The Japanese Railway
By Anthony Robins
New and Revised Faces Tetsudō Fan/Tetsudō Journal
type 305 is a six-car (T+M+M +M+M+T) 1500v DC type in use since
February on Chikuhi Line and Fukuoka Airport Line services. Livery is
white with a variety of designs of seat covering and even wooden
flooring (in car 1 only).
Another sightseeing train to start operations is KiHa 40 2007 running
the ‘Tenkū no Shiro (Castle in the Sky) - Takedajosekigo’ as a daily
return service along the Bantan Line between Wadayama and Teramae in
Hyōgo Prefecture from 20th March to the end of June. The car
emblazoned with images of the increasingly popular Takeda Castle
features a mixture of regular seating and single seats positioned
directly for window viewing.
With the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen (see issue 84), the
‘Shirayuki’ limited express feeder service began linking Niigata and
Joetsu-Myoko (Hokuriku Shinkansen), as well as Arai over the Echigo
Tokimeki Line. Operating the service are four type E653-1100 units
(H201-H204) formed from former ‘Fresh Hitachi’ sets, in a white and
blue livery with red stripe.
Hanshin’s type 5700 commenced service in summer 2015 for stopping
services, with the first four-car set. Livery is unpainted with blue
and grey relief, including around the doors. Nankai’s type 8300,
entering service from the autumn, will consist of five four-car sets.
Livery is Nankai’s typical silver/grey with blue/orange stripes. It
features energy efficient LED lighting and a four language display.
Capacity is 141 (47 seated) in end cars and 153 (55 seated) in
Meitetsu’s (Nagoya Railroad) 2015 rolling stock plans see two new 6 car
type 2200 limited express sets, two 2 car type 3150s and one 4 car type
3300 (all existing designs), as well as refurbishing of three 6 car
type 1200 limited express sets. Total rolling stock budget is 18.9
Following the plethora of 3rd-sector companies which took
over parallel local lines with the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen
in March, the South Hokkaidō Railway Company (Donan Isarabi Tetsudō)
will take over the 37.8 kms of the Esashi Line between Kikonai and
Goryokaku when the Hokkaidō Shinkansen reaches Hakodate in spring 2016.
Yokkaichi Asunarou Tetsudō is the new 3rd sector company for operating the 762mm lines in Yokkaichi in Mie from 1st
April. Kintetsu retains a 75% interest and the city has a 25% share of
the operation. Fares rose, including the former minimum 170 yen fare
which is now 200 yen.
Operating from 16th March on the Kumamoto Electric Railway
has been a two car ex Tōkyō Metro Ginza Line set. Still in their
original livery, but fitted with Kawasaki Heavy Industries’ CFRP
bogies, the cars are 01-636 and 01-136.
Tram Developments Tetsudō Fan/Tetsudō Journal
F1002 is Fukui Tetsudō’s second F1000 ‘Fukuramu’ 3 part low-floor car. In a mid-blue livery, it debuted on 18th February.
On behalf of Toshiba, Kagoshima City trams tested a lithium-ion battery
system on its low-floor car 1011, allowing it to operate with
pantograph down on 23rd April. Kagoshima also opened its new depot in Uerata-cho on 1st May, with the former Shinden stop on route 2 being renamed Kōtsukyokumae. The former stop with that name on route 1 is now Nichudori.
Back in Action The Japan Times
years after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the Senseki Line reopened
between Takagimachi and Rikuzen-Ono, partly on higher ground, on 30th
May. A new link, the Senseki Tōhoku Line, between the two lines also
now allows services between Sendai and Ishinomaki by the combination of
lines. A two-car hybrid HB-E210 set has been introduced for operation
of this route.
Testing Times Tetsudō Fan
Among types being tested in the early spring were two EF65s running on the new Ueno Tokyo Line on 21st February, JR East’s all green car E655 (also used as the Emperor’s train) running on the same line on 25th
February, and N700A set G19 which ran a trial 285 Km/h service on the
same day between Tōkyō and Shin Ōsaka in preparation for a speed up
with the 14th March timetable change. Meitetsu’s new EL120 locomotives were also testing between Ina and Toyoake on 19th and 20th February and topping and tailing ballast wagons on 28th February, as well as in the Inuyama area on 16th March. Finally, JR East’s new type E235 for the Yamanote Line was tested between 14th and 20th April.
Bowing Out Tetsudō Journal
spring saw the retirement of two classic types, Keisei’s 3300 and
Tōkyū’s 7600. The last run of the former saw sets 3304 and 3344 depart
from Keisei Ueno for Narita on 28th February.
First Time Asahi Shimbun/Chunichi Shimbun/TNEM/Tetsudō Journal
For the first
time, a JR company, in this case JR Tōkai, has appointed a non-Japanese
as a board director. American, Torkel Patterson, will be part-time, as
he is currently President of The Northeast Maglev, a company which aims
to introduce JR Tōkai’s Maglev system, initially between Washington and
Baltimore and later to New York. Patterson studied at Tsukuba
University, has held US government posts, and was most recently
President of Raytheon International.
The ‘Banetsu Monogatari’ steam service (Aizu-Wakamatsu – Niigata) saw its first use of C61 20 when it hauled the train on 3rd May.
To mark the 10th anniversary of its ‘VSE’ type 50000, an Odakyu 50000 set on a group tour covered all of its lines on 28th and 29th March.
Good Service and Less Service The Japan Times/Tetsudō Fan
6th May saw the World Economic Forum state that Japan had risen from 14th place in 2013 to 9th
place in 2015 among the world’s ‘most tourist-friendly countries’.
However, in ‘quality of railroad infrastructure’, it came first.
Moving On Tetsudō Journal
the 356 JR East type 205 cars which have already moved to Jakarta for
suburban services there after being withdrawn from Saikyō Line and
Yokohama Line services are another 120 cars from the Nambu Line where
they are being replaced by E233-8000s. The process of moving them began
in late April.
Passing On Asahi Shimbun
famed cat, who made a great contribution to the finances of Wakayama
Electric Railway as Kishi’s stationmaster and one time boardmember,
passed away on 22nd June at the age of 16.