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News Update

By Anthony Robins

December 2014

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New Faces     Tetsudō Journal/Kintetsu

JR Hokkaidō’s rolling stock contribution to the extension of shinkansen services between Shin-Aomori and Shin-Hakodate
is two H5 sets, with two more to follow in the future.  Similar to JR East’s E5 sets, they however feature a mauve horizontal
line in the livery and Hokkaidō related motifs.

The success of Kintetsu’s ‘Shimakaze’, operating from Nagoya and Namba (Ōsaka) to Kashikojima is indicated by winning
the Japan Railfan Club’s ‘Blue Ribbon’ award for 2014 and by a third set entering service between Kyōto (10.00) and Kashikojima
(12.47) and vice-versa (Kashikojima 14.50, Kyoto 17.38) on 10th October. As with the other ‘Shimakaze’ services, it does
not operate on Wednesdays. The interior colour gravitates towards green on this third set.

3rd October saw the third Kumamoto type 0800 two-part ‘Cocoro’ tram enter service.

The first JR West type 227s have arrived in the Hiroshima area to replace JNR era 115s on the Sanyō, Kure and Kabe Lines.
43 cars will arrive in the 2014 financial year, but by the end of the 2018 financial year, there will be 276 cars, divided into 42
two-car sets and 64 three-car sets.  Similar in appearance to the third series of JR West’s type 521, livery is unpainted with
red and white stripes below window level and additional vertical red relief.

JR East’s Iiyama Line, features a special train with wood interior. Formed from two KiHa 110 cars, it will
operate one return service at weekends between Nagano and Tōkamachi (Niigata Prefecture). Its image is ‘Furusato’ (hometown),
claimed to epitomize the community feeling of Japanese people.

Sendai City’s new type 2000 appeared in late September ready for the opening of the 13.9 kms Tōzai Line in 2015.  Eventually,
the type will consist of fifteen 4-car (all motored) sets.  Livery is unpainted with some blue relief.  Due to enter service in April 2015
is Sapporo’s new type 9000 for its Tōhō Line. Livery is white with some blue relief including the doors.

Bowing Out  Tetsudō Journal

Seibu’s type 3000, which numbered nine 8-car sets built between 1983 and 1987, were retired from service in December 2014.

3rd-sector Hitachinaka Kaihin Railway in Ibaraki Prefecture marked the withdrawal of its KiHa 222 type with an event on 6th December.
A JNR (KiHa 22) design, they were first operated on the Haboro Colliery Railway in Hokkaidō.

In the Pink  Tetsudō Fan

Shin-Keisei, operating in Chiba, east of Tōkyō, is introducing a new unified livery featuring pink lower body, unpainted upper body
and white upper cab ends, to replace its current mixture of liveries.

Prized Types        Tetsudō Fan

2014 winners of the Japan Railfan Club’s ‘Laurel Prize’ were JR East’s E6 and Fukui Tetsudo’s F1000 light-rail set.  The former was
honoured at a ceremony at Akita Station on 8th November 2014.

Shock Delays         Mainichi Shimbun

A man clambered onto the top of the rear car of Hiroshima bound ‘Hikari 493’ at Shin-Yokohama at around 05.40 on 15th December
2014, leading him to be hospitalised with severe electric shock.  A total of 109 services were delayed for up to 68 minutes, affecting
around 97,000 passengers, with delays lasting into the afternoon. 

New Stations      The Japan Times

With the aim of boosting transport connections for the 2020 Tōkyō Olympics, Tōkyō Metro will construct a new station between
Kasumigaseki and Kamiyachō, on the Hibiya Line.  Full connections to nearby buildings will be completed by 2022.
It is the first new
Tōkyō Metro station on an existing line since Myoden was opened on the Tōzai Line in 2000.

On Track     Tetsudō Fan

Designed for operation through the Seikan Tunnel, with dual gauge use after the opening of the Hokkaidō Shinkansen
in Spring 2016, type EH800s have been active.  Between 5th & 7th July, EH800-901 carried out test runs with
carriage SuHaFu 14 507, usually used on steam services.  17th to 18th July saw EH800-2 delivered to Gyorukaku,
with DE10 1666 hauling it from Tōshiba’s works to Kawasaki, EF65 2094 from Kawasaki to Kuroiso and EF500 52
from there to its final destination.

Go-Ahead           Chunichi Shimbun/Japan Today

After submitting final plans in August, 17th August saw JR Tokai being given the go-ahead by the Transport Ministry
to build its maglev ‘linear shinkansen’ line from Tōkyō to Nagoya.  Due to be completed in 2027 and expected
to cost 5.5 trillion yen, it will be almost 90% in tunnel and underground, including the stations at Shinagawa and Nagoya.
Transport Minister Akihiro Ota indicated that JR Tokai should carefully deal with waste and possible effects on groundwater
caused by construction.

Steaming Ahead       Asahi Shimbun/JR West/Kiyoshi Jinno/Tetsudō Fan

Things are looking up for steam in Japan.  On 17th October JR West President, Seiji Manabe, announced that his company
plans to build a new two storey steam locomotive overhaul facility in front of the turntable at Umekōji Steam Hall
(roundhouse) in Kyōto by Autumn 2016.  It will allow visitors to see maintenance in progress and offer the chance for
younger mechanics to learn new skills.  Construction is expected to cost 1.1 billion yen. JR West also plans to restore
1938 built D51 200 as a replacement for C56 160 on steam services by 2017.

10th October saw the one hundredth anniversary of Umekōji and it was celebrated by a ceremony marking the return to steam
of Porter built 1880 locomotive ‘Yoshitsune’.
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