Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The 700 Series: Hiroden's Standard Streetcar

Electric car, Hiroden 700 series stands at Gembaku Dome-mae Stop
 
Hiroshima is the largest city in Chugoku District, some 1,000km west of Tokyo. The population now stands at 1.14 million, which makes it the eleventh largest city in Japan. Hiroshima is well known as Japan's largest tram network city. A total of eight labyrinthine routes are operated by private railway company, Hiroshima Electric Railway (Hiroden). Its total operating length is 35.1km. The track gauge is 1,435mm and the electric system is 600V DC overhead.

Hiroden has a rich variety of streetcars. Currently, 299 units are operated on the tracks. It is the largest tram rolling stock in Japan. Hiroshima is a paradise for rail fans.

The electric car 700 series is one of the major fleets on the Hiroden. It was commissioned as Hiroden's new standard streetcars in 1982 to reinforce their transportation ability. A total of eleven units have been manufactured so far by Alna Koki (present Alna Sharyo). Each one is 13.5m long and carries 91 passengers.

The spec of the 700 series is rather old. For instance, the nose-suspension drive system is still used for seven units of this series. It is out of date; but the running sound is very nostalgic and comfortable for a rail fan like me. I am also fond of its large pantograph that is installed on the center of the roof. A big air-conditioner box on the roof is also very impressive.

The electric car 700 series... it is an unforgettable memory of the trip to Hiroshima.

 
Electric car, Hiroden 700 series approaches Dobashi Stop