Friday, May 27, 2011

“Sampai Jumpa Lagi”, Jakarta Trains

Ex-Toei 6000 series near Ancol station, Jakarta, Indonesia in 2007

On completion of 4 years' service in Jakarta, Indonesia, I am going back to Japan next month.

Among the many wonderful memories in Indonesian life, the best one is riding the Jakarta trains. As I described before
, there are many ex-Tokyo trains, a total of 346 cars in this exploding city railway.

The top photo shows the EMU (Electrical Multiple Unit) ex-Toei (Tokyo Metropolitan Government) 6000 series approaching Ancol Station, a northern suburb of Jakarta. These cars were manufactured in 1976 in Japan. They had been operating on the Toei-Mita Subway Line in Tokyo for 24 years. Then, they moved to Jakarta in 2000 to spend a new life after retirement from the Toei-Mita Line. The body was modified to the local style such as the orange-colored stripe and a fluorescent vermillion-colored “cow hunger” in the front. I like this “American West” style cow hunger very much.

The bottom photo is the EMU ex-Tokyo Metro 5000 series at Bogor rail yard in a southern suburb of Jakarta. You can see the display of the destination, which was used in Japan, with Kanji (Chinese characters). These cars were manufactured from 1966 to 1970 in Japan, the oldest train in Jakarta; however, still in operation and in good condition. I would like to thank the local railway engineers.

The time has come to return to Japan. "Terima kasih dan sampai jumpa lagi (thanks and see you again)" Jakarta trains!


Ex-Tokyo Metro 5000 series, 59F at Bogor rail yard near Jakarta, Indonesia in 2011

More information about KRL JABODETABEK (Jakarta Metropolitan Railway): http://www.krl.co.id/

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

EMU the New Shuttle 1010 Series, Kawaii?

EMU the New Shuttle 1010 series near Tetsudo Hakubutsukan-mae station

Do you know the word “kawaii”?

Kawaii means lovely, cute or pretty in Japanese but probably something more. For example, a baby is kawaii. A panda and a koala are also kawaii. But, furthermore, some teenage girls are kawaii. Their accessories are also kawaii…..and….. the train in the top photo is also definitely kawaii!

This is Saitama Shin-toshi Kotsu (The New Shuttle), 1010 series train. The New Shuttle is a rubber-tyred automated guideway transit (AGT) system in Saitama Prefecture, the northern part of the Tokyo metropolitan area. The line length is 12.7km between Omiya and Uchijuku stations along the Joetsu Shinkansen Line. EMU 1010 series are the oldest cars on the line. They were launched in 1983, when the line was opened. One train is composed of 6 cars; and a total 6 sets are still in operation.

I always take this train when I visit the Railway Museum, which is located in front of Tetsudo Hakubutsukan-mae station of the New Shuttle. One of the amusements during the ride runs parallel to Shinkansen. “Kawaii” New Shuttle and the Shinaknsen train contrast starkly in all areas, such as the size of the bodies and their speeds. So, the scene of running it alongside the Shinkansen is a very exciting attraction before arriving at the Railway Museum. Rail fans always enjoy train riding, don’t they?

There are several AGTs in the Tokyo Metropolitan areas, so I will introduce them to you, one after the other.

EMU the New Shuttle 1010 series at Tetsudo Hakubutsukan-mae station

More infromation about the New Shuttle (in Japanese): http://www5.ocn.ne.jp/~snut/index.htm

Saturday, May 7, 2011

DMU JR Kyushu KiHa 72 Series, "Yufuin-no-mori"


DMU JR Kyushu KiHa 72 series, "Yufuin-no-mori" at Yufuin Station

Let's move on to something else today... outside of the Tokyo metropolitan area.

There are many distinctive-looking trains in Kyushu Island, the western part of Japan. DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) JR Kyushu KiHa 72 series is popular among tourists as well as railfans for its unique design and beauty. This train was launched in 1999 as a third-generation of the express, "Yufuin-no-mori (Forest of Yufuin)", connecting Hakata and Oita stations via Yufuin.

One characteristic of this DMU is its frontal aspect, two-stage windows (photo at the top). The train has a superb view of the volcanic landscape ahead through these two-stage windows in the front car (photo at the bottom). The other characteristic is its gorgeous interior for a standard-class train. For example, there is a wonderful bridge in the car!

I took this train in 2009, when I visited the Yufuin hot springs. Yufuin is famous for its mineral-rich hot springs all around the town. You can find plenty of steams from spring sources. You can also enjoy walking in the green forests surrounding the town. The local people are very friendly and the local food is very tasty. What’s more, I could enjoy a footbath on the platform of Yufuin Station, while I was waiting for the train. I could fully enjoy the hot springs, green forests, local food and chatting with the local people as well as the gorgeous express train.

DMU JR Kyushu KiHa 72 series is a legitimate resort express that provides passengers with space for relaxation and exhilaration.

Cockpit of DMU JR Kyushu KiHa 72 series, "Yufuin-no-mori"
More information about express trains of JR Kyushu:http://www.jrkyushu.co.jp/english/time_table/time_table.html

Monday, May 2, 2011

Labyrinth or Dungeon? Otemachi & Shibuya Stations


Otemachi station yard map, Tokyo Metro

When I was in Japan, I took the Tokyo Metro-Chiyoda Line and went to the office. My exit station was Otemachi, which is one of the largest stations in the subway system.

Look at the top figure. It’s the station yard map of Otemachi illustrated by Tokyo Metro. I got off at the Chiyoda Line platform (C11) on the extreme left in the figure. Then, I walked up and down; right and left from the subsurface to exit number B7, which is shown on the extreme right in the illustration. It’s about 700 m from the platform to the exit and around a 10 minute walk; however, the entire walk is still located within the same station yard. What a labyrint
hine station it is!

You can see another complicated example in the bottom figure. It’s famous "Shibuya Dungeon", where 3 subway lines extend into it. If you would like to transfer from the Fukutoshin Line (F16) to the Ginza Line (G01), you should take a trip from the fifth basement to the third floor. So you should climb seven flights of stairs or escalators!

Why are these so complicated? It’s probably because of their long histories. For example, in Shibuya Station, the Ginza Line (G01) was constructed in 1938. Meanwhile the Fukutoshin Line was completed in 2008, a 70 year difference. When they constructed the Ginza Line, no one could imagine the future of the city.

Otemachi and Shibuya stations… are these labyrinths or dungeons in the Tokyo Metropolitan area?


Shibuya station yard map, Tokyo Metro

Otemachi station yard map, Tokyo Metro (in Japanese):
http://www.tokyometro.jp/station/otemachi/yardmap/index.html
Shibuya station yard map, Tokyo Metro (in Japanese): http://www.tokyometro.jp/station/shibuya/yardmap/index.html