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Utsunomiya LRT

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JAPAN’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MILT) announced on September 26 that it has approved plans for the construction of a 14.6km light rail line in Utsunomiya, the capital of Tochigi prefecture north of Tokyo.


Running largely on the central reservation of highways, the double-track east-west line will link the Honda research and development facility in the town of Haga with JR East’s Utsunomiya station, which is served by the Tohoku Shinkansen, Tohoku Main Line and Nikko Line.


The line will have 19 stations, four of which will be located in Haga with the remainder in Utsunomiya. Passing loops will be constructed at two stations to enable express services to overtake all-stations local services. The journey time between the terminus stations will be 38 minutes for express services and 44 minutes for locals.


Services will be operated by a fleet of 17 30m-long, 2.65m-wide low-floor LRVs, each capable of accommodating up to 155 passengers. The 1067mm-gauge line will be electrified at 750V dc and trams will operate at up to 70km/h on segregated sections of the route.


The Yen 45.8bn ($US 451m) project is being funded by the city of Utsunomiya (40.8%), the town of Haga (10.8%), Tochigi Light Rail (22.8%), Kanto Auto Works (10%), and Tobu Railway Company (4%), with the remainder coming from other sources.


Completion is scheduled for December 2019.


Source: http://www.railjournal.com/index.php/light-rail/japan-approves-utsunomiya-light-rail-project.html?channel=526

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Gyoza Electric Railway! 餃子電鉄!YESS! Two weeks ago we ordered 150 dumplings from our favourite shop in Utsunomiya and they're all gone now. I'm sure we'll be seeing the start and finish of the construction in stages as we visit for more. Now we'll have a new goal soon as well :3

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On 20 March 2018 approval for construction of the Utsunomiya LRT has been issued by the Japanese government. The line is now scheduled to open during March 2022.


This news report shows some 3D artist impressions of the line (and some obligatory NIMBYs):



Edited by Densha
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Nice to see. Looks like the angry crowd consists of old folk. Progress... Progress... Can't be stopped xD

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Das Steinkopf
1 hour ago, Kabutoni said:

Nice to see. Looks like the angry crowd consists of old folk. Progress... Progress... Can't be stopped xD


Ah yes, the "Dying Majority". A generation that have basically had the world as their oyster and have left the rest of us with spiraling house prices and idiotic populist conservative politicians which will continue to push their outdated views of the world to the detriment of future generations. 


This band from Byron Bay pretty much sums it up.



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40 minutes ago, katoftw said:

Why are the old people complaining?  Don't they like improved public transport options?

That would be interesting to know too. The tram line was routed along major roads and as far as i can understand connects two large industrial parks to the JR station. (with a planned extension to the Tobu station a few blocks west) There are two university campuses along the route too. So what is the problem?

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This document features a very clear track diagram. Looks like a depot will be built near Hiraidemachi (7. 平出町).


As kvp wrote, the LRT is indeed planned to be extended along the Odori (大通り) at least until the intersection with the Sakuradori (桜通り). Let's hope they will extend the line even further west, since there seem to be plenty of potential passengers because of the residential areas and educational facilities in that part of town as well.

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8 hours ago, kvp said:

So what is the problem?


Cobwebs between the ears?


Cheers NB

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They are old people. Some of them have strange ideas. Maybe they think it will be JR style trains running down the middle of the street.

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Now this has to be the coolest LRT vehicle I've seen, any idea on which company will build it?

Edited by trainsforever8
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My guess: Kinki Sharyo, the same company that built the Green Mover Max articulated LRV for the HIroshima Electric Railway (Hiroden) and a number of low-floor LRV's for various transit agencies in the USA.

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On 7/11/2018 at 5:56 PM, trainsforever8 said:

Now this has to be the coolest LRT vehicle I've seen, any idea on which company will build it?


3 hours ago, Sacto1985 said:

My guess: Kinki Sharyo, the same company that built the Green Mover Max articulated LRV for the HIroshima Electric Railway (Hiroden) and a number of low-floor LRV's for various transit agencies in the USA.


I think they will be built by Niigata Transys instead. If you look at the overall door disposition and car lenght, they look more like a Fukui Railway series F1000 LRV (2013), so the might be a modified version of the latter.






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Japanese low floor tram building is generally split between Aruna and  Niigata. Kinki Sharyo was a one-off consortium effort.      




Aruna (Little Dancer tram family)   https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/アルナ車両


Niigata (Fukui Railway, Portram, Centram aka Bremen type)  https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/新潟トランシス


I would guess it would be built by Niigata as it resembles the Sapporo A1200.  https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/札幌市交通局A1200形電車



Edited by bill937ca
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Alna Koki trams (both articulated and single-car), as far as i know, are built for pre-war tramway networks so they follow the same loading gauge and dimensions of older single-car trams.


For example the Hakodate Tram series 9600 (two-sections articulated) is 13m long, just a meter longer than the single car 8000 series (both produced by Alna Koki in 2007 and 1989 respectively).


Meanwhile, Niigata Transys LRVs run mostly on converted railway tracks (with two exceptions: Kumamoto and Okayama, that however have still a broader loading gauge than "conventional" tramways such as Hiroden or the Toei Arakawa Line), so they follow the railway's loading gauge, therefore they can be longer and larger.


The Toyama TLR600 series (two-sections articulated) is 18m long, meanwhile the Fukutram F1000 series (three-sections bi-articulated) is 27m long.

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  • Densha changed the title to Utsunomiya LRT

For those interested, these are the locations of the future stations, according to this document (wich was posted by Densha a while back) and to Urbanrail.net.


1 - Utsunomiyaeki-Higashiguchi ("Eastern exit of Utsunomiya Station")

2 - Shukugo-cho ("Shuku town")

3 - Higashi-Shukugo-cho ("Shuku town east")

4 - Imazumi-cho ("Imazumi town")

5 - Yoto

6 - Bell Mall (the "Bell Mall" is the biggest and most popular mall in Utsunomiya)

7 - Hirade-cho ("Hirade town")

8 - Shimo-Hiraide ("lower Hiraide")

9 - Shita-Takeshita ("lower Takeshita")

10 - Shakushin-Gakuin-Kita  ("Shakushin university north")

11 - Kiyohara-kanri-Center-Mae ("near the Kiyoharakanri Center", a large gym)

12 - Kiyohara-kogyo-danchi-Kita ("Kiyohara industrial park north")

13 - Technopolis-Nishi ("western technopolis" - an area built as a research center for IT companies)

14 - Tecnopolis-Chuo ("central technopolis")

15 - Tecnopolis-Higashi ("eastern technopolis")

16 - Hagadai

17 - Kanristen-mae ("near the businness district" ??)

18 - Kashinomori-koen ("Kashino forest park")

19 - Honda-giken-Kita-mon ("Honda Research Center Northern Gate")


Other locations of interest:


Future depot (inside the fenced area)

Kinu river (Kinugawa) crossing


There are already plans to extend the LRT to the western side of Utsunomiya station, and eventually further westwards, to the Tobu-Utsunomiya Station. 

It has also been confirmed by Niigata Transys that the vehicles used on the line will be based on the Fukui Railway's F1000 Series "Fukutram".

Edited by Socimi
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