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  1. I was interested in trains when I lived in Japan, but I wasn't clued in and the internet was only starting to become the clearinghouse of information that it is now. Despite living reasonably close to depots that would have had open days, I never went to one, and at this point if I get back to Japan ever, I'll be a bit surprised. Well the guys at JR East Akita Depot have really come through with a little Christmas gift, an "online tour" of their facility via Zoom that they have now posted on YouTube. Looks like they did this 3 times on December 19. Most of it appears to be live, and they do a great job. There is some stop motion footage of a thorough DE10 inspection/overhaul, and quite a wild time testing a DE10 engine on a dynamometer. Folks who blow up their $100,000 diesel pickups on a portable dyno at the county fair have nothing on these guys. Seriously, where do I apply? Later they checkout a few more interesting pieces preserved 583 series driving car, KUHANE 583-17 485-700 series joyful train Kirakira Uetsu Akita Cruise joyful train DMU, formerly the Resort Shirakami Buna (Japanese Beech) formation, and prior to that, rank and file KIHA48s DE10 1651, built by Kawasaki in 1973
  2. JR East took delivery of another HB-E300 trainset, intended for service as the Resort Shirakami Buna. Currently there is a modified KIHA40 formation with this name. This left J-Trec as a 3-car set: Car 1, HB-E301-5 Car 2, HB-E300-105 Car 4, HB-E302-5 Obviously car 3 is missing; its body will be also be built by J-Trec, but will be shipped to Akita Depot for final assembly. A tour of the train is scheduled for July 9 before revenue operation begins on July 16th. I think it's a nice basic design and a pleasant color/livery, even if it's just a wrap. Buna means Japanese beech, which I guess is what's illustrated on the side of the train. From a railfan point of view, this type has large windshields as well as large windows behind the driver's station, making for a nice view ahead (visible in these threads http://www.jnsforum.com/community/topic/7337-jr-east-tsugaru-line-shin-aomori-to-mimmaya and http://www.jnsforum.com/community/topic/3415-some-tohoku-scenery and I thought Bill posted some recently but now I can't find them :( ) http://railf.jp/news/2016/05/27/170000.html The second video above is at Shitte, and the third is at Nishi-Kokubunji. I assume this traveled by the Musashino South Line (a freight bypass), but after studying a map for literally minutes, I think the Nambu Line would have been possible too. Subsequent locations are Fukiage and Takasaki, so I guess they're just going straight up the Joetsu Line to Niigata and then on to Akita along the Sea of Japan. Sounds like a cool ride :). The presumably outgoing KIHA40-based Buna formation at Ueno on April 10 for a sort of open day:
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