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  1. In an effort to attract more ridership post-corona, JR Tokai has started a campaign, with the slogan- "lets go, somebody is waiting to see you", emphasizing more personal or leisure trips to intermediate destinations on the Tokaido Shinkansen, in particular Shizuoka. Shizuoka is getting an additional Hikari stop (on an evening "down" service i.e. departing Tokyo) starting March 16, the first addition in 16 years. Currently a total of 37 Hikari (combined up and down) services stop daily in Shizuoka, with the aforementioned train in the spring timetable revision this will become 38. *at 0:55 the scene is an "up" Shinkansen service crossing the Toyokawa River, with Toyohashi in the background.
  2. 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/
  3. With the spring timetable revision coming into effect March 14, maximum operating speed on the Tokaido Shinkansen will be raised from 270 to 285km/h. An exhibition run with passengers was carried out this Wednesday. The top speed of 285km/h was reached at eight locations between Toyohashi and Mikawa Anjo Stations. With the new schedule 1 train per hour will be run at the higher max speed. The journey time between Tokyo and Shin Osaka will be shortened by three minutes. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20150225/k10015737711000.html
  4. 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
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