Wednesday, 18 May 2022

LSE: The Evolutionary Form of NSE Car

The EMU Odakyu 7000 series, "LSE Car", is exhibited in the Romancecar Museum

Let me resume from where I left off my post from six days ago.

After a reunion with NSE (New Super Express) Car, I observed LSE (Luxury Super Express) Car in the Romancecar Museum. If you are a longtime reader of my blog, you probably know LSE, the EMU Odakyu 7000 series. It was launched in 1980 to replace the deteriorated NSE. 4 sets, 44 units in total, were built by Nippon Sharyo and Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Similar to NSE, LSE is articulated cars. The electric control system is rheostatic. The power regenerative brake is not equipped, since LSE is a limited express train that makes the fewest stops. LSE inherited its unique design from NSE. The cockpit is upstairs, so that the passengers could enjoy the view ahead. The classical moquette seats are also similar. On the other hand, LSE has some new designs such as automatic folding doors.

After operating for 38 years, LSE was retired from the track in October 2018. LSE once had wine red-colored bodies, but Odakyu returned it to the original color design, namely orange vermilion, gray and white before the retirement. It was a wonderful gift for rail-fans. One unit of LSE, DeHa 7003, is currently exhibited alongside NSE in the Romancecar Museum. That allows us to compare the two models with ease. LSE clearly looks sharper than NSE. The angle of LSE's front window is 48 degrees; while, it's 60 degrees on NSE.

LSE is indeed the evolutionary form of NSE Car.

NSE Car (left) and LSE Car (right)

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Indonesian Railway Update: The 203 Series New Color

Set MaTo 66 of the EMU ex-JNR 203 series with the new color design in Indonesia
(Photo: Faris Fadhli)

I'm temporally shelving the topic of the Romancecar Museum again, and showing Indonesian railway pictures today. I have received news from an Indonesian rail fan. The EMU ex-JNR 203 series has changed its body color. My thanks go to Faris Fadhli, who kindly sent me the recent picture.

Let me quickly review the EMU 203 series. It's a direct current commuter train developed by the ex-Japanese National Railways (JNR). It was commissioned in 1982 for direct operation between the ex-JNR (present JR East) Joban and Tokyo Metro Chiyoda lines. 17 sets, 170 cars in total, were built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Tokyu Sharyo, Nippon Sharyo and Kinki Sharyo from 1982 to 1986. After 29 years' operation in Japan, the 203 series was transferred to Jakarta, Indonesia to spend a "new life". It was in August, 2011, two months after my leaving Indonesia. The 203 series was modified to the local style and launched at the year-end in 2011. The body was changed from a green-colored stripe to a flashy red-yellow "face" and stripes, an Indonesian style.

In April, 2022, the body color design of the 203 series was changed again by the Indonesian local railway operator. The new design is a light gray-color with red and dark blue-colored stripes. The pictures show the test run of the new colored train, set MaTo 66 of the 203 series, as a 12-car train. It's a simple and beautiful design that passengers won't get tired of. Of course, it's my cup of tea.

Test run of 12-car train, set MaTo 66 of the EMU ex-JNR 203 series in Indonesia
(Photo: Faris Fadhli)

Thursday, 12 May 2022

NSE: The Essential Exhibit in the Romancecar Museum

The EMU Odakyu 3100 series, "NSE Car", is exhibited in the Romancecar Museum

Let me resume from where I left off my post from five days ago.

After a reunion with the SSE (Short Super Express) Car, I observed the NSE (New Super Express) Car in the Romancecar Museum. The EMU Odakyu 3100 series, also known as the NSE Car, was launched in 1963 to increase transportation capacity for Hakone resort mountain. It was composed of 11 motorcars with articulated bogies. 7 sets in total were built by Nippon Sharyo and Kawasaki Sharyo from 1963 to 1967. The maximum speed in operation was 110 kilometers per hour; however, its designed maximum speed was 170 kilometers per hour.

The most distinctive feature of the NSE Car is that the cockpit is located upstairs. Passengers can enjoy a front view through the wide window. When I was a kid, the NSE Car was a special, admired presence for me. I failed to sit on the front observation seat, because it was a "platinum ticket", but I often used the NSE Car with my parents to visit Hakone Mountain. My question was how did a driver climb up into the cockpit of the NSE Car. You can see the answer in the following picture. A ladder is equipped underneath the cockpit. Of course, the ladder is retractable, so, it's stored during the operation. All of the mystery has been solved.

For your information, three of the 77 total NSE Cars, namely DeHa 3221, 3223 and 3231, are exhibited in the Romancecar Museum; meanwhile, one unit, DeHa 3181, is currently preserved in Kaisei Town, Kanagawa Prefecture.

The ladder to climb up into the cockpit of NSE Car

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

2022 Sakura Season in Yokohama City

Poster train celebrating the 100th anniversary of Tokyu Corporation (Kikuna sta.)

I'm temporally shelving the topic of the Romancecar Museum, and showing a seasonal picture today. From March through May, the progress of the "Sakura front (cherry-blossom front)" is reported nightly by the Meteorological Agency, as it makes its way north through the archipelago. The 2022 cherry-blossom front is already arriving at Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan.

During this year's cherry blooming season, I visited several viewing spots in Tokyo, Chiba and one more... Kikuna Sakura-yama (cherry mountain) Park in Yokohama City. It looked like just a common public park in a residential area, but pink-colored double cherry blossoms were "shining" backed by the spring blue sky. It was so beautiful. Reputable cherry blossoms viewing spots are good, but local spots such as Kikuna Sakura-yama Park are really good. It's because we can see local people's peaceful lives.

To visit Kikuna Sakura-yama Park, the nearest railway station is Kikuna on the Tokyu-Toyoko line. On the way back home, I came across a special poster train celebrating the 100th anniversary of Tokyu Corporation. It was set 5051 of the EMU Tokyu 5050 series. As you know, Tokyu is a conglomerate consisting of transportation, real estate, hotel and retail business. It was established in 1922 as a small railway company named Meguro-Kamata Electric Railway. It's a part of the present Meguro and Tamagawa lines. 100 years later, Tokyu has a labyrinthine railway network in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture. The conglomerate does 10 billion dollars a year in sales on a consolidated basis.

Kikuna Sakura-yama Park near Kikuna station on the Tokyu-Toyoko line

Saturday, 7 May 2022

SSE: Romancecar for Direct Operation onto the JNR Line

The EMU Odakyu 3000 series, "SSE Car", is exhibited in Romancecar Museum.

Let me continue from where I left off my last post. After a reunion with SE (Super Express) Car, I observed the second generation Romancecar named SSE (Short Super Express) Car in the Romancecar Museum.

SSE Car is a modified model of SE Car. It was commissioned for the direct operation between the Odakyu and JNR (Japanese National Railways) lines from 1968 to 1991. Odakyu trains have been directly operated onto the JNR (present JR Central) Gotemba line since 1955. Odakyu's diesel railcar was applied for this operation in the early days, but it was changed to EMU (Electric Multiple-unit) in 1968 due to electrification of the Gotemba line. The EMU for duty was Odakyu's SSE Car.

What're the differences between SE and SSE Cars? 1) SSE Car (5-car train) is shorter than SE Car (8-car train). 2) The frontal design is different. For example, the position of the frontal lights was moved from the inner (SE Car) to the outer (SSE Car) part of the "face". 3) SSE Car had a large coupler with a square cover; while, SE Car had only a small retractable coupler.

I have a faint memory of my childhood on SSE Car. It was difficult for me to view from the window, since SSE Car had a low floor. In other words, the position of the passenger windows was too high for a small kid like me. To achieve high speed operation, SSE Car had a low center of gravity providing excellent stability. You can't make everybody happy.

To achieve high speed operation, SSE Car has a low floor providing excellent stability.