Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Saitama New Shuttle Update: New Model on the Ina Line

Set 22 of the EMU New Shuttle 2020 series arrives at Komba Station on the Ina Line

I visited the Ina Line of the New Shuttle (Saitama Shin-toshi Kotsu) after a long time. The Ina Line is a rubber-tired automated guideway transit (AGT) in Saitama Prefecture. The route was opened in 1983 beside the Tohoku and the Joetsu Shinkansen tracks. Connecting Omiya and Uchijuku, its operating length is 12.7 km. Unlike the other AGT lines in the Tokyo metropolitan arrea, such as the Yurikamome Line, the Nippori-Toneri Liner and the Kanazawa Seaside Line, a driver operates each train on the Ina Line. It is not a driver-less operation. The track is double and the electric system is 600 V AC.

What was the news of this unique transportation system?

Firstly, the old trains, EMU 1010 series had been retired. It is not operated any longer. The retired 1010 series had lovely yellow and green colored bodies. It was definitely my favorite, but I can't help it. We can't go against the current of the time. The present rolling stocks are the EMU 1050 series, the EMU 2000 series and one more... the EMU 2020 series. 

The latest model, EMU 2020 series was launched in November, 2015. So far, a total of 3 sets, 18 units have been built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The bodies are aluminum and each set has a different stripe color. They are green (set 21), orange (set 22) and pink (set 23). The greatest feature of the 2020 series is its front mask. It has a hexagonal design. Rail-fan's opinions often split over this design.

Side view of the EMU 2020 series

Official information about the EMU 2020 series (in Japanese):