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JR Hokkaido, JR East, Tokyu Dentetsu to cooperate on running summer Hokkaido tourist trains


bikkuri bahn

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JR East will loan a diesel railcar set for use on the Soya Line, while Tokyu will provide the Royal Express trainset which will be used on  a yet undetermined itinerary from Sapporo to Eastern Hokkaido.  The Royal Express is a DC EMU, so in AC and unelectrified JR Hokkaido territory, it will be pulled by a set of diesel locomotives coupled with a generator car providing hotel power.

 

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The Royal Express route has been announced for Hokkaido. It gives a small sliver of hope that some of the JR Hokkaido routes will remain open.

 

Starting at Sapporo, it seems the train will run on the Nemuro line, the Semmo line (was slated to close), the Sekihoku line (was slated to close), and the Hakodate line back to Sapporo.

 

The Royal Express will be hauled by a pair of Diesel locomotives, coupled with a power supply car. Usually, the Royal Express has 8 cars, but for Hokkaido, it will be shortened to 5 cars (presumably for platform and siding length issues). I am not sure why some of the parts are covered by bus on the Sekihoku and Nemuro line however, since the train will travel the track anyway. Perhaps for excursions? The Bus will also cover some of the areas that the train can't access on normal train lines, such as Furano (probably because the train is too long for the Furano line, even the shortened version). So Furano isn't out of the woods yet to be completely isolated once the lines close permanently (at the moment, only the Furano line between Asahikawa and Furano is open, the Nemuro line between Sapporo and Furano, and Furano to Obihiro has been destroyed on several places and is unlikely to be reopened).

 

If I were to guess, I think it means that the Hanasaki, Soya (past Nayoro), Rumoi, Nemuro (between Sapporo and Obihiro via Furano), Furano, and Muroran lines (the part that bypasses Sapporo) will be permanently closed by the looks of it.

 

Tickets start at 680,000 yen if you have some spare change lying around.

 

http://tetsudo-shimbun.com/headline/entry-1929.html

Edited by Yavianice
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Probably it's too expensive to renovate those cars now. My guess is that they want to see if anyone wants to go on this cruise first, before deciding to get dedicated rolling stock or renovate some old blue train or Cassiopeia stock (if those even fit in all the old train tunnels with enough clearance?).

 

I think the Royal Express will only run on certain occasions, or maybe this is a one season thing? Not sure.

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It is certainly not a bad idea to use a cruise train on Hokkaido, because the landscape invites you to do so. If I understood it correctly, 2 diesel locomotives have been scheduled for the Royal Express? Only DE 10 or DE 15 are still available. Too bad that no DD51 in blue livery had been put on reserve 4 years ago. But if the Royal Express is well received by customers and travelers, it could still start its own cruise train on Hokkaido. It would be desirable for the company with its poor balance sheets and line closures.

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6 minutes ago, Yavianice said:

The poster in my link shows a pair of yellow ones

 

 

And if you expand the pic in the poster in the link you posted, it says DE15 on the front of the locomotive I believe.

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On 1/16/2020 at 4:48 PM, disturbman said:

@katoftwAny links?

 

Some DE15 are yellow with touches of grey.

 

You mean DE15-2516? The loco was scrapped in January 2019

 

 

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I think it is relatively easy for them to re-oaint any locos they want to use to match this train.  So I would not worry too much about existing ones that might or might not have similar paint jobs to what is shown on the poster.

 

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That's the coupler car/breaker car I think, what is used more often when transporting EMU's. Because many different locomotives will be used to transport the train to Hokkaido, it's easier to get such a coupler car rather than altering the EMU or each of the couplers on the locomotives transporting it.

 

Nice that it has its own livery especially for this train.

Edited by Yavianice
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