Wednesday, August 23, 2017

EMU 70000 Series: New Model on the Tobu Line

EMU Tobu 70000 series arrives at Nishi-Arai Station

Following the new train on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, I am going to show you a gleaming new model on the Tobu Line today. 

On July 7th this year, Tobu Railway, the largest private railway company in the Tokyo metropolitan area, launched a new model, the EMU 70000 series on their Isesaki Line. The 70000 series are directly operated onto the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, so that the 70000 series has many things in common with the Tokyo Metro's new model, the 13000 series, which I posted last time. How similar are the Tobu 70000 series and the Tokyo Metro 13000 series?

Firstly, both models have 20 m-long bodies with eight doors per car. One set is composed of seven cars. This unification is provided for the installation of automated platform gates in the future. Secondly, the positions of priority seats for the aged and physically handicapped are unified between both models. Thirdly, travelling devices, such as the type of steering trucks, are the same to reduce manufacturing costs. On the other hand, both Tobu and Tokyo Metro keep their own basic design concept, for instance, the outer design of the train bodies and the mechanisms of door operating devices.

According to Tokyo Metro, 22 sets of the 70000 series will be built by Kinki Sharyo, and will replace the old 20000 series by 2020, when the automated platform doors start to operate on the Tobu- Isesaki and the Tokyo Metro-Hibiya Line.

EMU Tobu 70000 series stands at Nishi-Arai Station

Sunday, August 20, 2017

EMU 13000 Series: New Model on the Hibiya Line

EMU Tokyo Metro 13000 series arrives at Nishi-Arai Station on the Tobu Line

I am posting a topic on the Subway Hibiya Line for the first time in four years. What has become of this busy commuter line?

On March 25th this year, Tokyo Metro, an operator of the subway lines, launched a new model, the EMU 13000 series, on the Hibiya Line. The introduction of the new model was for the first time, indeed, in 29 years. What was the difference between the old 03 series and the new 13000 series?

The largest difference is the size of the train bodies. The old 03 series has short 18 m-long bodies; while the new 13000 series has long 20 m-bodies. The Hibiya Line is an old route opened in 1961. There were many tight curves just below street intersections. The introduction of the large sized trains had been blocked for a long time, but there was no fighting against the trend of the times. Tokyo Metro has eventually removed the obstacles beside the tracks on the tight curves, and enabled the 20 m-long body trains to operate on the line. According to Tokyo Metro, 44 sets of the 13000 series will be built, and will replace the 03 series by 2020.

In the meantime, the trains on the Hibiya Line are directly operated onto the Tobu Line, which is also one of the transportation arteries in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Tobu has also recently introduced the new model. I am going to report it soon.

To be continued.

Side view of the EMU Tokyo Metro 13000 series

Official information about the EMU Tokyo Metro 13000 series:

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Access to the Place of Ascetic Training

Mt. Shosha Ropeway in Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture

Shosha-zan (Mt. Shosha) is a small mountain (371 m above sea level), where a rich natural environment remains. It is located in Himeji City of Hyogo Prefecture about 650 km west of Tokyo. Engyo-ji temple is in the center of the mountain. Along with Enryaku-ji temple on Hiei-zan (Mt. Hiei) in Kyoto Prefecture, Engyo-ji is known as a place of ascetic training for Buddhists.

Engyo-ji was opened in 966 by Shoku, who was a Buddhist monk. Among the many beautiful halls in the temple precinct, I like Jikido best. It is a wooden, full two-story structure originally opened in 1194. The current building was supposed to be re-constructed in Muromachi period (1336-1573). It is designated National Important Cultural Property of Japan.

To visit this holy place, please take aerial tramway Mt. Shosha Ropeway. Connecting Sanroku and Sanjou stations, its operating length is 781 meters. The height difference between the two stations is 211 meters. Its operating speed is 5 meters per second and it takes 4 minutes to get to Sanjou Station. The operating interval is 15 minutes on average.

Mt. Shosha Ropeway was opened in 1958 by the Transportation Bureau of Himeji City. The current two gondolas, which were built by Anzen-sakudo Company, were launched in 1992 as the third generation of gondolas. The riding capacity is 71 passengers in each one. The passengers can enjoy a beautiful view of Himeji City.

Mt. Shosha Ropeway... an access to the place of ascetic training.

Jikido hall in Engyo-ji temple near Sanjou Station on the Mt. Shosha Ropeway

Official information about Mt. Shosha Ropeway (in Japanese):