Sunday, October 14, 2012

Shin-Keisei Electric Railway, Small but Progressive


EMU Shin-Keisei 8800 series leaves Kita-Narashino Station

Shin-Keisei (New Keisei) is a private railway company in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo. It is an affiliate firm of Keisei Electric Railway Company, and classified as a second-tier railway in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Connecting Matsudo on the JR East Joban Line and Tsudanuma on the Keisei Main Line, there are 24 stations over a total operating length of 26.5km.

The Shin-Keisei Line has a unique history in early times. It was constructed as a training line by the Railway Regiment of the ex-Japanese Army in 1929. Maybe that is why there are so many curves on the track of this line. After WWII, the railway track was sold to Keisei Electric Railway Company. Then, it was reopened as the Shin-Keisei Line of Shin-Keisei Electric Railway Company in 1947.

Although Shin-Keisei is a second-tier, they have a progressive spirit. For example, Shin-Keisei is among the first to manufacture the variable frequency drive (VVVF inverter control) train in Japan. That is an EMU 8800 series (see the top photo). Shin-Keisei also quickly introduced a pure electrical brake system and single-arm pantographs.

I often take the Shin-Keisei, because it is very convenient. The trains are directly operated into the Chiba Line of Keisei Electric Railway through Tsudanuma Station. I can reach Chiba City from northwestern cities in Chiba Prefecture without changing. Ivory colored with dark brown striped trains are also attractive for me as a rail fan.

The Shin-Keisei Line, it's small but progressive.

 
EMU Shin-Keisei 8000 series leaves Kita-Narashino Station

More information about trains on the Shin-Keisei Line (in Japanese):