Monday, 25 January 2021

Modification of the JR West 207 Series

EMU JR West 207 series stands at Kyoto station yard
When I visited Kyoto City last year, I found JR West's commuter train, the EMU 207 series, on the storage-track facility in Kyoto station yard.

The 207 series is JR West's first self-developed commuter train launched in 1991. It's a 1,067 millimeter-gauge and 1,500 V DC train in the Kansai area. As you know, Kansai is the second largest metropolitan area in Japan. The population now stands at 19 million. More than 1.2 million people commute into Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe and other cities every day. To transport these passengers, 484 cars of the 207 series were built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Kinki Sharyo and others. JR West first adopted the VVVF inverter (variable-frequency drive) as an electric control system on this model. The front shape looks slightly rounded from the side. It's similar to that of the E233-2000 series operated on the Joban local line in Tokyo.

23 years after its debut, JR West started modification of the 207 series for improvement of safety, energy saving and barrier-free. For instance, the frontal lights were changed to HID (High Intensity Discharge) lamps. It's gas-discharge lamps realize high luminosity by means of an electric arc. Needless to say, it's for improvement of safety. The interior lights were also changed to LED lamps for energy saving. The bodies were reinforced for safety against offset and side collisions. Currently, about half of the 207 series are modified ones.

It was fun for me to perceive a small change of train as a trainspotter.

Side view of the EMU JR West 207 series

Thursday, 21 January 2021

EMU 9200 Series: Rare Train on the Hokuso Line

EMU Hokuso 9200 series travels on the Hokuso line

I have already uploaded more than 1,300 posts in this blog over a nine-year period. I thought that all the existing train models in the Tokyo metropolitan area had already been introduced to you here, but I was wrong. I recently found that there are still some more models I haven't shown you yet. The introduction of trains in the Tokyo metropolitan area is almost endless.

The EMU Chiba Newton Railway 9200 series is a rare model. Only one set (eight cars) was built by Nippon Sharyo in 2013. The technical specification of the 9200 series is same as those of the Keisei 3000 and the Hokuso 7500 series. The major difference between these three models is the color of the body stripes. The Chiba Newtown 9200 series has light blue and yellow colored stripes. The Keisei 3000 series has dark-pink and blue-colored stripes, while the Hokuso 7500 series has blue and light-blue colored stripes on their stainless-steel bodies. I like the Chiba Newtown Railway 9200 series best as it's vivid.

Incidentally, Chiba Newtown Railway is a local railway company in Chiba Prefecture. This company has a 12.5-kilometer-long section between Komuro and Inba Nihon-idai stations. The track is double and electrified. The gauge size is 1,435 mm. The electric system is 1,500 V overhead. Chiba Newtown Railway's train is directly operated onto the Hokuso, Keisei, Toei-Asakusa, and Keikyu lines. All the trains on the Chiba Newtown Railway are operated by Hokuso Railway Company. It's a bit of a complicated operating system, isn't it!

EMU Hokuso 9200 series arrives at Komuro station

Sunday, 17 January 2021

Tenku: Nankai's Leisure Train on the Koya Line

Set 2058 of the EMU Nankai 2200 series, "Tenku", stands at Gokurakubashi station
When I visited Koya-san with my family last year, we came across Nankai Electric Railway's leisure train named "Tenku (Sky)" at Gokurakubashi terminal.

The formal name of Tenku is Set 2058 of the EMU Nankai 2200 series. The 2200 series was originally debuted under the name of the EMU 22000 series in 1969. 16 sets, 32 cars, were built by Tokyu Sharyo from 1969 to 1972. The interior and exterior of 4 sets, 8 cars, of the 22000 series were then modified, and changed number to the EMU 2200 series. Set 2203 of the 2200 series was modified and changed number again to Set 2058 (Tenku) in 2009. It's a bit complicated history.

Tenku consists of two motorcars. The electric control system is traditional rheostatic with DC motors. The body is two-toned color of red and green. The red stands for Konpon Daito (the Basic Great Pagoda); meanwhile the green stands for the forest of Koya-san. The train has special front view seats, wide view seats, compartment seats and an observation deck. The passengers can relax and enjoy the mountain view on the Koya line.

After taking photos of the Tenku train, we headed to Koya-san passing through Daimon. What's Daimon? It's a large front gate at the entrance of the Buddhist temple settlement. This wooden gate was reconstructed in 1705. It's 25.8 meters tall and one of the largest wooden two-storied gates in Japan. Irimoya style (semigabled), two-storied gate is a main gateway to the Koya-san area.

Daimon, Koya-san

Official information about the leisure train "Tenku" (in Japanese):
Official information about Koya-san: