Tuesday, 20 September 2011

"Kantetsu", Two-faced Local Railway

DMU Kantetsu 2100 series near Mitsukaido Station

Kanto Railway, “Kantetsu” is one of the local railway companies in northeastern part of the Tokyo metropolitan area. The route penetrates Ibaraki Prefecture from south to north, connecting Toride and Shimodate cities.

Kantetsu has two faces… one as a local railway in the country side, and one as a city line for urban commuters.

Please look at the photos. There are no catenaries, pillars or "third rail" along the rail. It means that this line is not electrified. Furthermore, the train consists of only two cars. So, it looks like the kind of local railway in the country side. However, the line is a double track, and the trains operate every 6 minutes during the morning commute. So, it is truly an urban commuter railway as well.

The scenery along the line also has two faces. In the northern part of the line, we can see beautiful idyllic views, such as rice paddies and vegetable fields as countryside. Meanwhile there are expanding urban residential quarters in the southern part.

Whenever, I take Kantetsu, I enjoy these two faces in the trains. In the morning, the trains are crowded with commuters, reading newspapers, and high school students in uniform. On the other hand during the day time, I come across only small groups of young mothers with babies or old people, who probably go shopping or see a doctor regularly.

Kantetsu shows a characteristic change by regions and time periods.

DMU Kantetsu 310 series near Mitsukaido Station

More information about Kanto Railway (in Japanese): http://www.kantetsu.co.jp/train/train_index.html