Thursday, 25 April 2013

EMU Seibu 4000 Series, Train Concerned

EMU Seibu 4000 series stands at Chichibu Station on the Chichibu Railway (November, 2012)
Seibu Railway is in commotion. A major shareholder, who is a foreign investment fund, calls for a radical solution to recover company earnings rapidly. One of the requests is to abandon a money-losing railway route.

Seibu Railway 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. The foreign investment fund had been supposed to be a "deus ex machina" after the crisis. What happened in these 10 years?

I think the key point is the difference of management style between Western countries and Japan. Japanese management tends to think that railway companies should promote public benefit rather than be profit-oriented. It is difficult to say which kind of management style is correct, but the difference in their way of thinking is evident to anyone.

By the way, which route is in danger of abandonment? It is the Seibu-Chichibu Line. Connecting Hanno and Seibu-Chichibu, the total operating length is 19km. The entire route is electrified and single track. The major fleet on the line is the EMU 4000 series, which was launched in 1988 to improve passenger services. This EMU is also directly operated into the Chichibu Railway for sightseers, who head to the famous sightseeing spots such as Nagatoro and Mitsumine.

The fate of the Seibu-Chichibu Line and the EMU 4000 series lies in the shareholders' hands.

EMU Seibu 4000 series stands at Mitsumine-guchi Sta. on the Chichibu Railway (November, 2012)