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Old June 2nd, 2010, 10:50 AM   #1341
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Narita Sky Access to open July 17

On July 17, we will open the Narita Sky Access line for service and institute schedule changes.

The upcoming schedule shifts all “Skyliner” services onto the Narita Sky Access line, and using the newest Skyliner trains (AE series trains), this service will reach a speed of 160 kph, the top speed in Japan among non-Shinkansen lines. As a result, the journey time from Nippori to Airport Terminal 2 Station will decrease by 15 minutes to as little as 36 minutes.

In addition, we will establish a new non-premium fare limited express service known as the “Access limited express” directly connecting Narita Airport and Haneda Airport, and during peak hours, there will be nine trains per hour arriving at Narita Airport (three Skyliner trains, three Access limited express trains, and three non-premium fare limited express trains operating via the Keisei Main Line), vastly improving access to Narita Airport.

  1. All “Skyliner” trains will be shifted to operate via the Narita Sky Access line, and through the use of new Skyliner (AE series) trains, will travel at 160 kph, the highest speed of any non-Shinkansen line in Japan, connecting Nippori and Airport Terminal 2 Station in as little as 36 minutes.
    1. Stops: Ueno — Nippori — via Narita Sky Access — Narita Airport Terminal 2 — Narita Airport
    2. No. of trains: 28 inbound trains, 26 outbound trains
    3. Travel time: Ueno — Narita Airport, 36 min.
    4. Fare: Regular fare (¥1,200) + limited express fare (¥1,200) = ¥2,400
  2. We will establish a new non-premium fare limited express service known as the “Access limited express” directly connecting Narita Airport and Haneda Airport via the Narita Sky Access line. During the midday period, these trains will be operated on the Toei Subway Line and Keikyū Line on their fastest service, the airport limited express.
    1. Stops: Ueno — Nippori — Aoto — Takasago — via Narita Sky Access — Higashi-Matsudo — Chiba New Town Chūō — Inba Nihon Idai — Narita Yukawa — Narita Airport Terminal 2 — Narita Airport
      Toei Asakusa Line through-service — Oshiage — Aoto, etc.
    2. Scope: Between Narita Airport of Haneda Airport (during morning and evening periods, trains will arrive at and depart from Ueno, Nishi-Magome, and other stations)
    3. No. of trains: 25 inbound, 26 outbound
    4. Frequency: Outbound trains during the morning rush hour are roughly every 20 minutes; every 40 minutes during other time periods
    5. Travel time: Haneda Airport – Narita Airport, 103 min.
  3. We will establish a new “City Liner” service as a premium-fare limited express service for the Keisei Main Line, operating primarily during the midday period with stops at all existing Skyliner stops, plus Aoto Station.
    1. Stops: Ueno — Nippori — Aoto — Funabashi — Narita — Narita Airport Terminal 2 — Narita Airport
    2. Limited express fare: In addition to the regular fare, a limited express fare surcharge of ¥920 per ride (the current limited express fare surcharge of ¥500 for trips arriving at or departing from Funabashi will remain) is required.
  4. Increased service in conjunction with the elevation (completion of new platforms) of the Kanamachi Line at Takasago Station. The Kanamachi Line will implement its schedule changes earlier, on July 5.
    1. Service pattern: Switchback service between Takasago and Kanamachi all day long.
    2. No. of trains: 80 inbound / outbound trains each → 89 inbound / outbound trains each (additional 9 trains) on weekdays; 65 inbound / outbound trains each → 75 inbound / outbound trains each (additional 10 trains) on Saturdays and holidays.
  5. Increased capacity on Ueno — Takasago local trains
    The local trains, currently primarily operating as four-car trains with Kanamachi Line through-servicing during the mornings and evenings, will be expanded to six- or eight-car trains, and the number of train services will be reorganized.
  6. Senju Ōhashi added as a stop on rapid trains
    We will make it possible to transfer between rapid and local trains at Senju Ōhashi.
  7. We will abandon operation of the express services currently running between Oshiage and Takasago primarily during the midday period (some during the evening period) as part of an overall reevaluation of our service structure.
  8. Morning Liner and Evening Liner trains will be operated with the new Skyliner (AE series) trains.
  9. Other trains: Service plans will conform to existing plans, but with general changes to schedules.
  10. Conversion of Skyliner, City Liner, Morning Liner, and Evening Liner trains to fully non-smoking:
    With the schedule changes on Saturday, July 17, we will make all trains non-smoking.
Interesting that they appear to be reviving (or at least attempting to revive) the Narita-Haneda direct services. According to the press release, this journey will still take 100 minutes.

New Keisei CM promoting the Narita Sky Access line:

Source: rxp777 on YouTube

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Old June 2nd, 2010, 10:51 AM   #1342
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Keisei announces FY2010 railway investment plan

In FY2010, we will implement ¥21.5 billion in infrastructure investment for our railway business, and continue preparations for the opening of the Narita Sky Access line on July 17, as well as efforts to ensure safe operations and improve passenger service.

This fiscal year, in addition to introducing new Skyliner and new 3050 series trains in preparation for the opening of the Narita Sky Access line, we will complete work on various facilities including the elevation of the Kanamachi Line at Takasago Station. As part of a strengthening of our safety countermeasures, we will continue work on continuous grade-separation projects, an update to digital automatic train stop (ATS) technology, and seismic reinforcement of railway facilities and other work as part of our strategy against disasters such as earthquakes. In an effort to improve passenger service even further, we will implement barrier-free improvements, helping to ensure a safer, more pleasant riding experience on our trains.

  1. Work related to the opening of the Narita Sky Access line
    1. Introduction of rolling stock for the Narita Sky Access line: In addition to new Skyliner trains capable of a top speed of 60 kph, we will introduce 3050 series trains for use as non-premium fare limited express trains.
    2. Completion of elevation work for the Kanamachi Line at Takasago Station: In order to secure scheduling room for the Narita Sky Access trains while still preserving the existing number of trains, we broke ground on elevation of the Kanamachi Line in FY2006. This fiscal year, we will conduct the switchout to the new tracks and begin revenue operations on the new platforms.
    3. Keisei Ueno Station renovation: In coordination with the opening of the Narita Sky Access line, we will refurbish the “liner” ticket counters and front signage at our terminal station, Keisei Ueno Station.
    4. Efforts towards easy-to-understand passenger information: In order to direct passengers in an easy-to-understand manner at Airport Terminal 2 Station and Narita Airport Station, we will install specially-colored faregates on the concourse level at both stations. We will also install the full-color LED information displays currently installed at major terminal stations at both of these stations.
  2. Strengthened safety measures
    1. Continued progress on continuous grade-separation construction:
      • Sumida Ward continuous grade-separation construction (Oshiage – Yahiro, 1.5 km): We will conduct the switchout to the temporary inbound and outbound tracks, construct the temporary inbound platforms, and construct sections of the new elevated viaduct.
      • Katsushika Ward continuous grade-separation construction (Yotsugi – Aoto, 2.2 km): We will carry out land acquisition and other tasks to proceed with the project.
    2. Progress on disaster countermeasures: In order to strengthen countermeasures against natural disasters such as catastrophic earthquakes and strong winds, this fiscal year we will continue seismic reinforcement of stations and elevated structures, and upgrade our amenometers.
    3. Improvements to automatic train stop (ATS) capabilities: In order to further realize safe train operations, this fiscal year we will continue with upgrades to the more secure digital ATS technology.
    4. Installation of safety equipment on trains: As a safety measure on our rolling stock, we will make improvements to the deadman’s brake and emergency stop equipment (31 trains), which automatically stop trains when an emergency situation has affected the train operator, and modify the power supply of wireless train protection, which instantly stops nearby trains when an accident or other emergency has happened, to a redundant system (15 trains).
    5. Strengthening safety measures inside stations: As a strategy against platform falls, this fiscal year we will continue with installation of emergency alarm buttons at four stations.
    6. Strengthening safety measures at grade crossings: In order to prevent grade crossing accidents before they begin, we will upgrade automatic obstruction detection equipment (3 locations) and install new grade-crossing obstruction transmission equipment (5 locations).
    7. Strengthening of track and earthen structures: We will implement strategic improvements to track and reinforcement of slopes.
  3. Improved service
    1. Installation of elevators, slopes, and multi-function toilets: At Keisei, we are proceeding with barrier-free improvements to our station facilities to ensure a safe and comfortable experience for all of our passengers.
      • New elevator installations: Funabashi Keibajō Station, Mimomi Station, Yachiyodai Station, Katsutadai Station, Keisei Usui Station, Keisei Shisui Station
      • New slope installations: Keisei Ōkubo Station, Keisei Inage Station
      • New multi-function toilet installations: Keisei Ōkubo Station
    2. Installation of Braille station maps: To ensure a safe station experience for passengers with visual impairment, we will install Braille station maps at five stations.
    3. Improvements to various station facilities: In addition to renovations to station platforms and restrooms, we will install wide automatic faregates at six stations to ensure a comfortable experience for passengers in wheelchairs.
  4. Environmental measures, other
    • Progress on the replacement of cooling systems with environmentally-friendly equipment: In regards to the freon used as a refrigerant in rolling stock cooling systems, we will proceed with replacement with alternative refrigerants that do not damage the ozone layer. This fiscal year, we will switch out eight cars.

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Old June 2nd, 2010, 10:52 AM   #1343
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Local residents threaten to sue over Hokusō Line fare structure

Residents and city councilmembers along the Hokusō Line, who are demanding revisions to the railway line’s fare structure, are making preparations to fill an administrative lawsuit against the national government. According to their claim, the line’s fare structure, which results in normal fares that are more than twice as high and student commuter passes that are more than four times as high as those of other private railways, places an unjust burden on residents, and they are demanding that the national government revoke the approval it granted for the line’s maximum fare.

The individuals making litigation preparations are Shiroi City Councilmember Shibata Keiko, Inzai City Council Representative Yamamoto Kiyoshi, and Mutō Hiroshi, representative for the Chiba New Town Monthly newspaper. They plan to soon establish an association to support their litigation efforts and invite residents along the line to become plaintiffs in the lawsuit. They are aiming to present their case to the Tōkyō District Court on July 16, one day before the opening of the Narita Sky Access line.

The Narita Sky Access line (Keisei Takasago – Narita Airport, 51.4 km) shares 32.3 km of track with the Hokusō Line until Inba Nihon Idai before using track constructed by Narita Rapid Rail Access Co., Ltd., and other entities to reach the airport.

If they go ahead with filing the lawsuit, their plan is to emphasize that the Narita Sky Access line’s fare structure, together with the new fare structure for the Hokusō Line incorporating discounts of about five percent, are “extremely expensive for short trips and extremely inexpensive for long trips, resulting in unjust burdens on Hokusō Line users.” Together with the approval of the line’s maximum fare, Hokusō Railway’s revenues from track usage fees are small, resulting in an expensive fare structure, which they claim is an unjust usage fee structure.

“Residents are telling me that taking this to court is the only solution, that they want to see a court case resolve the issue,” says Mutō. Inzai City Council Representative Yamamoto says, “Up until now, we’ve been debating the issue with them to get them to reconsider, but now, we will take them straight to court and show that their actions are against the law.”

In regards to the Hokusō Line fare reductions, Chiba Prefecture and six jurisdictions along the line agreed to provide ¥300 million annually to fund fare cuts of a little under five percent, but some residents are unsatisfied and are demanding a fare structure similar to that of Keisei Electric Railway. In addition, the Shiroi City Council voted down its funding plan, citing the use of public funds for the fare cuts and the minimal reduction in fares.
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 10:53 AM   #1344
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Redevelopment project outside JR Narita Station picks up steam

The redevelopment around JR Narita Station in Narita City, a persistent question after the opening of Narita Airport in 1978, is finally picking up steam. With the city as project lead, the plan calls for construction of a redevelopment building at the East Exit of the station, housing retail facilities, hotel space, and condominium units. Response is favorable among local citizens, who are hoping the project will bring new vitality to the station area. There are obstacles left to be overcome, however, including whether or not private-sector participation can be secured in the midst of an economic slowdown.

Station plaza to double in size
The East Exit of JR Narita Station is located approx. 200 m west of Keisei Narita Station and along the main road leading north to the Narita-san Shinshōji Temple. Because the station plaza is confined in space, cars and pedestrians compete for space, leading to a dangerous situation that citizens say is not fit for the gateway of the city that is home to Tōkyō’s international airport.

According to the Narita City Urban Improvements Section, the redevelopment project targets approx. 1.4 ha of land. The station plaza will more than double in size from the current 3,200 sq m to approx. 6,800 sq m. In addition to a bus terminal and taxi zone on the north side of the plaza, a loading zone for private vehicles—a long-sought dream for city residents—will also be constructed.

The redevelopment building to be constructed on the south side of the plaza will consist of two side-by-side towers with a single podium up to the fifth story. Retail facilities will fill space up to the fifth floor, while the sixth floor and above in one of the towers will house approx. 200 hotel rooms and the other tower will house 50 condominium units. Construction is scheduled to start in FY2011, with a targeted completion in FY2014 and an estimated total project cost of approx. ¥10 billion.

Stalemate 20 years ago
Redevelopment of the area has picked up in the past as well. Twenty years ago, a proposal to build a tunnel connecting JR Narita Station and Keisei Narita Station and construct underground retail facilities and parking structures never made it off the drawing board.

The reason is the complex land ownership situation. Much of the land outside the station is owned by JR, Keisei, and the Narita-san Shinshōji Temple, and in addition to retail tenants who lease space for their businesses, there are individual landowners mixed in. During the bubble years, there were plans for major redevelopment, but when the bubble burst, the opportunity withered away.

While the city improves the urban design of the area by undergrounding power lines along the main road loading to Shinshōji Temple from the station, widening the road, and constructing sidewalks, the city has also been steadfastly continuing talks with landowners, finally securing local agreement for the project. With the redevelopment plans picking up steam again, chairman Morooka Takaaki of the Narita Chamber of Commerce and Industry says, “We’ve seen numerous proposals come and go, but I’m pleased to see it finally moving forward. As the public space that leads to the main road to the temple, I hope the aesthetic design takes advantage of the atmosphere of a temple town.”

The most critical issue
The city is expecting private-sector involvement for the hotel and condominium development, and has placed securing a private-sector firm for these parts of the project as the “most critical issue.” In the midst of the ongoing economic recession, there are cases in Chiba Prefecture of private-sector firms bidding for construction of redevelopment buildings but later backing out, including the redevelopment project at the West Exit of JR Chiba Station. Narita City mayor Koizumi Kazunari expressed a flexible position: “If private-sector participation proves difficult, we can consider abandoning the development of the upper-levels of the building, keeping it at five stories.”
Window view of the journey from Keisei Narita to Higashi-Narita on the Keisei Higashi-Narita Line. This is the other half of the Keisei fork leaving Keisei Narita Station—one side goes to Narita Airport, but this one bypasses the airport and connects to the Shibayama Railway on the other side. The first part of the clip actually has scenes of Shinshōji Temple and the quaint “temple town.”
Source: seigen120kaihin on YouTube

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Old June 2nd, 2010, 10:54 AM   #1345
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History behind Shin-Keisei Line’s meandering route

The shortest-distance path between two points on a plane is a straight line. Even children understand such common sense knowledge, but there is one railway that completely flies in the face of this fact. It’s none other than the Shin-Keisei Line, home to Kamagaya Daibutsu Station, introduced in this series previously as the only station in Japan with the word “Daibutsu” (giant statue of Buddha) in its name.

The line runs from Matsudo Station to Keisei Tsudanuma Station, a straight-line distance of under 16 km. But for some reason, the railway stretches 26.5 km as it meanders its way between the two stations, serving a total of 24 stations in 44 minutes,

This meandering isn’t just any meandering. After departing from Matsudo Station, the train makes a large curve. After passing Gokō Station, the train makes one sharp curve after another. The section between Shin-Kamagaya Station and Hatsutomi Station is a hairpin curve. Because the tracks wiggle side-to-side like a snake around the straight road connecting Gokō and Hatsutomi, there are four grade crossings on this section, a mere 4 km in length.

The line continues its meandering ways, with the climax coming on the section between Shin-Tsudanuma Station and Keisei Tsudanuma Station. This 1.2 km single-track section is shaped in a sharp backwards S-curve, and even train operators get a little jumpy on this part of the line.

The line is built on flat land that is part of the Shimousa Plateau, and in the past, the area was quiet rural countryside. There were no natural features or man-made obstructions to prevent a straight-line route, so then why on such short station distances does the line meander unnecessarily?

The truth lies in that the Shin-Keisei Line was actually built by the Second Railway Regiment of the former Imperial Army as a military railway for training purposes. The line was completed in 1932. At the time, the line continued past Matsudo to Shimo-Yagiri, with even more meandering and sharp curves than the current line.

There are three hypotheses behind the meandering of the line: according to internal army rules, each regiment was required to have a section of operation track stretching 45 km; for military exercises, the line was purposefully designed with many difficult curves; and, to help avoid air attacks by enemy planes. All three lines of thought have some logic behind them.

The Railway Regiments were established after the Sino-Japanese War in preparation for the invasion of the Asian continent, and the Second Regiment was stationed in Tsudanuma. The main entrance still remains to this day as the service entrance to the Chiba Institute of Technology built on the site of the former base.

This Second Regiment was the parent body of the Ninth Railway Regiment that constructed the Thai-Burma Railway during World War II. The 415 km railway was completed in one year and three months, and the ghostly scene of this hastened construction that took the lives of many Allied captives and Asian laborers was captured in the film The Bridge on the River Kwai.

A railway built in time of war, now truddles along as it carries citizens. If for this change of purpose, then perhaps the sharp curves are not so unnecessary after all.

More curves during wartime
When the line was still a military railway, there were even more curves than today. And yet, where possible, the curves have already been fixed. One of the unique characteristics of the line is the lack of a single river span or tunnel, but because of all the curves and the fact that all trains are local trains, with short station spacing, the top speed of the line is only 85 kph. Given that other railway lines normally have top speeds over 100 kph, the line is definitely much slower than its counterparts. However, revenues are doing well, and in FY2008, the railway recorded 101.89 million passengers, with ¥10,927,290,000 in revenues. This is thanks to the residential development that has occurred along the line as well as the lack of competing lines that is often a hallmark of private railways in the Greater Tōkyō area.

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Old June 2nd, 2010, 10:54 AM   #1346
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Yūkarigaoka tests out on-demand electric bus service

In Yūkarigaoka, Sakura City, which is striving for an environmentally-friendly style of neighborhood planning, an on-demand bus trial service using electric buses that allows passengers to get off anywhere along the line has begun.

The aim is to construct a fine-grained transport network that meets resident needs using environmentally-friendly vehicles. The trial service is a joint effort by Yūkarigaoka developer Yamaman (HQ: Tōkyō) and electric bus researchers at Waseda University and Shōwa Aircraft Industry (HQ: Tōkyō).

The service uses a single electric bus with capacity for 20 passengers. The service uses a “contactless charging system” where buses can charge up by parking above “transmission coils” placed on the ground. The route runs between Chūgakkō Station and Yūkarigaoka Station on the Yūkarigaoka Line “new transit” system. There are seven stops along the line, but passengers can alight at other locations outside of bus stops after alerting the driver by pressing a button.

The service will operate hourly from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm everyday. The buses will depart from outside Chūgakkō Station on the hour. If the cost of electric buses can be reduced, the project aims to have a permanent implementation of the technology several years later. A spokesperson for the project says, “I hope more and more passengers ride it and let us know what they think.”

Source: Yamaman Co.

Apparently they ran several trials in Yūkarigaoka last year between April and June, but I don’t know what the deal is this time.
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 10:55 AM   #1347
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Improvements to Nagaura Station moving forward

Sodegaura City announced the urban revitalization improvements plan for the Shōwa district. The project will span five years between FY2010 and FY2014. The keystone project in the plan calls for the reconstruction of the station building at JR Nagaura Station and construction of a public passage and North Exit plaza. The total project cost for the reconstruction of the station building is approx. ¥1.671 billion (¥1.571 billion of which comes from grants), while project costs are are ¥1.121 billion for the public passage and ¥38 million for construction of the North Exit plaza. During the implementation period, Sodegaura City plans to invest a total of ¥2.882 billion in project-related expenses into the district.

Among these, the city will sign a basic agreement with JR this fiscal year for the station building reconstruction and public passage, and enter into detailed design. The city is currently in discussions with JR East’s Chiba Branch Office to get the basic agreement finalized, and if talks go well, an agreement could be inked next month. The basic agreement will establish funding shares towards the costs of the project and other details. Afterwards, a construction contract will be signed in FY2011, allowing work to begin. Construction is scheduled to be executed over a three-year period between FY2011 and FY2013. As for this fiscal year’s project-related expenses, contracting expenses of ¥57.03 million were included in the city’s initial budget.

The construction involves the reconstruction of the station building at Nagaura Station, and in conjunction with barrier-free improvements and elimination of height differences, a public passage will be constructed. Construction of the North Exit plaza will be carried out together with the construction of the new station building, but actual plaza construction is scheduled to be carried out in the final year, FY2014.

In addition to these projects, the plan also calls for roadway improvements, including the the Daijuku–Kannō City Road and Kuranamidai City Road Improvements Project, as well as construction of the Nagaura Ekimae 2-chōme No. 7 City Road, the 3-chōme No. 3 and No. 10 City Roads, the 5-chōme No. 2 and No. 11 City Roads, and the Kuranami No. 14 City Road.

The urban improvements plan, selected for grant funding, identifies its goals as “improvements in the safety and convenience of the living environment, with the aim of realizing an easy-to-live-in city.” In particular, the plan established the following goals:
  1. Through the creation and improvement of transportation hubs, we will increase the convenience of the neighborhood;
  2. Through construction of school commute routes and intersection improvements, we will develop an environment that is easy to both walk and drive in;
  3. Through the augmentation of disaster prevention functions and the strengthening of crime prevention measures, we will aim to construct a safe living environment.
The plan was drafted to secure funding last fiscal year from the national government under the Urban Planning Grant Program, and was selected for funding in March of last year.
Nagaura Station is a minor station on the Uchibō Line (and through-servcing Keiyō Line and Sōbu Rapid Line trains) in Chiba Prefecture. Daily entries are 6,900 (2008). Base service is 4 tph, rising to 6-7 tph during the rush hour.

A tour through the station (2009.01.12):
Source: http://sazanamistation.blog105.fc2.com/

North Exit.

Passengers using the North Exit to access the station must use this pedestrian bridge.

South Exit. This exit fronts a minor road, and there is an overpass that connects directly to the station from the opposite side of the road.

South Exit stairwell.

Where the overpass touches down. The bicycle parking at the station is actually elevated, so there is a bicycle ramp.

From the bicycle parking area, facing the station entrance.

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Old June 2nd, 2010, 10:56 AM   #1348
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TX daily average ridership at 284,000

On May 25, Tsukuba Express (TX) operator Metropolitan Intercity Railway (MIR) announced that daily average ridership for last fiscal year was 273,000, fulfilling the original goal of 270,300 in FY2010 one year early. Daily average ridership in April of this year was 283,600, surpassing 280,000 for the first time since the line’s opening.

Total ridership performance between April of last year and March of this year was 97.79 million passengers, an increase of approx. 5 percent over the previous fiscal year. MIR spokespersons said, “Despite the slowing down of residential construction along the line, retail facilities are debuting apace, helping to boost our ridership.”

When looking at ridership station-by-station, during the first fiscal year of the line’s opening, only Akihabara had daily average ridership above 20,000 passengers, but now Nagareyama – Ōtaka no Mori, Minami-Nagareyama, Kita-Senju, and Moriya—transfer stations to JR, private railways, and subways—have all nearly doubled, each reaching over 20,000 passengers.
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 10:56 AM   #1349
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Keiō publishes mid-range 5-year business plan and FY2010 investment plan

At Keiō Group, we have published the Keiō Group Mid-Range Five-Year Business Plan (FY2010-2014): Transformation and Reinforcement.

While some sections of the domestic economy are demonstrating signs of recovery, the environment for corporate business still remains harsh as a result of the prolonged deflation, accelerating population aging, and uncertain consumer trends.

At Keiō Group, we have taken the “closed” business environment caused by these changes in social structure as a long-term and fundamental situation, and have recognized a groupwide response across all our member companies as a critical task.

After estimating across a mid-range timeline the scale of the safety and service investments in our railway business, the schedule for large-scale projects at key locations along our railway network, and the financial effect of these items, we have now drafted a mid-range five-year business plan (FY2010-2014). At Keiō Group, we have named this mid-range five-year plan “Transformation and Reinforcement,” and will now begin implementing the various policies contained therein.

We believe the direction of the items enumerated in the mid-range five-year plan and their steadfast implementation will determine the future state of Keiō Group. Realization of the various financial goals will help materialize our future path, and we are aiming to see improvement in both our profit levels and financial situation at the end of the five-year plan.

Basic Policy
In the execution of this mid-range five-year business plan, we will continue our improvements in safety—a critical duty as a public transportation operator—and continue promoting the revitalization of neighborhoods along our rail network, including landmark developments at Kichijōji, Chōfu, and Sasazuka. At the same time, we have placed emphasis on “transforming cost structures” and “reinforcing our financial structure,” and will create an organizational structure that will allow us to persevere through future changes in our business environment and the execution of major construction projects.

Specifically, in the midst of declining revenues we will fully explore our low-cost businesses, which can help us secure necessary profit. As the assemblage of funds necessary for investments will be secured by owned capital created during the same year, we will also control to the maximum extent feasible our debt obligations with interest. At the same time, we will now proceed with creating an organizational structure that will ensure a rock-solid situation even in the face of large-scale construction projects including the future railway grade-separation west of Sasazuka.

Through these efforts, we will secure solid profit sources, establish a positive free cash flow in the early stages, and distribute those profits appropriately according to our shareholder remuneration policy. In addition, we have identified the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Keiō Line and our fixed-route bus service in FY2013 as a new milestone on our journey into the next generation, and by executing strategies that match an ever-growing array of needs and lifestyles, we aim to become a corporation that will develop and grow into the future.

Major Investments During the Mid-Range Five-Year Business Plan Period
Barrier-free improvements at stations: Scheduled to be complete FY2010
Upgrade to ATC (automatic train control equipment): Scheduled to be complete FY2011
Chōfu Station Continuous Grade-Separation Project: Scheduled to be complete FY2012
Replacement of the Keiō Kichijōji Station tenant building: Scheduled to be complete FY2013
Chōfu Project (above-ground use): Currently underway
Replacement of the Keiō Heavy Equipment Co. Building (Sasazuka): Currently underway
100th anniversary of the Keiō Line and fixed-route bus service: April 2013

Focused FY2010 Strategy
  1. Further improvements to safety and service
    1. Improved safety
      1. With the goal of continuing a policy of zero at-fault accidents through unrelenting execution of operations safety management, we will aim for greater penetration of safety awareness, based on the concept of “safety is the first priority.”
      2. We will complete conversion of the Keiō Line’s signaling systems to ATC. For the Inokashira Line, we will move forward with construction works including the installation of trackside equipment, aiming for conversion in FY2011.
      3. In order to increase the seismic strength of structures, we will complete seismic reinforcement of stations and continue with work on reinforcing elevated structure columns and tunnels. In addition, in regards to Kichijōji Station, we will break ground on replacing the station tenant building following replacement of the elevated viaduct.
      4. For member companies operating in the bus business or other transport businesses, we will further promote a safety management structure through the introduction and use of safety equipment and continuous implementation of safety education.
    2. Provision of a comfortable and pleasant transport service
      1. Working towards elimination of height differences in accordance with the New Transport Accessibility Law, we will move forward with station improvement works. By converting Tsutsujigaoka Station and eight other stations to an elevated station concourse design and installing ramps and elevators at Chitose – Karasuyama and two other stations, we will complete our barrier-free improvements, eliminating height differences at all of our stations except Shimo-Kitazawa Station.
      2. At all of our stations, we will complete installation of platform interphones that allow passengers to talk with station staff and platform destination signs that can also display emergency information, further improving passenger comfort on platforms by augmenting the provision of information.
    3. Progress on large-scale construction works
      1. In regards to the Chōfu Station Continuous Grade-Separation Project, we will aim for project completion in FY2012, completing shield machine tunnel boring between stations and moving forward with construction of the station structures for Kokuryō, Fuda, and Chōfu Stations.
      2. In regards to the grade-separation of the railway west of Sasazuka, we will work to materialize the project in concert with the Tōkyō Metropolitan Government as project lead and make progress on formalities for the master plan and environmental impact assessment for the Daitabashi Station – Tsutsujigaoka Station section.
      3. In concert with the Odakyū Line Continuous Grade-Separation Project and Quadruple-Tracking Project, we will break ground on improvement works at Shimo-Kitazawa Station.
  2. Revitalization of local neighborhoods: Becoming the neighborhood’s strength
    1. Hammering out details of landmark trackside developments
      1. For the Kichijōji area, we will break ground on construction to replace the Keiō Kichijōji Station tenant building.
      2. For the Chōfu area, in regards to the aboveground land reuse after completion of the continuous grade-separation project for the railway, we will draft a basic plan.
      3. In the Sasazuka area, in regards to the replacement of the Keiō Heavy Equipment Co. Building, we will sort out details with the relevant stakeholders to ensure a smooth project execution.
      4. In the Seiseki Sakuragaoka area, we will move forward with revitalization efforts in preparation for the 25th anniversary of the Seiseki Sakuragaoka Shopping Center in March 2011.
      5. In the Shinjuku area, in regards to the future vision for our assets, we will continue considering options.
    2. Efforts towards new policies
      • With regards to retail facilities, we will complete construction and open the Eifukuchō Station tenant building, as well as make progress on construction of retail space at Higashi-Fuchū Station and Tsutsujigaoka Station. For rental units, we will complete construction of the Midorichō 3-chōme Apartments (temporary name) (Fuchū City) and move forward with the Yoyogi Park Apartments project (temporary name).
      • At Keiō Dentetsu Bus Group and Nishi-Tōkyō Bus, we will augment existing bus lines while looking to established new lines.
      • For Keiō Store, we will open a new store at Kugayama and renovate our store in Eifukuchō, as well as bring in Keiō Book Sales, Keiō Retail Service, Keiō Foods, and other group companies as tenants in station improvement projects.
      • We will establish a new company in preparation for the opening of our first senior residences project.
      • We will open the third branch of Keiō Hot Network in Eifukuchō, expanding our lifestyle support services to neighborhoods along the Inokashira Line.
      • In regards to our parenting assistance business, we will continue with stable operation of all of our facilities, including the fourth branch of Keiō Kidsplats at Minami-Ōsawa, a daycare facility officially recognized by the Tōkyō Metropolitan Government. We will also make necessary preparations for the Keiō Kidsplats Eifukuchō branch scheduled to open in April 2011.
      • In regards to group card Keiō Passport Card, we will consider issuance of affiliated cards. In addition, by expansion of our membership services through diversifying our points menu and strengthening our sales promotion efforts through analysis of our customer demographics, we will increase card members and total sales volume.
  3. Other efforts
    1. Improvements to business structure
      1. We will continue with preparations in response to international accounting standards, including improvements to our business structure and drafting our policies.
      2. In accordance with our business response plans, we will maintain and improve our emergency management structure designed to deal with the risk of large-scale disasters and new influenza outbreaks.
    2. Environmental efforts
      1. We will take active steps groupwide in our environmental management system activities and our response to the strengthening of regulations related to the environment.
      2. We will convert 18 7000 series cars on the Keiō Line to energy-efficient VVVF inverter control systems, bringing our completion rate to 96 percent at the end of FY2010.
    3. Planning for anniversary program
      1. We will begin considering plans in preparation for the 100th anniversary of the Keiō Line and our fixed-route bus services in FY2013.

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Old June 2nd, 2010, 10:57 AM   #1350
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Keiō considering reuse of track ROW after undergrounding project near Chōfu
Kensetsu Tsūshin Shimbun

In regards to reuse of the former track right-of-way surrounding Chōfu Station after the station is undergrounded as part of the Keiō Line Chōfu Station Continuous Grade-Separation Project, Keiō Corporation announced that it is considering redevelopment of the land, including construction of retail buildings. Because Chōfu City is planning construction of a new station plaza above the future underground station structure and tracks, it’s expected that former track right-of-way east and west of the plaza will be designated for development purposes. It’s expected that Keiō’s development efforts will kick into full gear after the completion of the continuous grade-separation project in FY2012.

The primary land use type for the facility to be constructed on the former track right-of-way is as yet undecided between retail or residential. The railway plans on continuing to hammer out the details through discussions with Chōfu City, but in the case of limited express trains, Chōfu Station is only two stops away from Shinjuku Station, and the railway believes if a retail use is selected, constructing a department store would not be appropriate. Meanwhile, Chōfu City has established a design concept of “Bustling Gardens Chōfu” for the area around Chōfu, Fuda, and Kokuryō Stations, which will be undergrounded as part of the continuous grade-separation project. The theme is based on a proposal by Andō Tadao’s architectural office. As a result, it’s expected that for the track right-of-way reuse proposals, the city will also request facilities that are in agreement with the design concept.

In particular, in the vicinity of Chōfu Station, construction of a new station plaza, including plaza space open to the public, is being planned on a 16,700 sq m parcel connecting the two existing station plazas on the north and south sides of the existing station building. Basic design is being carried out by Kokusai Kōgyō. As construction work is scheduled to begin in FY2012, Chōfu City plans on moving forward with construction while attempting to ensure conformity and coordination with the development plan for the track right-of-way being hammered out by Keiō Corporation.

In addition, progress is being made on two redevelopment projects in the area, one sponsored by the Chōfu Station North Area No. 1 Urban Redevelopment Provisional Union for a project on the north side of the station and another sponsored by the Chōfu Station South Exit East Area Type 1 Urban Redevelopment Provisional Union for a project on the south side of the station. Both projects are scheduled to receive master plan approval this fiscal year. Together with these developments, it’s hoped that the Keiō Corporation development will help accelerate the revitalization of central Chōfu City.
Video recording of the Chōfu City’s Chōfu Station Plaza presentation session (2010.03.23) (Japanese only):
Source: osuga01 on YouTube

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3 (this is the part with a nice simulation of the plaza):

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Old June 2nd, 2010, 10:58 AM   #1351
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Keiō to expand environmentally-friendly station retail kiosks

Keiō Group’s Keiō Retail Service Co. (HQ: Shibuya Ward, Tōkyō; President: Hōki Kunihiko) and Suntory Midorie Co. (HQ: Minato Ward, Tōkyō; President: Kanayama Norio) have agreed on means to advance environmental greening, and at Keiō Group, we will expand a chain of environmentally-friendly station retail kiosks making use of the Midorie greening system.

At the A LoT Meidaimae Keiō Line Inbound Platform shop, which reopened in March of this year after renovation, the Midorie greening system was introduced to the shop’s main sign. The system automatically waters the plants, and passengers using the station can enjoy lush green vegetation all year round.

In April of this year, a new low-energy drink vending machine was also introduced at the store, using a heat-pump system that greatly reduces electricity consumption. A portion of the revenue earned by the machine will be donated to the Green Tōkyō Fund.

Meanwhile, Keiō Group’s Keiō Green Service Co. (HQ: Fuchū City, Tōkyō; President: Nakase Mami) is performing sales promotion, installation / execution, maintenance, and other functions for Midorie systems along the Keiō rail network, and will continue promoting greening efforts in the future.

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Old June 2nd, 2010, 10:59 AM   #1352
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Seibu announces FY2010 railway investment plan

At Seibu Railway Co., Ltd. (HQ: Tokorozawa City, Saitama Prefecture; President: Gotō Takashi), we are aiming to become a user-friendly railway, providing a safer, more comfortable service for our passengers.

In FY2010, we will make active infrastructure investments in our railway business, investing a total of ¥20.1 billion towards safety measures, service improvements, environmental measures, and capacity improvements.

Safety measures
With safety as the most critical issue of our railway business, we will focus our investments on safety measures and take active stops towards ensuring the safety of our operations, including automatic train stop (ATS) upgrades and installation of safety equipment onto rolling stock.

Service improvements
This fiscal year, we will make progress on station building improvements and barrier-free construction works at nine stations including Tokorozawa Station, Shiinamachi Station, Ekoda Station, and Seibu Tachikawa Station, with the aim of becoming a user-friendly railway that meets the needs of our customers and provides a comfortable service for everyone.

In addition, in regards to the 78 stations in our network requiring elimination of height differences by national policy standards (daily entries and exits of 5,000 passengers or more), we are proceeding with station barrier-free improvements through elevator installations, with support from the national and local governments. This fiscal year, we will carry out improvements at Bushi Station, Takanodai Station, and Musashi Yamato Station, and after completion, will have completed elimination of height differences at 96 percent (75) of our required stations, allowing for smooth access for all passengers. In the future, we will continue actively working with the affected agencies towards achieving 100 percent elimination of height differences.

As part of the upgrade of our rolling stock, we will manufacture 16 new cars (two eight-car trains) of our new 30000 series “Smile Train” commuter rolling stock.

Environmental measures
In the upgrade of our rolling stock air conditioning equipment, we will switch to coolers using alternative refrigerants, which have low impact on global warming.

Capacity improvements
For the railway elevation and quadruple-tracking project between Sakuradai Station (and Shin-Sakuradai Station) and Shakujii Kōen Station on the Ikebukuro Line, we will continue making progress on construction of the remaining section near Shakujii Kōen Station.

  1. Safety measures
    With ensuring safety as our most critical issue for our railway business and our duty as a railway operator, we will place focus on investment in safety measures, including automatic train stop (ATS) upgrades, installation of safety equipment onto rolling stock as a result of changes in ministerial ordinances, and installation of audio voice equipment on curved platforms to help prevent platform falls.
    • Automatic train stop (ATS) upgrades
      We will continue upgrading to equipment with existing functionality, but also the ability to allow for emergency brake activation on sharp curves, switches, and other locations when the speed limit is exceeded.
    • Installation of safety equipment onto rolling stock
      As a result of changes in ministerial ordinances, we will continue installation of the following equipment: equipment to automatically stop trains in the event of operator emergencies (emergency brake (EB) equipment or deadman equipment); recording equipment to allow others to understand the train’s speed, braking conditions, and other information (black box recorder equipment); and equipment that automatically switches to the wireless train protection system when contact with the electrical power source is broken, allowing for a more comprehensive train protection system.
    • Conversion of Hōya Station to three platforms, three tracks
      Up until now, Hōya Station operated with two tracks and a single island platform, but in conjunction with the start of bilateral through-servicing of the Ikebukuro Line towards the Yokohama area in FY2012, we will make improvements to Hōya Station to ensure safety, speed, and schedule adherence, converting the station to one island platform and one side platform with three tracks. As benefits with the improvements, the inbound platform and outbound platform will be completely separated, relieving platform congestion and improving safety. By using one of the three tracks—the middle track—as a switchback track, trains will be able to switch directions onto both the inbound and outbound directions, helping to prevent train delays (allowing for improved response during service disruptions and preventing the cascading of disruptions onto the interlined Tōkyō Metro Yūrakuchō Line and Fukutoshin Line). In addition, grade crossings near the station will now have more time open, helping to reduce traffic congestion on roadways.

      The new inbound platform opened for service in March 2010, and one elevator and two escalators were installed.
    • Other safety measures:
      • Station building seismic reinforcement: Ogawa Station
      • Elevated viaduct seismic reinforcement: Between Ogawa Station and Tamagawa Jōsui Station
      • Installation of audio voice equipment to prevent falls on curved platforms: Koma Station, Toritsu Kasei Station
      • Installation of audio announcement equipment to prevent platform falls (sections where end cars are coupled together): Eight (8) 2000 series trains
      • Installation of door chimes: Twelve (12) 101 series cars, 32 2000 series cars
  2. Service improvements
    We are aiming to become a user-friendly railway that provides a pleasant service to all passengers and contributes to the development of neighborhoods and society. In addition to actively pursuing station building replacement projects, we will continue barrier-free improvements at stations in coordination with national and local governments to allow elderly and physically-disabled passengers to use our trains comfortably and at ease.

    In addition, we will manufacture new 30000 series commuter trains that feature two information displays above each door to greatly improve passenger convenience and continue with modification work to allow 6000 series trains to through-service with the Tōkyō Metro Fukutoshin Line.
    • Station building improvements
      • Tokorozawa Station
        Replacement of Tokorozawa Station, serving as a terminal station for both the Ikebukuro Line and Shinjuku Line with over 210,000 daily entries and exits, began in March of this year. The new station building will be constructed in the central area of the station, and in order to ensure a more pleasant experience for passengers, we will implement barrier-free improvements, install new additional escalators, and expand the the shopping area. In addition, through a tent-canopy roof that permits natural sunlight to filter through and the greening of building walls, we are aiming to make the station a bright and environmentally-friendly facility. With the goal of also supporting working women, we will also plan services such as child support functions inside the station.

        This project is the keystone of the 100th anniversary of our company, and is scheduled for completion in FY2012, the same year of the scheduled start of bilateral through-service with the Tōkyū Tōyoko Line and Minato Mirai Line via the Tōkyō Metro Fukutoshin Line.
      • Shiinamachi Station
        We will elevate the station concourse and construct a north-south public passage, four elevators, six escalators, and multi-function toilets as part of making the station barrier-free. We broke ground on the construction in FY2009, with the elevated station concourse and public passage scheduled for completion in FY2011 and improvements including the pedestrian plaza being carried out by Toshima Ward are scheduled for completion in FY2012. This project is a Station-Neighborhood Unified Improvement Project being carried out in conjunction with the national government and Toshima Ward.
      • Ekoda Station
        We will elevate the station concourse and construct a north-south public passage, four elevators, nine escalators, and multi-function toilets as part of making the station barrier-free. In January of this year, we opened a portion of the elevated station concourse to the public. The station barrier-free improvements are scheduled for completion in FY2010, while station area improvements including the pedestrian plaza being carried out by Nerima Ward are scheduled for completion in FY2011. This project is a Station-Neighborhood Unified Improvement Project being carried out in conjunction with the national government and Nerima Ward.
      • Nogata Station
        We will elevate the station concourse and construct a north-south public passage, three elevators, four escalators, and multi-function toilets as part of making the station barrier-free. In March of this year, we opened the elevated station concourse and a portion of the public passage to the public. In addition, the public passage and station area improvements including the pedestrian plaza being carried out by Nakano Ward are scheduled for completion this fiscal year. This project is a Station-Neighborhood Unified Improvement Project being carried out in conjunction with the national government and Nakano Ward.
      • Sayama-shi Station
        In coordination with the Sayama-shi Station West Exit Redevelopment Project, we are working with Sayama City to elevate the station concourse and construct an east-west public passage, three elevators, six escalators, and multi-function toilets as part of making the station barrier-free. In March of this year, we opened the elevated station concourse to the public. This fiscal year, we are scheduled to complete the project, installing elevators and escalators at the east end of the public passage. The retail facilities for this project are scheduled to open in spring 2011.
      • Seibu Tachikawa Station
        We will elevate the station concourse and construct a new North Exit, north-south public passage, three elevators, four escalators, and multi-function toilets as part of making the station barrier-free. Construction began this fiscal year and is scheduled for completion in FY2011. This project is scheduled to be carried out under an agreement with Tachikawa City.
    • Station renovation
      • Bushi Station
        With funding from both the national government and Iruma City, we will construct two platform bridge elevators, and multi-function toilets. We will also install a customer information open counter and slanted fare table, improving passenger service.
      • Takanodai Station
        With funding from both the national government and Kodaira City, we will construct two elevators, an elevator-only platform bridge, and multi-function toilets. We will also relocate the passenger restrooms, conduct barrier-free renovation works, and install a customer information open counter and slanted fare table, improving passenger service.
      • Musashi Yamato Station
        With funding from the national government, Higashi-Murayama City, and Higashi-Yamato City, we will construct one elevator from the public roadways to the station concourse, a new passage, and multi-function toilets. We will also rebuild a portion of the station building and passenger restrooms, improving passenger service.

    • Barrier-free improvements
      • Elevator installation: Ekoda (2), Bushi (2), Nogata (1), Sayama-shi (1), Seibu Tachikawa (3), Takanodai (2), Musashi Yamato (1)
      • Escalator installation: Ekoda (5), Nogata (1), Sayama-shi (2), Seibu Tachikawa (4)
      • Multi-function toilet installation: Bushi, Seibu Tachikawa, Takanodai, Musashi Yamato
      • Customer information open counter installation: Bushi, Seibu Tachikawa, Takanodai, Musashi Yamato
      • Slanted fare table installation: Bushi, Seibu Tachikawa, Takanodai, Musashi Yamato
    • Station facilities
      • Improvements to directional signage
        In order to create station facilities that are easy to use for foreign passengers, we will gradually change station directional signage to a four-language design (Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean). This year, we will upgrade the directional signage for ticketing halls, restrooms, and exits at Bushi (a portion), Seibu Tachikawa, Takanodai (a portion), Musashi Yamato, and other stations.
    • Rolling stock
      • Manufacture of new 30000 series commuter trains
        As a replacement for aging rolling stock, we are scheduled to construct a total of 120 cars of our 30000 series commuter trains, designed around the concept of “Smile Train” as a “user-friendly train that brings smiles to passengers.” Up until now, we have manufactured ten units and 62 cars, and this fiscal year we will add two units (two eight-car trains).
      • Rolling stock modifications to allow for through-service (6000 series)
        We will continue with modifications to 6000 series trains, which operate through-service between the Ikebukuro Line and Tōkyō Metro Fukutoshin Line. This fiscal year, we will carry out modifications on two units, completing all of the modification work. We are scheduled to begin through-service onto the Tōkyū Tōyoko Line and Minato Mirai Line.
      • Progress on barrier-free improvements to 2000 series trains
        We will carry out barrier-free improvements on three 2000 series units (three eight-car trains), including installation of wheelchair spaces and interior information displays.
    • Environmental measures
      We have taken steps in the past to reduce environmental impacts, including reduction of noise and vibration and reduced energy consumption, but in order to continue our environmental measures, we will move forward with upgrading the air conditioning on our rolling stock.
      • Upgrading air conditioning on rolling stock
        Because the current cooler medium uses freon, which destroys the ozone layer, we will replace these coolers with ones that use alternative refrigerants which don’t destroy the ozone layer and have minimal controbition to global warming. This fiscal year, we will switch out 49 air conditioning units.
    • Capacity improvements
      • Railway elevation and quadruple-tracking near Shakujii Kōen Station
        In regards to the railway elevation and quadruple-tracking project on the Ikebukuro Line, after the 1971 master plan approval we have been proceeding with construction in concert with the Tōkyō Metropolitan Government and Nerima Ward, and on March 2003, the section between Sakuradai Station (and Shin-Sakuradai Station) and Nerima Takanodai Station was completed.

        In regards to the section near Shakujii Kōen Station, the project was selected by the national government as a new start continuous grade-separation project in April 2003 and obtained master plan approval to extend the elevated viaduct to the vicinity of Ōizumi Gakuen Station in June 2005. Afterwards, we made progress in the approvals process with the stakeholder agencies and broke ground in August 2007 (Phase 1).

        In February of this year, we switched out the inbound track between Nerima Takanodai Station and Shakujii Kōen Station (1.2 km) to elevated track.

        This fiscal year, we will continue making progress on construction.

        With the completion of this project, a total of nine grade crossings will disappear as a result of elevating the tracks, eliminating grade crossing accidents and traffic congestion. Shakujii Kōen Station was converted to a four-track station with two island platforms, allowing for cross-platform transfers between express and local trains and improving passenger convenience.
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 10:59 AM   #1353
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Seibu opens new retail facility at Higashi-Kurume Station North Exit

At Seibu Railway Co., Ltd. (HQ: Tokorozawa City, Saitama Prefecture; President: Gotō Takashi), we will open retail facility Emio Higashi-Kurume (store operations / management: Seibu Properties Inc. (HQ: Tokorozawa City, Saitama Prefecture; President: Tajima Yukio)) and a connecting passage at the North Exit of Higashi-Kurume Station on the Ikebukuro Line on Saturday, May 29, 2010.

The new connecting passage joining the North Exit and station concourse features elevators and escalators to ensure a pleasant experience all our customers. In addition, the design is open and bright, including an atrium inside the building, and will become a convenient passage used by not only station passengers but also local residents.

Based around the theme of “supporting lifestyles, enriching lifestyles,” Emio Higashi-Kurume includes a convenient and pleasing mix of tenants, starting with a daycare center. The first floor is designed around the concept of “happiness from living in the neighborhood,” and includes ekichika (station underground) daycare center Nicot to support parents in raising their families, as well as a cafe and other shops that both parents and children can enjoy together. The second floor is designed around the concept of “station facilities that make you come back every day,” and includes a CD / DVD rental shop, cafe, restaurants, and relaxation services. Of the ten tenants at Emio Higashi-Kurume, four are firsts for Seibu Railway. At all tenants outside of the daycare center, customers can use PASMO electronic money to make payments, and will receive Prince Points when presenting their SEIBU Prince Card. We encourage you to try out Emio Higashi-Kurume.

In addition, starting May 29 we will also open the Just Parking Higashi-Kurume North Exit hourly car parking facility and bicycle parking facility (for bicycles and motorcycles) at the North Exit of Higashi-Kurume Station.

Source: http://minkara.carview.co.jp/userid/470704/blog/

These were taken a few days before opening:
Source: http://fuwakurume.blog106.fc2.com/

Tōkyō Metro train waits on the opposite side of the fence.

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Seibu to close Akasaka Prince Hotel

On April 28, Seibu Holdings announced that the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka (HQ: Chiyoda Ward, Tōkyō), operated by conglomerate member Prince Hotels, would close its doors forever on March 31, 2011.

In regards to the reasons behind the closure, Seibu Holdings cited the hotel’s declining competitiveness due to its age. In regards to the assets, including the land, owned by the company, Seibu Holdings says it will now “consider various options, including real estate development.”

The hotel consists of a 40-story new tower, a six-story annex, and the two-story building—the former hotel—now housing a banquet hall. The former hotel building opened first in 1955. The hotel has 715 rooms.
Tōkyō MX news report (2010.04.28):

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New JR Shinjuku – Shinjuku Sanchōme passage opens

The underground passage connecting the Southeast Exit Plaza at JR Shinjuku Station and Shinjuku Sanchōme Subway Station in Shinjuku Ward opened on May 21. Local neighborhood councils and commercial associations celebrated the opening of the new passage with a ribbon-cutting and a commemorative first walk.

At the ceremonies, Director Yasuda Shin’ichi of the Shinjuku East Exit Commercial Street Promotion Union greeted the audience: “This route will become the shortest-distance path from Shinjuku Station to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, and users will be protected against both wind and rain. With this new passage as a catalyst, we aim to be a neighborhood that our visitors truly love.” Ward mayor Nakayama Hiroko welcomed the new passage: “I hope we can work to improve the vitality and accessibility of the Shinjuku area.” Attendees at the ceremonies walked the approx. 150 m of new passage towards the Southeast Exit Plaza, and boarded the escalators leading up to the plaza.

The newly-opened section connects to approx. 50 m on the east end already completed in June 2008 when the Fukutoshin Line opened, and allows for smoother transfers between JR and the Fukutoshin Line. The passage is approximately six meters wide. After the opening of the Fukutoshin Line, pedestrian volumes have increased on sidewalks along National Route 20 (Kōshū Kaidō) and conditions have become hazardous. The Tōkyō National Route Office has been working to construct a safe and barrier-free underground passage.

Source: Shinjuku Keizai Shimbun

This is part of the improvements to the south side of Shinjuku Station (details here: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...&postcount=911).

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Tōkyō Metro 15000 series enters service

First unit entered service May 7.

Inside a train from Takadanobaba to Nakano:

Source: tobu2181 on YouTube

Departing Nakano bound for Myōden:

Source: tobu2181 on YouTube

Departing Nakano bound for Tōyōchō:

Source: tobu2181 on YouTube
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Station daycare centers continue expansion

Movements to establish nursery schools and student daycare clubs outside stations or inside station tenant buildings have been surfacing frequently in Kanagawa Prefecture. And the entities behind the efforts are private railway companies. Targeting hardworking members of the younger generation, the railways are hoping to increase the attractiveness of living along their rail lines. Now, the magic phrase for private railways is “raising children.”

Camp and test prep programs: Unique student clubs
Inside the station tenant building at Tama Plaza Station (Aoba Ward, Yokohama City) on the Tōkyū Den’en Toshi Line, a student club targeting elementary school children will make a debut. Billed as “student daycare directly connected to the station” and a “community space focused on children,” the facility is a keystone of the Tama Plaza Terrace: Gate Plaza Phase 3 retail mall at the station, scheduled to open this autumn.

The company planning the student club is Tōkyū Corporation subsidiary Kids Base Camp (KBC; HQ: Setagaya Ward, Tōkyō), which operates student clubs at 14 locations focused primarily along the Tōkyū rail network.

The capacity of the Tama Plaza facility is 50 to 55 students, and daycare service can be extended to 10:00 pm in the evenings. The student club picks up children from their elementary school and brings them to the facility, and prepares programs such as English classes, farming fieldtrips, and outdoor camping. While the cost is more expensive than typical student clubs, at between ¥42,000 and ¥64,050 (five days a week), all the facilities are doing well. KBC spokespersons were not quiet about their success: “There are definitely more than a few mothers who are looking for service that you can’t find elsewhere.”

According to Tōkyū Corporation, they are also planning a nursery school at a new mall in Tama Plaza. Konishi Ikurō, a section chief assistant for the railway, says, “The rate of population increase of residents in their 20s and 30s is high in this area. We are hoping to attract the young families who live along the rail line.”

Meanwhile, Sagami Railway (Sōtetsu) Group will launch its fourth Yokohama City location of student club Sōtetsu Elfi Kids in July at Seya Station (Seya Ward, Yokohama City) on the Sōtetsu Line. The railway is making learning its selling point, billing private middle school exams as its goal. The railway is accepting applications for 16 students up to sixth grade for the new facility.

Since the beginning, the railway has been teaming up with cram schools, building up its expertise. In April 2007, the railway opened its first student clubs at Futamatagawa Station and Ryokuen Toshi Station, followed by another location at Tsurugamine Station. All three locations are performing well, and both the Futamatagawa and Ryokuen Toshi locations are at capacity.

Since 2001, Sōtetsu has been managing daycare facilities as well, opening three licensed facilities near stations and one Yokohama-recognized facility.

“Management of these facilities isn’t easy, but we want to increase the value of living along our network,” says Hiratsuka Daiji, general affairs section chief for railway group member company Sōtetsu Amenity Life. Neighborhoods along the Sōtetsu network are experiencing population aging, and securing younger residents is an issue of critical concern. “We are hoping to create as many facilities as possible and develop neighborhoods that today’s children will want to live in 20 years from now,” says Hiratsuka.

Picking up children on the commute home—“station daycare” growing in popularity
Keihin Electric Express Railway (Keikyū) isn’t falling behind either, with its Keikyū Kids Land Idogaya Daycare Center in Minami Ward, Yokohama City. During evenings, guardians come in waves, with the arrival of each train, to pick up their children.

This is a “station daycare center” located within the paid area of the station. With 59 students from newborns to five-year-olds, the center is virtually at capacity. With the opening of the center at 7:00 am, many guardians come to drop off their children before boarding a train for the commute to work.

The two-story daycare center building is bright and clean. The daycare center garden abutting the station building is somewhat narrow, constrained by adjacent apartment buildings, but the schoolchildren run around happily. The surrounding area is full of parks, and the children go out on walks daily.

Railway group member company Keikyū Service began its daycare facility business in spring 2000, opening a non-licensed daycare facility with capacity for approx. 30 students near Kanazawa Bunko Station in Kanazawa Ward. The company later expanded the business as the dilemma of young children without proper daycare became an increasing problem for Yokohama City. By making active use of Keikyū-owned station tenant buildings and idle land near train stations, the company later opened daycare centers at Kami-Ōoka and Kami-Nagaya Stations, in addition to the one at Idogaya. All four facilities are now licensed daycare facilities and extremely popular, with a wait list for open spaces.

The Kami-Ōoka Daycare Center is located beneath the elevated railway tracks near the station. Trains roll by every few minutes, but even with the windows fully open, there’s little train noise to be heard. The center is narrow, following the shape of the elevated viaduct, but the layout is efficient. “We’re full, with 62 students. And thankfully, it’s rare that guardians will drop their children from the program mid-year,” says principal Takano Yoshimi.

Wakutsu Kazuo, amenities business department chief for Keikyū Service, says, “Daycare isn’t a business to be in for the money, but it can help increase the value of living along the railway line. We’ll be watching market conditions, and if there’s a need, we’ll look to expand our business.”
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 04:50 AM   #1358
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Thanks again quashlo for all the info and updates. I especially liked the TV program, as that one is not broadcast up here in Hokkaido. Very interesting about the proposed Kita Umeda-Shin Osaka Hankyu link. It's remarkable the number of projects Hankyu has been doing or will do, it reminds me of Tokyu's seemingly constant upgrades of their infrastructure in Tokyo.
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 02:27 PM   #1359
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Yes, thanks again for all the updates. I very much admire your translation skills. What is your native language, if you don't mind me asking?
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 06:58 PM   #1360
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English (US).

I can't take all the credit, though, since I have some assistance:

(Best JPN-ENG dictionary out there)

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