Friday, 7 March 2014

EMU 117 Series: Preserved Urban Train in Kansai Area

EMU 117 series is preserved in SCMAGREV and Railway Park
The Kansai area including Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto City, is Japan's second largest megalopolis. As of the year 2010, it had an estimated population of 18.64 million. In this area, railways have been evolving in a unique way under severe competition. As a result, passenger services in the Kansai area are better than those of Tokyo in general.

There are many railways in close proximity in the Kansai area. For instance, JR West, Hankyu and Hanshin have separate routes between Osaka and Kobe City. These companies have been fated rivals of each other.

Japanese National Railways (JNR) was no exception. JNR is present JR West that has the largest railway network in the Kansai area. In the late 1970s, JNR was suffering from financial difficulty. It was caused by unremunerated local lines; but JNR didn't give up. They developed a reputable commuter train from their limited budget. It was the EMU 117 series for the Kansai area.

The 117 series provided the passengers with express train-level services. For instance, it was fully air-conditioned and had switched cross seats. The interior of the train was non-combustible wood grain, which added a touch of class to the room. The 117 series gave the greatest satisfaction to the commuters in the Kansai area.

Currently, three units are preserved in the SCMAGLEV and Railway Park in Nagoya City. It is an unforgettable train for me.

Interior of the EMU 117 series
More infomation about rolling stock in SCMAGLEV and Railway Park: