The Japanese Railway
By Anthony Robins
from 'Bullet-in' #53 January 2005
Tetsudo Fan/Tetsudo Journal
- Nankai's new 2300 type for its Soya Line is a two-car unpainted
type (MoHa + MoHa). Featuring orange relief (including all the ends),
the first three were delivered behind EF65 1139 and are named after
flowers, 'sakura' (cherry blossom), 'hanamizuki' (dogwood) and
- JR West's Kakogawa Line (Kakogawa to Tanikawa in Hyogo
Prefecture) switched to an electric service from 19th December. Four
new type 125s (9 to 12) are operating the service, the same type as on
the Obama Line (1 to 8).
- Toyo Rapid Railway's first type 2000 (10-car) virtually matches
the design of Tokyo Metro's type 05 (-13) which it interworks with on
the Tozai Line.
- JR Freight's order for 2005 consists of 15 locomotives. These
comprise two EH200s, six EH500s, two EH210s, one EF510 and four DF200s.
Together with a hundred type 106 container trucks, the cost is 7.4
billion yen. The locomotives are to replace EF64s, EF65s, ED75s, EF81s
- The timetable change on 16th October saw major stock changes,
with E231s taking over from older types, particularly 113s, on Tokyo
- Enhanced green car services with 'green attendant' are provided
on 'Shonan Shinjuku Line' services. 'Suica' cards can be used to
activate green car reserved seats. Price before boarding is 750 yen (up
to 50 kms) or 950 yen (more than 51 kms) or after boarding for 1,000
yen (up to 50 kms) or 1,200 yen (more than 51 kms).
- Running-in tests saw super power on workings between Niigata
freight terminal and Nagaoka, with triple heading on 3rd August
(EF510-2, EF81-9 and EF81-144) and 4th August (EF510-2, EF 81-28 and
- Formed in August was JR West's new 'U@tech' test train. It is a
three car set comprising KuMoYa 223-9001 (former MoHa 223-9001), SaYa
213-1 (former SaHa 213-1) and KuYa 212-1 (KuRo 212-1 formerly used for
the 'Marine Liner' service across the Seto Bridge). Colour relief is
provided mainly by blue vinyls below window level.
- JR Shikoku's tilting type 8000 is being renewed. First set to
appear was three car set S6 (8506 + 8311 + 8206). Blue relief to the
unpainted body highlights the unreserved section while it is orange for
the reserved section. Widespread use of wood for the interior gives a
- JR West continues its heavy use of refurbished stock, featuring
newer type air-conditioning and more modern windows. Now it is 105s on
the Wakayama Line, with the first to be refurbished being KuMoHa 105-5
and KuHa 104-8.
- Before the Gifu tram system closed at the end of March, vehicles
were being repainted in photogenic 'revival' liveries. Type 600 car,
606, appeared from Gifu Workshops on 30th September in Meitetsu scarlet
livery with white stripe akin to limited expresses. It entered service
on 3rd October. Earlier, from 4th September, 593 started running in
cream and green livery.
- Results of the interim report were released on 24th October by
the Aircraft and Railways Investigation Commission into the derailment
of a bullet train on the Joetsu Shinkansen between Urasa and Nagaoka
due to the Niigata Chuetsu earthquake. It found that it travelled 1,637
metres after derailing and that track had been stretched 11 millimetres
wider over a 240 metres length. A bridge in Nagaoka had moved 4 cms and
the ground around it had fallen, leaving it up to seven centimetres
lower than the surrounding area.
- Planned to start from Spring 2006 is a new joint JR East and Tobu
service from Shinjuku to Nikko and Kinugawa Onsen (via Ikebukuro and
Omiya and joining Tobu at Kurihashi). There are expected to be four
return journeys and motive power will be six-car JR East limited
express types and Tobu's type 100 'Spacia'.
- A Plethora of Uniforms Mainichi Shimbun/Shukan Jitsuwa An
unemployed 39 year old, who had once worked as a security guard, stole
about 10,000 uniforms or related items over a period of fifteen years.
They were found after he was caught trying to steal a couple of pairs
of trousers from a JR West dormitory in Akashi, Hyogo Prefecture and
arrested on 6th September. When police raided his apartment, they found
that he only had a couple of square metres to sleep and needed a
two-ton truck to remove the uniforms. Although he had a fetish for
dressing up in uniforms, apparently he also had that familiar desire to
get into railway facilities 'to be able to get a look at trains at
Shop till you drop!
- 9th November saw the opening of Hanshin Electric Railway's new 28
storey commercial building in Nishi-Umeda, Osaka. Including 83
restaurants and ever-popular 'brand' shops like Coach, Gucci and
Tiffany, as well as a theatre and concert hall, the company hopes that
it will attract 15 million visitors and bolster declining numbers of
passengers. Rival Hankyu, whose founder Ichizo Kobayashiis seen as
having developed the model of synergy between railway operation,
retailing, sports facilities and real estate development, is developing
three new facilities, one on the site of the former Nishinomiya Stadium
closed in 2002, another north east of Hankyu's Umeda Station and the
last on the site of its Takarazuka amusement park closed in April
2003. Nankai's Namba Parks, next to its Namba terminus, completed
in October 2003, has attracted 21.22 million visitors. However, the
average number of passengers using Namba Station declined 4.5% in the
2003 financial year.
- 'News Update' in issue 51 of 'Bullet-In' referred to the arrest
of Seibu Railway employees dealing with 'sokaiya' (gangsters practising
extortion). As a result, Seibu magnate, Yoshiaki Tsutsumi resigned as
chairman of Seibu Railway. He later resigned as chairman of Kokudo
Corporation, after it turned out that Seibu Railway had underreported
the percentage of its shares owned by Kokudo, an unlisted core company.
A later result was the decision of the Tokyo Stock Exchange to delist
the company's shares from 17th December, in turn countered by the
company planning to list its shares on the Jasdaq over the counter