Thursday, September 11, 2014

KuYa 31: Techno-inspector on the Odakyu Line

Odakyu's inspection car, KuYa 31 stands at Kyodo Station on the Odawara Line
I sometimes come across a special train at Kyodo Station on the Odakyu Line close to my home. It is similar to the EMU 3000 series, but has only a few windows. Why is that?

It is unit number KuYa 31, an Odakyu inspection car. The purpose of the operation of KuYa 31 is to inspect the tracks and catenaries on all routes of the Odakyu Line. Its nickname is "Techno-Inspector," which was chosen from submissions from the public.

KuYa 31 was manufactured in 2004 by Tokyu Sharyo. It has a common outer design with the EMU 3000 series. Before the launching of KuYa 31, Odakyu Electric Railway had an old inspection car, named the PV-6. The problem with the PV-6 was its slow inspection speed. It took seven days to inspect all 120km of the routes, namely the Odawara, the Enoshima and the Tama lines; while the KuYa 31 takes only two days.

KuYa 31 cannot propel itself, as it doesn't have electric motors. Usually, it is coupled with the EMU 1000 series, especially set numbers 1051F, 1751F or 1752F. The driver's cabin in the KuYa 31 is equipped only on the Odawara side, so the cabin on the coupled train, the EMU 1000 series, is used when the inspection train is operated toward Shinjuku. KuYa 31 is operated twice a month on average.

KuYa 31 is the state of the art techno-inspector on the Odakyu Line.

Side view of KuYa 31, Techno-Inspector