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bikkuri bahn

JR Hokkaido to jointly develop new DMU with JR East

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bikkuri bahn

JR Hokkaido announced on Wednesday, June 10 that it is going to jointly develop a new DMU railcar design for cold region climates with JR East.  The aim is to cut development and production costs.  Features will be:

-diesel electric drive

-driving cabs on both ends, for single car, driver only operation

-barrier free facilities i.e. wheelchair space and accessible toilets

-air conditioning

JR Hokkaido will order 100 units to replace the 140 aging kiha 40 DMU's currently in service.  JR East will order 63 units.

 

Two test units will be ready by 2017 for JR Hokkaido, with units entering in service in 2019.  According to Nikkei, JR East will start using them earlier in revenue service in 2017.

 

http://www.jrhokkaido.co.jp/press/2015/150610-2.pdf

 

http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXLASDZ10HNY_Q5A610C1TI5000/

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Densha

This was to be expected some time. Gotta ride them before they're gone.

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bikkuri bahn

The kiha 40's I like as they have that JNR vibe and railroady look, but frankly from a non-railfan passenger POV they are long overdue for replacement.  Sluggish with uncomfortable seating, they were a compromise design from a dark age in JNR history.  When I ride the modern European DMUs used on RB-type local services, I enjoy their rapid acceleration and superior comfort, though I dislike their lookalike tramcar exteriors.

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miyakoji

This was to be expected some time. Gotta ride them before they're gone.

No worry, JR West will cover all your KIHA4x needs until at least 2020.  English Wikipedia says:

Following the privatization and splitting of JNR in April 1987, JR West received a total of 257 KiHa 40 series vehicles (63 KiHa 40s, 189 KiHa 47s, and 5 KiHa 48s). As of 1 April 2010, JR West operates 255 KiHa 40 series vehicles

 

So, in 1987, they had 257.  23 years later, they still had 255!  I'm not seeing anything about their current inventory, but I'm not aware of any mass retirements (scrappings).  Even when they do start replacement, it should take a while.

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Densha

Strange, only 5 KiHa 48's. What's different about these from KiHa 47's?

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miyakoji

You can distinguish them by double-leaf doors on the 47s versus single-leaf on the 48s.  Not sure what the practical differences are there.  Also not sure about other differences.

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bikkuri bahn

As miya says.  The double leaf kiha 47's were designed to be suitable for suburban commuter traffic, making them more versatile than the 48's.  This array of variations in the kiha 40 family is a legacy of the 1970's when management-labor relations were poor at JNR.  Every time a new design was proposed, management had to get point by point approval from the (militant) unions, which made lead times very long and costs go up.  To get around this, the kiha 40 base design was modified slightly for particular conditions, rather than coming up with a new design subject to the onerous process above.  As a result, the passenger interiors didn't improve much, if at all, but the drivers stands were quite well appointed and took up a good portion of the carbody length.

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Sacto1985

My guess: the new DMU's will likely be something based on the KiHa 100/110 design but with a more modern body shape, and using the drive system derived from the KiHa E200 hybrid DMU.

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miyakoji

There was a post today on the jtrains mailing list about this.  Apparently JRH plans on retiring their last KIHA4x DMUs around 2029.  That's right, another 14 years.  Maybe even JR West will be rid of theirs by then.   Maybe :grin

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bikkuri bahn

One thing about the kiha 40 type is, like all JNR designs, it's solidly built.  This durability makes for a potentially long service life with good maintenance and availability of spare parts, compared to some of the more cheapo stuff built later (i.e. 209 series).

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Azumanga Davo

Great endeavour, bit miffed about the KiHa 285 project though.  JRE will no doubt give this one more chance of finishing properly.

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Kabutoni

It looks like the relations of JR East and JR Hokkaido are getting tighter and tighter. A very good development in every way!

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Densha

Great endeavour, bit miffed about the KiHa 285 project though.  JRE will no doubt give this one more chance of finishing properly.

Wikipedia:

On 10 September 2014, JR Hokkaido announced that it was terminating development and production of further trains following the completion of one three-car set built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries. The decision was made following reassessments of priorities by JR Hokkaido, with a shift away from focusing on increasing operating speeds to reduce journey time, with a greater focus on safety and maintenance costs through standardization of its diesel fleet. Ageing diesel trains will be instead replaced by KiHa 261 series trains, first introduced in 2000.

As of 1 April 2013, 35 KiHa 261 series vehicles were in operation. A further 28 vehicles are on order to be delivered from fiscal 2015.

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KiHa_285_series

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KiHa_261_series

 

 

It looks like the relations of JR East and JR Hokkaido are getting tighter and tighter. A very good development in every way!

They should just incorporate JR Hokkaido into JR East. JR Hokkaido proved many times that they can't do their work on their own.

Edited by Densha

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bikkuri bahn

They should just incorporate JR Hokkaido into JR East. JR Hokkaido proved many times that they can't do their work on their own.

 

I agree.  I'd be happy if JR East just rebranded JR Hokkaido as JR North, or something.  I hope that the management team at JR Hokkaido can turn things around, but I think the structural problems are pretty challenging.  For one thing, labor relations are very poor (they always have been it seems), but it goes even as far as the various labor unions fighting among themselves, not just management.  Makes for a poor work environment and affects morale.

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