Sunday, 19 January 2020

"Color Wheel" of the Shinkansen Trains

"Color Wheel" of Shinkansen trains, the E6 (left), the E7 (center) and the E5 (right) series

Shinkansen is the representative train of Japan. Currently, it has an over 3,000 kilometers line network in this country. Shinkansen is popular among children and rail-fans. Why? Because, it's fast. Because, the streamlined design is cool. That may be true, but I think that there is one more reason. The answer is the beautiful coloring of the bodies.

Let's look concretely. The EMU E5 series for Tohoku Shinkansen has a green colored nose with a pink colored stripe. On the other hand, the E6 series for Akita Shinkansen has a red colored nose with a gray colored stripe. Moreover, the E7 series for Joetsu Shinkansen has a blue colored nose with gold, blue and pink colored stripes. How colorful they are!.

I wish I could shoot these three kinds of Shinkansens into one image.

If you are a rail-fan, I'm sure that everybody will think so, but how? I have an idea. The E5 series is usually coupled to the E6 series. The coupling part of these two vehicles is slim, because they are noses, so, you should shoot the coupling part of the E5 and the E6 series, when the nose of the E7 series just passed through the further side of the coupling part. Do you follow?

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Please look at the photo. That's the very thing I wanted. Green, red and blue... you can see three kinds of Shinkansen trains into one image. It's gorgeous and like a "color wheel" in chromatics.

EMU E7 series for Joetsu Shinkansen

Official movie about maintainanse of JR East Shinkansen:
Official promotion movie, JR East:

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Aerial Tramway to the Superb Island View

Gondola number 1, Shimoda Ropeway

Shimoda is a sightseeing city located about 170 kilometers southwest of Tokyo. It's famous for the beautiful ocean and the mountains, but Shimoda is also known as a historical city, where the Tokugawa Shogunate opened a port to the U.S. in 1854 after their long isolation policy. I recently visited this historical resort for the first time in a year.

To get to Shimoda, Izukyu Railway was convenient. After getting off Izukyu-Shimoda terminal, I went to Shin-Shimoda station of Shimoda Ropeway. It took only one minute's walk from the terminal. Shimoda Ropeway is a jig-back type aerial tramway opened in 1961 just before the inauguration of Izukyu Railway. Connecting Shin-Shimoda and Nesugatayama (Mt. Nesugata) stations, the route length is 540 meters. The height difference between the two stations is 156 meters. Last year, ultramarine colored new gondolas, namely number 1 and 2, were launched. At the same time, the traction motor was replaced by an induction motor controlled by an inverter system. Each gondola can accommodate up to 39 passengers. They are operated every 15 minutes.

Mt. Nesugata has an elevation of 200 meters. The view from the summit was fantastic. I could see not only historical Shimoda City but also the beautiful Izu Islands on the Pacific Ocean. Triangle shaped Toshima Island was especially impressive. It's a volcanic island located 37 kilometers offshore from Shimoda City. There is a small village with a population of 300 on the island. I want to visit there one day.

Superb view from Mt. Nesugata

Official information about Shimoda Ropeway:
Official movie about Shimoda Ropeway:

Monday, 13 January 2020

New Station on the New Line

EMU JR East E233-7000 series stand at Hazawa-Yokohama Kokudai station

Hazawa-Yokohama Kokudai is the newest station in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Hazawa is the name of the place. On the other hand, Yokohama Kokudai means Yokohama National University, which is located near the station. Hazawa-Yokohama Kokudai station was opened on November 30th, 2019, when the JR-Sotetsu direct line (a connecting route between the JR East and the Sotetsu lines) was inaugurated. I recently visited this brand new station and walked around the surrounding area. What kind of place was there?

The new station is used by both JR East and Sotetsu (Sagami Railway), but managed by Sotetsu alone. The platforms are located underground. They are separated ones with automatic platform gates. Trains arrive and depart every 30 minutes on average both northbound and southbound for now. Passengers may need more frequent services. The station building is large enough. It is equipped with escalators, elevators, clean toilets and so on. The only problem is that there is no kiosk.

The surrounding area is just quiet. It is adjacent to the Hazawa freight station operated by JR Freight. Another side is a residential area. There is neither a shop nor a restaurant. I found several passengers who got on and off the station, but most of them were railfans or sightseers who were interested in the new station, not local people. Yokohama National University is located east of the station, but I couldn't find any students due to the New Year holiday season.

Hazawa-Yokohama Kokudai... it is brand new but a bit lonely station.

JR East-Sotetsu Hazawa-Yokohama Kokudai station