Wednesday, 18 September 2019

The Aerial Tramway to Glacial Topography

Komagatake Ropeway

Kiso Mountains, also known as the Japanese Central Alps, is famous for its glacial topography called Senjojiki Kar (Senjojiki Cirque). It was formed during the last glacial period about 19,000 to 17,000 years ago. A kar is a bowl-shaped topography, which is often seen below the summit of high mountains. Senjojiki Kar is one of the largest kars in Japan. It is a very beautiful and unforgettable scenery.

To visit this heavenly paradise, the nearest railway station is Komagane on the JR Central Iida line. After getting off the train, you should take the bus service to Shirabidaira, and transfer for an aerial tramway, "Komagatake Ropeway". It takes about 5 hours from Tokyo to Senjojiki Kar.

Komagatake Ropeway was opened in 1967. Connecting Shirabidaira and Senjojiki stations, the route length is 2,334 meters. Senjojiki is known as the highest aerial tramway station in Japan. It is located 2,612 meters above sea level. The height difference between the highest and lowest points of the route is 950 meters, which is also the largest in Japan. The maximum inclination of the route is 34.9 degrees.

Currently, the fourth generation gondolas, which were built by Osaka Sharyo, are operated on the route. Each gondola can accommodate up to 61 passengers and they are operated every 30 minutes. Extra operations are also scheduled during the peak sightseeing seasons. The maximum operating speed is 7 meters per second. The travel time between the two stations is 7.5 minutes. It took only a moment.

Senjojiki Kar near Senjojiki station on the Komagatake Ropeway

Officlal informatiom about Komagatake Ropeway (in Japanese):

Friday, 13 September 2019

EMU Tokyo Metro 05N Series: Unique Face Train

Set 27 (the 8th batch) of the EMU Tokyo Metro 05N series arrives at Nakano station

I have already uploaded more than 1,200 posts in this blog. You may think that all the train models in Tokyo have already been introduced here. Wait a moment please. There still remains an important model. The introduction of trains in the metropolitan area is indeed endless.

The EMU Tokyo Metro 05N series makes its first appearance here today. It is a 10-car commuter train operated on the subway Tozai line. The 05N series debuted in 1999. A total of 19 sets, 190 units were built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Kinki Sharyo, Tokyu Sharyo and Hitachi. It has IGBT-VVVF (variable-frequency drive) electric control system. The 05N series is a younger brother of the 05 series. It means that the technical specifications of the 05N and the 05 series are similar, but the outer designs are different from each other. For instance, the elder 05 series has a gentle and quiet face; meanwhile, the younger 05N series looks "short-tempered". It is probably because the lights of the 05N series are diagonally arrayed. The color designs of the side stripes are also different from each other. That kind of discovery is a great gratification for a trainspotter like me.

Incidentally, the Tokyo Metro Tozai line is one of the busiest subway routes in Tokyo. Connecting Nakano and Nishi-Funabashi (30.8 kilometers), it penetrates downtown Tokyo from west to east. The trains are directly operated onto the JR East Chuo Local line to Mitaka and the Toyo Rapid Railway to Toyo-Katsutadai.

Set 37 (the 12th batch) of the EMU Tokyo Metro 05N series arrives at Nakano station

Official information about the EMU Tokyo Metro 05N series (in Japanese):

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

2019 Summer Memories: Twilight Walking in Kanazawa

Set G10 (2nd butch) of the EMU JR West 521 series stands at Kanazawa station

It was very hot this mid-summer in the Hokuriku area. The maximum daytime temperature was often over 35 degrees Celsius. Kanazawa City was no exception. During my family vacation, we suffered from intense heat every day, so that we enjoyed strolling in the twilight time after sunset instead in the daytime. What's up?

We found a beautiful stained glass on the front gate of Oyama Shinto Shrine in the central part of the city. It was beautifully illuminated backed by the evening glow. This unique gate named "Shimmon (God gate)" was constructed in 1875 mixing traditional Japanese and Western-style architectures. We were lucky, as it was the perfect timing to see this beautiful gate.

Before strolling in the city, I stopped by Kanazawa station to take photos of local trains. I often came across the EMU JR West 521 series, which was the representative commuter train in the area. The photo shows set G20 of the 521 series on the Hokuriku main line. Set G20 was launched in 2009 as the second batch (G group) of the 521 series to modernize the commuter transportation in the Hokuriku area. A total of 30 sets, 60 units of G group trains, were built by Kinki Sharyo and Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Three sets of these 30 sets were, then, transferred to IR Ishikawa Railway in 2015. The 521 series is an alternate current (AC) - direct current (DC) dual electric system, since AC and DC tracks are mixed in the area.

A gate with stained glass windows in Oyama Shrine near Kanazawa station