The Japanese Railway
By Anthony Robins
New Faces JR
Shikoku/Tetsudo Fan/Japan Daily Press
The first two 2-car sets of JR Shikoku's new type 8600 limited express
EMU entered service in June. Marked by an unusual circular cab
end and in yellow, white and silver grey livery, the motor + trailer
sets with a maximum speed of 130 km/h operate on 'Ishizuchi' services
(Takamatsu-Matsuyama-Uwajima). Also in Shikoku, a two car
sightseeing train 'Iyonaga Monogatari' (Iyonaga Story) formed from two
converted KiHa 47s is operating on the Yosan Line between Iyo Shi and
Iyo-Ōzu at weekends and other holiday times from summer 2014.
With tables for eating and drinking, the all reserved capacity is 50.
on their popularity and catering to the demand from local governments
for special sightseeing trains, JR Kyushu plans to introduce a 'Sweets
Train' service aimed particularly at female passengers to its Ōmura
Line in Nagasaki Prefecture. Design of the cars will be by 'Seven
Stars' designer, Eiji Mitaoka, and the train is also expected to run on
the Kyūdai Main Line in Fukuoka and Ōita Prefectures. Also in
Kyushu, 3rd-sector operator, Kumagawa Tetsudo, started operating its
type KT-500 3-car 'Den-En Symphony' set on 8th March. Each
car is in a different livery to symbolise different seasons.
Due to enter
service in Summer 2015, JR East's type E353 will be the new limited
express for 'Super Azusa' services between Tokyo and Matsumoto, taking
over from its type E351. A smart and futuristic design featuring
a black roof and cab area is combined with a violet and off-white
livery reminiscent of the E351. Interior (seat) colours are blue
(standard car) and brown (green car). While the E351 consists of
4M+4T (8 car sets), with a capacity of 423 standard and 50 green car
seats, and 2M+2T (4 car sets), with a capacity of 240 seats, the E353
will consist of 5M+4T (9 car sets), with a capacity of 502 standard and
30 green car seats, and 2M+1T (3 car sets), with a capacity of 154
Steam Up and Down
12th December saw steam
raised for the first time on newly restored C58 239 at JR East's Ōmiya
Sogo Sharyo (General Rolling Stock) Centre. A traditional Shinto
ceremony took place before testing in steam over the period until 7th January. Testing of
the loco's ATS-P system was scheduled for late January, with the loco
plus carriage Oya 12 1 successively hauled from Takasaki to Aomori by
EF65 501, ED75 759 and DE10 1764. The loco started operating the
'SL Ginga' service on JR East's Kamaishi Line at weekends and holidays
from 12th April. On
Saturdays, it operates from Hanamaki (10:37) to Kamaishi (15:20), while
on Sundays, it operates from Kamaishi (10:55) to Hanamaki (15:20).
is a stop of more than an hour midway at Tōno. Before the start
of these operations, it also had a couple of outings on the Tōhoku Main
Trams new and not so new Tetsudo Fan
In addition to
its first two type 1000 sets, 'Piccolo' and 'Piccola', Hiroshima
Dentetsu now has a further two sets, 1003 and 1004, both in white and
green and branded as 'Green Mover Lex'. At a ceremony at Toyama
Chitetsu's Minami-Toyama Station on 27th January, the
company's 'Retro Densha' was launched. Commemorating the centenary of
tram operations, this car (7022) is in a cream and dark green
livery. Another Eiji Mitooka design, it features widespread use
of wood for its interior.
Once operating nightly with more modern JR Tokai type 373 stock, the
overnight 'Moonlight Nagara' (Tokyo-Ōgaki in Gifu Prefecture) which now
only operates seasonally at holiday times changed over from its
previous JR East type 183/189, last operated on 25th August, to type 185
from 20th December.
timetable change on 17th March saw ex Joban Line 651 'Super-Hitachis'
take over from type 185s on most commuter limited express services
between Ueno and Maebashi and Takasaki. Formerly known as 'Akagi', most
services were renamed 'Swallow Akagi'. Either side of the change,
from 2nd February to 30th April, a ¥500 reduction
in the reserved limited express charge was offered.
Sanriku Tetsudō, hard-hit by the March 2011 earthquake
and tsunami, started operation of services on its remaining out of
service sections, the 15 kms between Yoshihama and Kamaishi (Minami
Rias Line) and the 10.5 kms between Omoto and Tanohata (Kita Rias Line)
on 5th and 6th April respectively.
Cutbacks Tetsudo Journal/Oigawa Tetsudo
Railway timetable change on 26th March saw return runs
between Kanaya and Senzu reduced from fourteen to eight (plus one
between Kanaya and Ieyama). The first
Kanaya bound service from Senzu is now at 06:17 rather than 05:29, and
the last Senzu bound service from Kanaya is now at 20:28 rather than
21:11. Return runs on the narrow profile
Igawa Line were reduced from four to three. Ex
Keihan type 3000 was also withdrawn on 14th February.
Revival JR Kyushu/Tetsudo Journal
well as items including tickets commemorating the tenth anniversary of
the Kyushu Shinkansen, for one day on 8th March JR Kyushu
revived its type 787 'Relay Tsubame' which operated between Hakata and
Shin Yatsushiro before the northern part of the Kyushu Shinkansen
opened. Leaving Hakata at 11:41, the six
car set (half reserved for groups) arrived at Shin Yatsushiro at 1350. Nineteen minutes later, an extra 'Tsubame
(315)' departed for Kagoshima-Chūō, arriving at 14:54.
its centenary on 5th April, three type 200 cars on Sangi
Tetsudo's 762mm Hokusei Line (ex Kintetsu) have been repainted in
historic cream and green livery reflecting the line's Mie Kotsu era.
Just in time
The Japan Times
JR Tokai is
under some pressure to showcase its maglev Chūō Shinkansen in time for
the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. It is therefore considering operating
trains over a 49 kilometre section (existing 43 kms test section plus
an additional 6 kms) between the test facility and a new station in
are moving to produce more flexible platform doors as these are
increased amid safety concerns while having to cater for through
running with trains from different companies or with different door
arrangements. Kobe Steel's 'dokodemo'
type, as installed at Seibu's Shin Tokorozawa station, can move,
somewhat like flexible library shelving, to cater for trains with three
and four sets of doors per side. Others,
from companies including Nippon Signal and Takamisawa, have wide
openings with horizontal bars which are raised to allow passengers to
company, Marubeni, thirty Nagoya Subway Higashiyama Line type 5000 cars
are joining other ex Tokyo and Nagoya cars in Buenos Aires. The sale is
for the sum of just over ¥22 million.
With an eye on
early preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, subway operator
Tokyo Metro placed bilingual tablet computers at Ueno (Ginza Line) from
16th January and Shinjuku (Marunouchi Line) to help tourists
from abroad. Initially using English,
Chinese and Korean were added from mid-April.
Tetsudo Fan/JR East
November saw the Umekoji Steam Museum in Kyoto, visited by participants
on a number of JRS related tours, reach a landmark with its eight
millionth visitor since it opened in 1972. Locomotives
D51 1 and D51 200 were decorated with commemorative headboards.
an application period from 10th to 17th December,
JR East and JR West received 86,260 applications (for 214,306
passengers) for the chance to take five test runs of the new Hokuriku
Shinkansen type E7 (W7) between 7th and 9th