-way, so the tracks are placed on a temporary steel frame that allows the earth below to be excavated while still running trains.



Looking in the other direction towards Shibuya.



At the Tōyoko Line overcrossing above the JR tracks, facing north. Like elsewhere along the Tōyoko Line, the JR tracks steel frames must be constructed beneath the JR tracks to support trains during excavation. Work on the track at far right, the southbound Saikyō Line / Shōnan Shinjuku Line track, has already been completed, and they will continue with the northbound track and the adjacent Yamanote Line tracks.



The existing elevated approach into Shibuya Station. Apparently, the TBM has already bored the entire section from Shibuya to the JR tracks.



Launching pit in the middle of Meiji-dōri in Shibuya. They are already beginning to dismantle the equipment.

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Old February 21st, 2010, 12:58 PM   #927
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Second JR East E233-3000 series Tōkaidō Line train arrives

For almost two years now, there’s been only one E233 series train (10+5 cars) on the Tōkaidō Line, which entered service in March 2008. The second set recently left Tōkyū’s factory on February 18 and is now in testing on the line.

In testing near Hodogaya. Both of the trains in this video are E233 Tōkaidō Line trains, but the first one (passing behind the camera) is the train already in service. The second train is the one in testing.


Source: tobu2181 on YouTube
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Old February 21st, 2010, 12:58 PM   #928
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Ibaraki Prefecture revises up debt load for TX land
http://mytown.asahi.com/ibaraki/news...00001002200001

Quote:
In the dilemma surrounding the sluggish sales of land owned by Ibaraki Prefecture along the Tsukuba Express (TX) line, resulting in a ballooning loss, the Prefectural Government revised up the previous estimates of its “future payoff” scenario, which would attempt to cover the loss through tax money in the distant future, by ¥45.5 billion to ¥102 billion. The change was revealed to the Prefectural Assembly’s Investment Group Special Investigative Committee. The 80 percent increase in financial burden is a result of pushing out the horizon year for completion of land sales and reflects the corresponding increase in burden due to interest. If sales don’t proceed as expected, the tax burden will increase further.

Ibaraki Prefecture says it will extend the sales timeline for commercial and residential land sitting idle along the TX by 10 years to FY2029, and estimates an annual drop in land value of two percent for the additional ten years. “The previous estimates were made before the economic slump, but we also have to consider the progress of land sales in the past one to two years, as well as trends in land values,” say representatives from Ibaraki Prefecture.

In June of last year, the Prefectural Government revised down the future financial burden for TX-related land from ¥86 billion to ¥84 billion (in FY2008 numbers). This time, the Prefectural Government reassessed the approx. 300 ha of land remaining to be sold, excepting 52.6 ha that it has disposed of with funds accumulated through subsidies from the national government and prefectural bonds.

There is still ¥184.7 billion in remaining bonds (debt) issued by the Prefectural Government related to the retention of lands for TX development, and the annual interest has reached as much as ¥3 billion. Based on the level of future financial burden, the Prefectural Government has determined that immediate countermeasures are necessary, and in its final supplementary budget for FY2009, raided ¥10 billion from the loan repayment fund to pay off some of the debt early. In addition, the Prefectural Government plans to include ¥658 million in its FY2010 preliminary budget for the financial burden related to water and sewer utility improvements, which it was originally expecting to start paying off as land was sold.

But the debt load is completely dependent on the progress in land sales.

In the five-year period starting in FY2005, the Prefectural Government succeeded in disposing of 41.3 ha of land. Despite a sales target of 27.1 ha for FY2009, however, a mere 3.8 ha have been sold. The Prefectural Government has conservatively established a target of 5.3 ha for FY2010, rebounding back up to 16.3 ha annually in FY2013.

Even in Moriya City, the only place along the TX line where residential land values had been increasing, a July 2009 assessment revealed a four percent drop in land value year-on-year. A report issued by Ibaraki Prefecture warned, “There is anxiety that the financial burden could increase as a result of the future land sales situation and trends in interest and land value.”
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Old February 21st, 2010, 12:59 PM   #929
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Residents along Hokusō Line dissatisfied with proposed fare reductions
http://mytown.asahi.com/chiba/news.p...00001002200001

Quote:
After the upper limit fare for the Narita Sky Access (Keisei Takasago – Narita Airport, 51.4 km) received approval from the national government, Hokusō Railway submitted its reduced fare plan to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) on February 19. The new Hokusō Line fare structure and the opening of the Narita Sky Access line are scheduled for July 17, but residents along the Hokusō Line who had been hoping for larger fare reductions are voicing their dissatisfaction.

The Hokusō Line fare reductions were agreed to by Chiba Prefecture, eight cities and towns along the line, and Keisei Electric Railway last year. The average fare cut between Keisei Takasago and Inba Nihon Idai (32.3 km) is 4.9 percent (¥10 to ¥40) for regular fares, 1.1 percent (¥90 to ¥380) for monthly adult commuter passes, and 25.0 percent (¥1,210 to ¥4,920) for monthly student commuter passes. Since the proposed fares are lower than the upper limit, these reductions now represent the finalized new fare structure for the Hokusō Line.

Between Keisei Takasago and Chiba New Town Chūō Stations, for example, the regular fare will drop ¥40 to ¥720, while monthly student commuter passes wil drop ¥4,570 to ¥13,730.

The Narita Sky Access line is composed of an upgraded existing line and a new line currently under construction between Inba Nihon Idai and Narita Airport. The fastest trains on the new line will make the journey between Nippori and Narita Airport Terminal 2 in 36 minutes.

“We’ve had some twists and turns, but the efforts of all those involved have paid off, and I’m pleased with the results,” commented Chiba Prefecture governor Morita Kensaku. Mayor Koizumi Kazunari of Narita City, which contributed the third largest share of funding (¥90 billion) towards the Narita New Rapid Railway project behind the national and prefectural governments, expressed his anticipation for the opening, saying, “The new line will be a catalyst for erasing Narita’s negative image as being too far away.” With increased access options to central Tōkyō and increased convenience for city residents, redevelopment outside Narita Station could get a push.

Meanwhile, regular fares for Hokusō Railway are twice as much as other private railways, and student commuter passes are over four times as much. In response to a fare reduction that amounts to slightly less than five percent, residents along the line are voicing their disappointment after hoping that fares would drop to be more in line with the Keisei Main Line.

The Association for Reducing Hokusō Line Fares has been advocating that further fare cuts are possible if the track usage fees are used as funding. Association director Majima Hiroshi said, “They’re going to be running two to three times the number of trains right now, but the fare still remains high. We need to strengthen our lobbying to decrease fares further.” Motono Village mayor Igarashi Isamu, who won the village’s mayoral election on February 7, said, “This is unacceptable. The fare reduction is too small.”
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Old February 21st, 2010, 01:00 PM   #930
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Keisei 3050 series makes press debut
http://rail.hobidas.com/blog/natori/...post_1203.html

At Sōgo Yard in Chiba Prefecture:



These are for non-premium fare limited express service on the Narita Sky Access opening in July.



Full-color LED destination signs



The Ueno end of the train.



Priority seating



A playful airplane-motif moquette



Speedometers go up to 150 kph (top operating is still set at 120 kph). Design speed is 130 kph.



15 in. LCDs above each door



Black box

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Old February 21st, 2010, 01:02 PM   #931
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Narita Sky Access to open July 17
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/atmoney/new...OYT1T01185.htm

Quote:
On January 19, Keisei Electric Railway announced that it will open the Narita Airport Line linking central Tōkyō and Narita Airport, nicknamed Narita Sky Access, on July 17.

The regular fare between Keisei Ueno and Narita Airport will be ¥1,200, and when using the premium-fare limited express Skyliner, the regular fare plus limited express surcharge comes to ¥2,400. The new line will reduce the current Skyliner travel time of 59 minutes by 15 minutes.

The new Narita Airport Line set to open stretches 51.4 km between Keisei Takasago Station and Narita Airport Station. Keisei will introduce new Skyliner trains for the line, operating at a top speed of 160 kph.
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Old February 21st, 2010, 01:02 PM   #932
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JR East launches ticketless service for Narita Express
http://www.jreast.co.jp/press/2009/20100211.pdf

Quote:
Through our Internet services portal site Eki-net (www.eki-net.com), JR East has offered convenient and discounted services to customers purchasing JR tickets, making reservations for domestic tours, and shopping. Thanks to patronage from many of our customers, Eki-net membership has surpassed 3.6 million.

In an effort to improve Eki-net service, starting Saturday, March 13, 2010, users will now be able to go ticketless on the Narita Express through our Mobile Phone JR Seat Reservation Service, making purchasing seat reservations on the Internet even more convenient. When heading to Narita Airport, we encourage you to try out our convenient and discounted ticketless service system.
  • When purchasing seat reservations on the Narita Express through the “Ticketless Application Menu” on your mobile phone, you can board your train smoothly, without the need to pick-up paper tickets. (Note: You are still required to have a boarding ticket.)
  • With the “Eki-net Ticketless Discount,” users will receive a ¥200 discount on each seat.
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Old February 21st, 2010, 01:03 PM   #933
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Toei website provides realtime information for foreigners
http://www.kotsu.metro.tokyo.jp/news...1002162_h.html

Quote:
To improve our service to foreigners, the Tōkyō Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation is expanding our website offerings. By providing realtime service updates in foreign languages on our official website, we will become a leader among railway operators.

Details
  • Development of new website pages in Chinese (simplified and traditional) and Korean
  • Launch of new realtime “Service Updates” in four foreign languages
  • Complete renewal of website structure that reorganizes website contents and improves functions that allow website users to find the information they want easier

English
Chinese (simplified)
Chinese (traditional)
Korean
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Old February 21st, 2010, 01:04 PM   #934
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”Bad apple” railfans increasing in number
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/affairs/cri...1201013-n1.htm

Quote:
There are many ways to enjoy the railways, from taking pictures, to going on long-distance train trips, to studying train schedules. The number of railfans is recently on the up, with female train lovers joining the ranks. But as the popularity of trains increases, a number of incidents have occurred that question the etiquette of some railfans. In some cases, this behavior goes beyong being a public nuisance, and can be called nothing short of a criminal offense. Many benevolent fans are starting to worry that the behavior of a few is making it more and more difficult for everyone to enjoy the rails, but just why do some railfans go overboard?

A barrage of cameras at the end of the platform, all aiming for that round headmark
January 24 on the JR Keihin-Tōhoku Line linking Kanagawa and Saitama Prefectures. On weekdays, the line is crowded with commuters heading to and from work and school, but during midday on weekends and holidays, there’s not nearly as many passengers. On this day, a Sunday, many trains were calm and quiet. Except for a few…

A little past 3:30 pm. A train bound towards Yokohama slips into Tōkyō Station. On the ends of the first and last cars on the train were special headmarks with the words “Arigatō, 209 series!” At the front end of the platform, a mass of 30 to 40 people, cameras in hand, waited for the perfect moment. As the train with its headmark approached, a barrage of cameras sounded off.

This was the day the so-called 209 series of commuter trains would retire from the Keihin-Tōhoku Line. The crowd of people on the platforms were railfans, hoping to bear witness to the last day of 209 series trains on the Keihin-Tōhoku Line and capture the graceful trains on film.

Many of the fans, bidding farewell, boarded the train, and the first car in particular became a sardine-can ride equal to those in the morning rush hour.

For regular passengers who were caught unawares, they were about to be witness to a strange and unbelievable scene.

”No room for regular passengers!”
The group of fans, almost all male, shouted in unison each time the train arrived at the station. When the doors opened, they scrambled out onto the platform to snap pictures, running back inside the train before the doors closed, a process that was repeated over and over. Looking across the inside of the car, there were some young boys who had taken off their shoes to stand on the seats, watching gleefully at the action inside the train. An elderly woman sitting next to the boy was struck in the face multiple times by the boy’s backpack, and frowned, but not a single person in the raucous crowd said a thing to the boy.

And when a regular passenger attempted to board the train, high-pitched voices echoed from the packed car:

“No room for regular passengers!”
“This is a railfan-only car!”

What looked to be foreigners, parents and child together, attempted to board the train. The infant, in his father’s arms, began to cry with all the noise inside the train, and the parents, not knowing a thing about what was going on, were forced to rush off at the next station.

6:13 pm. The last 209 series train on Keihin-Tōhoku Line was scheduled to arrive at its final stop at Minami-Urawa Station, but the train didn’t show up, even well after 6:13. When the train, with headmark on the front of the first car, finally came into sight, it was more than 20 minutes late. With the disturbance caused by the group of railfans, the schedule was in shambles. “Well, what can you do? It’s the last train,” mumbled helpless security staff on the platform.

The train slipped into the station, and the moment the doors opened, a flood of fans with cameras in hand rushed off the train. The ends of the platform, which offered the perfect view of the train’s headmark, were inundated by camera-wielding railfans in an instant.

“Don’t push!” “Hey, get outta the way!” some shouted.

The 209 series train waited at the platform for a few moments. The train, which had fulfilled its duties on the Keihin-Tōhoku Line for the last time, quietly began moving, headed back to the car yard.

“Arigatō, 209 series!” Red-faced railfans shouted, watching as the train left the platform. If only that was all there was to it, it’d be a heartwarming scene.

“They’re called sōshiki-tetsu (funeral railfans),” explains one male office worker (32yo), who has loved trains incessantly since he was in elementary school.

“When trains or rail lines are taken out of service for good, they want to burn that very last moment in their memories and capture it on film. Most of them are sensible people, but there are some bad apples among them who scream inside the trains and become public nuisances. The real fans, the ones who come to bid a final farewell to their favorite trains, want nothing to do with these people,” says the man, sighing.

These reckless funeral railfans pop up frequently. On December 5 last year, the 207 series train running on the Jōban Line connecting Tōkyō, Chiba, and Ibaraki Prefectures was retired from service, but on two separate occasions, camera-wielding fans came too close to the tracks, and the train was forced to come to an emergency stop.

From fatal accidents to criminal offenses, nuisance behavior is increasing
From sharyō-tetsu who study the trains themselves, to tori-tetsu who take train pictures, nori-tetsu who like train travel, and mokei-tetsu who enjoy building train models, railfanning covers a wide variety of genres. It’s possible that it’s easier for people to become fans of trains, which have offer many different aspects to enjoy.

“Nowadays, it’s not just the typical fan that’s absorbed in trains, but now we also have women joining the ranks. I think the number of people who feel affection and attachment for trains has been increasing, across a wide range of generations,” says one representative from a railway company, explaining the current situation among railfans.

But he also points out, “But as a result, nuisance behavior is also increasing.”

Railway companies are troubled by several nuisance behaviors, including scuffles between railfans over photo ops; trespassing onto railway premises; disregard of staff requests and control; vandalism or theft inside railway facilities; obstruction or verbal abuse of parents and children taking pictures and regular passengers; and buying out of tickets and goods.

In the midst of these behaviors, there are some cases that go beyond simple acts of nuisance.

In November 2008, a man (47yo) at a grade crossing on the JR Tōkaidō Line in Chigasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture had placed his tripod on empty land next to the crossing arms and was taking pictures. After his tripod fell down into the crossing and he attempted to fix it, he came into contact with a moving train and was killed. The man had come to the crossing to photograph trains that were scheduled to be removed from service soon, and the camera held pictures of trains that had passed through the crossing just before the incident.

And there are any number of inconsiderates known as tori-tetsu (thief railfans), who take home car number plates or destination signs (rollsigns) when trains are about to be retired, as commemorative items. This behavior is nothing short of criminal theft.

Other cases involve fans who board trains illegally without paying the proper fares, some of whom boast about their experiences online.

Railway companies, however, are racking their brains on how to deal with the situation.

“When it’s clear that the behavior is against the law, we take prompt and strong action,” says JR East. But it appears that things don’t always go as smoothly as hoped.

“While it’s a public nuisance, as long as they’ve paid the appropriate fare, that makes them a passenger. Leaving aside dangerous or illegal behavior, there’s not much we can really say when trouble breaks out between passengers. Of course, ideally, the convenience of regular passengers should be placed at the utmost priority…” confides one railway company employee.

Is the reason reduced opportunities to learn etiquette, or a decline in communication skills?
But just why are these nuisance behaviors on the rise?

“I think part of the problem is fewer chances to learn about etiquette,” remarks the editor of Japan Railfan Magazine, the largest-circulation railway-interest magazine in Japan.

The magazine accepts submissions for railway-related pictures to be published in its magazine and on its homepage, but pictures which have clearly been taken in dangerous locations or through trespassing onto railroad premises are frequently sent in.

“In the past, fans often took pictures together in groups, and in those situations, there were many opportunities to learn about the ‘rules.’ But now, there are a growing number of people who do things on their own, and it’s likely that opportunities to learn about railfan etiquette have decreased,” points out the editor.

One railway company representative says, “The communication skills of individual people are declining. There are more and more people with a skewed sense of right vs. wrong… They interpret the title of ‘customer’ to mean that they can do whatever they want.”

In addition, he says, “There is a flood of TV shows and publications trying to capitalize on the explosion in interest in trains. Television shows that follow around eccentric railfans or publications that feature irresponsible material build a foundation that creates misunderstanding for new railfans or misguided interest in trains,” raising the alarm bells about the direction of the latest boom in railway interest.

The next big event that will draw railfans is JR East’s service changes in March. With these changes, the sleeper limited express Hokuriku, widely known as one of the last remaining “blue trains” departing from Ueno Station, and the nighttime express Noto, featuring a classic bonnet-type lead car, are both set to end service, leading many to expect a disturbance that far outpaces the events that happened during the retirement of the 209 series commuter trains.

JR East says it will deploy 80 people, including guardsmen and support staff who normally work behind the desk, to ensure safety on the platforms.
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Old February 21st, 2010, 01:05 PM   #935
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WILLCOM tests XGP broadband wireless technology inside buses, trains
http://japan.cnet.com/mobile/story/0...0408483,00.htm

Quote:
WILLCOM is proceeding with a field test using its WILLCOM Core XGP mobile data transmission technology. The test was already completed in Ōsaka and Hyōgo Prefectures in 2009 and will launch in Tōkyō Prefecture starting in February.

From October to December 2009, WILLCOM conducted the field test with support from Hanshin Electric Railway, iTEC Hankyū Hanshin, and Hanshin Cable Engineering. An XGP-based network was established inside a portion of the Hanshin Main Line (Umeda – Fukushima – Noda), including underground sections, and tested to determine whether or not the broadband data transmission was maintained while in transit along the train line.

WILLCOM oversaw construction of the XGP wireless network, Hanshin Electric Railway served as lead in managing the field test, iTEC Hankyū Hanshin was responsible for connecting the Hanshin Electric Railway and WILLCOM networks, and Hanshin Cable Engineering loaned fiber optic cable and installed the base stations. The field testing was intended to confirm the following:
  1. The ability to establish an XGP wireless network completely blanketing areas along the selected section of the rail line with only one XGP base station for each station area, positioned in the most appropriate location.
  2. Stable transmission of broadband streaming video (MPEG-4, VGA, 30fps, and 4 MBps) from all areas along the selected section of the rail line
  3. Stable data transmission from inside Hanshin trains
The four companies are now considering establishment of local XGP areas starting with the areas along the Hanshin rail network and development of systems solutions such as live cameras and digital signage.

Starting in February, WILLCOM will team up with Hinomaru Limousine and the Ōtemachi–Marunouchi–Yūrakuchō District Shuttle Bus Operations Committee. On-board cameras will be installed on the driver’s seats of buses on the Marunouchi Shuttle, which serves the Marunouchi District, and using XGP broadband wireless communications technology, will transmit video in realtime. An XGP-based wireless LAN access point will also be established inside the buses, allowing for data transmission with receiving devices.

The field tests will last until March. Based on the results of the field tests, WILLCOM will consider development of infrastructure to record and transmit video from on-board cameras, as well as development of realtime video content. WILLCOM is also looking at the possibility of transmitting content for visitors and tourists.
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Old February 21st, 2010, 01:06 PM   #936
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First Tōkyō Metro 15000 series unit delivered from factory

These are the new sets for the Tōzai Line, with wider doors intended to help decrease dwell times (see here for specific details). They are based on Hitachi’s A-Train technology, also used on the Tōkyō Metro 10000 series units for the Fukutoshin Line and Yūrakuchō Line. The first unit will enter service in the spring, so it won’t be long now before we see these in operation.
Source: Anonymous on http://rail-uploader.khz-net.com/

In transport by locomotive, captured at Hiroshima Station.







A car-by-car overview as the locomotive waits at Numazu Station on the Tōkaidō Main Line.


Source: karibajct on YouTube

Passing through Shizuoka City, between Okitsu and Yui.


Source: ayokoi on YouTube
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Old February 21st, 2010, 01:07 PM   #937
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Yamanote Line four-door car replacements to enter service February 22
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/ne...OYT1T01146.htm

Quote:
In preparation for the beginning of platform door installation on the JR Yamanote Line in FY2010, JR East announced on February 16 that it will replace all six-door cars being used on the line with four-door cars by August 2011.

The six-door cars entered service in 1991 to help reduce overcrowding inside trains, but with the recent improvements in load conditions, on February 22, JR East will end its practice of locking seats on six-door cars on weekdays from the start of service to 10:00 am.

There are a total of 104 six-door cars, used as Car No. 7 and Car No. 10 on the eleven-car consists. JR East will spend approx. ¥8 billion to construct 104 new four-door cars. Starting with two cars for the first train on February 22, the railway will proceed with switching out cars at the pace of two to three trains per month.

According to JR East representatives, overcrowding on the line has decreased as a result of ridership decline, flex-time, an increased number of trains, and higher-capacity trains. The most crowded section in 1990, on the clockwise loop from Ueno to Okachimachi, was originally at 274% of capacity, but this has decreased to 204% of capacity in 2008.

Platform doors will be installed on the Yamanote Line at Meguro and Ebisu Stations in FY2010, with installation at all 29 stations scheduled for FY2017.
They were testing the first train with the new replacement cars well outside of typical Yamanote Line haunts and out onto the Yokosuka Line all the way to Higashi-Totsuka. This is th first all-four door Yamanote Line train in testing, passing Shin-Kawasaki Station:


Source: MrNAMAZUkun on YouTube

And a ride on the Yamanote Line the last day the seats were locked.


Source: karibajct on YouTube

A few “final” photos… The cars will still be in service for some time as they are gradually replaced with new four-door cars, just the seats won’t be locked anymore.
Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/takihiro0827/











There are still several other lines in the Tōkyō area that use these six-door cars with lockable folding seats, including the Tōkyū Den’en Toshi Line (up to three in each 10-car train), the JR Saikyō Line (up to two per 10-car train), the JR Yokohama Line (up to two per 8-car train) and the Chūō-Sōbu Local Line (up to one per 10-car train), so they won’t disappear completely.

Of course, there are also other strange units like the Keihan 5000 series, with all five-door cars at less than 19 m per car:


Source: nekonyansan on YouTube
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Old February 21st, 2010, 01:09 PM   #938
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Rolling stock gallery

Keihan Electric Railway 2200 series on the Keihan Main Line


Source: Anonymous on http://rail-uploader.khz-net.com/

Keihan 3000 series on the Keihan Main Line


Source: Mbk◆KShIwW3m9A on http://rail-uploader.khz-net.com/

Ōsaka Monorail, against the backdrop of Ōsaka’s skyline


Source: Mbk◆KShIwW3m9A on http://rail-uploader.khz-net.com/

Hanshin 1000 series


Source: Anonymous on http://rail-uploader.khz-net.com/

Hankyū 9000 series


Source: 次は杁中 on http://rail-uploader.khz-net.com/

Hankyū 5000 series, at Mikage Station on the Kōbe Main Line


Source: 旭区SF◆hRjkAF3M6M on http://rail-uploader.khz-net.com/

Sapporo trams


Source: Anonymous on http://rail-uploader.khz-net.com/

Toyama Light Rail


Source: Anonymous on http://rail-uploader.khz-net.com/

JR East E233 series on the Ōme Line


Source: Anonymous on http://rail-uploader.khz-net.com/


Source: じゅん◆dySDvrEnOM on http://rail-uploader.khz-net.com/

JR East 209-5000 series on the Musashino Line


Source: じゅん◆dySDvrEnOM on http://rail-uploader.khz-net.com/

JR East E217 series in Shōnan colors


Source: 名無しのへたれ職人◆4PqRaNcRjA on http://rail-uploader.khz-net.com/

Keikyū 600 rapid limited express on the Kurihama Line


Source: Anonymous on http://rail-uploader.khz-net.com/

Keisei 3000 series approaching Nippori Station


Source: Mbk◆KShIwW3m9A on http://rail-uploader.khz-net.com/

Keisei 3700 series near Senju Ōhashi


Source: Mbk◆KShIwW3m9A on http://rail-uploader.khz-net.com/

Sōtetsu 10000 series


Source: じゅん◆dySDvrEnOM on http://rail-uploader.khz-net.com/

Keiō 3000 series


Source: 東府中の住人 on http://rail-uploader.khz-net.com/

JR East 205 series on the Senseki Line


Source: Anonymous on http://rail-uploader.khz-net.com/

Centram


Source: 岡高◆90e/N2bs3w on http://rail-uploader.khz-net.com/
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Old February 21st, 2010, 01:11 PM   #939
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Trains in the snow

Some clips on 2010.02.02 around Tōkyō:

Tōkyū Den’en Toshi Line (Tōkyū, Tōbu, and Tōkyō Metro trains) near Tsukushino


Source: norimonopodcast on YouTube

Keisei Main Line (Keisei and Toei Subway trains) between Keisei Nishifuna and Kaijin


Source: TN5DMK2 on YouTube

Near Hodogaya Station on the Tōkaidō Line and Yokosuka Line


Source: karibajct on YouTube

Bonus clip from the Chūbu Region. Meitetsu Hiromi Line between Zenjino and Shin-Kani (2010.01.02):


Source: randonneur110 on YouTube
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Old February 21st, 2010, 01:17 PM   #940
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Station scenes

Evening rush hour scenes in some of Tōkyō’s largest stations, from the viewpoint of a passenger...
Source: lylehsaxon on YouTube

Shinjuku Station, South Exit, 7:25 pm on a Tuesday



Cruising down the Yamanote Line / Chūō Line platforms at Shinjuku at 7:30 pm



Shibuya Station, 6:30 pm on a Wednesday



Kawasaki Station faregates, 6:30 pm on a weekday

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