Railway/ Tetsudō Fan/Tetsudō Journal/The Japan Times
1st March saw Chikuhō Electric Railway’s second
3-part light rail set enter service. Livery is green with metallic
June saw JR West’s first 8-car (all motored) type 323 for its Ōsaka
Loop Line unveiled at Kinki Sharyō’s Works. Eventually, there will be
21 of these sets which are unpainted with orange and black relief.
Tetsudō in Shimane Prefecture is due to see a new type, rather than its
typical second-hand types, with the introduction of its type 7000. Two
single cars, based on JR Shikoku’s type 7000, are due to be delivered
in the summer and January 2017 respectively, with entry into service in
December and February respectively. With modern VVVF technology and a
capacity of 129 (64 seated), 20 greater than the operator’s type 1000,
the unpainted exteriors will feature vinyl ‘wrapping’.
Kōtsū is introducing 14 cars of ex-Tokyū type 1000s to become its own
type 1000. This more modern type will improve ‘barrier-free’ access to
its services. Livery is planned to be unpainted with mostly brown
relief. Transfer of the units takes place between 2016 and 2018, with
the first entering service in Spring 2017.
JR Kyūshū’s BEC 819
is a 2-car hybrid set which is in test operation on four daytime
services in each direction on the Chikuhō Line between Wakamatsu and
Orio during the second half of October and throughout November. With
capacity for 80 seated and a further 104 standing, livery is off white
with blue relief including doors.
As reported in ‘News Update’
in issue 86, the new Tōkyō Metro Hibiya Line type 13000 will ease
through workings onto Tōbu, by having the same door pattern as Tōbu’s
type 70000. This will also facilitate platform doors being fitted on
the Hibiya Line between 2020 and 2022. There will be 44 7-car unpainted
all-motored sets delivered between 2016 and 2019. Total capacity of
each set is 1,035, including 345 seated
Bullet Advances The Japan Times/ Kiyoshi
Jinno/Nikkei Asian Review
2020 financial year sees the next step forward for the Tōkaidō/Sanyō
Shinkansen’s rolling stock with the N700S. Featuring a nose which is
designed to reduce air resistance, noise and vibration when the train
enters tunnels, it will also feature lighter silicon carbide
semiconductors which JR Tōkai has developed in association with
Tōshiba, Hitachi, Fuji Electric and Mitsubishi Electric. One result is
a projected 7% reduction in electricity consumption. The type will be
the first to weigh less than 700 tons, making it about 300 tons lighter
than the original Zero series. Each seat will be equipped with
electrical sockets for recharging devices. The ‘S’ stands for ‘Supreme’
and the company’s aim is for it to spearhead overseas sales, including
possibly to Taiwan, where series 700T sets are currently used.
Nose Railway’s type 1500, ex-Hankyū type 2100, saw its last operation on 22nd June. Sets 1550F plus 1560F operated a ‘Sayonara’ service on 29th May and the final set in operation, 1560F, carried a headboard from 10th June onwards.
June saw the withdrawal of Saitama Shin Kōtsū’s type 1000. Operating
since the start of services in December 1983, they were refurbished
between 1998 and 2001. Withdrawal of the type began back in 2010.
Hankyū’s type 3100, built between 1964 and 1967 and numbering 40 cars, saw its last service on the company’s Itami Line on 8th July. The type has been replaced by new type 1000 cars.
Tetsudō Journal/Asahi Shimbun/Tetsudō Fan
ex-Marunouchi cars built between 1958 and 1962 (cars 584, 734, 752 and
771), which operated in Buenos Aires from 1995, returned to Tōkyō in
July. Taken by trailer to Nakano Depot, they are being restored for
training and events.
indicated in ‘News Update’ in issue 86, in 2017 Tōbu aims to start
steam operations after a gap of more than fifty years, using JR
Hokkaidō’s C11 207 between Shimo-Imaichi and Kinugawa Onsen. To gain
experience of steam operations, since January the company has sent 18
employees to companies with experience of steam operation: Chichibu, JR
Hokkaidō, Mooka and Oigawa. In addition, Shimo-Imaichi will be
renovated in Showa era style and expanded in size by about 50%. A
Shinto ceremony was held at Kuki in Saitama Prefecture on 12th September to pray for the safety of the locomotive.
tram 168 (in blue skies and white clouds livery) is now an Italian
restaurant located in Kaizuka, Ōsaka, near to Nagose Station on the
Tetsudō Journal/JR Hokkaidō
the planned abandonment of its 16.7 km Rumoi Line section between Rumoi
and Mashike, JR Hokkaidō plans to close its 16.1 km branch from
Shin-Yūbari to Yūbari, the historical mining location. Recently,
ridership has dropped to an average of only 118 passengers and the line
had a deficit of more than 100 million yen in 2014.
The Japan Times
current more direct ‘Skyliner’ service from Ueno to Narita airport
which was launched in July 2010, reached a total passenger count of 20
million on 13th September. As it took three years and five
months to reach the first 10 million, it can be seen that the number of
passengers has subsequently increased with the recent rise in inbound
tourists to Japan.
Tetsudō Fan/Colin Brown
Ohmi Railway, a Seibu subsidiary in Shiga Prefecture, held a ceremony on 16th June to mark the entry into service of its type 820 set (822). In classic Seibu red and beige livery, it marks the 120th anniversary of the railway’s establishment.
Isaribi Tetsudō (South Hokkaidō Railway), which took over operation of
local services after the opening of the Hokkaidō Shinkansen, has
repainted veteran KiHa 40 1814 in a light orange livery with a blue
mountain shaped stripe.
Tōkyō City’s Arakawa Line car 7001 is now in retro yellow livery with red waistline, recalling the 1960’s era.
mentioned in his article about the Hokkaidō Shinkansen in ‘Bullet-In
89’, the end of overnight trains to Hokkaidō has led to the withdrawal
of the ‘Hokutosei’ liveried DD51s. Between 3rd and 4th July, eight were pulled by a ‘Red Bear’ DF200 on the first stage of the journey to their eventual destination, Myanmar.
Evacuation Delays The Japan Times
June saw the Japan Transport Safety Board urge railway companies to
raise public awareness of the need to evacuate rapidly in case of an
emergency. It suggested that more security cameras should be provided
and more measures taken to allow crew to monitor developments. This
follows an incident one year ago when a 71 year old set himself on
fire, leading to another 52 year old passenger dying from respiratory
failure. The organisation found that passengers evacuated too slowly,
but that the driver correctly initially braked and then accelerated to
exit a tunnel. In addition, non-inflammable materials helped
retard the spread of fire.
Chōshi Electric Railway
Faced with financial challenges, last 1st
October saw Chōshi Electric Railway in southern Chiba raise fares by a
uniform 30 yen, meaning a rise from 150 yen to 180 yen for its lowest
fare and from 310 yen to 340 yen for its highest fare. Season
fares were also raised at the same time.
The Japan Times/Rail Journal
June JR Kyūshū filed to list on the stock market and aims to go public
on the Tōkyō Stock Exchange on 25th October and the Fukuoka Exchange on
the following day. An expected market capitalisation of 400 to 500
billion yen would make it one of the largest public offerings this year
and it is the first JR company outside of Honshu to do this.
Approximately 60% of the company’s revenues and all of its
profits come from non-rail activities.
July was expected to see the Japanese government extend funding
assistance to JR Tōkai to bring forward the completion of the maglev
Chūō Shinkansen to Ōsaka to 2037 rather than the intended date of 2045,
following completion to Nagoya scheduled for 2027. The government
intends to use its Fiscal Investment and Loan Program to lend 3
trillion yen over three years at just 0.3 percent interest. This would
be financed by government bonds and paid back over twenty to thirty
Expanding Abroad past and future The Japan Times/Bloomberg/Asahi Shimbun/Rail Professional/Gordon Bannister
Heavy Industries, which already receives 25% of its revenue from the
U.S., its largest market outside Japan, is considering spending
“several billion yen” to buy a train maintenance company there.
Yoshinori Kanehana, the company’s president, indicated in July, “The
costs for maintenance are largely fixed. By bringing that in-house, we
can cut costs and increase profit.” The company is targeting a 36%
increase in rolling stock sales to 200 billion yen by the 2018
financial year, compared with 147 billion yen in the 2015 financial
year. It is also aiming for a 52% increase in operating profit to 14
billion yen by that time. In the 2015 financial year, rolling stock
accounted for 9.3% of operating profits and 9.5% of sales.
August Japanese ambassador to the U.S., Kenichiro Sasae, signed a
memorandum of cooperation between Japan and Maryland with its governor,
Larry Hogan, and said that the Japanese government has authorised 2
million dollars to support a feasibility study on building a high-speed
maglev line between Washington and Baltimore, which is being promoted
by JR Tōkai. The U.S. federal government has already awarded 28
million dollars in seed money and the 2 million dollars helps towards
achieving the 20% match in funds which is needed.
saw Malaysia and Singapore sign a memorandum of understanding for a
high-speed link between the two countries and they aimed to call for
tenders from joint development partners in August, with the aim of
completion by 2026. Transport ministers from Japan and Singapore met on
22nd July, with the former stressing the shinkansen’s safety,
reliability and low lifetime cost. Yuji Fukasawa, executive vice
president of JR East told a symposium in Singapore that commercial
operations could start in seven years.
to replace rails and sleepers ready for regauging has been completed on
more than 70 percent of Sakhalin’s 806 km network and the aim is to
complete the project by 2020. Japan developed a 1067 mm gauge system
after annexing the southern half of Sakhalin following the
Russo-Japanese War. In the past, Japanese built equipment, including 30
D51 locomotives and later 28 two-car sets of donated KiHa 50
cars, was operated. Initially new rails remain in the 1067 mm gauge,
but space is available for a total gauge changeover in the future to
Russian 1520 mm gauge when rail operations will be suspended for three
months to allow it.
prepare for India’s first section of bullet train line between Mumbai
and Ahmedabad, construction of which is scheduled to begin in 2018 for
completion in 2023, 400 employees of Indian Railways are to be sent to
Japan for training concerning engineering, operational and safety
aspects. Costs will be shouldered by the Japanese government.
Pokemon - Please Go! Mainichi Shimbun
July saw railway operators in Japan joining nuclear power plant
operators in requesting Niantic, the developer of the ‘Pokemon Go’
game, to make sure that its characters do not appear in dangerous or
inappropriate areas. The railway operators include JR Group companies as well as the Japan Subway Association.
this autumn, 900 students at Harvard Business School will discuss the
success of JR East’s Tessei company, which employs shinkansen cleaners
who have become famous for their ‘seven-minute miracle’ on trains
turning around at Tōkyō station. Led by Teruo Yabe, who had previously
been in charge of safety policy, previous low morale was raised from
2005 onwards, with improvements in the workplace environment, new
uniforms, and incentives and penalties. Students have already been
studying the company as an option since May. Ethan Bernstein, assistant
professor of leadership and organisational behaviour, feels that the
study will be an antidote to students who think of leadership simply in
terms of control and who believe that problems can be solved just with
The Japan Times
years ago in June 1941 saw ‘The Japan Times’ report that ‘Shoho’, a
publication of the then Board of Information had explained plans by the
then Tōkyō Rapid Transit Operating Syndicate and Railways Ministry.
They indicated that the 1940 population of Tōkyō was about 6.8 million
and had grown 900,000 in the previous five years. The population was
then expected to reach 10 million in a little more than ten years.
Therefore, a necessity was seen for transportation facilities to be
increased two or three times.
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