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News Update

By Anthony Robins

from 'Bullet-in' #55  October 2005

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New Faces Tetsudo Daiya Joho/Tetsudo Fan

Tokyu has reformed a ten car type 5000 used on its Denentoshi Line and followed JR East's lead in using six door cars. The change sees new 'saha' cars 5 and 8 with six doors and eight other cars from the original set.

In spite of a further cutback in its mileage on 31st March leaving it with services just between Nanao and Anamizu, the railway introduced our new 'NT200' cars from 1st April. With a capacity of 36 (seated) and 76 (standing), the NT200's livery is blue (lower bodyside and roof) and white with grey windowsides between them.

JR West has introduced its own type 700 based 'Doctor Yellow', numbered 923-3001 to 3007 (M+M+M+T+M+M+M), following JR Tokai's which was introduced in 2000.

JR West has started test running of its first seven-car 321 this Autumn, with 36 sets to be delivered in 2006. Due to operate on the Kobe and Kyoto (Tokaido) Lines, they will replace type 201s and 205s. It is an unpainted type with blue stripes, reminiscent of the type 207 which has been in the media's focus since the Amagasaki accident.

Thai State Railway of Thailand started operation on 12th March of their ex JR West type 14 set. Sporting the original blue livery but with yellow ends, the first working was a seasonal overnight limited express from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

Three more E3s Tetsudo Journal

March to July saw the delivery of three more E3 Akita Shinkansen sets. The first, set R24, arrived at Akita from Kawasaki Heavy Industries on 21st March, with haulage by brown liveried EF65 57. R25 was due to follow on 26th June and R26 on 11th July.

Refreshed Tetsudo Daiya Joho

Refurbishment of JR Kyushu's 3 five-car and 5 seven-car Sonic 883s has begun. There is a new exterior colour, a darker metallic blue, and change to orange-brown interior, albeit still with more subdued 'Mickey Mouse' shape ears!

New Stations Tetsudo Journal

Opened in September 2005 was a new station, Kyudai Gakkentoshi, on the Chikuhi Line used by JR Kyushu and Fukuoka Underground between Imajuku and Susenji.

Construction starts in 2006 for a planned opening in Spring 2008 of a new Sanyo line station west of Himeji at Harima Katsuhara between Agaho and Aboshi. With more than a hundred trains due to stop there in each direction, expected number of daily passengers is 5,000.

Spring 2007 will see the branch of the Osaka Monorail extended from Osaka Byoin-mae (Osaka Hospital) 4.2 kms to Saito-Nishi, with an intermediate station at Toyokawa. It is later planned to extend it another two stations.

A major new station building is underway ready for extension of the Kyushu Shinkansen with planned completion in Spring 2011 at Hakata, JR Kyushu's main station in Fukuoka. With 10 above ground floors and three basement floors, it will have a total area of approximately 200,000 square metres. Total cost is between sixty and seventy billion yen.

Centenarians Tetsudo Fan

Trains on both the Hanshin system and Meitetsu's Seto Line (the former 'Setoden') have been carrying nameboards commemorating their 100 years of operation.

Looking Back Tetsudo Fan

Running from 5th April through to November 2008, Kintetsu's 3-car set 623/563/523 is back in the company's former all-red livery used on non limited expresses. It operates on the 1067mm Yoro Line from Ogaki to Kuwana.

Going Ahead The Japan Times

22nd May saw a groundbreaking ceremony at Hakodate to mark the start of work on the inter island shinkansen line linking Shin-Aomori and Shin-Hakodate, first announced in 1972. The construction cost of the 149 kms line which will pass through the 54 kms Seikan
Tunnel is expected to be 470 billion yen, with two-thirds coming from the national government and a third coming from local governments. Journey time is expected to be 40 minutes. Work on the Toyama to Kanazawa section of the Hokuriku Shinkansen also started on 4th June.

One year on Tetsudo Journal

The 1st anniversary of the Kyushu Shinkansen was celebrated on 13th March. During its first year trains carried 3,228,884 passengers who were very evenly spread in direction (1,615,028 down and 1,613,856 up) and quite evenly spread through the year, with the first million reached on 15th July (115th day), the second million reached on 22nd October (224th day) and the third million reached on 15th February (340th day).

The Tsukuba Express Tetsudo Journal

24th August saw the start of operation of the Tsukuba Express over the 58.3 kilometres between Akihabara and Tsukuba. The pattern of services consists of three types: Kaisoku (Rapid), with seven stops en route and covering it in 45 minutes, and the Kukan Kaisoku (Area
Rapid), with fourteen stops, including all those after Moriya, together giving two trains an hour. Moriya itself is the terminus for the four hourly stopping services. 5th February saw a ceremony at Akihabara Station unveiling its 'Spiify' character.

Now and Then Chunichi Shimbun

After initial teething problems, the 'Linimo' linking Fujigaoka (Nagoya Underground's Higashiyama Line) and Banpaku-Yakusa (Aichi Loop Line) saw ridership increase from a daily average of 45,923 in March (6th to 31st) to 80,766 in April and 97,129 in May, with a peak of 120,000 on 3rd May. Obviously, this reflects heavy use during the Aichi International Expo and projected use in the post-Expo future is in the range 31,500 to 35,000.

Tram Developments
Tetsudo Fan/Tetsudo Journal/Asahi Shimbun

Tosa Dentetsu, operator of trams in Kochi, now has a new track across its central Kochi crossover, allowing direct running from Kochi Ekimae (Kochi Station) to Ino in both directions, with 18 daily (16 on holidays) services between the station and Kencho-mae (prefectural offices). A new stop is provided to allow trams coming from the station to stop just after negotiating the new link. Another recent development at Tosaden is that its 702 has been repainted in the livery it operated in at Shimonoseki until 1971.

Also provided with a new stop from 31st March is the centre of Toyohashi. Extension of the system into the station had created a greater gap in stops and shops in the centre were not well served. The 33.6 million yen cost of the new stop comes from a combination of
national government (11.2), city government (17.1) and Toyotetsu (5.3). An 'okaeri' (return home) ticket is available from participating shops for 150 yen (80 yen for children).

Former Kobe City car 1155 is looking much smarter after refurbishment which was completed in mid-April. It is an outdoor exhibit at the city's Motoyama Transport Park in that city's Higashi-Nada ward.

Delays, delays The Japan Times/Yomiuri Shimbun

At 0525 on 25th May a fault with a signal in the Yokohama Station area for Tokyo bound trains on JR East's Tokaido Line led to it remaining at red. This was followed by a similar fault on the Yokosuka Line in the same area. Trains were affected in a large area ranging from Odawara to Utsunomiya and an estimated 175,000 passengers on 157 trains were affected over a period of four hours. Passengers
transferred to other train operators and buses.

27th May saw Chuo Line timetables disrupted when three Tokyo elementary school boys aged 11 threw stones at an evening train crossing the Tama River at Hino. A window was broken and two passengers were slightly injured. Six trains were cancelled and a further
eleven were delayed, affecting an estimated 13,000 passengers.

An early morning earthquake which occurred at 0416 in Kumamoto Prefecture on 3rd June delayed Kyushu Shinkansen trains and ten early services were cancelled on local lines while tracks were inspected. Normal service resumed from 0645.

Reflecting its scenic but rural environment, just two passengers were on a four-car train on JR East's Tadami Line near Aizukawaguchi Station when a girder of the Kamiigusa Bridge which was being replaced dropped onto the train at around 2125 on 9th June.
The roof of the train was damaged but nobody was injured.

More on their way out Tetsudo Journal

Hokkaido's only 3rd-sector line, the Hokkaido Chihoku Kogen Tetsudo, which was covered on the Summer 2001 JRS tour, is now due to close in April 2006. Passengers who peaked at an annual one million have dropped to fewer than half of that and it faces a loss of more than 400 million yen. Replacement will be by buses.

Kobe Dentetsu (Kobe Electric Railway) ceased use of its Kikusuiyama station, one stop south of its depot and junction at Suzurandai on 25th March, first opened in October 1940.

Making up the difference Tetsudo Journal

Faced with loss of revenue from cement traffic (Sumitomo Osaka Cement), the third-sector Tarumi Railway in Gifu Prefecture increased its fares by an average of 19.5% on 1st April, the first increase except those related to consumption tax. Ogaki to Motosu rose from 420 yen to 510 yen, while a journey along the whole line rose from 830 yen to 900 yen.

Hanging On Yomiuri Shimbun

The Amagasaki crash has reinforced the need for more ways for passengers to hang on. While the average congestion rate on trains operated by private railways in the Tokyo area decreased from 238% in 1965 to 152% in 2002, the average area allowed for a standing
passenger is just 0.3 square metres. Speed of services has also accelerated during this time. JR East carried out a questionnaire of 20,000 passengers on its Chuo Line in October 2004 and responses led to the company installing more hand straps and handrails to hold onto. Other companies had previously carried out similar measures, including Keihin Kyuko and Toei (Tokyo municipal subway), while Kintetsu, Tobu and Tokyu have installed more child-friendly longer hand straps.

Remembering Yomiuri Shimbun

A memorial service was held on 8th March 2005 to mark five years since the Hibiya Line which killed 5 passengers and injured 64. While Tokyo Metro executives were there, none of the victims' family members have attended the annual commemorations.

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