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  1. JR East will modify a 719 series 2-car train for excursion operation on the Ban'etsu West Line. Called the 'Frutia' or 'Frutea' (apparently a combination of fruit and tea), one car will have a cafe counter and the other will have seating. The livery is inspired by red brick and traditional black plaster of lineside neighborhoods as well as the region's beautiful natural areas. Also influencing both exterior and interior details and styling is Japanese/Western architecture and design from the Meiji (1868-1912) and Taisho (1912-1926) periods. There's more about this that I can't seem to shape into coherent English :(. It will run on the Ban'etsu West Line between Aizu-Wakamatsu and Koriyama, primarily on Sundays and holidays from the end of April 2015. On board, original sweets and beverages made from Fukushima produce will be served, http://news.mynavi.jp/news/2014/11/27/476/ http://railf.jp/news/2014/11/28/150000.html http://www.jr-sendai.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/fruitea.pdf
  2. Early this morning, catenary poles on the Yamanote Line between Kanda and Akihabara fell over, disrupting services on both the Yamanote Line and Keihin Tohoku Line. Apparently the poles were not in use (decommissioned), but due to their age, collapsed. Service was disrupted for 9 hours, resuming again around 15:30. More news with specifics is to be out later this evening. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6G2SYEuVMc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoUDopRUwr4
  3. In case anyone is interested, this program will be shown four times on Tuesday, 1:30 to 1:55, 7:30 to 7:55, 10:30 to 10:55, and 19:30 to. 19:55. All times UTC. program page: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/tv/72hours/index.html main schedule: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/tv/schedule/
  4. Sunday saw the e655 trainset make a run down to Shinagawa. Video taken at Tokyo Station.
  5. Among all the anticipation of the upcoming timetable revision with associated new or enhanced services, comes some less positive developments that are not particularly publicized. Referring to JR East's timetable revision, over 2700km worth of train services, including commute services (note: not rail lines) will be cut in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area. This is the greatest cut in services since the formation of JR in 1987. Reasons are declining population in the outer metropolitan regions, the closing of places of employment in those areas served by rail, and continuing advancement of private auto ownership. Some of the cuts: Itsukaichi Line: daytime off-peak reduction of service from a train every 20 minutes to half-hourly, due to those services running with only 10~30% passenger capacity Ome Line, services starting/terminating at Tachikawa: weekday up/down services 7 trains cut, weekend/holidays 19 trains cut Kawagoe Line, Komagawa to Kawagoe daytime off-peak service intervals increased from 20 min to 30min Chiba Pref. limited express services: Tokyo-Sawara ltd. express service Ayame (2rt/day) axed, Ltd. Express Sazanami cut back to Kimitsu from Tateyama and 4 up/down services cut, Ltd. Express Shiosai for Choshi, Ltd. Express Wakashio for Awakamogawa, 3 trains and 2 trains cut respectively Tokaido Line: Odawara-Atami off peak service reduced from four trains/hour to three. Ito Line train services will also be reduced in morning periods when passenger demand is low. *Based on a Nihon Keizai Shimbun report (subscriber only). Blog entry about this: http://blogos.com/article/105376/
  6. Just a bit of trivia. Today on a morning TV news program, the gran class seating on the Tohoku Shinkansen and Hokuriku Shinkansen trains were compared. I didn't know this, but the seating is slightly different. First of all, the E5 seats are produced by a collaboration of Hitachi and Recaro. The E7 seats are produced by the same company that supplies seats to Lexus. The E7 seats are slightly (5mm) wider that the E5. However, the E5 seats recline more, by about 1.4 degrees. I didn't catch the beginning of the segment, there may have been other points.
  7. This Tetsudou Fan news item mentions the 川越貨物線, the Kawagoe Freight Line. A search on this turns up nothing. Is this an error? I don't see any obviously separate tracks on aerial maps, either. Infrequently used connector/bypass lines are a major interest of mine, what's this all about? :) http://railf.jp/news/2015/02/28/170000.html
  8. The JR East railway museum in Omiya will be showing a pair of special exhibitions from 3/14 to 6/21. Titled "Two Starts", one will examine the Hokuriku Shinkansen, the other the Ueno Tokyo Line. The Hokuriku Shinkansen exhibition will feature 1/20 scale models of the E7/W7, details of the tunnels and bridges along the route, snowfall countermeasures, and past limited express and express trains that ran between Tokyo and the Hokuriku region. The Ueno Tokyo Line exhibition will focus on the building of the elevated portion of the route, including the building over the Tohoku Shinkansen, and the techniques involved given the limited time and space without disrupting existing services. Also past limited expresses that used this section, and Joban Line trains that once went as far as Yurakucho. Cab view videos will be featured. Normal museum entry fee of 1000 yen will allow access to these exhibits. http://news.mynavi.jp/news/2015/02/25/211/ http://www.railway-museum.jp/press/pdf/20150216_2015_hp.pdf
  9. It's rare to get such a good view of this line. In this case it's possible due to the modified 485 series NO.DO.KA joyful train used for this "Sakata Kandara Festival" service. The train is classified as a rapid, so there's no express surcharge, although all seats are reserved. The 3-car formation has 96 seats. I've been trying to fill in some background on this; the cities of Sakata and Tsuruoka, both in Yamagata Prefecture, have this festival (28th and 27th times, respectively) for kandara, which I believe is cod caught in cold water. A soup is made with it, which does not appear to be cold :). This service conveys people from Niigata, which is the regional big city. One of my goals for any meaningfully long trip to Japan is to travel as much of the Sea of Japan coast as possible. I've only covered Tsuruga to Hagi so far, leaving quite a bit to do . video by tejy Train: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6LK0a-tL54 And here at Shibata Station, we can see tejy Train making the video. :) :). Video by Igarashi Satoshi. JR East Niigata Branch publication on service (pdf format): http://www.jrniigata.co.jp/20141128kandara.pdf page for festival: http://www.sakata-kankou.com/event/102 Uetsu Main LIne: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uetsu_Main_Line Sakata Station: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sakata_Station_%28Yamagata%29 lastly, cod ('tara' in Japanese): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gadidae
  10. Lately we've discussed some possible JR East rolling stock replacement; I'm going to guess that the 255 series, used for limited express services from Tokyo out to Chiba prefecture, still has a few years ahead of it. Tetsudou News has an item (http://railf.jp/news/2015/02/14/180000.html) about refubishment work done on formation Be05. Apparently it went to Omiya from its regular depot of Makuhari on October 9, and while getting a full inspection, had its inverter updated to an IGBT type from a VVVF type. I think the pans were also replaced, but with the same two-arm types. It looks like it also got fresh paint. It has since been on test runs from Tsudanuma to Ryogoku and separately Tokyo, as well as Makuhari > Awa-Kamogawa > Awa-Kominato > Awa-Kamogawa > Soga > Tokyo > Honda > Makuhari. Quite a ride, although based on the series of stations named, I don't think it was a loop around the Boso peninsula. There's also this image on Ompuchaneru, it's MOHA 255-9, the second car from the Awa-Kamogawa end of the train. I think this is Omiya: http://rail-uploader.khz-net.com/img-box/img20150209190603093b0.jpg
  11. Another JR East hybrid DMU emerges, looks like the same body as the E129: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:HB-E210_C1_C2_Zushi_20150113.JPG http://railf.jp/news/2015/01/17/171000.html
  12. Spotted yesterday at Yokohama Station, an e233 set in revenue service (not a test/maintenence train) on the Keihin Tohoku Line, with an intermediate car equipped with a track monitoring device, which includes an LED setup with camera, and a laser device, to detect track irregularities and conditions. It makes for a little light show at night. somebodys's video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tx7eg0T2Cm0 JR East press release: https://www.jreast.co.jp/press/2013/20130502.pdf *these trains will run until March, between Ofuna and Omiya. If you are in the area in the evening, keep a lookout for them.
  13. Dec. 19 JR East had a press release with the most detailed information to date regarding service changes with the upcoming timetable revision this March. Including the Hokuriku Shinkansen, and of most interest to me, the timetable for the Ueno-Tokyo Line. brief notes: *Southbound through trains off the Takasaki and Utsunomiya Lines, other than those terminating at Shinagawa, will continue on the Tokaido Line to either Hiratsuka/Kozu/Odawara/or Atami. A few services will even go as far as Ito or Numazu, for example, the weekday 20:24 from Utsunomiya (futsu 1635E) will reach Numazu at 0:37, truly a long-distance local covering 236km (and a cross-railway service- JR East and JR Tokai, at that). *Northbound through trains not terminating at Ueno, will continue on their respective lines to outer destinations, not terminating at a closer station such as Omiya. *On the Chuo Line, the up Azusa #8, (dep. Matsumoto 8:51), will terminate at Tokyo Station, (arr.11:50), to allow convenient connection with shinkansen services, among others. pdf of press release, including schedules: https://www.jreast.co.jp/press/2014/20141222.pdf
  14. In 2017, JR East will update and expand its Railway Museum near Omiya Station. It will be the museum's 10th anniversary, and 30th anniversary of the establishment of the company itself. Built south of the existing structure, the addition will raise the museum's total display space to 14,800 square meters, about 1.5 times its present size. There will be various themes including work, history, the future, and travel in the context of railways, in addition to the main hall's themes of rolling stock and science, presenting a variety of view points on the history of railways and people. The "work" themed area will include E5 and 400 series shinkansen rolling stock, as well as a new E5 simulator with a dramatic, high resolution panorama-sized screen. http://railf.jp/news/2014/11/06/173000.html
  15. Tetsudou Journal has a news item about JR East's refurbed E653s, renumber as 1100 subseries, to be used on the Shirayuki service that will run between Niigata and Arai on the Shin'etsu Main Line. It will begin in March 2015 with the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen. There will be four 4-car formations. Looks good. Tetsudou Journal and Wikipedia links, and YT video (uploaded by Rail Channel, formerly tobu2181), below. http://railf.jp/news/2014/10/28/173000.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E653_series http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirayuki_%28train%29
  16. At the recent InnoTrans 2014, JR East had a driving simulator for the E5 at their booth, all of the cab displays were converted to English.
  17. Did anyone post this yet? http://en.rocketnews24.com/2014/09/07/the-most-crowded-train-lines-during-rush-hour-in-tokyo-osaka-and-nagoya-are/ Pretty interesting, data is apparently from MLIT, so I think it's trustworthy. I never lived in Kanto, so the figures for those lines don't mean a lot to me, other than explaining why JR East buys so many new trains . The figures for Osaka and Nagoya, however, help me picture train interiors, platforms, and seas of people at the gates :). The private railways really take the prize in Osaka, and in Nagoya, the municipal subway system appears the most in the list. Also interesting to see how Meitetsu places. JR Central only appears once, at number 5, further reinforcing my impression that they probably don't want to worry about the zairai lines too much :).
  18. JR East Nagano Division this month has run specials (rinji ressha w/ unreserved seating) using 115 series in original Shonan and Yokosuka colors coupled with a kumoyuni mail/parcels railcar, simulating a JNR-era long distance suburban/local service. Locations in this video include the Ooito Line, and the Shinonoi Line, the last scenes being the switch back at Obasute. Some other shorties: Official announcement (see page 8): http://www.jreast.co.jp/nagano/pdf/140523-2.pdf
  19. This Saturday local residents were invited to walk a 800m section of the Ueno-Tokyo Line between Akihabara and Kanda. The line is scheduled to open next spring. ANN news report: Ibaraki Shimbun report. High quality raw footage. According to this, test train runs will begin later this month. Note at 1:36 the diagram showing the steep grade on this line, 34.38 permils, or 3.438%.
  20. I have checked the Japanese language internets, as well as the English language ones- no coverage of this, albeit the announcement is still not official. This is possibly the first time JR East has requested foreign makers to apply for consideration. source: http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/data/pdf/20140620_e_procurement.pdf
  21. Posted by Dave Fossett on the jtrains list, Tetsudou Fan is carrying this also: new fleet livery: http://railf.jp/news/2014/03/04/171500.html "Toreiyu" excursion train: http://railf.jp/news/2014/03/04/173000.html pdf on JR East's site with diagram of excursion train's modified Japanese style interior: http://www.jreast.co.jp/press/2013/20140303.pdf All regular services trains will have the new livery by the end of 2016, and the single 6-car Toreiyu set is to be in service by the end of July.
  22. Here's a nice video compilation of JR East Tokyo-area services that have changed with the March 15, 2014 schedule revision. Videos by tiyodarain (chiyoda line, I think).
  23. miyakoji

    a snowy afternoon in Yanaka

    While speaking with cteno4 at the JRM display in New York, he mentioned that the front-view videos posted here are useful as examples for layouts. Yesterday I happened upon the video below, which shows some very close-up detail, if covered with snow. This is a walking tour around the Yanaka neighborhood, which is on the inside of the Yamanote loop between Nippori and Nishi-Nippori stations. Uploaded by taoyakani, his text with the video indicates that the path of the walk is Miurasaka (slope) → cedars at temple town → Kan'eiji ( temple) → Yanaka cemetery → Nippori station. The recording was made starting at 1:47PM on February 14th, 2014. Start near the bottom of Miura Hill: http://goo.gl/maps/7kLZ9 Kan'ei Temple: http://goo.gl/maps/03O0A Nippori Station: http://goo.gl/maps/AnmqJ
  24. Early this Halloween morning, the first E7 train cars were delivered to the shinkansen depot in Rifu-cho by road, after arriving the previous day at Sendai Port. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30RH0X0scH4
  25. This C58 was on static display in a park in Morioka City until autumn of last year. It will pull the SL Ginga Tetsudou excursions once back in service. Refurbished at Omiya like C61 20, it was originally built by Kawasaki in 1940. In this video by tobu2181, you can see it running on the depot's test track. Earlier discussion is here: http://www.jnsforum.com/community/topic/6610-jr-east-to-restore-c58-239
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