Sunday, September 18, 2016

JNR-type DMU in the Akita Area

DMU  JR East KiHa 48 series arrives at Akita Station

Following the DMU JR West KiHa 47 series in Toyama Prefecture, I am going to show you their brothers, named the JR East KiHa 48 series, operated in Akita Prefecture.

Akita is a snowy country facing the Sea of Japan. One of the attractive trains for rail-fans in the prefecture is an old JNR-type DMU, the KiHa 48 series. JNR stands for Japanese National Railways, which was Japan's largest railway network. It was split into seven railway companies and privatized in 1987 due to financial difficulties. During the JNR era, many DMUs were introduced to railways all over Japan.

The DMU KiHa 48 series is a single cabin car, so it must form at least as a 2-car train being coupled with the other diesel rail-cars. What is the difference between the KiHa 48 and the KiHa 47 series? The answer is the type of doors. The KiHa 47 series has double (center-opened) doors; meanwhile the KiHa 48 series is a single (side-opened) door car. It means that the KiHa 47 series is suitable for urban lines; meanwhile the 48 series is recommended to be operated on local routes.

Although the KiHa 48 series is operated on the local route in Akita Prefecture, it is crowded in the morning and the late afternoon. Why was it so crowded? It was because high school students use the train for commuting. The old JNR-type DMU in Akita Prefecture is a precious transportation means for local high school students.

A 5-car train of the DMU JR East KiHa 48 series