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Old March 22nd, 2010, 12:29 AM   #1001
quashlo
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Shingū Chūō Station opens on the Kagoshima Main Line
http://mainichi.jp/area/fukuoka/news...20187000c.html

Quote:
Shingū Chūō Station opened on the JR Kagoshima Main Line in Kaminofu, Shingū Town on March 13. Approx. 1,000 officials and local residents gathered to celebrate the town’s first JR station, with special one-day stationmasters Nakamura Takehiro (14) and Ōtsu Sayuri (14), both second-year students at Shingū Middle School, giving the sign for the first departure from the station.

The new station building situated in the center of the town is a gray steel-frame structure with horizontal line elements, and features an elevated concourse level. Located in between Shishibu Station (Koga City) and Fukkōdai-mae Station (Higashi Ward, Fukuoka City), a total of 162 local trains will stop at the station daily. JR Kyūshū has forecasted a daily ridership of approx. 4,200 for the first year.

The ceremony for the departure of the first train was held on Platform 2. Nakamura and Ōtsu, together with Stationmaster Eguchi Nozomu, raised their right hands and gave the OK sign for departure to the 11:11 am inbound local train headed for Mojikō.

Shingū Chūō Station was constructed after petitions by the Promotion Committee for Construction of a New Station established by volunteer town residents. The ¥1.34 billion construction cost for the new station was covered by the town government and Promotion Committee. The town government was responsible for constructing the station building and the public passage connecting the east and west station plazas, with two elevators and an up-only escalator.

At the opening ceremony for the new station, Chairman Nagasaki Taketoshi of the Promotion Committee and Shingū Town mayor Nakano Masaaki greeted the crowd: “As the keystone of our urbanization plan, we eagerly anticipate the contribution this new station will make towards the development of our town.”

East and west of the station building, land readjustment projects are proceeding. The Nakata district east of the station stretches across approx. 30.6 ha and is planned for a residential zone housing 2,500 residents and a large-scale commercial facility. The total project cost is ¥8.16 billion and completion is scheduled for FY2012.

The Midorigahama district west of the station covers approx. 8.2 ha and is planned for a residential zone housing 1,000 residents and a mixed-use commercial zone. The total project cost is ¥4.87 billion and completion is scheduled for FY2013.
East Exit


Source: Wikipedia

West Exit


Source: http://expwy502.cocolog-nifty.com/

The area surrounding the station is still under development.


Source: http://expwy502.cocolog-nifty.com/

Inside the atrium at the station.


Source: http://expwy502.cocolog-nifty.com/

Last edited by quashlo; March 22nd, 2010 at 01:54 AM.
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Old March 22nd, 2010, 12:30 AM   #1002
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Kamimura Gakuen-mae Station opens on the JR Kagoshima Line
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/kag...OYT8T01092.htm

Quote:
A new station on the JR Kagoshima Line, Kamimura Gakuen-mae, opened in Shimonmyō, Ichiki–Kushikino City on March 13, and an opening ceremony was held at the station plaza. Daily ridership of approx. 1,200 is forecasted for the new station, including students commuting to and from Kamimura Gakuen and patients coming to and from the nearby hospital.

The unmanned station is located between Kushikino and Ichiki Stations and is situated approx. 300 m south of the main gate to the school along National Route 3. JR Kyūshū constructed the station platforms, while the city constructed the station plaza featuring bicycle parking, restrooms, and an elevator. The total project cost is approx. ¥260 million, with the school covering all ¥140 million of JR’s costs.

A total of 64 trains across both directions will serve the station daily, connecting to Kagoshima Chūō Station in approx. 35 minutes and Sendai Station in approx. 16 minutes.

Approx. 300 residents and JR Kyūshū officials attended the opening ceremony. Mayor Tabata Seiichi greeted the crowd, saying, “This is the first new station for our city in close to a century, after the opening of Kushikino Station and Ichiki Station. I hope it becomes a station that people both inside and outside this area and the city will enjoy for many, many years to come.”

One-day stationmasters Yoshikawa Ayaka (7), a first-year elementary school student at Kamimura Gakuen, and Tanamachi Ken’ya (7), a first-year student at Terushima Elementary School, opened the kusudama, followed by dance performances by residents and a performance by Kamimua Gakuen’s high-school wind ensemble.
Some construction photos from 2010.01.04:
Source: http://kuroki1984.blog69.fc2.com/blog-entry-273.html

The new station is a very simple design, and since it’s only single-track, there’s only one platform.





Future station plaza



West side of the station.



JR Kyūshū 817 series train passes the station.



A few pictures from the opening (2010.03.13):
Source: http://kiyosuka.potika.net/blog/101.html

Opening ceremony. The station building is behind.



The stationmaster(s) give the departure sign.



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Old March 22nd, 2010, 12:31 AM   #1003
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Suica and Kyūshū farecards launch interoperability
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/atmoney/new...OYT1T00705.htm

Quote:
IC farecards from JR Kyūshū, Nishi-Nippon Railroad (Nishitetsu), the Fukuoka City Subway, and JR East launch interoperability on March 13.

This represents the first time four different IC card systems have simultaneously launched interoperability.

While the railway companies are eagerly anticipating an increase in total ridership among the four of them, all are devising ideas to increase the circulation of their individual card systems.

The four cards launching interoperability are JR Kyūshū’s SUGOCA, Nishitetsu’s nimoca, the Fukuoka City Transportation Bureau’s Hayakaken—all used in Fukuoka City and northern Kyūshū—and JR East’s Suica.

With a charged card from only one of the farecard systems, users can board trains and buses on lines equipped with card readers from any one of the four companies. The card can also be used as electronic money at vending machines and stores affiliated with any of the companies. Each card system offers its own rewards points system, but when using transport modes and making purchases at other companies’ stores, no points will be awarded.

The four railway companies, each looking to increase circulation of its own card system, are devising ways to distinguish their cards from the others, such as temporarily increasing the accrual rate of rewards points. Nishitetsu was the first among the Kyūshū railways to launch its IC farecard service, which debuted in May 2008 and has approx. 820,000 cards in circulation. JR Kyūshū (approx. 270,000 cards in circulation) and the Fukuoka City Transportation Bureau (approx. 120,000 cards), which launched their systems later, are trailing far behind, but Nishitetsu hopes to increase the gap further by expanding affiliated stores beyond the current approx. 1,700 stores.

JR Kyūshū, on the other hand, is scheduled to launch interoperability with JR West’s ICOCA farecard when the full length of the Kagoshima route of the Kyūshū Shinkansen opens in spring of next year. And meanwhile, the Fukuoka City Transportation Burea, will allow use of Hayakaken cards for payment when obtaining certificates of residence or using public facilities starting in late April.

On March 13, a commemorative ceremony was held at JR Hakata Station, where JR Kyūshū president Karaike Kōji remarked, “I am hopeful that this will change people’s view of public transportation and lead to an increase in ridership.”
Nishitetsu CM for nimoca’s temporary rewards points program with the launch of interoperability:


Source: nimocastart on YouTube
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Old March 22nd, 2010, 12:32 AM   #1004
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Childrens’ facility to be built inside Shimonoseki Station tenant building
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/yam...OYT8T01155.htm

Quote:
On March 17, Shimonoseki City revealed plans to open a childrens’ facility carrying childrens’ toys and other equipment inside a station tenant building to be constructed by JR West as part of the city’s redevelopment project for the area surrounding JR Shimonoseki Station. The city is aiming for an opening in late FY2012.

The news was revealed at a session of the City Council’s Educational and Public Welfare Committee. According to the basic plan, the facility would occupy one full floor of the tenant building, approx. 2,600 sq m. A 1,000 sq m playroom will be divided into two zones—one for infants only, where parents can play with their children using provided toys, and an infant / child zone featuring large toys and picture books.

The facility will also feature a free parenting consultation office, and the facility will be staffed with professional consultation assistants including childcare professionals and psychological counselors. The facility will also be designed to accommodate regular citizens, and will feature a hall for movie screenings and lectures and a kitchen, as well as a cit government satellite office inside the train station.

The city is aiming for 60,000 visitors annually, and is also considering contracting out operation of the facility to a selected firm. Basic design for the facility will begin in the new fiscal year, and the total project cost is estimated at ¥380 million.
Some of the station building designs being discussed:


Source: Shimonoseki City

Shimonoseki Station and the surrounding area. The San’yō Main Line runs left-right in this picture at center.


Source: Wikipedia
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Old March 22nd, 2010, 12:33 AM   #1005
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Okayama City looks to convert JR Kibi Line to LRT
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/oka...OYT8T01281.htm

Quote:
With the goal of converting the JR Kibi Line (Okayama – Sōja, 20.4 km) to a light-rail transit (LRT) line, Okayama City will begin discussions with JR West in FY2010 to work towards developing a plan for the conversion. As funding for the preliminary discussions, the city has included ¥24 million in its proposed general account budget. After JR West revealed in 2003 that it was examining the possibility of converting money-losing local lines like the Kibi Line to streetcars, which have lower maintenance and operation costs, Okayama City has been conducting various studies and will now begin serious planning for the project. Citizens’ groups which have long been lobbying for conversion to LRT are eager to see the plan realized.

LRT vehicles are streetcars designed with low floors for easy boarding and alighting, and since the height difference is minimal, large platforms are not needed. Increasing the number of stations or bringing the line into the city’s central districts is easy with LRT, and there is hope that the project will reduce roadway congestion caused by automobiles and contribute to a cleaner environment.

Along with the Kibi Line, in 2003 JR West also identified the Toyama-kō Line in Toyama Prefecture as a primary candidate for conversion to streetcars, and the Toyama-kō Line has already been converted to an LRT line since 2006. As in Toyama City, streetcars operate in Okayama City.

In addition to these various considerations, LRT is becoming more and more popular as an environmentally-friendly transport mode, and the national government has introduced a funding assistance program to help cover the cost of procuring rolling stock. With pressure from business associations and citizens’ groups to introduce an LRT system, the city included a policy objective of converting the Kibi Line to LRT in its “Urban Transport Strategy” document published last autumn.

The ¥24 million enumerated in the city’s proposed budget will be used to cover the cost of studies and discussions with JR over appropriate project roles, operating costs, and financial feasibility. In addition, with an eye towards conversion to LRT, the city will also begin construction in FY2010 that will bring the master plan Yonegura–Tsushima Road to cross at-grade with the Kibi Line.
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Old March 22nd, 2010, 12:35 AM   #1006
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Himeji City reveals design for new Himeji Station tenant building expansion
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/hyo...OYT8T00059.htm

Quote:
On March 18, Himeji City revealed to the public the design for a new tenant building expansion to be built on the site of the former municipal bus station (approx. 800 sq m) on the north side of JR Himeji Station. The tenant building will feature dark grey panels reminiscent of Himeji Castle’s tiles and will have a stylish three-tiered design. Real estate firm FESTA Co., Ltd. (HQ: Ekimaechō, Himeji City), which operates the Himeji FESTA station tenant building, will break ground in April. The building is scheduled to open in spring 2011.

The new station tenant building is a four-story building with a gross floor area of approx. 2,900 sq m. A total of 47 shops currently with leases in FESTA will become tenants in the new tenant building. The total construction cost for the project is approx. ¥1 billion. The building will get another facelift two to two-and-a-half years after opening, when the police box on the first floor will relocate and FESTA Co. will search for new tenants to fill the space.

According to the city, around the time the new building is completed, demolition will begin on the exising Himeji FESTA building, and by summer 2011, JR West will break ground on a new tenant building approx. 40 m south of the site of the former Himeji FESTA.

In addition, the design plan for the station plaza was also revealed. Inside the “sunken garden” plaza below ground level, a special stairwell designed for both sitting and walking and a manmade stream will be constructed. At surface level, street trees will be planted and the area designed with three-dimensionality to provide a space for citizens to relax.

In addition to the new station tenant building, there is a lot of other work involving the station plaza and access to and from the station. Some sketches and renderings from proposals for the new station plaza:
Source: Himeji City

Himeji City’s original draft plan:



Himeji City Council Vision Committee proposal:






Himeji Chamber of Commerce and Industry proposal:





Himeji City Commercial Association proposal:





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Old March 22nd, 2010, 12:36 AM   #1007
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Improved service on Kishin Line; new Hon-Tatsuno station building debuts
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/tabi/domest...OYT8T00415.htm

Quote:
JR West’s spring schedule revisions entered into effect March 13, and the number of trains on the Kishin Line has been increased.

A ceremony for the first departure was held at Himeji Station, and at Hon-Tatsuno Station (Tatsunochō, Tatsuno City, Hyōgo Prefecture), where work on constructing an elevated concourse is now complete, a ceremony celebrating the opening of the new station building was held in front of a large audience. The busiest section in Tatsuno City, between Harima Jingū and Hon-Tatsuno, will see an increase in 16 round trips, but the service improvements are part of a two-year trial to increase ridership, and if unsuccessful, service will return to previous levels. As a result, participants in the festivities also called on citizens to use the line.

The new Hon-Tatsuno Station is designed with an exterior appropriate for the castle town of Tatsuno, with elements of town architecture and featuring lattice panels on white walls. The steel-frame structure is two stories covering 1,330 sq m total. The faregates have been relocated onto the second level and two elevators have been installed. Up until now, only the west side of the station had an entrance, but after requests to install an exit on the east side as well, a new passage crossing above the tracks was constructed.

Approx. 800 people attended the ceremony. Tatsuno City mayor Nishida Masanori addressed the crowd: “I hope to move forward with development of the town, with this station as its focus.” Approx. 150 fourth-year students from Tatsuno City Oyake Elementary School performed a special song they produced on their own at school to cheer on the JR Kishin Line. Yoshida Fumie (43) from Tatsunochō Suemasa in Tatsuno City was pleased, saying, “It’s convenient and stylish now, and I expect to be using the trains and facilities more often now.”

About 30 people participated in the first-departure ceremony at Himeji Station. Himeji City mayor Iwami Toshikatsu remarked, “Railways are at the center of our transportation network. They’re environmentally-friendly, and I hope that even more of our citizens will make use of them.” Office worker Kawai Shunsuke (23) from Takajōmachi in Himeji City said, “The Kishin Line has few trips, and if I miss one, I end up late for work. I’m really happy they’re going to increase service.”

As part of the schedule changes, the six total daily trains running direct between Kōzuki and Himeji have been increased to 12, and direct trains between Sayo and Himeji have been increased from 13 to 20. An additional nine trains will also be added between Harima Jingū and Himeji.
Rendering:


Source: JR West

Pics:


Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/shinya_88126/

Kishin Line trains at the station.


Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/shinya_88126/

The former platform bridge, which has now been replaced with an elevated station concourse.


Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/shinya_88126/


Source: http://matsuoba.blog78.fc2.com/


Source: http://matsuoba.blog78.fc2.com/


Source: http://matsuoba.blog78.fc2.com/

Land readjustment is still proceeding in the immediate vicinity of the station, still covered by empty plots of land.


Source: http://matsuoba.blog78.fc2.com/
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Old March 22nd, 2010, 12:37 AM   #1008
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Hanshin pushes Kintetsu through-service to Himeji to post-FY2010
http://www.kobe-np.co.jp/news/shakai/0002770979.shtml

Quote:
In regards to Kintetsu Corporation’s requests for through-service all the way to Himeji on the San’yō Electric Railway via the Hanshin and Kōbe Rapid Transit Railway networks, on March 9 Hanshin Electric Railway president Sakai Shin’ya remarked that launching the service in FY2010 would be “difficult.” Kintetsu representatives had been hoping to launch the service as soon as this spring, but Sakai said, “There’s plenty of issues that need to be resolved, including sorting out the operating schedules.”

Kintetsu expects to operate chartered trains for school field trips and other group events. In addition to connecting Himeji and Nara—both of which are home to World Heritage Sites—Kintetsu Group hopes to lure visitors from along the San’yō network to the Ise Shima area in Mie Prefecture, home to group-owned hotels and theme parks.

Hanshin and Kintetsu launched bilateral through-service operations on March 20 of last year with the opening of the Hanshin Namba Line, and trains run through-service from Hanshin Sannomiya via Ōsaka Namba to Kintetsu Nara.

In order to allow Kintetsu trains to enter the San’yō Electric Railway Line, not only the train schedules but also facilities and safety equipment will need to be modified, and trial runs conducted. In regards to the feasibility of the plan, Sakai said, “I’m looking forward to discussing the issue (with Kintetsu) one step at a time.”
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Old March 22nd, 2010, 12:37 AM   #1009
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Interview with Hanshin president on Namba Line
http://osaka.yomiuri.co.jp/eco/news/...OYO8T00319.htm

Quote:
In an interview with Yomiuri Shimbun, Hanshin Electric Railway president Sakai Shin’ya commented on the Hanshin Namba Line (Amagasaki – Ōsaka Namba), which is scheduled to celebrate its first anniversary on March 20. “The line has materialized latent demand by connecting Kōbe and Nara, cities with rich touristic resources,” remarked Sakai, who revealed that the revenue boost from the new line is expected to surpass the ¥3 billion target for the first year of operation.

How do you feel about the first year?
We’re doing well. Daily ridership on the new line is at 58,000, and while we’re under the target of 67,000 passengers, our cumulative fare revenue as of the end of January is 12 percent above the original forecasts, and we’re set to just surpass the annual forecast of ¥3 billion. We’re looking to reach our five-year goals of 84,000 passengers daily and annual fare revenue of ¥3.8 billion as soon as we can.

What’s behind the line doing so well?
There was a latent visitor demand to begin with. On the Hanshin Line, ridership has especially grown at Sannomiya and Kōshien Stations. As with the Shōsōin exhibit in Nara, whenever there’s an event, people coming from Sannomiya to Nara increase. And this year, Nara is celebrating the 1300th anniversary of Heijō-kyō Capital, and we are eagerly waiting for things to pick up.

What are the biggest issues with the new line?
Our customers biggest complaints have to do with the schedules—“too many stations,” “the train takes too long.” But for now, we are looking to ensure on-time performance and place safety first.

How will you increase the added value of areas along the line?
There are plans to convert empty land in Nishi-Yodogawa Ward, Ōsaka City to detached housing and sell it, but since the line is so short, there’s not much land left to redevelop. If the conditions are right, we are looking to expand our business as tenants in the Minami area (of Ōsaka City) and along the Kintetsu network.

Competition between Ōsaka, Kōbe, and Nara is heating up.
You can call it competition, but you can also call it symbiosis. The Namba Line resolved a “missing link” in the network, and as a result, passengers’ activity spheres have expanded and areas along the lines are starting to witness new growth.
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Old March 22nd, 2010, 12:38 AM   #1010
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Sumitomo releases financial analysis of Namba Line’s economic benefits
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/economy/bus...2153071-n1.htm

Quote:
On March 17, The Sumitomo Trust & Banking Co. announced the results of a study that estimated the economic impact of the Hanshin Namba Line, set to celebrate its first-year anniversary since opening, at a total of ¥196.3 billion, including construction investments. The bank’s research department says, “Two major private railway companies teamed up to connect to Ōsaka’s central districts, boosting the value of the Kansai region as a whole.” Looking forward to the line’s second year, the bank says, “The economic impact of the line will only increase further as it helps put the tourist and visitor resources in both Nara and Kōbe to good use.”

Of the ¥196.3 billion, the economic impact of construction and infrastructure investments up until the line’s opening reached ¥188.7 billion, with an additional ¥7.6 billion coming from increased consumer and service demand over the course of the first year, including commuting to work and school and tourist industries.

For construction and infrastructure investments, ¥99.3 billion comes from direct investment by Hanshin Electric Railway, including construction for the new line, introduction of new rolling stock, and ticket machines. Indirect benefits came from increased production in the Kinki region’s manufacturing industry primarily due to construction materials, as well as increased income and consumer spending by employees of related industries.

In regards to consumer and service demand after the opening of the line, even considering the loss in revenue for other lines as passengers shift to the Hanshin Namba Line, the bank says increased fare revenues and increased visitors to areas along the line produced an economic benefit of ¥2.87 billion. Increased patronage at Universal Studios Japan (Konohana Ward, Ōsaka City) and the Kaiyūkan Aquarium (Minato Ward, Ōsaka City) resulted in additional economic benefits of ¥3.14 billion, while increased usage of commercial facilities resulted in additional benefits of ¥1.61 billion.
Cab view of a Hanshin Namba Line train, from Sannomiya in Kōbe to Ōsaka Namba on a Kintetsu rapid express train bound for Kintetsu Nara.
Source: HINTEL242 on YouTube

Part 1: Sannomiya to Sumiyoshi



Part 2: Sumiyoshi to Nishinomiya



Part 3: Nishinomiya to Deyashiki



Part 4: Deyashiki to Nishi-Kujō



Part 5: Nishi-Kujō to Ōsaka Namba

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Old March 22nd, 2010, 12:39 AM   #1011
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Ōsaka City begins independent studies of KIX Shinkansen
http://www.kentsu.co.jp/osaka/news/p01270.html

Quote:
Ōsaka City is proceeding with an independent investigation into a possible Shinkansen line to connect to Kansai International Airport (KIX), designed to non-Shinkansen gauge and standards. From Shin-Ōsaka Station, the line would head to the Settsu area alongside the Tōkaidō Shinkansen and follow the route of the Ōsaka Monorail and Hanwa Expressway before reaching KIX. The proposal calls for using the underground space below the Ōsaka Monorail and the median space between the inbound and outbound directions of the Hanwa Expressway. In addition to substantially reducing land acquisition costs and the project timeline, Ōsaka City stresses that the plan is especially realistic from an engineering standpoint.

According to the city's plan, the line would be constructed as a Shinkansen line built to non-Shinkansen standards. The only stations would be Shin-Ōsaka Station and Kansai Airport Station, and at Shin-Ōsaka Station, the line would use the platform for the San'yō Shinkansen's Hikari Rail Star. As only airport users would use the line, trains would only need to be six- to eight-cars long, and the line would only need to be single-track, running back-and-forth from one to the other.

Assuming a travel time between Shin-Ōsaka Station and KIX of 15 minutes, headways could be 45 to 50 minutes, and in the future, the line could be converted to an extension of the Hokuriku Shinkansen.

In addition, the city is also considering using the alignment of the Route 4 Bayshore Line Expressway as an alternative route to connect to KIX. City staff explain, “There is debate over the Naniwasuji Line and the KIX maglev as solutions to improving access to KIX, but a narrow-gauge Shinkansen is just the right scale for the level of passenger demand, and is a very realistic proposal.”

Access to KIX via Shinkansen will be discussed in the Conference to Discuss a Future Vision for the Railway Network to Revitalize the Kansai Region. The Conference will discuss construction of the Naniwasuji Line (10.2 km), but due to intermediate stations, the line would still take a minimum of 35-40 minutes from Shin-Ōsaka Station to KIX.
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Old March 22nd, 2010, 12:40 AM   #1012
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Ōsaka Governor pushes for Itami closure with rail line extension
http://www.kentsu.co.jp/osaka/news/p01276.html

Quote:
In regards to the extension of the Kita-Ōsaka Kyūkō Line, Ōsaka Prefecture Governor Hashimoto Tōru remarked, “If we can obtain a consensus for the closure of Itami Airport, I’d love to devote all my energies to seeing the extension happen.” In regards to his participation in the stakeholders’ liaison committee expected to be established for the project, the Governor responded, “If it’s an extension to improve access to KIX, then it has significance. I’m hopeful that the City Council will approve the long-term closure of Itami Airport.”

The proposed extension would stretch the Kita-Ōsaka Kyūkō Line from Senri Chūō Station north into the Senba area and Kayano Chūō area. The distance of the extension is approx. 2.5 km, and new stations would be constructed at Minoo Senba (temporary name) and Shin-Minoo (temporary name). The construction costs are estimated at approx. ¥42 billion for an elevated design. Of this total cost, ¥14.65 billion will be covered locally by Ōsaka Prefecture and Minoo City.

At a session of the Prefectural Assembly, Governor Hashimoto explained, “Just looking at the Kita-Ōsaka Kyūkō Line as a means of improving local transport, the project’s priority is low, but if we look at it from an airport strategy perspective, the stakes are different. The extension is drawing attention as compensation for the closure of Itami.” The Governor expressed his belief that it would be difficult to build the extension without combining it with the closure of Itami Airport as a single plan. In regards to local funding burdens, the Governor said, “It’s difficult to start budgeting now, but it’s entirely possible that we can get funding from the national government if we package the project with the long-term closure of Itami Airport.”

Minoo City is aiming for completing the extension of the Kita-Ōsaka Kyūkō Line in 2018. The stakeholders’ liaison committee composed of Kita-Ōsaka Kyūkō Railway, Ōsaka Prefecture, and Minoo City (Toyonaka City is participating in an observer role), all involved with the project, will be established to work towards selection of a project lead (construction lead, operations lead) as well as selection of the project system. While the committee is mostly composed of practitioners, it is anticipated that Governor Hashimoto will participate in the early stages.
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Old March 22nd, 2010, 12:41 AM   #1013
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Committee compiles plan for Phase 2 of Umeda North Yard
http://www.sankei-kansai.com/2010/03...318-021738.php

Quote:
A session of the Phase 2 Development Knowledge Capital Planning Committee (Chairman: Nishio Shōjirō, Vice President of Ōsaka University), established to discuss the development of 17 ha on the west side of the Umeda North Yard (Kita Ward, Ōsaka City) on the north side of JR Ōsaka Station, was held on March 17 in Ōsaka City. The committee compiled a report that includes establishment of a so-called “environmental knowledge capital”—a center for intellectual creativity that will pioneer revolutionary technologies to deal with environmental problems—as the centerpiece of the development.

The report will be submitted to the Urban Planning Conference for the Ōsaka Station North Area scheduled to be held in May and June of this year. The goal is to launch a hotspot for “environmental knowledge” when the Phase 2 development zone opens to the public ten to fifteen years from now.

Ōsaka City has petitioned the national government for the establishment of several facilities in the Phase 2 development zone, including the Center for the Promotion of International Standardization in Environmental Technologies in Asia (temporary name), a think-tank studying the Kansai area’s environmental strategy and other issues. Ōsaka City also says that the Ōsaka Innovation Center (temporary name)—a joint private, public, and educational center being planned for the Phase 1 development zone—will help develop revolutionary technologies related to the environmental sciences.

In addition, the committee stressed the importance of actively pursuing promotional campaigns, including an “environmental mini-expo” that will allow Kansai corporations dealing with environmental business to show their environmental technology and products to the world. The committee also recommended making the development zone a place where corporations dealing with the environment can co-strategize in order to take Kansai’s strengths in environmental technology and develop them into a superior product in the global market.
Plan is here (Japanese only):
http://www.osakacity.or.jp/distribut...apital/03.html
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Old March 22nd, 2010, 12:41 AM   #1014
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JR West to begin selling Keihan-JR linked commuter passes in May
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/economy/bus...0849008-n1.htm

Quote:
JR West and Keihan Electric Railway will launch linked commuter passes across the two company’s networks using JR West’s IC farecard ICOCA starting May 8. Starting that day, passengers can also exchange their magnetic linked commuter passes with ICOCA cards. The passes can be purchased at Midori no Madoguchi counters and Midori no Teikiken commuter pass vending machines at JR West’s main terminals.

Keihan Electric Railway is planning to sell the cards starting in 2011.
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Old March 22nd, 2010, 12:42 AM   #1015
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Ōji Station project aims to increase bus ridership
http://mytown.asahi.com/nara/news.ph...00001003120002

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In an effort to curb congestion caused by cars waiting to pick-up and drop-off commuters in the area surrounding Ōji Station, serviced by a total of four lines operated by JR and Kintetsu, starting in February, Nara Prefecture has been conducting a field test. In order to get bicycle and motorcycle users who switch to commuting by private automobile in inclement weather to instead switch to fixed-route buses, Nara Prefecture has launched a chariwari (“bike discount”) on bus fares. If successful, the Prefectural Government says it will expand the program to other stations.

Total daily ridership at JR Ōji Station is approx. 30,000, with another approx. 20,000 between Kintetsu Ōji Station and Shin-Ōji Station, and there are many “Nara urbanites” who commute to offices and schools in Ōsaka.

Day or night, and in inclement weather, the two traffic circles at the north and south sides of the station are overflowing with cars picking-up or dropping-off passengers, leading to congestion on arterial roads connecting the station and the surrounding residential neighborhoods such as National Route 25. According to Nara Prefecture, queues during the morning rush hour at the Honmachi Itchōme intersection on National Route 168 stretch as long as 350 m.

In an effort to alleviate the situation, the Prefectural Government, public transportation operators, and five towns including Ōji Town established the Ōji Town Area Public Transportation Revitalization Committee. The committee has discussed ways to increase ridership on fixed-route buses, reduce roadway congestion, and reduce environmental impacts.

The “bike discount” program is the first in the series. The program sells bus ticket booklets covering six rides, at about 20 percent discount, to the approx. 3,000 people who have spaces in five bicycle parking facilities surrounding the station. According to a survey conducted by the committee, a third of all the bike parking space users switch to private automobile when it rains, and as a result, the program hopes to get these people to switch to buses instead.

The tickets will be sold across five sessions until July 6, with the next session scheduled from March 25 to April 5. The tickets can be used until the end of September, and the revenue loss from the discounted fares will be absorbed by Nara Kōtsū Bus Lines.

In addition, an electronic departuire board showing the next departures for bus lines stopping at the train station will be installed near the faregates at JR Ōji Station by the end of the month. A new service will also launch that allows users to check on the location of buses on some lines using their mobile phones. The committee is also in discussions with taxi companies to provide share-ride taxis serving patients commuting to and from the Nara Prefectural Mimuro Hospital.

The chief of the Prefectural Road and Transport Environment Section under the committee’s Executive Office says, “We want people who are leery of using the bus to see just how convenient it can be. If the program is successful, we are hoping to expand the program to similarly-congested Yamato Saidaiji Station (Nara City) and Yamato Yagi Station (Kashihara City).”
JR Ōji Station
Source: twinmount on Flickr

image hosted on flickr


image hosted on flickr


Looking east from above the station.

image hosted on flickr


Looking west.

image hosted on flickr
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Old March 22nd, 2010, 12:44 AM   #1016
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Elevated platform at Nara Station for JR Sakurai Line opens
http://mytown.asahi.com/nara/news.ph...00001003100002

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In preparation for the start of use of the elevated platform for the JR Sakurai Line (Man’yō Mahoroba Line) on March 13, JR West revealed the new Nara Station platforms and station concourse to press reporters on March 9.

The station is three stories, with the ticketing entrance located on the second level, featuring a total of seven faregates. The columns and lattice ceiling inside the station are made of Yoshino cypress, while the white-colored walls are reminiscent of plaster.

The tracks, five total, are located on the third floor of the station. The wind screens feature colored glass in green and yellow, while the columns are painted pink. “The design is reminiscent of Heijō-kyō, an ancient former capital that was full of color,” says JR West.

Work will now focus on the first- and second-floor levels of a passage connecting the east and west sides of the station, and construction is scheduled for completion in the fall. Retail facilities will enter space on the second floor of the station.
Some pictures:
Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/

West Exit





The station sign uses LED lighting.



Switching to the East Exit. The former station building at center is now closed off.



Passing through the temporary passage that takes us to the new elevated west side of the station.



Yoshino cypress used in the columns and in the ceiling.



The lighting and column pedestals are designed to be reminiscent of temple / shrine architecture.





Once inside the faregates, we make our way up to platform level.



Looking outside the window of the station, we can see the old ground-level Platform No. 1, which is already starting to be dismantled.



Work on elevating the station began in 1997, and it is now complete (although they still have other related work to do, including demolition, and construction of related facilities such as sidewalks and a new traffic circle outside the station). The station features three island platforms and five tracks.









Looking south in the Tennōji-bound direction. The newest track at left is for the Sakurai Line (Man’yō Mahoroba Line.



The other direction, in the Kizu-bound direction.

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Old March 22nd, 2010, 12:47 AM   #1017
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Umeda Hankyū Building office tower complete
http://holdings.hankyu-hanshin.co.jp...01003102N1.pdf

Quote:
Hankyū Corporation has been proceeding with replacement of the Umeda Hankyū Building, which will become the new home for Hankyū Department Stores’ Umeda flagship store, and following the September 3, 2009 opening of the lower floors of Phase 1 of the project (the department store section), we will finish construction of the Umeda Hankyū Building Office Tower on April 1 of this year. Blessed with a superior location in the middle of the Ōsaka–Umeda Station area, western Japan’s largest terminal, we will debut an office building with high environmental efficiency and comfort.

Primary tenants scheduled for the new building include Ernst & Young Shin-Nihon LLC, Kuraray Co., Ltd., and TOTO Ltd.

In addition, the construction area has been split into two different phases for the north and south portions of the site, but with the completion of the office tower, construction on Phase 1 (the south side) is complete. We will now proceed with Phase 2 (the north side) and are scheduled to have a grand opening for the Umeda Hankyū Building in FY2012.

Extremely convenient to public transportation
Even within the Umeda area, which is seeing new office buildings being constructed one after another, the Umeda Hankyū Building is blessed with extremely convenient access. The building is surrounded by five stations operated by Hankyū, Hanshin, JR, and the Ōsaka Municipal Subway (Midōsuji Line, Tanimachi Line), and thanks to an extensive underground pedestrian network, has sheltered access within five minutes from each of the stations.

Starting with the Hankyū Department Stores’ Umeda flagship store on the lower floors, the building offers an office environment that is connected to urban activities, including nearby shopping, cultural functions, and entertainment uses.
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Old March 22nd, 2010, 12:48 AM   #1018
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Hankyū opens Settsu-shi Station on the Kyōto Line
http://www.asahi.com/kansai/travel/n...003130065.html

Quote:
On March 14, the new Settsu-shi Station (Settsu City, Ōsaka Prefecture) opened between Shōjaku and Minami-Ibaraki on the Hankyū Kyōto Line. Special commemorative events were held on March 13, with a special train based on Settsu-shi Station’s theme of “green design” running between the new station and Ibaraki-shi Station.

According to Hankyū Corporation, the new station incorporates energy conservation technologies such as solar power generation and use of rainwater, reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Hankyū purchased carbon offsets from the Hyōgo Prefectural Federation of Forest Owners’ Cooperative Associations for use towards reforestation, and in exchange obtained the title of “zero emissions,” the first such station in Japan.

The station was built at the request of Settsu City, and redevelopment projects in the surrounding area are proceeding in parallel with the opening of the new station. A total of 266 local trains on weekdays and 241 local trains on Saturdays and Sundays will stop at the station, with a forecasted daily ridership of 12,000.
Some pictures of the new station
Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/desan55/





Although only local trains stop at the station, about a third of them are through-service runs with the Ōsaka Municipal Subway Sakaisuji Line, to and from Tengachaya.





Hankyū revamped some of its bus service to serve the new station. As part of the station’s “green” theme, at least some of the buses run on biodiesel.



New condominium development under construction outside the station.



The condominiums are part of a large mixed-use development, Park City Minami Senrioka, with 586 condominium units, senior housing, and a large retail facility.


Source: Mitsui Fudōsan Residential


Source: Mitsui Fudōsan Residential

Hankyū decorated several of their trains to celebrate the new station opening:
Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/u_hikoboshi/
Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/u_hikoboshi/
Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/u_hikoboshi/






















Last edited by quashlo; March 22nd, 2010 at 12:53 AM.
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Old March 22nd, 2010, 12:54 AM   #1019
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Exhibit focuses on life of Hankyū Railway founder
http://mytown.asahi.com/yamanashi/ne...00001003100005

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Established in the Kansai region by Nirasaki City native Kobayashi Ichizō (1873-1957), Hankyū Corporation will celebrate its 100th anniversary on March 10. As part of an effort to shed light on Nirasaki City’s native son and his success story, Nirasaki City will sponsor an exhibition at the Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art for the first time that will feature countless art treasures in the private collection of Kobayashi, known as an avid art collector. The city’s Board of Education has created supplementary reading material that follows Kobayashi’s life from his childhood and plans to use the material in classes for elementary school students.

Kobayashi’s cultural side
Born in Nunoya in Nirasaki City, Kobayashi would go on to graduate from Keiō University, and after a stint at Mitsui Bank, would help establish what would become Hankyū Corporation’s predecessor. On March 10, 1910, the railway opened its Takarazuka Line and Minoo Line in Ōsaka and Hyōgo Prefectures. In addition to his successes as an entrepreneur in launching urban development along the company’s railway lines, Kobayashi is applauded as a cultured man up until his death, establishing the Takarazuka Revue theater troupe, a professional baseball team, and a film production company.

In the exhibition of Kobayashi’s art collection being sponsored by Nirasaki City and the Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art between October 30 and November 30, approximately 50 items were borrowed from the Itsuō Museum and Ikeda Bunko Library in Ikeda City, Ōsaka Prefecture—including Important Cultural Properties identified by the national government such as calligraphy pieces by and tea instruments from Yosa Buson—and will recreate the Kobayashi family’s well-loved tearoom. An exhibit room will also introduce Kobayashi’s endeavors in developing Hankyū Railway and Hankyū–Tōhō Group.

The Itsuō Museum, which retains and displays a collection of approx. 5,000 items, is renowned for being reluctant to lend its collection to other museums, and negotiations for the exhibit lasted almost two years. The curator from the Prefectural Museum of Art says, “This is only the third time the Itsuō Museum has allowed any part of their collection to leave their museum. After negotiating with them in person five times, we finally received their approval. We want to examine Ichizō both as a cultured man and as an entrepreneur.”

Supplementary reading material for children
The Nirasaki City Board of Education will adapt the exhibition reader for museum visitors into a twenty-page supplementary book for young children that traces the life of Kobayashi, and intends to distribute the book to elementary school students in the city. The Prefectural Board of Education, which oversees the Prefectural Museum of Art, says, “There are more and more children who have never heard of the name of ‘Kobayashi Ichizō’,” and will distribute a smaller, consolidated version of the book to young children in Yamanashi Prefecture.

In addition, Nirasaki City plans to establish a special corner introducing Nirasaki’s “native son” Kobayashi next July inside an empty retail building obtained by the city outside JR Nirasaki Station. Top city officials confide that they hope to eventually display items related to Kobayashi that still remain in his hometown, including family trees.

Kobayashi is frequently compared to Nezu Kaichirō, the man who resurrected Tōbu Railway, who donated pianos to elementary schools in the prefecture and gifted large sums of money towards the construction of the Prefectural Library and bridges. University of Yamanashi visiting professor Mukaiyama Takeo (60), who is known for his research into Kobayashi and will oversee the exhibition, says, “Ichizō constantly thought of his home, and was always grateful of Nirasaki. I hope we can shed some light on Ichizō’s true figure.”
Strangely enough, Gotō Keita, who was founder of what would become today’s Tōkyū Corporation, also collected art, and there is a museum housing his collection in Kaminoge in Setagaya Ward, Tōkyō, including parts of the Tale of Genji scroll and other National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties.
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Old March 22nd, 2010, 12:55 AM   #1020
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Hopes high after completion of double-tracking on Kyōto – Sonobe section of San’in Line
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/kyo...OYT8T00043.htm

Quote:
With the completion of the double-tracking of the approx. 34 km section of the JR San’in Line from Kyōto Station (Shimogyō Ward, Kyōto City) to Sonobe Station (Nantan City), a new train schedule kicked into service on March 13. The new schedule increases the number of rapid trains and reduces the travel time between Kyōto City and the Nantan City region, and officials are eagerly anticipating the benefits of the project to development of areas along the rail line. A commemorative ceremony was held at a hotel in Shimogyō Ward, and special commemorative train departures and related events were held at both stations as well as at Kameoka Station.

The section between Kyōto Station and Sonobe Station opened in 1899 and was completely electrified in 1990. Double-tracking work began in 1989, and in 2003, double-tracking was completed on three sections of the line (Kyōto – Nijō, Hanazono – Saga Arashiyama, and Umahori – Sonobe) stretching a total of approx. 22.8 km. The total project cost for the latest double-tracking work is approx. ¥23.37 billion, and also includes elimination of grade crossings by elevating the Hanazono – Saga Arashiyama section and reconstructing Saga Arashiyama and Kameoka Stations with elevated station concourses.

With the complete double-tracking of the line between Kyōto and Sonobe, wait time as trains pass by each other has been eliminated, and travel time between Kyōto and Sonobe has been reduced by four to 15 minutes. Rapid trains now make the journey in as little as 37 minutes. In addition, with the latest schedule revisions, JR West has added nine additional rapid trains during the morning and evening rush hours and modified midday headways on local trains to an even ten minutes.

At Kyōto Station, officials attending the opening ceremony cut the tape, and with hand signals from one-day stationmaster Fukuda Noa, a fifth-grade student from the Kyōto City Umekōji Elementary School, the special commemorative train departed the station at 9:30 am. Office worker Kitamura Mariko (26) from Ukyō Ward welcomed the news: “My grandparents live in Nantan City, and I use the line a lot, so it’s great that the travel times have been reduced.”

At Kameoka Station, a stone monument honoring Tanaka Gentarō was revealed to the public. Tanaka was founder of the so-called Kyōto Railroad before the advent of the national railways and constructed the foundations for the current segment of the line between Kyōto and Sonobe.

Approx. 350 people including officials from JR West, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), and local jurisdictions along the line attended the opening ceremony. Kyōto Governor Yamada greeted the crowd, saying, “As a north-south trunk line for Kyōto residents, and also as a means of transport for visitors to the city, the line has become more convenient. I hope we can take advantage of this as a catalyst for regional development.” Chairman of the San’in Line Kyōto Central Double-Tracking Promotion Committee and Nantan City mayor Sasaki Toshinori remarked, “Our dream has finally come true. I hope this will stimulate further development of areas along the line.”

On March 14, JR West will hold a stamp rally between Tambaguchi and Sonobe Stations (excepting Hozukyō and Yoshitomi Stations). The railway is also selling matted commerative entry tickets at all stations until April 30.
With the service changes on March 13, the 113 series trains were withdrawn from the Sagano Line.

Arriving at Kyōto Station, Platform 33:


Source: Train5353 on YouTube

The last rapid train of the night departs Kyōto bound for Sonobe and Fukuchiyama.


Source: lambstone2000 on YouTube
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