Sunday, 12 July 2020

Memories of Surface Track: Tokyu-Toyoko Line

5163F of the Tokyu 5050 series travels on the Toyoko line (February, 2012)   

Seven years have already passed since Tokyu Railways moved their Toyoko line track from surface to underground between Shibuya and Daikanyama stations. I recently rediscovered old photographs of the ex-surface track on my hard disk. They were taken in February, 2012, one year before completion of the underground track. You can see a curved track with several construction works for transfer of the track.

On March 17th in 2013, the underground track and underground new Shibuya station were opened. Since then, the scenery of the Shibuya area has totally changed. The surface track was removed. Surface Shibuya station was dismantled. They have been changed to office buildings, parks, JR East's Shibuya station and so on. 

Incidentally, the train in the photograph is the EMU Tokyu 5050 series launched in 2004. 36 sets (308 units) are currently operated on the Toyoko line. They are 8-car trains (26 sets) and 10-car trains (10 sets). The 8-car train is composed of four motorcars and four trailers (4M4T); meanwhile, the 10-car train consists of five motorcars and five trailers (5M5T). The 10-car train is also called the EMU 5050-4000 series, and directly operated onto the Tokyo Metro and the Seibu lines via Shibuya station. Set number 4110 (4110F) of the 5050-4000 series is a special poster train named "Hikarie". It is a unique poster train with yellow colored bodies to promote Shibuya Hikarie, which is Tokyu's advanced skyscraper and retail complex in the Shibuya area.

Redevelopment of the Shibuya area is still ongoing.

4102F of the Tokyu 5050-4000 series travels on the Toyoko line (February, 2012)    

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Chocolate Colored DL in Takasaki Rail Yard

A chocolate colored DL, DE10 1705, is exhibited in Takasaki rail yard (October, 2013)    

Following the JNR-colored electric locomotive, I'm going to show you a unique diesel locomotive (DL) photo, which I recently rediscovered on my hard disk.

The DL Class DE10 was launched in 1966 by Japanese National Railways to replace out-of-date steam locomotives on the local lines. 708 units of the DE10 were built from 1966 to 1978 by Nippon Sharyo, Kisha Seizo, Hitachi and Kawasaki Heavy Industries. The axis arrangement of the DE10 is Ao+Ao+Ao+Bo in UIC notation. It has a 1,350 (or 1,250) PS diesel engine per unit. The maximum speed is 85 kilometers per hour. The DE10 was once operated throughout Japan as passenger and freight trains; however, its current role is a switching engine in the rail yards.

Among the above 708 units of Class DE10 DLs, unit 1705 (DE10 1705) is quite unique. It has a chocolate colored body. DE10 1705 belongs to JR East Taksaki rail yard in Gumma Prefecture. It was built in 1974 by Kawasaki Heavy Industries. I came across this chocolate colored DL at an event for rail-fans, named "Takasaki tetsudo fureai day (Takasaki railway communication day)" in 2013. DE10 1705 was very popular among rail-fans at the event site, as its chocolate colored body was rare and beautiful.

What will be the future of the Class DE10? It will be replaced by new models such as JR Freight's DL, Class DE200 or a hybrid locomotive, Class HD300. I hope that the old DE10 will be operated in good condition for some time now.

Side view of DE10 1705 (October, 2013)    

Monday, 6 July 2020

Late Rose Blooming Season on the Keio Line

8710F of the Keio 8000 series travels on the Keio line    

One month has passed since the state of emergency declaration caused by the new coronavirus was lifted nationwide by the Japanese government. Public facilities such as museums and theaters were reopened one after another. I recently visited Jindai Botanical Garden operated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government for the first time in a while.

Jindai Botanical Garden has a long history. It was a nursery garden for boulevard trees before WWII. The garden was then changed to the botanical garden, and opened to the public in 1960. I still remember that I made an excursion to this garden with my friends and teachers when I was a kindergartner. My favorite spot is a rose garden. It was a late blooming season. I could enjoy the colorful blossoms and the sweet fragrances of 400 kinds of roses.

To visit this historical garden, the nearest station is Tsutsujigaoka on the Keio line. On the way back home, I enjoyed taking photographs of the Keio trains for a while. I shot an EMU 8000 series train. The 8000 series was launched in 1992 as the first EMU to adopt the VVVF (variable frequency drive) control system on the Keio line. 245 units were built by Nippon Sharyo and Tokyu Sharyo. I found that the front lights of the 8000 series were changed from sealed beam lamps to LEDs. It's fun for me to find such minor change on the trains as a train spotter.

I enjoyed both beautiful roses and Keio's stylish trains.

The rose garden of Jindai Botanical Garden near Tsutsujigaoka station on the Keio line