Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Urban Liner: Spirit of Kintetsu

EMU Kintetsu 21000 series, "Urban Liner" passes through Nabari Station on the Osaka Line
 
Railway business in Japan is by no means easy. Many companies are involved in tough competition for survival. Kintetsu and JR Central are fated rivals in the western part of Japan. Their main battlefield is the section between Osaka and Nagoya cities, often called the Meihan section. As you know, Osaka and Nagoya are Japan's second and third largest metropolises. The distance between the two mega-cities is 190 km. The overwhelming strong company is JR Central, which has the Tokaido Shinkansen with a maximum speed of 285 km per hour. It takes 50 minutes by Nozomi super-express from Shin-Osaka to Nagoya. Kintetsu has no chance of winning in the speed. What should they do for survival?

The answer is passenger services and the fare. Kintetsu operates a luxury limited express train, "Urban Liner", the EMU 21000 (and 21020) series on the Meihan section. This train travels between Osaka-Namba and Nagoya in about 2 hours with a maximum speed of only 130 km per hour, but the interior of Urban Liner is more luxurious and the fare is 37% lower than that of Nozomi Super-express on the Tokaido Shinkansen. Specifically, I recommend you use the deluxe seat in car number 1. Once you pay an extra fee (510 yen), a squashy reclining seat with 2+1 configuration is offered for you.

The 21000 series was launched in 1988. Currently, a total of 72 units (6-cars and 2-cars) are operated on the line. Kintetsu's Urban Liner... it is the spirit of Kintetsu.
 
Interior of the deluxe seat car, the EMU Kintetsu 21000 series, "Urban Liner"
 
Official information about "Urban Liner" (in English):
Official information about "Urban Liner" (in Japanese): http://www.kintetsu.co.jp/gyoumu/Express/train/urban.html