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bikkuri bahn

JR East wants to run cruise train in Hokkaido too

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bikkuri bahn

On the 9th of this month, the president of JR East expressed a desire for the cruise train "Shikishima", scheduled to start running in the spring of 2017, to include forays into Hokkaido. The president stated that the destination would not just be Sapporo, but also other locations throughout the prefecture. Regarding the Cassiopeia sleeper train, he said the rolling stock was getting old, and that the aim was to replace it with this cruise train. The cruise train will operate out of its base at Ueno Station, where a luxury lounge will be built for passenger use before boarding.

http://news.biglobe.ne.jp/domestic/0609/jj_150609_3760414530.html

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Sacto1985

While it sounds like a good idea, how are they going to run that train through the Seikan Tunnel, especially with all that freight traffic and (starting March 2016) Shinkansen traffic?

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kvp

While it sounds like a good idea, how are they going to run that train through the Seikan Tunnel, especially with all that freight traffic and (starting March 2016) Shinkansen traffic?

Probably in a non scheduled freight slot. It's a single train running once in a while.

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Davo Dentetsu

I'm rather disturbed by all these prestige trains becoming the new trend.  Oh yes, absolutely great and I'm loving the great variety of ideas now present.  But it seems to price out the more conventional traveller like myself who wouldn't mind the option to kip on an overnighter too.

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kvp

The JR companies aim to serve two main customer groups: the city commuters and the business travellers/foreign tourists. Everyone else, like people with less money or desinations outside big cities get dropped. The reason is profitability. It requires more money to maintain the less used country lines and stations together with the long distance passenger trains. By dropping everything besides commuter and high speed intercity traffic, they can get more profitable, while the remaining business is taken up by highway bus companies, using the government funded road network. Buses also allow minimal private investment in a declining sector as the japanese countryside is getting depopulated and less and less poor people travel between cities as there is no work for them regardless of location.

 

Railfans who have enough money to travel just for the fun of it could get served in the future by thematic trains, like classic sleeper services run by travel agencies as in Europe. In Japan this would require running rights on the JR networks, something the JR companies are unwilling to grant and there is no government push for liberalization of the rail network, so instead of a single government owned company providing non profit public service, Japan has multiple mostly private for profit companies in local monopolies. Imho currently the best bet for a classic sleeper train would be to ask the JR companies for JNR themed retro trains running as charter, joyful or resort trains, serving mostly railfan tourists.

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Sacto1985

kvp, one thing I'd like to see is the various JR companies form a new company called JR Tours specifically to handle tourist-oriented trains all over Japan. With interline agreements with all the JR companies and with compatible third-sector railways running on 1,067 mm gauge tracks, we could see tourist trains running all over Japan, including tourist trains that can run across multiple JR company territories and connected third-sector railway lines. For example, the Resort View Furusato under this scheme could be extended north beyond Minami-Otari Station (the border between JR East and JR West operating territories) all the way out to Itoigawa Station, going through some very impressive mountain scenery.

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