Thursday, April 21, 2016

Advent of Spring in Sagamihara City

EMU JR East 205-500 series travels on the Sagami Line

Sagamihara is an inland city in Kanagawa Prefecture, some 50 km west of Tokyo. In the beginning of April, this city says goodbye to winter and says hello to spring. I recently visited Sagamihara with my family. Our purpose of the visit was to see the Katakuri flowers in Shiroyama Katakuri Village. Katakuri (Japanese Dogtooth Violet) produced lovely purple colored blossoms in the forest. It heralded the arrival of spring. We saw many holidaymakers visit there to celebrate the coming of spring.

How to get to Katakuri Village? There are three railway routes to get to Hashimoto, the nearest station. They are the JR East Sagami Line, the Yokohama Line and the Keio Sagamihara Line. The JR East Sagami Line penetrates Sagamihara City from north to south. Connecting Hashimoto and Chigasaki, the total length is 33.3 km. The entire route is electrified and single. The electric system is 1,500 V DC overhead. 4-car trains are operated every 20 minutes on average.

The vehicle operated on the Sagami Line is an EMU, 205-500 series. It was launched in 1991, when the route was electrified. So far, a total of 13 sets, 52 units have been built by Tokyu Sharyo and JR East Oofuna Factory. The specification is rather old, but the 205-500 series is still operated as the only model on the Sagami Line. It will be replaced by the new model, E233 series, someday, but it has not been officially announced yet.

Japanese Dogtooth Violet is blown in Shiroyama Katakuri Village near Hashimoto Station