Monday, 23 June 2014

Yurukyara Train on the Sotetsu Line

EMU Sotetsu 11000 series, poster train "Sonyan", arrives at Seya Station
Do you know the Japanese word, "Yurukyara"? It means lovely, cute or pretty mascots for local governments, companies or private groups. For instance, Funasshi is the most famous and popular Yurukyara in Japan. He is the mascot for Funabashi City in Chiba Prefecture to promote Funabashi and its specialty... juicy pears.

Currently, establishing Yurukyara is also becoming popular among railway companies to promote their services to passengers. Sagami Railway (Sotetsu) is no exception. Recently, Sotetsu established their Yurukyara, named "Sonyan". According to Sotetsu's website, Sonyan is a cat, who was born on March 10th on the Sotetsu Line. He is a Sotetsu employee assigned to public relations.

In commemoration of establishing the Yurukyara, Sotetsu has launched a special poster EMU, "Sonyan Train", with the Yurukyara design. It is set number 11003F of the EMU 11000 series. A 10-car train is beautifully decorated with yellow colored stripes and Sonyan characters. Most of the kids on the Sotetsu Line already know Sonyan and wave to the Sonyan Train when they see it from the platform. Sotetsu publishes the Sonyan Train timetable on their website for the passengers.

For your information, the EMU 11000 series is the newest model on the Sotetsu Line. A total of 5 sets, 50 units, have been manufactured since 2008 by Tokyu Sharyo and JR East Niitsu factory. To reduce the manufacturing costs, it has a common design with JR East's EMU E233 series on the Chuo Rapid Line.

Sotetsu's mascot, "Sonyan" is seen on the body of the EMU 11000 series
More information about Sotetsu trains (in Japanese):