Thursday, 22 March 2012

Smile Train on the Seibu Line

EMU Seibu 30000 series, Smile Train arrives at Shiinamachi Staton on the Ikebukuro Line

Seibu is one of the major private railway companies in the Tokyo metropolitan area. It has two terminals, namely Ikebukuro and Shinjuku in the downtown Tokyo area, and its labyrinthine railway network extends to the north-western part of Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture.

This company had been known for being managed by members of a single family. But, after a scandal involving them breaking a Security and Exchange Law in the early 2000s, the company has been trying to dedicate themselves to modernization of the management style.

One of the newly-emerged Seibu trains is in the top photo. It is the EMU 30000 series, called Smile Train. It was launched in 2008, as Seibu's new symbolic train. Needless to say, its front view looks a smiling face. Until then, the train of the Seibu Line only placed importance on their operating functions, but, the engineering concept of this new train is that "trains bring smiles to the people". It is totally different from their previous ones. Not only its frontal design, but the 30000 series also has various functions for passengers, such as antibacterial handrails, egg-shaped straps and anti-crime glass gangway doors.

Honestly speaking, the 30000 series is not my cup of tea as a rail-fan, because the design of this train is eccentric. But it is good thing that there is a wide variety of trains in Tokyo which provide passengers with a good service. I welcome this kind of passenger service competition as a customer.

Side View of the Smile Train, EMU Seibu 30000 series at Shiinamachi Station on the Ikebukuro Line