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miyakoji posted a topic in Japan Rail: News & General DiscussionIn JR West's March 15th schedule revision there's an interesting change. KIHA189 series DMUs, built in the last few years to replace the JNR-era 181s used on Hamakaze services, will be assigned to a Biwako Express run on weeknights, departing Osaka at 8:36PM and arriving at its destination, Kusatsu, at 9:27PM. After initially thinking what the !@#$, I assumed this train was coming off a Hamakaze run that conveniently puts it at Osaka to operate this service. The second poster in the Ompuchaneru thread writes just that, it arrives at Osaka as Hamakaze #6. It still seems quite strange for a DMU to be used on a service that's in an entirely electrified section, and a later poster writes that the only others are some JR Shikoku limited express services on the Yosan Line. Also in the thread (http://rail-uploader.khz-net.com/index.php?id=1128280), a poster bemoans JR West's schedule changes. It used to become gradually more convenient, now it gradually becomes more inconvenient . Another replies that it's got to do with Japan's population changes. JR West's pdf: http://www.westjr.co.jp/press/article/items/131220_00_kinki.pdf
This video was put up by tobu2181 a week ago, so I'm not sure if really qualifies as news, but none of you beat me to it . This is the former set K109 based at Katsuta, the first to be refurbished and renumbered as 1000 subseries; previously, all 651 series cars were 0 or 100 subseries. I assume that as it will be running on Akagi, Kusatsu, and Minakami services, some 185 series sets must be destined for Nagano Depot (that is, the scrap line). :( I haven't read how many E651 sets will be refurbished. Original set K104 on test run north of Tokyo: