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  1. Not really news anymore, but on Ompuchaneru I just noticed this pdf (dated March 27th) from JR Central: http://jr-central.co.jp/news/release/_pdf/000021810.pdf In the zairai line section, there's news about more 313 series EMUs and KIHA25 series DMUs, which look exactly like 313s. Electrification of the Taketoyo Line should be complete in spring of next year, and service will be operated by EMUs starting in June according to English Wikipedia. 28 new 313s will be built this year in preparation for this. On the DMU side of things, only 5 2-car sets of KIHA25s have been built, but they're getting 52 more, 16 this year and the remaining 36 next year. These will replace KIHA40s, of which JRC has 59, according to both English and Japanese Wikipedias. So, either 7 KIHA40s are safe or they're reducing numbers a bit. KIHA11s are post-privatization (1988), so if what I read is correct, they're safe. I've read that over the long term, electrics are cheaper to operate than diesels. Assuming that's true, I often wonder why there isn't more electrification when significantly large fleets of DMUs are ready for retirement. If electricity is more expensive in the last 3 years, surely that isn't expected to be permanent, and you can't depend on the cost of diesel fuel anyway.
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