Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Changing Osaka Loop Line

EMU JR West 201 series stands at Osaka Station on the Osaka Loop Line
 
Along with the Yamanote Line in Tokyo, Osaka also has a loop line in the center of the city. The route name is Osaka Loop Line, no less.

The size of the Osaka Loop Line is two-thirds of the Yamanote Line. It has 19 stations on the 21.7 km-long route; meanwhile, there are 29 stations on the 34.9 km-long on the Yamanote Line. The EMU 201 series is a main fleet on the line. It was launched in 1979 to replace old models such as the 103 series. A total of 1,018 units have been manufactured for commuter lines in the Tokyo and Osaka areas, but it has already disappeared from the Tokyo area.

One of the features of the 201 series is that the armature-chopper control system is equipped on the train. It makes a signature buzzing sound during acceleration and deceleration. So, I felt very nostalgic when I rode the 201 series on the Osaka Loop Line. Although, the 201 series is my favorite as a rail fan, it is unpopular among Osakans, since it is "dirty, dark and worn-out".

JR West recently made a press release announcing that the renovation project of the Osaka Loop Line has started. It includes renewal of the stations and launching of a new model, the 323 series, which will debut in 2016. You can see the promotion movie about the changing Osaka Loop Line in the JR West's website.

Osaka Loop Line... it is a changing urban route, both the trains and the scenery.
 
Night view of the changing Osaka Station area