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Old June 5th, 2009, 09:37 AM   #161
quashlo
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JR East’s first powder, nursing room opens
http://www.asahi.com/national/update...906010427.html

Quote:
On June 2, Refresta opened inside the faregates of Yokohama Station, offering a place for mothers to nurse their children or change diapers free of charge, as well as a powder room allowing users free use of various beauty products and appliances.

The project is the brainchild of Kumagai Maiko (29yo) and five other women from JR East’s Yokohama Branch Office. After asking women about their ideal vision for the facility, the six women focused their attention on the new shop’s interior design and furniture. The venture is a first for JR East.

The powder room offers several beauty product samples for use, allowing users to come empty-handed, and costs ¥200 for 30 minutes. The shop also houses a cafe. “Even when it suddenly starts raining, passengers can relax inside the place comfortably. Men can wait inside the cafe,” says Kumagai.

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Old June 5th, 2009, 09:38 AM   #162
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Latest issues of Japan Railway & Transport Review
This is a quarterly journal, published by the East Japan Railway Culture Foundation. Each issue covers a special topic and articles discuss the issue both with respect to Japan, as well as other countries.

JRTR No. 50 (September 2008)
IC Cards
  • Development of Suica Autonomous Decentralized IC Card Ticket System
  • Common IC Card Ticket Project for Greater Tokyo Area
  • Marketing EX-IC and TOICA Services
  • JR West’s ICOCA
  • Deploying Transport IC Card in Hiroshima Urban Area
  • nimoca IC Card Service of Nishi-Nippon Railroad Co., Ltd.
  • The Evolution of e-payments in Public Transport – Singapore’s Experience
  • TSCC Business Profile
  • ITSO and European Interoperable Fare Management
  • Contactless Ticketing in Paris – The Navigo Pass
  • eTicket Germany – An Interoperable Electronic Fare Management Standard for Public Transport

JRTR No. 51 (February 2009)
Railways and The Environment (Part 3)
  • Rail Transport and Environmental Costs – Policy and Research in Europe
  • Japanese Railways and Their Outlook: An Envirommental Perspective
  • Railway Protection Forests – Reducing Natural Hazards and Enhancing Environmental Values
  • JR East Efforts to Prevent Global Warming
  • Development of Dual Mode Vehicle and its Effects
  • JR Freight Approach to Infrastructure Development for Modal Shift
  • Contributing to a Sustainable Future

JRTR No. 52 (March 2009)
Public Transportation in Provincial Areas
  • Trends and Problems in Regional Railway Policy in Japan
  • New Rejuvenation Model for Regional Railways in Japan – The Case of Wakayama Electric Railway’s Kishigawa Line
  • Significance of Freight Transport in Regional Railways
  • Compact City Development Using Public Transport
  • Rural Railways – The British Experience
  • Regional Rail Companies in Germany
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Old June 5th, 2009, 09:50 AM   #163
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Tama Monorail nears 10th anniversary
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/life/trend/...1300005-n1.htm

Quote:
The Tama Monorail, which fully opened January 10, 2000 and will have its 10th anniversary this fiscal year, is rolling out an array of special events to celebrate. Starting this month, anniversary stickers have been placed on the ends of all trains to commemorate the special date. The Tama Monorail allows passengers to do a virtual “walk in the air” through the green hills of the Tama Region, so I took the opportunity to board a train and trace the line’s 10-year history.

The Tama Monorail is the Tama Region’s only north-south rail line. Passengers can look down at the undulating Tama Hills from the inside of the train, or become a student for a day at one of the three universities along the line: Chūō University, Teikyō University, and Meisei University.

The line connects Tama Center Station and Kamikitadai Station, a distance of 16 km, in approximately 36 minutes. Including the dwell time at stops, the average speed of the line is 27 kph. Running gracefully through the air, the monorail could be called the Tama Region’s “public observatory.”

“The scenery is great, and there’s none of the suffocating feeling of other public transport,” says Takahashi Machiko (57yo), a restaurant owner from Saitama City who I met at Tachikawa-Kita Station. While it’s a bit more expensive, she’s a fan of the monorail and prefers it over the bus.

The 1000 series trains feature an eye-catching livery of orange gradations on silver. Each train has a carrying capacity of approximately 410 passengers.

In 2000, after the full line was open for service, daily ridership was approximately 80,000. The line fell dramatically short of expected ridership (11,000 passengers daily), and trains never reached capacity, even during peak hours.

Financial difficulties continued for some time as debt accumulation swelled, but with a financial recovery plan and the windfall of increased ridership from universities along the line, the line recorded an operating profit for the first time in 2004.

While the line was nicknamed “Tōkyō’s White Elephant” by the Metropolitan Assembly in September 2006, the line marked its fourth straight year of operating profit in 2007, with average daily ridership between April 2008 and January 2009 reaching 123,957. Currently, trains during the commute periods are filled, and the monorail is becoming an integral part of daily life in the Tama Region.

According to Meisei University, which is served by the monorail’s Chūō University – Meisei University Station, “Currently, approximately 4,000, or 70 percent, of our student body commutes to campus via the monorail. The number of incoming students born outside of Tōkyō Prefecture has also increased after the line opened.” “Tama’s changed so much in 10 years. The number of homes has grown, even the towns along the line have changed,” remarks an unemployed Yamakura Kazuho (74yo) from Hino City.

There are also jurisdictions that anxiously want the Tama Monorail extended. Among these is Musashi Murayama City, which has been petitioning the Metropolitan Government for an extension since 2002. At the start of the project, an extension to Musashi Murayama City was on the table, but there has been no news in recent years.

“If we can get a station, we can revitalize our city. And residents will be able to travel to further places,” say representatives from Musashi Murayama City. Last year, the municipal government held a monorail-themed drawing contest among the city’s elementary and middle school children, in the hopes of advertising the popularity of the proposed extension among city residents.

Planning Chief Kobayashi Minoru of Tōkyō Tama Intercity Monorail Co. (HQ: Tachikawa City) boasts, “The Tama Monorail has not had a single human-related incident in 10 years.” A female passenger coming home after taking care of her parents said, “The views are really something… I don’t feel so tired anymore after all that work.” After hearing those words, Kobayashi is rest assured that his job is one he can take pride in.

The company says it will run special events such as a stamp rally and a “beer train” to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the monorail. At station shops, the company also plans on selling new monorail-related items.


A Tama Monorail train passes above Tachikawa Station as a Chūō Line train waits at the platform.


A Tama Monorail train heading for Takamatsu Station.


A monorail train at Tachikawa-Kita Station, taken from a pedestrian bridge connected to JR Tachikawa Station.
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Old June 5th, 2009, 09:56 AM   #164
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Late night trip home: The Last Stronghold
http://mytown.asahi.com/nara/news.ph...00170906010001

Quote:
Miss the train, and it’s the bus
What do you do in Ōsaka if you’ve been out drinking too much or stayed late in the office past the last train? Taking a taxi could cost a cool ¥10,000, but there’s a way to get back home for less than half the cost: the Hanna, Nara Kōtsū Bus Lines’ late-night express bus. Who actually uses this service? How comfortable is the ride? I took the opportunity to try it out.

It’s past 11 p.m. in late April. The area around JR Ōsaka Station is abuzz with businessmen and office ladies rushing to the station, perhaps afraid that they will miss the last train. At 12:15am, the Hanna arrives at an Ōsaka Municipal Transportation Bureau bus stop on the south side of the station. Including myself, three male passengers boarded the bus. One 28-year-old office worker heading back home to Ikoma City appeared slightly tipsy, saying he had just been out for a drink with his colleagues. Since his company’s workforce is relatively small, late nights at the office are common, but he didn’t know about the late night bus until last August. Until then, he either used a taxi or stayed at a budget hotel. “If I stay at a hotel, I don’t feel like I’ve slept at all. Even if I get less sleep, I can take a nice bath and feel more comfortable at home.”

The bus travels south on Midōsuji, arriving at Nankai Namba Station a little after 12:40 am. Including middle-aged office workers and several young men, eight passengers boarded.

A 36-year-old office worker headed home to Ikoma City appeared to have been out drinking for the night. He says he’s been using the bus for about two years now. “A taxi costs as much as ¥8,000, and even if I try to split the fare with someone, there aren’t many people who are headed the same way.” Previously, he would stay at capsule hotels or internet cafes in Ōsaka, but says heading back home to his family is more relaxing. “My wife searched online and told me about the bus. I think she might have been worried I was out cheating on her,” he jokes.

At 12:50 am, the bus departs Namba Station, taking the Hanshin Expressway and Second Hanna Tollway before turning onto local roads. The bus slips through silent nighttime streets, with the roll of the bus inviting passengers to the lull of sleep. The middle-aged man next to me reclined his seat, snoring away comfortably. Some passengers listened to music on their earphones, while others played with their mobile phones, legs stretched. Everyone on board took the opportunity to sit back and relax.

An office worker from Nara City (33yo) says he uses the bus once every several months. When out drinking with his friends at work, he always has to pay attention to the time. “When the conversation gets a little heated, I can completely forget the time and miss the last train. The bus is my last stronghold,” he says. But while it’s still cheaper than a taxi, it’s still substantially more expensive than a train, where you can at least get a commuter pass. “I’d actually be really happy if Kintetsu just extended their service a little longer.”

In a short time, the bus crossed into Ikoma City, arriving at Kintetsu Ikoma Station at 1:20 am. From here until Gakuen-mae Station, passengers exit the train one-by-one. The bus arrives at Shin-Ōmiya Station after 2:00 am. After the last of the passengers exit the train at Kintetsu Nara Station, the bus heads south on a prefectural route. Passing Daianji Temple and the Sharp Corporation factory, the bus arrives at the last stop of Shiratsuchichō in Yamato Kōriyama City, before heading to the bus yard.

Yearly demand is 2,500
The Hanna began service about 20 years ago, running between Namba and Nara (approx. 40 km). When heading home from Namba, the last train for Kintetsu Nara Station is 11:49 pm, while the last train for JR Nara Station is 12:04 am. With the Hanna, which leaves at 12:50 am, it’s an extra hour to stick around, which means definitely one, even two or three more glasses.

According to Nara Kōtsū Bus Lines, the peak annual ridership was in 1995, when approximately 5,600 people used the bus, but this has since dropped to current levels of 2,500 passengers a year. Recognizing the high demand for the service, the company hedged a small gamble and extended the line to JR Ōsaka Station last December.

Tonight’s driver, Hibara Masaki (35yo), has been operating the Hanna for three years. The job isn’t necessarily easy, with drunk passengers on Friday nights and the constant need to check on passengers to make sure they haven’t missed their stops, but in the past year, the number of drunk passengers has dropped. “In the past, there were passengers who were so drunk they vomited on the bus, but lately there haven’t been any, maybe because of the economic downturn. There’s also fewer passengers sleeping on the bus.”

Hanna
The bus departs JR Ōsaka Station at 12:20 am and Nankai Namba Station at 12:50 am. The bus can hold 51 passengers, including auxiliary seats. The fare is ¥2,700 to Tawaraguchi, ¥2,800 to Higashi-Ikoma Station, ¥2,900 to Tomio Motomachi 3-4-chōme, ¥3,300 to Gakuen Daiwachō, ¥3,600 to Nijō Ōji Minami 5-chōme, ¥3,800 to Daianji Temple, and ¥4,000 to Shiratsuchichō. The bus also stops at other stops along the route. No reservations are required and the bus has a toilet inside. The bus does not run Saturdays, Sundays, the New Year’s holiday, or during Obon.


The late-night express bus Hanna is stopped outside JR Ōsaka Station.
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Old June 5th, 2009, 10:02 AM   #165
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Guidebook focuses on Yamanote Line
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/tok...OYT8T00134.htm

Quote:
Around and Around on the Yamanote Line: A Souvenir Walk (POPLAR Publishing), a recently-published guidebook that introduces close to 290 landmarks and must-get items around each of the 29 stations on the JR Yamanote Line, has gained a strong following. The author is 40-year-old freelance illustrator Itō Miki, who lives in Arakawa Ward. The guidebook introduces each station’s unique urban surroundings and the lifestyles of Tōkyō residents in vivid detail.

The project was born a year and a half ago, in a chat between Itō and her supervising editor, Kamata Reiko (29yo). Up until that time, Itō had never even step foot at Tabata, Ōtsuka, or Uguisudani Stations, despite how close she lived to them. At Tabata, she snapped photos of the trains lined up at the switchyard and learned that the nearby Ōtsuka Musical Instrument Factory, which opened in 1919, produces ocarinas. While going from station to station, she was surprised to see the stark differences between neighborhoods, and find out that Tōkyō had more greenery than you thought. After getting off at each and every station and walking through each of the areas, she finished the book in one year.

The book begins at Tōkyō Station, traveling clockwise towards Yūrakuchō, introducing about ten sights, hidden gems, and landmarks at each station with illustrations. For Shinjuku Station, the book mentions the Shinjuku Nakamuraya, a dough cake shop that opened in the early 1900s: “The crunchy texture and rich sweetness will make you a regular.” For the flagship store of pickled vegetable shop Jyuichiya near Shimbashi Station, the book mentions that professional sushi chefs come here to get their ginger.

The first production run of 8,000 copies appeared on bookshelves April 20, with an additional 10,000 copies produced following good sales performance. Readers have chimed in, saying, “I don’t normally go to these stations, but I never knew that there were such interesting places or delicious food to be had there.”

“Even the people on the street are unique from station to station. At Ueno you have children on school fieldtrips, at Takadanobaba you have college students, at Ebisu you have fashionistas… Each station has its own landmarks and famous products, with old and new all mixed together. It truly is ‘Tōkyō,’ and it’s fascinating,” says Itō. The book is ¥1,238 without tax and is available at Tōkyō bookstores.
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Old June 5th, 2009, 10:36 AM   #166
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Part 2 of my railway photos in Kansai…

===============================================

A nice 15-minute walk from Hankyū Arashiyama Station along and over the Katsura River takes us to another “Arashiyama Station,” this time for the Keifuku Electric Railroad. This is the terminus for the Arashiyama Main Line (nicknamed the Randen), a tram line operating with some exclusive right-of-way as well as mixed-traffic sections.

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This tram, wrapped in an ad for a Kyōto delicacy (yatsuhashi), was built in 1929. Most trains are one car only, although during commute periods and tourist season, two cars will run coupled together.

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Shijō Ōmiya Station, the eastern terminus for the Randen.

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From Shijō Ōmiya Station, it’s a walk across the street to reach the entrance for Ōmiya Station on the Hankyū Kyōto Line, which runs underneath Shijō-dōri to Kawaramachi, Kyōto’s premier shopping district. Here, a limited express service on the Kyōto Line passes the station (all other services stop at the station).

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While Kyōto officially only has two subway lines (the Karasuma Line and the Tōzai Line), both operated by the Kyōto Municipal Transportation Bureau, both Hankyū Railway and Keihan Electric Railway run underground through central Kyōto. The Hankyū Kyōto Line is underground for about 4.5 km (four stations: Saiin, Ōmiya, Karasuma, and Kawaramachi) under Shijō-dōri. The section between Saiin and Ōmiya was built in 1931 and is the oldest section of underground rail in the Kansai area.

Two stops away and we arrive at the Kyōto Line terminal, Kawaramachi. The station has a somewhat unusual platform configuration, as it is an island platform with an additional extension that is only half as wide as the main portion. This allows one side of the island to serve two different tracks in a staggered configuration. After discharging passengers, the train is awaiting departure, bound for Hankyū Umeda Station back in Ōsaka.

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A short walk across the Kamo River takes us to Keihan Sanjō Station. The Keihan Main Line / Ōtō Line is underground for close to 5.0 km (six stations: Shichijō, Kiyomizu Gojō, Gion Shijō, Sanjō, Jingū Marutamachi, and Demachiyanagi) under Kawabata-dōri on the east bank of the Kamo River. Originally at-grade, the Keihan Main Line section through central Kyōto was undergrounded in 1987.

With the opening of the Keihan Nakanoshima Line in October of last year, Gojō, Shijō, and Marutamachi Stations were renamed—partly as publicity and partly to make it easier on visitors—as Kiyomizu Gojō, Gion Shijō, and Jingū Marutamachi. The new names borrow from familiar Kyōto landmarks such as Kiyomizu-dera and Heian Jingū.

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Central Exit. The station is also connected by underground passageway to the Tōzai Line’s Sanjō Keihan Station.

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As I wait on Platform 3 (for Ōsaka), a 2200 series sub-express train waits for departure at Platform 2, bound for Demachiyanagi on the Ōtō Line. The Ōtō Line is effectively an extension of the Keihan Main Line, running 2.3 km north past Sanjō to Demachiyanagi, and all trains run thru-service. The 2200 series was initially introduced in 1964, but here shows a new paint scheme recently introduced to coincide with the opening of the Nakanoshima Line.

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Another 2200 series sub-express train arrives on Platform 4, in the traditional two-tone green, bound for Yodoyabashi, the Keihan Main Line’s Ōsaka terminal.

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An 8000 series limited express pulls up to Platform 3. These sets were introduced in 1989, and received an upgrade in 1998 when one car in each consist was replaced with a bi-level car.

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Inside my train, an ad for the upcoming Aoi Matsuri in Kyōto.

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On board the train, a snapshot of Neyagawa Yard, Keihan’s largest facility.

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Train interior.

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The Nakanoshima Line is a branch line off the Keihan Main Line in central Ōsaka that opened in October 2008. The line is a mere 3.0 km long, running between Tenmabashi Station on the Main Line and Nakanoshima Station.

At Nakanoshima Station, a semi-express bound for Kuzuha waits for departure. All trains run as locals on the Nakanoshima Line.

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My train, a second-generation 3000 series train, introduced in 2008 specifically for rapid express services on the Nakanoshima Line. These sets were manufactured by Kawasaki Heavy Industries.

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The train (along with the new line) marks somewhat of an image rebranding for Keihan, as it looks completely different from their older trains.

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Timetable inside the station. As a branch line, base service on the Nakanoshima Line is 8 tph weekdays, 6 tph weekends. During the morning peak hour, there are 14 tph. All trains run through onto the Main Line. Yodoyabashi Station, the Main Line terminal, has a much more rigorous schedule, with a base service of 16 tph weekdays and weekends, and 24 tph during the morning peak hour.

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Departure board on the platform.

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The ticketing machines.

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Walking to the exit.

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One of the entrances to Nakanoshima Station. The ample use of wood throughout the station is a welcome and elegant touch.

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To the right, outside of the frame, is the Ōsaka International Convention Center.

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I head back down to the platforms and get back on a train to explore some of the other stations on the new line. This is at Ōebashi Station.

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The “wave” design of the handrail is easier to use, especially for elderly and disabled passengers.

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While Japanese railways are not traditionally known for aesthetic station designs, the newest batch of stations definitely exudes subdued refinement.

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Station entrance. Although not connected by underground passages, Ōebashi Station and Yodoyabashi Station on the Ōsaka Municipal Subway Midōsuji Line are five-minutes walking distance apart.

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To be continued…

Last edited by quashlo; June 20th, 2009 at 12:46 AM.
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Old June 9th, 2009, 08:32 AM   #167
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Numazu City begins seizing land for elevated structure
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/shi...OYT8T00980.htm

Quote:
After experiencing difficulties in purchasing land for the new cargo station as part of the elevation of JR Numazu Station, Numazu City announced on June 4 that it would begin preparations to seize the land under the Land Expropriation Law, in addition to continuing its efforts to encourage land owners to voluntarily participate in purchase negotiations.

On June 5, the city will post ten signs near the approximately 2.8 hectares which remain under private hands. The signs describe the details of the compensation that will be provided to property owners for land expropriated by the city. The same day, representatives from the city will visit the 51 land owners who have so far refused to sell their properties and hand out letters from Mayor Kurihira Hiroyasu urging for their cooperation in the land purchase, as well as pamphlets explaining the land expropriation process.

In September, the city plans on beginning surveys of land that has not yet been purchased, a prerequisite for expropriation. After calculating the compensation to each land owner based on the results of the surveys, the city will team with the project lead (the prefectural government) and request a verdict from the Shizuoka Prefectural Land Expropriation Committee by the end of this fiscal year.
This project would elevate the Tōkaidō Main Line and Gotemba Line around JR Numazu Station and conduct a series of other transportation improvements, including widening roadways and sidewalks in the area and improving connections across the tracks. The project would also seek to redevelop existing land and utilize new land freed up by the elevation of the tracks.
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Old June 9th, 2009, 08:33 AM   #168
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Keihan Keishin Line: Three faces in one
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/tabi/data/r...0090604_01.htm

Quote:
Subway | Mountain railway line | Surface tram
“Killing two birds with one stone”… “One actor, two roles”… “One piece, twice as good”… I love these phrases. I feel like I’ve gained something when I hear them. And there is a perfect train for people like me, a train that snakes underground as a subway, climbs over mountains as a mountain railway line, and takes to the streets as a surface tram. It has not only two, but three faces, and it switches between all of them in as little as 20 minutes.

Keihan Electric Railway’s Keishin Line linking Kyōto and Ōtsu City runs through-services with the Kyōto Municipal Subway Tōzai Line. If you get on in Kyōto, the journey begins underground. Since the Keishin Line used to start from Sanjō Station before the subway opened, I decided to start our journey at the Tōzai Subway Line’s Sanjō Keihan Station, located at the same place of the former Keishin Line station.

A four-car train, sporting a yellow beltline against a pastel blue and ash gray background, enters the station. While silver seems to be the color of choice for most subway systems, the Keishin Line’s sharp looks catch the eye. The end cars, No. 1 and No. 4, feature transverse seating in rows of one and two… Unusual for a subway, but in a good way.

I stood at the very end of the first car and looked forward. At the third station, Misasagi, the Keishin Line branches off from the subway onto the true “Keishin Line” tracks. After a sharp curve left, daylight begins to filter in… We’ve just surfaced. At the very same moment, the blinds behind the driver’s seat rise, opening up the view of the driver’s cab.

Crossing the border between Kyōto and Shiga Prefectures, three stations after Misasagi Station is Oiwake Station. Near this section, National Route 1 pulls up beside the train as we approach the mountains. From here, the line ascends a steep grade. This is the pass across Mt. Ōsaka, made famous by poets Ki no Tsurayuki, Sei Shōnagon, and Semimaru.

After departing Ōtani Station, the train’s wheels screech below, the sound of steel-on-steel. This is the highest point on the Keishin Line, 191 meters above sea level. After breezing along at 60 to 70 kph just earlier, the train slows to around 20 kph as it crawls upwards.

After crossing the mountain, the train enters a steep grade down, reaching a maximum of 61 per mil (a 61 meter drop in elevation per 1000 meters on the ground). There’s no shortage of sharp curves either. The train makes its way slowly back down, as passengers swing forward and back, before arriving at Kamisakaemachi Station. The Keishin Line is about to transform for us one last time.

After departing the station and clearing the sharp curve left, cars enter the mix on both sides of the train. This is National Route 161. From here until the terminus of Hama Ōtsu Station along the shore of Lake Biwa, the train becomes a streetcar. The train rolls downhill, blowing its horn from time to time. With Lake Biwa right before us, the train changes direction to the right and enters Hama Ōtsu Station. From Sanjō Keihan, the journey took 22 minutes.

The trip is confused and hectic… But it truly is an amazing journey. Initially, I had thought of taking a rest by the lakeshore, but I got right back on the train instead. Like rewinding and replaying a video, I wanted to experience the Keishin Line again, but from the opposite direction this time.

About Keihan Electric Railway’s Keishin Line
The fare between Misasagi and Hama Ōtsu is ¥230. The fare between Sanjō Keihan on the Tōzai Line and Hama Ōtsu is ¥410. At Hama Ōtsu, the line connects with the Keihan Ishiyama – Sakamoto Line (Ishiyama-dera – Sakamoto), which has various sights nearby, incluidng Mii-dera and Ōmi Jingū. A daily pass for these two Keihan lines and the Kyōto Municipal Subway is ¥1,000. Boats offering tours of Lake Biwa leave from Ōtsu Harbor near Hama Ōtsu.

Source: Wikipedia
Keishin Line, tram section.


Source: Wikipedia
Keishin Line, section of steep grade. National Route 1 is on the left.

Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBF7zxfLYHA&hd=1 Source: baltJ on YouTube
Starts off with the Keihan Main Line, then moves to the Keishin Line, and finishing with the Ishiyama – Sakamoto Line.
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Old June 9th, 2009, 08:34 AM   #169
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TJ Liner celebrates one-year anniversary

The TJ Liner is a special express “home liner” reserved-seat service operated by Tōbu Railway on the Tōjō Line. For an additional ¥300 over your journey’s base fare, you may purchase a seat on the TJ Liner and avoid the evening crowds from Ikebukuro Station on regular service Tōjō Line trains. On weekdays, six trains are run approximately hourly between 6:00 pm and 11:00 pm. On weekends and holidays, four trains are run approximately hourly between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm.

The TJ Liner was instituted on June 14, 2008 as part of the service changes with the Tōkyō Metro Fukutoshin Line (the Tōjō Line runs through service with the Fukutoshin Line).

image hosted on flickr

Source: tobu_special_exp on Flickr
A TJ Liner bound for Shinrin Kōen.


Source: Wikipedia
The TJ Liner uses 50090 series trains, part of the 50000 series family, Tōbu’s newest trains. There are a few differences from the other trains in the family, most importantly the seating, which can be reversed between transverse (for TJ Liner service) and longitudinal (for regular service).

image hosted on flickr

Source: powered_by_siemens on Flickr
The TJ Liner boards at Platform 5 of Ikebukuro Station.


Source: Wikipedia
You purchase a regular ticket for your journey (or use PASMO, Suica, etc.) and use these machines to purchase your seat on the TJ Liner.


Source: tobu2181 on YouTube
The driver pushes a button to rotate the seats to forward-facing or switch between transverse and longitudinal configuration.
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Old June 9th, 2009, 08:36 AM   #170
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Sōtetsu 11000 series to enter revenue service June 15

This is the newest set of trains for Sagami Railway (Sōtetsu), their first new series in seven years. The series is based on JR East’s E233 series trains, and has many of the same features, including equipment redundancy, in-car LCD displays, universal design elements (stanchion poles and non-slip door tiles), and air purifiers as the E233 series. All trains are 10 cars (200 m) and are produced by Tōkyū Car Company. Two sets have been ready for some time now and have been undergoing testing, but Sōtetsu has now announced that they will enter service starting next week.


Source: Wikipedia
The first train, sitting at Jimmuji Station on the Keikyū Zushi Line, awaiting transport over to Kashiwadai Car Center. October 2008.

Transporting the units:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-t7URT-l4Q&hd=1 Source: mikeguma on YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnfl2sA583M&hd=1 Source: mikeguma on YouTube

Testing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpOpC0UB0PU&fmt=18 Source: 5053F9706F on YouTube
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Old June 11th, 2009, 05:30 PM   #171
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thank you for the updates
the lights in the last train are those over the windshield? and the red lights?
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Old June 12th, 2009, 09:05 AM   #172
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Yes, the train's lights are over the windshield, to the left and right of the destination sign.

If you're asking about the red things, they just take the place of regular taillights... The train is waiting to be hauled from the manufacturer to the car yard.
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Old June 12th, 2009, 09:09 AM   #173
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Phased improvements at Utsunomiya Station East Exit
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/toc...OYT8T01128.htm

Quote:
In response to a question from a member of the public at a June 11 City Council meeting , Mayor Satō Eiichi of Utsunomiya City stated that he is considering a phased schedule for the improvements to the East Exit of JR Utsunomiya Station, plans for which had effectively been scrapped after developers backed out of the project.

As part of the proposal, the developer would have constructed three buildings including a 21-story tower at a cost of approximately ¥30 billion, with the city purchasing a portion of the properties for approximately ¥10 billion. Due to worsening economic conditions, however, the developer backed out of the project.

“I’m open to examining the problem in all ways, including comparing phased and non-phased proposals,” said Mayor Satō in response to the question. According to one possible program from the city’s East Exit Improvements Implementation Office, the city would take the lead and develop the public facilities building, which includes convention facilities, leaving construction of the rest of the project to private developers, depending upon the financial situation in the future. In July, the city will establish a committee to evaluate project logistics and details.
JR Utsunomiya Station is a major station on the Tōhoku Main Line, Nikkō Line, Tōhoku Shinkansen, and Yamagata Shinkansen. Daily station entries are 35,921 (2007). With the substantial downsizing of Utsunomiya Yard, land has been freed up for improvements to the East Exit and development adjacent to the station. The bus station, taxi zone, and pickup / dropoff area were moved and the East Exit plaza opened in November 2008.


Source: Wikipedia
East Exit, January 2009.


Source: Wikipedia
In contrast to the East Exit, the West Exit is fairly built out. March 2009.
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Old June 12th, 2009, 09:12 AM   #174
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Photo exhibition highlights 120 years of the Yokosuka Line
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/ka...202000068.html

Quote:
The JR Yokosuka Line opened on June 16, 1889, and will celebrate it’s 120th anniversary this year. In commemoration of the event, a photo exhibition titled “Along the Yokosuka Line” has opened at the Katoreya Gallery in Komachi, Kamakura. The exhibition is free to the public and will run until June 18.

The Yokosuka Line was built for military purposes to connect the former Japanese Navy’s Yokosuka Naval Base with Tōkyō, with the section between Ōfuna and Yokosuka opening first. Kamakura and Zushi Stations were opened, but the line was hastily constructed, cutting straight through the grounds of Engakuji Temple.

The exhibition features approximately 50 pieces. Among the displays is a photograph of a cafe outside Kamakura Station from the Meiji Era, as well as pictures of the damaged platforms at the station following the Great Kantō Earthquake in 1923. There are fascinating images of people gathering outside a station to welcome home soldiers lost in the war (1944); an event celebrating the opening of Kita-Kamakura Station (1927); and the scenery surrounding Ōfuna Station during the 1920s.

In addition, the exhibition features several pieces for railfans, including schedules and railway maps from when the line first opened, as well as a Japanese National Railways station sign with “Kamakura” written in hiragana. “After seeing the photos of the area around Kamakura Station as I remember it, I realized just how much the town has changed,” says a housewife from Kamakura (80yo).

The gallery is a one-minute walk from the East Exit of Kamakura Station.
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Old June 12th, 2009, 09:14 AM   #175
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Jiyūgaoka Station plaza renovation
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/na...902000226.html

Quote:
The Jiyūgaoka Station plaza in Meguro Ward, Tōkyō, which has remained virtually the same for the past 60 years following the end of World War II, will finally get a facelift. Pedestrian space will be increased and made accessible and the statue of a goddess in the middle of the traffic circle—which has become a symbol of the neighborhood—will be relocated to a new “triangle plaza” on the south side of the station. The project aims to create a center for new culture and exchange while still preserving the original look of the neighborhood. The new gateway to Jiyūgaoka will be open to the public in spring 2011.

The existing station plaza is about 2,000 sq. m. and was built in the years immediately following World War II. The statue of the goddess outside the station known as “Aozora” was erected in 1961 and is the work of sculptor Sawada Seikō, who was awarded the Order of Culture. The plaza has undergone few changes since then. But with more and more visitors due to the neighborhood’s reputation as a center of fashion among the younger generation and women, narrow sidewalks have become a problem.

According to Meguro Ward’s proposal, the renovation would make the plaza barrier-free and widen the sidewalks. Pedestrian paths both at the station plaza and on surrounding major roads would also be widened. A new pickup and dropoff zone for disabled passengers would be constructed, and sidewalk heights would be leveled and delineated with truncated domes. The center of the plaza will become a taxi zone.

The new triangle plaza will comprise approximately 300 sq. m. just left of the station faregates after exiting and will be used for neighborhood events including sweets festivals or celebrations of the goddess. The statue itself will be moved approximately ten meters from its current location into the new triangle plaza.

During talks between local residents, some members of the public pushed for the statue to remain at the main entrance of the station, making it very visible to passengers leaving the station. However, in an effort to make the statue a landmark and encourage its use as part of a waiting area, the statue will be moved. Detailed design work will now proceed, with construction starting some time next year.
image hosted on flickr

Source: michiro on Flickr
Main Entrance to the station, showing the existing plaza featuring the traffic circle and the statue of the goddess.

image hosted on flickr

Source: mugichocotai on Flickr
Main Entrance to the station.
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Old June 12th, 2009, 09:18 AM   #176
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More pictures of Sōtetsu 11000 series


Source: http://rail.hobidas.com/blog/natori/
At Atsugi.


Source: http://rail.hobidas.com/blog/natori/
At Atsugi.


Source: http://rail.hobidas.com/blog/natori/
Interior. The basic design is identical to JR East’s E233 series.


Source: http://rail.hobidas.com/blog/natori/
Wheelchair space, located in Car No. 1 and No. 10. The overhead racks in priority seating areas and in the women-only car (Car No. 4) are 50 millimeters lower than in other places.


Source: http://rail.hobidas.com/blog/natori/
Two 17-in LCD displays are provided above each door. In this picture, the left screen actually displays an advertisement for the Kanagawa East Line which will allow for Sōtetsu – JR and Sōtetsu – Tōkyū through-services. The right screen displays “Yokohama,” the terminal for the Sōtetsu network.


Source: http://rail.hobidas.com/blog/natori/
Driver’s cab.


Source: http://rail.hobidas.com/blog/natori/
Half of the cars in the second train were actually built by JR East at Niitsu Car Center, so their logo and name also appear on the car number stickers underneath Tōkyū Car Company.
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Old June 12th, 2009, 09:25 AM   #177
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Chūbu Region to implement interoperable IC card
http://chubu.yomiuri.co.jp/news_top/090612_1.htm

Quote:
Tentative rollout in 2012
On June 11, JR Central, Nagoya Railroad (Meitetsu), and the City of Nagoya Transportation Bureau announced that they have begun discussions to consider implementing integrated circuit (IC) farecard interoperability by 2012. IC farecards can be charged with value beforehand, allowing passengers to pass pay their fares at faregates and fare machines by placing their card on the reader. This marks the first time a date has been announced for rollout of the service, which would allow for interoperability between JR and private railway cards. With JR East also participating in the discussions, the project is finally gaining steam, although the Chūbu Region has already fallen far behind both Greater Tōkyō and the Kansai Region in implementing an interoperable farecard system.

After the project is complete, users will be able to use a single IC card on transit vehicles run by multiple operators—including JR Central, Meitetsu, and the Nagoya Municipal Subway, as well as Nagoya City buses and Meitetsu Bus—and transfer seamlessly among them over a wide area.

In 2006, JR Central released its IC farecard TOICA for the Chūbu Region. Meitetsu and the Nagoya Municipal Subway have been planning to develop their own farecard system for rollout in 2011, but up until now have had few concrete discussions about interoperability with the TOICA system.

As a result, Chief Nakata Tōru of the Chūbu District Transport Bureau (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT)) made an unprecendented request in a press conference this March, saying, “I would like to express my concern that there has been little specific action in developing an interoperable farecard.” After that incident, the MLIT Transport Bureau organized a session in May for a working group of JR Central, Meitetsu, and Nagoya City representatives to discuss the specifics of the project. The working group was originally established four years ago, but had not met for almost a year and four months. With the inclusion of JR East in the discussions, Meitetsu and Nagoya Municipal Subway farecards will also be interoperable with the JR network in the Tōkyō area.

The discussion will now turn to key issues, including the specifications for card readers as well as rules among the various operators to calculate fares on journeys across multiple lines.

Focusing on the big picture… Aim for an early rollout
Serious discussions of IC farecard interoperability among JR Central, Meitetsu, and the Nagoya Municipal Subway only began after the chief of the Chūbu District Transport Bureau applied “outside pressure” to get the wheel rolling. But it’s clear that this event marks a big step towards realization of the project and a 180-degree turn from the situation before this year, when there was no sign of progress whatsoever.

TOICA is currently valid at 115 stations in Aichi, Gifu, Mie, and Shizuoka Prefectures in the Chūbu Region, and will be expanded to 148 stations next spring. In the proposal by Meitetsu and the Nagoya Municipal Subway, an IC farecard system would be implemented on all 83 subway stations and approximately 1,000 city buses, as well as 261 Meitetsu stations (only a few lines would not receive the system) and Meitetsu buses. By allowing travel across various operators with a single farecard, the project would increase convenience for users and also hopefully increase ridership on public transport.

But there are still many obstacles to realizing the project.

Several factors unique to the Chūbu Region have stalled progress on developing an interoperable farecard, including the high mode share of private automobiles and intense rivalry and competition between JR Central and Meitetsu on key train lines. It will become critical that the various transport operators not simply examine the merits and demerits to their own companies, but also look at the big picture and implement the system as quickly as possible.

Source: Wikipedia
Diagram showing the extent of where TOICA is accepted (in dark blue). Nagoya is a little left of center. The green lines in the east represent Suica (Tōkyō area), the light blue lines in the west represent ICOCA (Kansai area).
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Old June 17th, 2009, 07:36 AM   #178
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Improvements to Higashi-Kurume Station
http://www.seibu-group.co.jp/railway...009/0604_2.pdf

Quote:
In conjunction with the closing of the station structure at the North Exit of Higashi-Kurume Station on the Ikebukuro Line, Seibu Railway (HQ: Tokorozawa City, Saitama Prefecture; President: Gotō Takashi) will begin construction of a new passageway at Higashi-Kurume (connecting the North Exit, station concourse, and East Exit plaza) starting Monday, June 22, with a scheduled opening in Spring 2010.

The new passageway will contain an atrium garden, among other features, and be designed as an open, well-lit space.

Together with the opening of the passageway, retail space designed to support and enrich passengers’ lifestyles will also be provided at the station, including daycare facilities, cafes, restaurants, relaxation facilities, and rental DVD / CD stores. Higashi-Kurume Station will be reborn and reinvigorated.
The station will also be outfitted with bicycle and automobile parking facilities as part of the project. The West Exit and East Exit were built fairly recently and are in much better shape than the North Exit. Higashi-Kurume is a fairly large station on the Ikebukuro Line (51,791 daily entries and exits in 2008).

image hosted on flickr

Source: oldnavy2000 on Flickr
The aging station structure at the North Exit will be replaced.

image hosted on flickr

Source: oldnavy2000 on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

Source: oldnavy2000 on Flickr


Source: Wikipedia
East Exit, built in 1994. (February 2009)


Source: Wikipedia
West Exit, built in 1994. (February 2009)
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Old June 17th, 2009, 07:38 AM   #179
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New station proposed between Ōfuna and Fujisawa
http://mytown.asahi.com/kanagawa/new...00000906120005

Quote:
With regards to the proposal for a new station on the JR Tōkaidō Line between Ōfuna and Fujisawa located in the Muraoka District of Fujisawa City, studies have estimated that only 10 percent of existing ridership at the Ōfuna and Fujisawa Stations would switch to the new station. Although the figure may change as a result of development surrounding the new station currently being considered by Fujisawa City and Kamakura City, the financial feasibility of the proposal is a critical issue.

The results of the studies were made public on June 11 by the Shōnan District Imrovement Committee, consisting of representatives from Kanagawa Prefecture, Fujisawa City, and Kamakura City. In 2008, the three jurisdictions set aside ¥21 million to plan the area around the future station—tentatively called “Muraoka New Station”—and analyze the impact of the new station on the crowding at Ōfuna and Fujisawa Stations.

According to the results of the study, daily station entries and exits at the new station are estimated to range anywhere from 71,000 passengers (for a primarily urban residential development) to 84,000 passengers (for a primarily business and commercial development). If development in the surrounding area continues without the new station, an additional 27,000 to 52,000 cars would be added to roadways daily, increasing traffic volumes in an area which has poor roadway conditions by 20 percent.

According to the 2005 Urban Transport Yearbook, daily station entries and exits are approximately 200,000 passengers at Ōfuna Station and 245,000 passengers at Fujisawa Station. With a new station, residents living in the surrounding area would see reduced commute times to the station, and approximately 10 percent of the passengers who currently use the existing two stations would switch.

The lead entity in the committee, the Fujisawa City Urban Improvement Division, says, “The new station would be different from Ōfuna and Fujisawa, which are both transfer stations… Since it would become an intermediate station on the Tōkaidō Line, we must expect ridership to be relatively low.”
Ōfuna Station is located on the border of Yokohama and Kamakura and is served by JR trains (Tōkaidō Line, Yokosuka Line, Negishi Line / Keihin-Tōhoku Line, and Shōnan Shinjuku Line) as well as the Shōnan Monorail. Fujisawa Station is served by JR trains (Tōkaidō Line, Shōnan Shinjuku Line), Odakyū trains (Enoshima Line), and the Enoden. Both are major transfer stations.

Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYNKNexHaRs&fmt=18 seishun18kippu on YouTube
Cab view of a JR Shōnan Shinjuku Line train between Fujisawa Station and Totsuka Station. The train makes an intermediate stop at Ōfuna Station. The 2:15 mark in the video is the proposed location for the new station.

Presentation on the planning efforts for the area surrounding the proposed station:
http://www.city.fujisawa.kanagawa.jp.../000259278.pdf (Japanese only)
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Old June 17th, 2009, 07:40 AM   #180
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Shōwa Bus to begin accepting nimoca
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/e-japan/sag...OYT8T00170.htm

Quote:
On June 12, Shōwa Bus (HQ: Karatsu City) announced that it would begin accepting Nishitetsu Group’s (HQ: Fukuoka City) prepaid IC card nimoca starting March 2010. In spring 2010, nimoca is also scheduled to become interoperable with JR Kyūshū’s SUGOCA, the Fukuoka City Subway’s Hayakaken, and JR East’s Suica, increasing its service area and usefulness.

Nimoca Co. and Shōwa Bus made a general agreement on use of the card on June 12. In the initial phase, nimoca will be introduced on 72 buses covering all routes in the Maebaru area, as well as buses on the Karatsu – Fukuoka and Imari – Fukuoka routes. The company plans on outfitting its entire fleet (180 buses) with the system by 2013. The company has set aside approximately ¥100 million for the project this year.

With prepaid cards, passengers add value to the card before using it. nimoca was rolled out in May 2008, with approximately 300,000 cards currently in circulation. The cards can be used on buses in Fukuoka Prefecture, Nishitetsu’s Tenjin – Ōmuta Line, and approximately 1,000 retail shops and department stores within Fukuoka Prefecture.
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