Monday, 25 January 2016

KiHa11 Series: New Model on the Minato Line

Diesel rail-car Hitachinaka Kaihin Railway KiHa 11-6 leaves Katsuta Station
Hitachinaka Kaihin Railway is a small company in Ibaraki Prefecture, about 120 km northeast of Tokyo. Connecting Katsuta on the JR East Joban Line and Ajigaura, the route, named the Minato Line, is only 14.3 km with 10 stations. The whole route is an un-electrified single track.

On December 30th, 2015, the company launched a new diesel rail-car, KiHa 11 series, on the Minato Line. The purpose of introducing the new model was to replace the old "JNR type" models, such as the KiHa 2000 series. A total of three units have been moved from JR Central to Hitachinaka Kaihin Railway. The new unit numbers are KiHa 11-5, 11-6 and 11-7.

When I visited the Minato Line last month, KiHa 11-6 was being operated as a regular train. Before weekends, the company announces the operational information of the trains on their website, so rail-fans can get information about the "trains on duty" in advance.

The body colour of the KiHa 11 series is the same as that of the JR Central... white with an orange coloured stripe. It is clean and beautiful. I like the KiHa 11 series, specifically its hardness of the seats. I feel dissatisfied with current Japanese trains' passenger seats, as they have become harder. Contrary to what I expected, KiHa 11's seats were soft and nice to sit on. No matter how nice the seats are, you should enjoy looking at the beautiful country view from the train windows instead of napping on the train on the Minato Line.

Diesel rail-car Hitachinaka Kaihin Railway KiHa 11-6 travels on the Minato Line