Monday, June 20, 2016

Slope Car on Hakone Mountain

Slope Car, Kaho Monorail Type KMR-6, is operated in a resort hotel on Hakone Mountain

Hakone is a famous resort area in the western suburb of Tokyo. By taking a commuter train, we can reach this beautiful and cool highland easily from downtown Tokyo. It is said that 19 million tourists visit there every year, since they can enjoy the beautiful nature and the hot springs (onsens).

I recently visited Hakone Mountain for the first time in a year, and found a lovely monorail, called Slope Car, in a resort hotel located on the top of the hill. It is a beautiful place, but the problem is that the onsen is located in a deep valley. Access to the onsen is a bit hard for elderly and/or physically-handicapped guests.

To go down to the onsen, the hotel constructed Slope Car in 2005. Connecting the fourth floor of the hotel building to the onsen in the valley, the route length is 30 m. The maximum inclination of the route is 30 degrees. It takes one minute to move between the highest and the lowest stops. To be exact, this Slope Car is classified as an elevator under the Building Standards Act, not a monorail under the Railway Business Act. It is similar to the ex-shuttle system in Narita Airport Terminal 2 and the monorail in Asukayama Park in Tokyo.

The vehicle, which can hold up to 6 passengers, is Type KMR-6 of the Kaho Monorail Company built in 2005. It is driverless using an electric motor with a rack-and-pinion driving system.
 
The track of Slope Car
 
Official information about Slope Car, Kaho Monorail: