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Old March 29th, 2010, 11:35 AM   #1081
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JR Kyūshū forecasts operating budget in the red for FY2010
http://kyushu.yomiuri.co.jp/keizai/d...OYS1T00211.htm

Quote:
On March 19, JR Kyūshū submitted its FY2010 business plan to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) for approval. According to the plan, operating revenue, equivalent to sales, will drop 4.0 percent over the previous fiscal year to ¥153.5 billion, and operating profit will drop to ¥5 billion in the red (previous fiscal year, operating profit was ¥400 million in the black). This is the first expected drop in revenue in three years, and the first operating loss in seven.

In addition to stagnating ridership as a result of the economy, infrastructure investment—going towards the full opening of the Kyūshū Shinkansen’s Kagoshima route and other projects—is expected to reach a historic high of ¥75.6 billion.

The infrastructure investments include ¥31.0 billion for the purchase of Shinkansen rolling stock (five times the figure for the previous fiscal year) and ¥15.1 billion related to the Hakata Station building, a 2.0 percent increase over the previous fiscal year. Meanwhile, railway ridership is expected drop by 0.6 percent to 293 million.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 11:36 AM   #1082
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Nishitetsu opens joint convenience store and bus stop with Lawson
http://www.nishitetsu.co.jp/release/2009/09_205.pdf

Quote:
At Nishitetsu Group, together with Lawson Inc., starting March 27, 2010, we will launch service at the first joint convenience store and bus stop in the Kurume area of Fukuoka.

The latest location to enter service is the Tsunemochi, Kurume Lawson’s store (Ōhashimachi Tsunemochi 504-1, Kurume City) and joint Lawson Tsunemochi Store bus stop.

By combining the bus stop and convenience store together, even during inclement weather, our customers can wait comfortably for buses inside the convenience store. In addition, as a test case, we will install a bus navigation liquid crystal display (LCD) inside the store, allowing our passengers to confirm the position and estimated arrival time of buses serving the stop and use their wait time effectively.

In addition, our IC card nimoca can be used at the store for shopping while waiting for the bus or after getting off, as well as allowing passengers to charge their card with value.

At Nishitetsu Group, we will continue to work towards improving convenience for passengers using our buses.
Pictures:
Source: http://blog.livedoor.jp/salam817gokase1124/





Bound for “Lawson Tsunemochi Store.”



Apparently, this bus doesn’t come that often, so it’s probably good for everyone to have passengers wait inside the Lawson store.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 11:37 AM   #1083
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New Fukuma Station building opens

Designed with an elevated concourse and barrier-free access. Opened February 27.
This station is located on the JR Kagoshima Main Line between Chidori and Higashi-Fukuma in Fukutsu City. Daily entries are 6,600 (2008).

Some pictures (2010.02.27):
Source: http://ameblo.jp/fu-hideo/

East Exit. The station plaza is still under construction.



The ground level features a convenience store, a bakery, a standing udon shop, an ATM, and a dental clinic.



The West Exit is still empty, but is the future home of public housing and an Aeon mall.













They will demolish part of this platform to make room for another track.



Removal of the old platform bridge.

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Old March 29th, 2010, 11:37 AM   #1084
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New Murasaki Station opens on Nishitetsu Tenjin–Ōmuta Line
http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nnp/item/161337

Quote:
On March 26, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the concourse of the new Murasaki Station on the Nishi-Nippon Railroad (HQ: Fukuoka City) Tenjin–Ōmuta Line in Murasaki 2-chōme, Chikushino City. The walls and other elements of the station feature the color purple, drawing from the name of the town (which means “purple”) and the Murasaki (Purple) Project, a local town renewal movement. The new station, designed around green building principles, was debuted to officials.

Murasaki Station is the first new station on the line since Mikunigaoka Station (Ogōri City) opened 18 years ago. The station is located between Nishitetsu Futsukaichi and Asakura-gaidō (a distance of 2,440 m), and was constructed at the cost of ¥700 million. A total of 204 local trains will serve the station on weekdays, and daily ridership is forecasted at 6,600 passengers. The regular adult fare to Fukuoka (Tenjin) Station is ¥330.

The area immediately outside the station building features two light poles using wind- and solar-generated power, and the floor of the station building features tiles made from recycled materials. The station sign outside the building is in purple. At the ceremony, Nishitetsu’s Railway Operations Chief Yanagi Shinji said, “I think this will be a station that locals will appreciate long into the future.”
Pictures:
Source: http://tohonuke.blog120.fc2.com/








Source: http://ameblo.jp/yakuin-com/





West rotary



East rotary



Waiting room



“Murasaki”





Nishitetsu Bus bus stop

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Old March 29th, 2010, 11:39 AM   #1085
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Electrified extension of Kabe Line being considered
http://www.chugoku-np.co.jp/News/Tn201003200039.html

Quote:
In order to give a push to an electrified extension of the JR Kabe Line from Kabe Station to Kōdo Station (Asa Kita Ward, Hiroshima City), local residents from Kōdo district have revealed a proposal for residential development near the former Kōdo Station and intensified their efforts. The land readjustment sponsors’ association will also launch a concept study with residential developers in late March.

The Kabe Line Revitalization Committee composed of Hiroshima City and JR West’s Hiroshima Branch Office are currently considering the possibility of resurrecting this section of the line. Perceiving the time was right, local residents are rushing to flesh out development plans. According to locals, if the population increases through residential development, railway ridership demand in the Kōdo district will likewise increase, providing impetus for resurrecting the abandoned section.

The project scope of the residential development is scheduled to cover a total of 5.3 ha, focusing on 4 ha on the site of the former Hiroshima Prefecture Arato Public Housing on the south side of the abandoned Kōdo Station. Twelve individuals, consisting primarily of landowners who received land back from the Prefectural Government, established a sponsors’ association to work towards land readjustment in 2007, four years after the abandonment of a portion of the Kabe Line between Kabe and Sandankyō. By 2009, the association had secured necessary preliminary approval from the 53 landowners on the site.

The concept study targets approx. 30 residential developers in Hiroshima Prefecture. The study will ascertain the feasibility of and need for residential development assuming establishment of a new station in the Kōdo district. Based on the conclusions of the study, the association will compile a development proposal that includes placement of detached housing and retail space. In the new fiscal year, the association will analyze prospects for development firms and aim to establish a redevelopment union.

Kamigawa Hidehiko (72), representative of the sponsors’ association and chairman of the local Arashita Neighborhood Council, says, “If we can show that population in the district is likely to increase, it can help bring an electrified extension of the Kabe Line to reality. We are hoping to establish a path for development as quickly as possible.”
JR Kabe Line cab view from Hiroshima to Kabe:
Source: hiroshima341 on YouTube

Part 1: Hiroshima – Yokogawa: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHeJxDWMWMA&hd=1
Part 2: Yokogawa – Mitaki: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fO1PNcyE4tg&hd=1
Part 3: Mitaki – Aki Nagatsuka: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cNqzPBdj3k&hd=1
Part 4: Aki Nagatsuka – Shimo-Gion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLdIQfDt4jE&hd=1
Part 5: Shimo-Gion – Furuichibashi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8TnTl9MGu0&hd=1
Part 6: Furuichibashi – Ōmachi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klkgGFu2h5o&hd=1
Part 7: Ōmachi – Midorii: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ok1wuA1j8rU&hd=1
Part 8: Midorii – Shichikenjaya: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4LdWzBEXso&hd=1
Part 9: Shichikenjaya – Bairin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKvGkVE2oQU&hd=1
Part 10: Bairin – Kami-Yagi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnFdDcxq8fQ&hd=1
Part 11: Kami-Yagi – Nakashima: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZsZhepbrnI&hd=1
Part 12: Nakashima – Kabe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZN2wXNJV3vo&hd=1

As the train approaches Kabe, you can see the tracks continue, but service beyond was discontinued in 2003.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 11:40 AM   #1086
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Ichibata Bus tests out biodiesel bus program
http://www.shimanenichinichi.co.jp/kiji/show/11757

Quote:
On March 10, Matsue City non-profit organization (NPO) Project UI (Representative: Miwa Toshiharu), with cooperation from Ichibata Bus (HQ: Matsue City), launched operations of a fixed-route bus running on biodiesel fuel (BDF) refined from used cooking oil collected from regular households. This is the first time a private-sector bus company in the San’in region has operated a BDF bus. With a sign attached that says, “This bus runs on used tempura oil,” the special bus departed as officials waved goodbye.

BDF is garnering attention as an environmentally-friendly next-generation fuel source, and many government agencies are introducing its use. Project UI received financial assistance from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) as a Project for the Promotion of Revitalizing Businesses through Environmentally-Sustainable Activities, and assembled plans to operate a BDF-powered bus. With cooperation from Ichibata Bus, a single BDF bus ran three trips daily on the Hokki Loop Line until November of last year.

The discarded cooking oil used as fuel is collected from citizens at used cooking oil collection boxes placed at four supermarkets in Matsue City and Higashi-Izumo. The oil is then refined at a welfare facility in Yonago City, Tottori Prefecture for use as fuel. A bus needs 600 L of oil each month for operations, but the quota is met by collecting additional oil from restaurant owners.

The collection boxes are designed such that citizens place the used cooking oil (300 g or more), secured inside a plastic bottle or other receptacle, into a basket and push a button, after which a coin pops out. These coins offer special discounts including a ¥10 fare discount on Ichibata Bus’ Hokki Loop Line; a raffle for a ¥1,000 bus card; and additional credits on an EcoPoints card. This marks the first example in Japan where citizens who donate used oil can receive discounts on bus fares, and by the end of the month, an additional six collection boxes will be established.

Project UI director Tanaka Ryūichi says, “By setting up collection boxes in easy-to-find places like supermarkets and displaying signs that show these buses running on used tempura oil, I think this will increase awareness among citizens.”

Yoshida Shinji, company director and operations chief for Ichibata Bus, was hopeful of the program: “I hope we can increase awareness of the environment among citizens and encourage a shift from private cars to public transportation.”
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Old March 29th, 2010, 11:40 AM   #1087
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Kotoden brings out historic train for two days
http://osaka.yomiuri.co.jp/news/20100321-OYO1T00223.htm

Quote:
The Takamatsu–Kotohira Electric Railroad (HQ: Takamatsu City), affectionately known as Kotoden, will run a special service on March 20 and 21 using a vintage 1926 car as a “thank you” to passengers.

The body of the car is much smaller than the cars currently operating, and is designed in Taishō Era style, with single-leaf doors and wooden curtain frames. According to the railway, this is the only car of its type left in Japan still capable of operating.

Due to lack of funds for renewal, the train was in revenue service up until three years ago, and has since attracted fans throughout the country. With various troubles happening with railway photographers who break the law, spokespersons for the railway are encouraging fans to follow the rules.
A few pictures of the retro train, where they coupled four cars in their historic fleet:
Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/bairi_insi/





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Old March 29th, 2010, 11:41 AM   #1088
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Kotoden pushes back last departures to midnight
http://osaka.yomiuri.co.jp/re-eco/ne...OYO8T00446.htm

Quote:
Starting in April, the Takamatsu–Kotohira Electric Railroad (HQ: Takamatsu City) will push back the departure of the last trains from Takamatsu Chikkō and Kawaramachi on Friday evenings to 12:00 am. The program is in response to requests from passengers looking to have a relaxing time out drinking at the end of the week. As trains will now leave as much as one hour and 30 minutes later than currently, restaurant owners in commercial districts along the line, now battling to survive in a struggling economy, hope that the program will help bring back customers to their shops.

Nicknamed the “midnight train,” the last departure will be pushed back one hour and 30 minutes on the Kotohira Line, 48 minutes on the Shido Line, and 43 minutes on the Nagao Line. As a result, the last departure from Takamatsu Chikkō will be 12:00 am, and the last departures from Kawaramachi on the Nagao Line and Shido Line will be 12:10 am.

After the railway pushed back the last train on the last Friday in April and every Friday in December last year, passengers asked the railway to continue the program. The railway plans to test the new program until March of next year, and after evaluating passenger use, will decide whether or not to make the program permanent.

Chairman Mitsuya Masahiro of the Takamatsu Town Hospitality Promotion Committee, composed of restaurant owners and other members, was pleased: “In addition to fewer customers because of the recession, we lose even more customers as the time for the last train approaches, even if there’s still plenty of time until our shops close, so this is good news. I hope to relay the information to our affiliated shops immediately and prepare a PR campaign.”

Kagawa Prefecture—which itself has declared “eco-Fridays,” where drivers voluntarily decide not to use their cars on Fridays, as part of an effort to increase use of public transportation—says, “If convenience improves, we can get more people to use the trains.” Eager to increase ridership, spokespersons for the railway say, “If we can get people to use our trains after a relaxing time out eating and drinking, I think we can get them to see the benefits of public transportation.”
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Old March 29th, 2010, 11:42 AM   #1089
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Budget pressures force changes to Ōsaka City plans
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/osa...OYT8T00044.htm

Quote:
In regards to the proposal to build a new 80,000-seat stadium in the Umeda North Yard area on the north side of JR Ōsaka Station, on March 9 Ōsaka City mayor Hiramatsu Kunio remarked, “In the event that we are asked to provide funding for this project, we will need to make a decision one way or the other,” indicating his plan to rethink participation in the project—including possibly backing out—if the city is asked to financially support the project.

Councilmember Kawashima Hirotoshi (LDP) asked the question at a City Council committee session. The Japan Football Association and Ōsaka City have proposed a plan that would designate the new stadium as a national venue and have the national government pay the full costs.

In addition, as part of a revitalization strategy, the city has expressed intentions to request that the national government designate the Ōsaka Station North Area and designate the Yumeshima / Sakishima waterfront area as Strategic Growth Zones (temporary name). These zones would offer special taxation measures such as reduced corporate taxes, relaxed regulations to allow long-term residence for foreign researchers, and financial support to promote corporate investment.

Meanwhile, the city also announced a plan to consolidate management of station retail in the Ōsaka Municipal Subway under Ōsaka Metro Services, an auxiliary organization under the jurisdiction of the Ōsaka Municipal Transportation Bureau. Currently, management of 128 total shops is split between Ōsaka Metro Services and the Ōsaka Citizens Mutual Aid Foundation, an auxiliary organization under the jurisdiction of the Ōsaka City Health and Welfare Bureau, but this arrangement has been cited as inefficient. By FY2012 or FY2013, the city plans to reduce the number of shops to one-third the current number.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 11:43 AM   #1090
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Naniwasuji Line would cost ¥200 billion to ¥400 billion, take 35-40 minutes
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/economy/bus...2327050-n1.htm

Quote:
In the proposed Naniwasuji Line that would improve access between central Ōsaka and Kansai International Airport (KIX), the Kinki Transport Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) announced on March 26 that preliminary construction costs range from approx. ¥200 billion to ¥400 billion, and concluded that it would be possible to connect Umeda in Ōsaka with KIX in 35 to 40 minutes.

At a meeting of practical experts on March 26, attendees considered the line’s economic benefits. The construction cost, originally pegged at between ¥300 billion and ¥400 billion approx. ten years ago, could be reduced to as little as ¥200 billion after incorporating the construction of a Kita-Umeda Station on the Tōkaidō Branch Line in the Umeda North Yard and not including construction costs associated with intermediate stations.

In terms of alignments, the construction costs would be ¥400 billion when including the construction cost of intermediate stations and connections to both JR Namba Station and Nankai Electric Railway’s Shiomibashi Station, and ¥200 billion when not including construction cost of intermediate stations, but connecting to both JR Namba and Nankai Namba Stations.

Comparing the two alignments, both the station and tracks at Shiomibashi Station would need to be undergrounded, increasing the cost by several tens of billions of yen compared to an alignment connecting to Nankai Namba Station.

According to estimates by the MLIT, travel time between Umeda in Ōsaka and Kansai Airport would be approximately 41 to 46 minutes for both alignments. Estimates by Nankai Electric Railway and JR West say a travel time of 35 to 40 minutes is possible by reducing station stops.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 11:44 AM   #1091
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Ōsaka Station construction updates

Some pictures from 2010.03.

First, the South Gate Building:
Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/











With the Umeda Hankyū Building at center.



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







Parking structure.





Looking through the atrium.









New renderings of the station. These are slightly different from the original renderings and probably closer to what is actually being built.
Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/









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Old March 29th, 2010, 11:45 AM   #1092
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Shin-Ōsaka construction updates

I posted the article about this here:
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...&postcount=896

Some pictures from 2010.03:
Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/

In conjunction with the 2011 opening of the Kyūshū Shinkansen, this station is getting a new Shinkansen platform and a revamped main concourse area. Hankyū Corporation will also be building an 18-story (approx. 80 m) approx. 36,000 sq m GFA building (temporarily known as the Shin-Ōsaka Hankyū Building).



The new platform and related facilities are being constructed as an extension of the existing station building.





Station concourse, near the Central Gate to the Shinkansen part of the station. The boarded off section dead ahead will eventually lead straight into the new Hankyū office building.





Inside the paid area of the Shinkansen half of the station, construction is also proceeding.



This will be the new Shinkansen platform.



Onto the non-Shinkansen half of the station, where they haven’t yet started anything. This is the East Exit, where they will be adding more faregates as part of the renovation.



Hectic during the morning rush hour… There are 94,000 daily entries and exits for JR West’s part of the station alone.

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Old March 29th, 2010, 11:47 AM   #1093
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Platform extensions on Kizu – Dōshisha-mae section of Katamachi Line complete

This work involved extension of the platforms on the eastern end of the Katamachi Line (Gakken Toshi Line) in Kyōto Prefecture from four car-lengths to seven. This section is single-track and almost wholly duplicated by the more frequent Kintetsu Kyōto Line, which runs parallel just a stone’s throw away. However, the platform extensions allow seven-car trains to operate over the full length of the line, and eliminate the need to couple and decouple trains at Kyō Tanabe Station, as is currently done.
With JR West’s schedule changes on March 13, service with seven-car trains began, along with other improvements including additional kukan kaisoku (regional rapid) services.

First, some pictures at Hōsono Station. Out of the five stations that underwent platform extension, this one saw the most work.
Source: http://dkkawachi.blog58.fc2.com/

As part of the platform extensions, the former middle track at the station has been reconstructed to serve as the new inbound track. To secure seven car-lengths, they needed to relocate the platform inwards onto space originally occupied by the former inbound track. As a result, the stairwell is now slightly offset with the platform.



Inbound platform, at the end closer to Kizu. You can still see the edge of the old platform, and the new platform isn’t completely finished yet.



You can see the old track at left, now separated from the main line.



I guess they will probably demolish parts of the old platform before they finish the new one.





A 207 series arrives at the station, in 4+3 formation.



From the outbound platform, looking in the Kyōbashi direction.



Looking in the opposite direction, towards Kizu.



They should be installing the canopy next, and you can see the base of the canopy supports already in the new platform.



Now to Dōshisha-mae Station. This is the station for Dōshisha University.
Source: http://dkkawachi.blog58.fc2.com/



The opposite platform (Platform 2), originally used by trains terminating at the station, was decommissioned as part of the platform extension, which required that Platform 1 be extended at the Kizu end and the crossing inside the station used to gain access to / from Platform 2 be eliminated. As a result, Platform 2 is now inaccessible and no longer in use.



Over to Shimokoma Station, where only the Kizu end of the platform was extended.



A canopy was also installed on part of the platform extension.



Because of space constraints on both sides, they were forced to design the South Exit ramp and entrance fairly narrow.



Only a single faregate and card reader at the South Exit. The single ticket machine at the station is located at the central exit.







Bus stop at the station for Nara Kōtsū Bus Lines.



Bonus vid: Katamachi Line and Kintetsu Kyōto Line trains racing between Miyamaki and Shimokoma.


Source: MKR6001 on YouTube
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Old March 29th, 2010, 11:47 AM   #1094
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New JR West retail facility opens at Takarazuka Station
http://www.kobe-np.co.jp/news/hanshin/0002762079.shtml

Quote:
On March 5, press officials were invited to a sneak preview of the new Eki Marché Takarazuka retail facility set to open on March 8 inside JR Takarazuka Station, where a new elevated station concourse was completed in February. In addition to food products, prepared dishes, a cafe, and fashion accessories, the facility also features a monthly-rotation sweets corner, likely to become popular among station passengers.

The retail facility is immediately outside the faregates on the second floor of the station building, and encompasses approx. 830 sq m. To match the atmosphere of the new station building, designed around a Taishō and an early Shōwa Era motif, the interior of the facility is designed to be calming and relaxed.

The central tenant of the new facility is a gourmet store that receives its stock from Ikari Supermarket and features prepared foods and approx. 100 types of wine. The sweets corner covering about two tenant spaces is scheduled to feature popular Western-style confectionary shops in the Keihanshin area on a monthly rotation. The cafe seats 30 customers and offers freshly-baked pastries.

The facility is jointly managed by three subsidiaries of JR West, the first such joint management scheme for the railway group, and representatives are confident: “By strengthening the sense of unity and continuity between the stores, we expect to generate a synergistic effect.”

The facility is open 365 days a year. The fashion accessories store and confectionary corner are open from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm, while the other shops are open from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm.
Pictures of the new station building at JR Takarazuka Station (2010.03):
Source: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/so-long7/

The new building first opened to the public on 2010.02.20. Daily entries at the station are 31,300. At peak there are 18 tph bound for Ōsaka, Takatsuki, and other points in JR’s urban network in the Kansai region.



The new retail facility.



They seem to have gone for a retro look a la Hankyū.



The new concourse incorporates both natural light and indirect lighting.







Down to platform level…



Escalators in both directions.



Waiting room.



Seven-car rapid bound for Dōshisha-mae on the Gakken Toshi Line.

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Old March 29th, 2010, 11:48 AM   #1095
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Neighborhood shops fear loss of customers with Namba Line
http://osaka.yomiuri.co.jp/news/20100321-OYO1T00423.htm

Quote:
On March 20, Hanshin Electric Railway’s Hanshin Namba Line (Amagasaki – Ōsaka Namba) directly linking Kōbe and Nara via Ōsaka’s Minami area celebrated its first-year anniversary since opening. New flows of people have been created, leading to new growth—and impetus for redevelopment—in the Minami area and Kōbe. Meanwhile, neighborhood commercial districts along the line are fearing that they’ll lose customers, casting some shadows over the economic impacts of the line’s opening.

The biggest benefactor of the Namba Line’s opening is the Minami area. Passengers alighting at Ōsaka Namba (excluding commuter pass users) increased 22 percent over the previous year, when it was still known as Kintetsu Namba Station. A male office worker (38) from Kōbe City who visited the Minami area for the first time at the end of last year says, “I had this image that it was a disorganized place that I would get lost in, but walking around in the eclectic atmosphere was actually quite fun.”

At retail facility Namba Parks in the Minami area, card members living along the Hanshin nework increased by as much as ten percent. Representatives from Namba Parks operator Nankai Electric Railway Group are distributing free pamphlets introducing sights and places to visit in the Namba area at Hanshin stations, helping to sell the Minami area.

In Kōbe as well, entries and exits at Hanshin Sannomiya Staton have increased by seven percent. On March 22, the Sannomiya Center-gai Itchōme Commercial Association will sponsor a fashion show, in an effort to compete with the Kita area of Ōsaka. “The Minami area has a completely different vibe, so we’re not too concerned about competing against them,” say spokespersons.

For Nara, which has launched the festivities surrounding the 1300th anniversary of Heijō-kyō Capital, many are eagerly anticipating what the new line will bring. After the line’s opening, the share of guests from Hyōgo Prefecture at the Hotel Nikkō Nara rose from 1.6 percent to 2.9 percent. Executive director Maehara Takeshi (62) of the Nara City Tourism Office remarks, “Nara is home to temples and shrines with long traditions, and we hope to increase visitors to the area through the Heijō-kyō anniversary festivities.”

Redevelopment projects have also begun moving in Ōsaka City. Aeon is planning a new retail facility near Dōme-mae Station (Nishi Ward) to open in March 2012. Nearby Dekijima Station (Nishi-Yodogawa Ward), Hanshin Electric Railway will break ground on residential developments this spring.

However, neighborhood commercial districts sandwiched between major retail districts are beginning to sound alarms. The Kirara Kujō Commercial Street outside Hanshin Kujō Station (Nishi-Ward, Ōsaka City) was planning a joint stamp rally campaign with Sannomiya Center-gai, but gave up, saying customers wouldn’t go out of their way to visit without offering fairly lucrative gifts. Ten percent of the 200 stores still remain shuttered, and one shopowner (6) lamented, “Minami and Kōbe are so large, there’s really no way for us to compete. The situation’s getting worse, but there’s no brilliant way out of this.”

Kinki University professor Saitō Takahiko, an expert in transportation policy, points out, “The fact that we are experiencing benefits that surpass our initial expections is evidence that the line was needed in the first place. The competition between the Minami and Kita areas and Kōbe will help bring growth to the entire Kansai region.”
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Old March 29th, 2010, 11:48 AM   #1096
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Refurbished Keihan 8000 series unit reenters service
http://www.keihan.co.jp/news/data_h22/2010-03-18.pdf

Quote:
At Keihan Electric Railway (HQ: Chūō Ward, Ōsaka City; President: Ueda Seinosuke), we have completed refurbishment work on one 8000 series limited express train first announced in March of last year, and will launch the train in regular revenue service starting on Sunday, March 28.

The refurbishment work involved upgrades to the seating and interior design; modifications for barrier-free access including installation of wheelchair spaces; and, conversion of seating near car ends to longitudinal seating and installation of standee rings to deal with diverse passenger needs. The new longitudinal seating will feature high backs stretching up to head height, creating a train that provides for both easy boarding and alighting and upgraded passenger comfort. In addition, liquid crystal display (LCD) information displays have been installed above doors, allowing for more comprehensive provision of all types of information, including passenger direction, weather forecasts, and news. With this refurbishment work, the televisions installed in limited express trains since 1954 will be removed.

On Saturday, March 27, we will also hold a special open tour of the train at Nakanoshima Station, allowing passengers to view the the refurbished interiors before the train enters revenue service. In addition, we will also launch a special goods sale and award customers who make purchases with original 8000 series postcards.
Some pictures:


Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/marioyudai59/


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

Keihan parked the train on Platform 3, which is “half platform” at the east end of the station.


Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/lanagon33/


Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/keihan2600club/

“The auxiliary seats are locked at this time.”


Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/keihan2600club/


Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/keihan2600club/


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

Women-only car. In contrast to the new 3000 series, which is known as the “Comfort Saloon,” the 8000 series is known as the “Elegant Saloon.”


Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/keihan2600club/


Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/keihan2600club/

The longitudinal seating at the car ends is designed with high backs.


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

Special passenger run from Nakanoshima to Demachiyanagi in Kyōto after the exhibition:


Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/lanagon33/


Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/lanagon33/

The special commemorative postcards


Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/keihan2600club/

Keihan pamphlets, featuring Hinata Chiho, who plays the railway’s official “character” Okeihan.


Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/keihan2600club/

Guide to Keihan’s 100th anniversary


Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/keihan2600club/
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Old March 29th, 2010, 11:49 AM   #1097
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New Sports Park Station on the Fukui Railway
http://mytown.asahi.com/fukui/news.p...00001003260002

Quote:
On March 25, the new Sports Kōen Station (Sports Park Station) opened on the Fukui Railway Fukubu Line between Kitago (formerly Nishi-Takefu) and Iehisa in Echizen City. Governor Nishikawa Kazumi, mayors from the three cities along the line, and citizens gathered to celebrate the first new station on the line in thirteen years.

The new station is about 600 m west of Iehisa Sports Park. The canopy of the station features Japanese cedar wood from Fukui Prefecture and Echizen-style Japanese paper placed inside shets of glass. The station also features a ramp and a wheelchair-accessible restroom. The total construction cost of approx. ¥25 million is being covered by funding from the national and prefectural governments, and annual ridership is forecasted at 4,000.

At the ceremony, Fukui Railway president Murata Haruo greeted the crowd, saying, “It’s been one year since the national government approved our financial stabilization plan, and we’ve opened a new station. With this new station as a foundation, I hope we can bring our railway operation back onto its feet.” Following the ribbon-cutting, Governor Nishikawa joined nursery school students wearing station staff hats in giving the OK sign, and a special commemorative train run departed the station.
A few pictures:


Source: http://chinchinhan.seesaa.net/


Source: http://chinchinhan.seesaa.net/

Commemorative ticket for the first day


Source: http://chinchinhan.seesaa.net/

Together with the opening of the new station, Fukui Railway also implemented schedule changes and renamed some of their stations:

Sekijūji-mae (Red Cross). This was the former Fukui-Shin Station.


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

Tawaramachi


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

Railway staff switching out the timetables on the bulletin board at the station…


Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/degital_masunaga/
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Old March 29th, 2010, 11:51 AM   #1098
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Dual-mode vehicle makes its way to Akechi Railway
http://www.asahi.com/travel/news/NGY201003200018.html

Quote:
On March 20, a new dual-mode vehicle (DMV) capable of running on both roads and rails began trial runs with passengers on third-sector operator Akechi Railway in Ena City, Gifu Prefecture.

The DMV is a microbus remodeled by JR Hokkaidō, developed in 2004. The vehicle has both rubber tires and steel wheels, operating on roads with the tires and on rails with the steel wheels. There is no need to construct new railway facilities such as track, and the cost of the vehicle is approx. ¥20 million, about one-sixth the cost of a train. The mode is being looked at as a possible public transportation solution for smaller cities troubled by depopulation and financial difficulties.

JR Hokkaidō is aiming to develop the technology for practical use, and is testing the vehicle throughout Japan. The test on the Akechi Railway is the fourth such example outside of Hokkaidō, following behind the likes of the Minami-Aso Railway (Kumamoto Prefecture) and the Tenryū Hamana-ko Railroad (Shizuoka Prefecture). Akechi Railway is aiming to introduce the vehicles as a means of “increasing the number of trips and allowing service to tourist areas and hospitals.” After searching for 130 volunteers to participate in three days of trial runs until March 22, the railway received 1,458 responses from as far as Hiroshima and Hokkaidō Prefectures.

On the morning of the first day of trial runs, the DMV departed from the station plaza at Iwamura Station in Ena City. On a storage track, the DMV switched to steel wheels and headed off to Akechi Station. On the return trip, the DMV switched back to rubber tires and traveled on roads to return to Iwamura Station.

Ena City first-year elementary school student Hori Shōta (7), who was riding together with his grandfather, said, “I was surprised when the bus started to rise after entering the track. It made a lot of clickety-clack noise and was a little scary, but I want to ride again.”
DMV at JR Hokkaidō’s Naebo factory:


Source: wakuwaku39 on YouTube
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Old March 29th, 2010, 11:52 AM   #1099
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Fujikyū Department Store tenant leases to expire in 2012
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/shi...OYT8T01225.htm

Quote:
It was revealed that all tenants in the Fujikyū Department Store retail facility at the South Exit of JR Numazu Station would pull out as a result of lease expirations and other reasons by April 2012. The general affairs department of Fuji Kyūkō (HQ: Fuji Yoshida City, Yamanashi Prefecture), which owns the land and property, says that the railway “has not yet decided what to do with the building after the leases expire,” but given the department store’s almost 50-year history contributing to the prosperity of Numazu City as the face of its central district, the premier city in eastern Shizuoka Prefecture has its eyes glued on the situation.

According to Fuji Kyūkō, the Fujikyū Department Store opened in December 1965. The first floor of the building also features a bus station for Fuji Kyūkō buses, and together with the Seibu Department Stores’ Numazu store, which opened in 1957, served as the big draw at the South Exit of Numazu Station.

According to city records, the reinforced-concrete building features two belowground levels and nine aboveground levels on a 1,820 sq m parcel of land. Level 6 to Basement Level 1, approx. 7,000 sq m total, were set aside as sales floor area, and became home to a diverse array of shops, including food items, womens’ wear, traditional Japanese clothing, and even a school teaching conversational English.

After seismic reinforcement in 2002, more than 30 years after the building had been constructed, the store underwent a large-scale renovation. According to the store’s manager (38), at the time of the renovation, Fuji Kyūkō had signed new leases with tenants, the longest of which extends into April 2012.

For many years, the store had been home to about 50 tenants, but in recent years, perhaps as a result of limited-time leases, the store has had difficulty finding new tenants to fill abandoned space, leading to a vicious cycle of fewer customers. At the start of the year, the number of tenants had dropped to 28. After the New Year’s, the basement-level supermarket and prepared foods store closed, citing “unprofitable business,” and the three women’s wear stores occupying most of the first floor of the building have decided to close down or relocate this month, accelerating the decline.

The department store’s manager says, “We are continuing efforts to lure (new) tenants, but we have yet to find a silver bullet,” hinting that the store might not be able to fill the empty space.

Since the 90s, large stores including Jūjiya, Nichii, and Nagasakiya have withdrawn from Numazu City’s central district one after another, and in 2004, Marui closed its Numazu store. With regards to the fate of the Fujikyū Department Store, Mamiya Kazuhisa, chief of the city’s commerce and industry promotion section, says, “This is a large parcel of land directly outside the station, and we are extremely keen on exactly how this space will be used.”
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Old March 29th, 2010, 11:53 AM   #1100
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Seaside Line extension to Keikyū Kanazawa Hakkei could start in FY2012
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/ka...002000093.html

Quote:
It was revealed that Yokohama City is proceeding with plans that would allow for construction of the extension of the Kanazawa Seaside Line (JR Shin-Sugita Station – Kanazawa Hakkei Station) to Keikyū Kanazawa Hakkei Station to begin in FY2012. At a March 19 session of the Yokohama City Auxiliary Organization Financial Reform Committee, the city explained the construction schedule and project budget.

According to Yokohama City, there have been plans to extend the line to Keikyū Kanazawa Hakkei Station since the time the line opened in July 1989. Due to difficulties with land acquisition, however, the line began operation with a temporary station constructed approx. 150 m short of the originally proposed terminus.

As prospects in the land acquisition process began to turn for the better last year, Yokohama City has begun the formal process for the extension this year, including outreach to landowners. The cost of the extension could reach as much as ¥7.5 billion, with the city scheduled to cover ¥6.0 billion and Seaside Line operator Yokohama New Transit covering ¥1.5 billion.

Yokohama City owns a 51 percent stake in Yokohama New Transit, which has a cumulative deficit of approx. ¥9.7 billion as of FY2008. In recent years, the line has continued to post operating surpluses, but faced with the need to replace rolling stock within the next five years, the company needs over ¥10.0 billion. As a result, the city plans to invest an additional ¥2.5 billion starting with the new fiscal year.

At the committee session, a financial restructuring plan was compiled that called for “identifying the reasons behind the company’s poor financial situation and proceeding with efforts to stabilize its finances.” The restructuring plan also incorporated items calling for “disposing of the line before more city investment is required” and “considering sale of the line to a private-sector railway company.”
Cab view from Shin-Sugita to Umi no Kōen Minamiguchi:
Source: OleOleSaggy on YouTube

Part 1: Shin-Sugita – Shidai Igakubu



Part 2: Shidai Igakubu – Umi no Kōen Minamiguchi

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