The Japanese Railway Society
By Anthony Robins
Faces Tetsudō Fan/Tetsudō Journal/Chunichi Shimbun/JR Tōkai/Response.jp/Jiro Kakihara 20th
March saw the first operation of Nishitetsu’s new type 9000. Consisting
of two 3-car sets (Tc+M+Tc) and two 2-car sets (Mc+Tc), livery is
unpainted with some dark red relief. Capacity of all cars is 124 (40
seated), except the intermediate car in the 3-car set which has
capacity for 138 (48 seated).
Entering operation on 8th April was 3rd-sector
Akechi Tetsudō’s new ‘Akechi 100’ type, 101. With a capacity of 119 (50
seated longitudinally) and light pink livery with orange stripes, it
replaces similarly liveried ‘Akechi 6’ (see article in this issue).
May saw the entry into service of the first five car type 320 set on
Tōkyō City’s Nippori-Toneri Liner. Livery is a combination of green,
black and unpainted. It follows the type 330 introduced in October
2015. As with that type, all seats are longitudinal.
May saw the unveiling of the first of Nankai’s type 8000 sets with a
‘Premium Car’ (car 6), which features 2+1 reclining seats, with a
capacity of 40 seats. The service is being introduced from 20th August.
May saw the second E235 set enter service on JR East’s Yamanote Line in
Tōkyō. Fifteen 11-car sets are due in the 2017 financial year, with a
total of fifty by the 2020 financial year.
Also entering service
in May was Hakone Tozan’s two car type 3100 (KuMoHa 3101 + KuMoHa
3102). Based on the operator’s ‘Allegra’ type 3000 which was introduced
in November 2014, it is in the same bright red livery. Capacity of
each car is 82 (40 seated), compared with 75 (36 seated) for the 3000.
is the prototype for a new JR Freight diesel locomotive design. With
testing due to begin in late June, this Kawasaki Heavy Industries’
locomotive features a typical long and short ‘bonnet’, current JR
Freight red livery and a length of 15.9 metres (1.8 metres longer
than the DE10).
Unveiled on 4th June were new ‘Retro’ carriages for the ‘SL Yamaguchi’ which will replace the existing type 12 carriages from 2nd
September. They are five type 35s (ORoTe 35 4001 + SuHa 35 4001 + NaHa
35 4001 + OHa 35 4001 + SuHaTe 35 4001). With a top speed of 110
km/h, capacity is respectively 23, 64, 40, 72 and 46. Construction of
these air-conditioned steel carriages has been by Niigata Transys.
Tōkai plans its next generation of trains for its ‘Hida’ and ‘Nanki’
limited expresses, currently operated by KiHa 85 DMUs to be
hybrid trains which would allow a 15% reduction in fuel costs, with 4
car sets utilising one engine per car rather than two. Plans see
testing from 2019 and entry into service in 2022.
More Themed Trains Tetsudō Fan/JR East From 1st
July, JR East has been operating ‘High Rail 1375’, a two-car DMU set
(KiHa 100 + KiHa 110) with observation friendly seating on JR East’s
scenic Koumi Line between Kobuchizawa and Komoro.
The line rises to a height of 1,375 metres, hence the train’s
name. It is operating on four to six days a week during the summer.
July saw a renewed ‘Pokemon with You’ train in service between
Ichinoseki and Kesennuma, running at weekends and holidays in July and
September, as well as most days in August. The KiHa 100 set features
a mainly yellow exterior and interior reflecting the key 'Pokemon'
character, Pikachu. It replaces an earlier version which operated
between December 2012 and May 2017.
Matters Tetsudō Journal/The
Line’s two surviving type 7000 trams were due to be withdrawn in late
April (7001) and early June (7022). To commemorate the event, 24th March saw two Tōkyō City buses start operating in traditional yellow livery vinyls.
March saw the first anniversary of the Hokkaidō Shinkansen celebrated
at Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto and Shin-Aomori stations. Speaking at the
former station, Osamu Shimada, the JR Hokkaidō
President, indicated that its true value will be tested in
the second year and asked for support to extend it to Sapporo as early
as possible, with the present aim being by March 2031. In its
first year, the Hokkaidō Shinkansen was used by about 2.3
million passengers, an average occupancy rate of about 32%.
Overall, average daily passengers have been 6,300, but there has been a
sharp difference between summer (9,600 in August) and winter
(3,600 in February).
on Track Mainichi Shimbun/The Japan
April saw a ceremony at Namie station (JR East’s Jōban Line) to mark
the resumption of services over the 8.9 km between Namie and Odaka,
both in Fukushima Prefecture. This took place just over six years
after services were suspended following the 2011 earthquake,
tsunami and nuclear crisis. Late March had seen an evacuation order for
Namie partially lifted. The section of the 27.7 km of the Jōban Line between Namie and Tatsuta remains out of action.
locomotive D51 827, which spent many years preserved in a confined shed
in Jimokuji, west of Nagoya, and was one of very few plinthed
locomotives to escape roving JRS member, Alan Absalom, has now been
moved to Aridagawa in Wakayama Prefecture. Bought by specialist Kansai
train transporting company, Achiha, it is due to run along a 400
metres’ stretch of track there at the Aridagawa Train Park from later
Refurbished at Wakasa Railway’s Hayabusa Station is preserved ex Hokuriku Tetsudō ED 301, which dates from 1954.
the Way Out The Japan Times As
planned, the end of double-deck Shinkansen operation is looming. Late
March saw JR East announcing that its remaining double-deck type, the
E4, still operating on the Joetsu Shinkansen, will be replaced by E7s
from the 2018 financial year. Introduced in 1997, the E4 is the highest
capacity high-speed train in the world, with a seating capacity of
1,634. Following the replacement of E4s, remaining E2 sets operating on
the Jōetsu Shinkansen will also be replaced by E7s.
International Connections Tetsudō Journal/Asahi Shimbun/Yomiuri Shimbun/ The Japan Times/Railway Gazette/Jiro Kakihara
saw an announcement from the Indian Ministry of Railways that Indian
Railways is expected to order 25 ten-car high-speed sets which are a
variant of JR East’s E5. With an expected cost of 50 billion
Rupees, they will operate at a maximum speed of 350 km/h and have
seating for 698 standard class passengers and 55 business class
passengers. They are for the largely Japanese financed 508 km Mumbai
to Ahmedabad high speed line, construction of which is due to
begin in 2018, with completion projected for 2023.
the one year anniversary of JR Shikoku’s relationship with the Taiwan
Railway Administration, its type 8000 set S6 is in a white, yellow and
blue livery which represents the latter’s type 800 from 30th March until the end of next February. An 8-car Taiwan type 800 set will reciprocate in JR Shikoku livery from 2nd June until the end of next June.
is not famous for importing rail equipment, but the situation is more
positive when it comes to more specialised equipment. A 16 metre long
defect inspection car produced by Italy’s Mermec will begin test
operations on the Sanyo Shinkansen from September. The cost is
projected to be approximately 700 million yen, with full operation in
five years which aims to reduce the need for labour intensive visual
inspections. Future plans see use of such equipment on the
Hokuriku Shinkansen and local lines.
Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister, Keichi Ishii, told some 600 participants on 3rd
May at a third symposium in Kuala Lumpur that Japan wanted to share 52
years of shinkansen experience in relation to a planned Kuala Lumpur to
Singapore high-speed link. With an aim of a journey time of 90 minutes
and a launch date of 2026, bidding is due to be held between October
and December, with competition from China and South Korea.
Launched on 5th
June was a prayer room at Tōkyō Station. Open from 08:30 to 19:00 on
weekdays and to 17:00 on weekends and holidays, it is mainly for the
increasing number of Muslim tourists, but is available
for visitors from other religions. Some airports already have such
facilities and JR West and Nankai provide spaces near stations, but
this is the first prayer room at a station. It is however, only 8
square metres, with a capacity for just two people.
Unveilings Chunichi Shimbun
JR West unveiled check-in facilities for its luxury ‘Twilight Express Mizukaze’ at its Granvia Hotel in Kyōto on 31st May, ahead of the launch of the train on 17th June. Passengers can proceed directly to the platform by using an elevator.
A new uniform for JR Tōkai train crew was marked by a ceremony on a platform at Nagoya Station on 1st June, with a member of crew in the former and new uniforms. The latter features a ‘Cool Biz’ style shirt with no tie.
Female Friendly Asahi Shimbun
May, Iyo Tetsudō, operating in Matsuyama, became the latest company to
introduce female drivers, with two ladies being the first since the
Second World War.
Disability Friendly Mainichi Shimbun
the upcoming 2020 Tōkyō Olympics and Paralympics, support groups are
campaigning for improved facilities for people with disabilities on
shinkansen services. Currently, operators are required to provide at
least one wheelchair location per car, with either seating for
those in wheelchairs created by removing aisle seats or a multipurpose
room. Limitations include having to book more expensive reserved
tickets and not always being able to travel with companions.
DPI-Japan, The Japan National Assembly of Disabled Peoples’
International aims to campaign for six to ten wheelchair users per car
and companies have expressed their desire to improve the
Under Surveillance The Japan Times
Update’ in the last issue referred to the future introduction of
surveillance cameras on Tōkyō Metro trains. Between Spring 2018 and
2020, at a cost of around 2 billion yen, cameras will be placed near
display panels above doors on 550 Yamanote Line cars. JR East’s
president, Tetsuro Tomita, stated that “Crimes and nuisance are become
noticeable on trains. (Cameras) are necessary to prevent terrorism as
well.” Footage will be stored for about a week and access will be
restricted to a limited number of employees.
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