Thursday, 28 September 2017

2017 Summer Memories: Enoshima Lanterns

Set  number 1069 of the EMU Odakyu 1000 series passes through Kyodo Station

As I mentioned before, the weather had been unusual this mid-summer in the Tokyo metropolitan area. It was rainy every day, so that I had to find short sunny days for strolling, and visited only the nearby Tokyo Metropolis. Enoshima Island was one such place.

Enoshima Island is a famous sightseeing spot in the Tokyo metropolitan area. It is located about 60 km southwest of the city center. When I visited there in the middle of August, the Enoshima Lantern Festival was being held. It was one of the events during the "obon" period. "Obon" is a Buddhist festival to recognize ancestral spirits. The souls of the dead are believed to return to their families during the obon period in the middle of August. It is an occasion for people to visit their ancestors' graves, temples or shrines to pray. 

During evening of the obon period, Enoshima Island was decorated with many lanterns to repose the souls of the dead. For instance, I saw plenty of lanterns on the approach of Enoshima Shrine. It was beautiful and mysterious, and reminded me of my ancestors.

To visit Enoshima Island, Odakyu-Enoshima Line is convenient. The nearest station is Katase-Enoshima, which is the gateway to the island. When I headed to Enoshima, I came across the old EMU 1000 series with rollsigns (destination signs). Trains with rollsigns are currently quite rare on the Odakyu Line, as most of the rollsigns have been replaced by LED-type destination signs.

A visit to Enoshima Island offered rare experiences to me.

Lanterns are seen on the approach of Enoshima Shrine near Katase-Enoshima Station

Monday, 25 September 2017

New Revival Colored Train on the Tobu Line

Revival colored train, set 8575 of the EMU Tobu 8000 series, travels on the Kameido Line

Tobu Railway has launched a new "revival colored train". On July 13th, a new special colored train, set number 8575 (hereafter 8575F) of the EMU 8000 series, appeared on the Kameido Line. 8575F was originally built by Tokyu Sharyo in 1982. It consists of two cars named 8575 (Mc) and 8675 (Tc), but the color design of 8575F was changed on this occasion from white with blue colored stripes (Tobu's standard color design) to yellow with a vermillion colored stripe, which was one of the test paint color designs in the 1950's.

8575F is the third revival colored train for the Kameido and Daishi lines. As I posted before, Tobu had already launched two other revival colored trains. They are set number 8568 (hereafter 8568F) and set number 8577 (hereafter 8577F). 8568F has dark green colored bodies with a white stripe, which was also the test paint color design in the 1950's; meanwhile 8577F has orange colored bodies with a yellow stripe, which was used as the Tobu's standard color design from 1958 to 1964.

Tobu has been launching revival colored trains one after another. I sure would like to applaud this kind of service as a rail-fan, but I am alternating between joy and embarrassment, as I must visit the Tobu Line every time. Probably, that's Tobu's strategy. In fact, many rail-fans like me often flock to the Tobu Line to take pictures and ride the new revival colored trains.

Revival colored train, set 8575 of the EMU Tobu 8000 series, arrives at Omurai Station

Friday, 22 September 2017

Green Frog: The 90th Anniversary of the Toyoko Line

Set 5122 of the EMU Tokyu 5000 series, the revival colored train, "Green Frog"

The Tokyu-Toyoko Line is one of the main transportation arteries in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Connecting Shibuya and Yokohama, the operating length is 24.2 km. It carries an average of 1.2 million passengers per day. Shibuya is one of the sub-centers in the Tokyo Metropolis; meanwhile, Yokohama is the main city of Kanagawa Prefecture.

On August 28th this year, Tokyu Corporation celebrated the 90th anniversary of the Toyoko Line. It was opened between Shibuya and Maruko-Tamagawa (present Tamagawa) stations on August 28th, 1927. The gauge size is 1,067 mm and the electric system is 1,500 V DC overhead. Currently, 22 percent of the entire route is a double-double track. The trains on the Toyoko Line are directly operated onto the Tokyo Metro-Fukutoshin Line via Shibuya Station, and the Yokohama Minatomirai Railway via Yokohama Station.

In commemoration of the 90th anniversary, Tokyu launched a special revival colored poster train, "Aogaeru", on September 4th on the Toyoko Line. What is Aogaeru? It was a nickname of the green colored trains, the EMU 5000 series, which were operated on the Toyoko Line from 1954 to 1980. Because of its "face line" with lower parts of the face full-fleshed, they were called Aogaeru (green frog) among rail-fans.

The revival Aogaeru is also named the EMU 5000 series, but it is the 2nd generation one with a modern design. An 8-car train, set number 5122 is used as Aogaeru. The revival Aogaeru will be operated for a year until August, 2018.

Side view of the "Green Frog"

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

2017 Summer Memories: Ocean View and Kurofune Train

Set R-4 of the EMU Izukyu 2100 series, Kurofune Train, travels on the Izukyu Line

The weather has been unusual this summer in the Tokyo metropolitan area. It was very hot in the "rainy season"; meanwhile it was rainy every day in mid-summer. I was very busy at work, but could manage to take a 4-day holiday in the middle of August. I visited Izu Peninsula with my family.

Izu Peninsula is a major resort area in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Being located in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Izu is famous for the joys of its ocean view and mountains with hot springs. To get to this resort area, Izukyu Railway is convenient. Connecting Ito and Izukyu-Shimoda, the total operating length is 45.7 kilometers. The entire route is an electrified single track. The trains on the Izukyu Line are directly operated onto the JR East Ito Line to Atami and the Tokaido Main Line to Tokyo.

Kurofune Train is one of the popular trains on the Izukyu Line. It is an 7-car train, set R-4 of the EMU 2100 series built by Tokyu Sharyo in 1990. Kurofune Train was created based on the image of Kurofune, which abruptly visited Japan led by US Commodore Perry in 1853 to demand the Tokugawa Shogunate open the country to the world. Seeing that, the Japanese called them "Kurofune" (black ships). Accepting Perry's request, the Tokugawa Shogunate signed a treaty opening Shimoda Port to U.S. trade in 1854. As you noticed, Shimoda is the terminal of the Izukyu Line.

The black colored Kurofune Train suits the magnificent Pacific Ocean.

Ocean view near Izu-kogen Station on the Izukyu Line

Official information about the trains on the Izukyu Line (in Japanese):

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Good-bye, the EMU Toei 10-000 Series: Part 2

Set 10-270 of the EMU Toei 10-000 series arrives at Sasazuka Station on the Keio Line

Following my last post, I am going to continue to show you the EMU Toei 10-000 series, which will be retired soon.

Set 270 of the EMU Toei (the Transportation Bureau of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government) 10-000 series belongs to the 8th batch group of the 10-000 series. Its technical specification is the same as the other 10-000 series trains, but the design of the train bodies is different from that of the other ones. For instance, the 8th batch group has beads on the side of the stainless steel bodies; while the other 10-000 series has corrugations. The 8th batch group has a blue colored thin stripe on the front; while the other 10-000 series trains don't have it. Trainspotters like me perceive and enjoy these kinds of fine differences between the two groups of trains. You may be one of those people.

The 8th batch trains, including set 270, were launched in 1997. A total of 2 sets, 16 units have been built by Alna Kohki. This group of trains is known as the last model built with an armature chopper electric control system in Japan. As you may know, the armature chopper is an excellent electric control system, but it was high cost, and sometimes caused inductive interference, so that the trains with the armature chopper electric control system have been retired gradually.

Sayonara (good-bye) and arigato (thank you), the Toei 10-000 series, Japan's last model built with an armature chopper control system.

Set 10-270 of the EMU Toei 10-000 series stands at Sasazuka Station on the Keio Line

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Good-bye, the EMU Toei 10-000 Series

250F of the Toei 10-000 series arrives at Sakurajosui Station on the Keio Line

One popular group of trains is disappearing from the track in the Tokyo metropolitan area. That will soon become a memory to rail-fans. On August 12th, a 10-car train, set 25 of the EMU Toei (the Transportation Bureau of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government) 10-000 series, was retired from the Toei-Shinjuku and the Keio lines. As a result, only two sets of the 10-000 series remain on the track, but they will be also retired soon.

The EMU Toei 10-000 series was launched in 1971 for starting operations of the Toei-Shinjuku Line. So far, a total of 28 sets, 224 units have been built by Nippon Sharyo, Tokyu Sharyo, Kinki-Sharyo and so on. The outer design of the 10-000 series is the so-called "picture frame", which derived from the impression of its train "face".

There are several variations of the 10-000 series. Set 25 has the old design with corrugations on the side bodies and the round-shaped roof top ventilators. Fortunately, I could take pictures of set 25 only two days before its retirement. Much to my joy, special "Final Run" stickers were displayed on their bodies. Thank you for the final present.

After the retirement of set 25, two sets, namely set 27 and 28 are still narrowly operated on the Toei-Shinjuku Line and the Keio Line. I am going to report their last stage of operation in my next post, since those two sets of trains have a different design from that of set 25.

To be continued...

"Final Run" sticker of the EMU Toei 10-000 series 

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Preserved Streetcar in the Shitamachi Area

Streetcar number 7506 of the 7500 series is preserved at ex-Ikenohata-shichikencho Stop

Shitamchi is the old town in Tokyo. It was formed during the Edo Period (1603 - 1868) in the downtown area, which was located east of Edo Castle (present Imperial Palace). Generally speaking, the people in the Shitamachi area are folksier than those of the other areas in Tokyo, and cherish their own tradition. Shitamachi was a town of the merchants. You can glimpse how the people in Shitamashi used to live, if you visit Shitamachi Museum near Nippori Station on the JR lines. This museum used to be a liquor shop until the Taisho Period (1912 - 1926).

For rail-fans, one of the must-see spots in the Shitamachi area is the ex-Ikenohata-shichikencho Stop, where an old streetcar, number 7506 of the Toei 7500 series is preserved. The 7500 series was launched in 1962 to replace the decrepit 8000 series. A total of 20 units had been manufactured by Nippon Sharyo and Niigata Tekko. It originally had a rounded body and a bow electric collector on the roof. The 7506 was, then, renovated into the more square-shaped body with a pantograph and two air conditioners on the roof in 1984. The new body is cream colored with light green stripes. The 7506 had two 60 kW direct current motors. After 46 years operation, the 7506 was retired from the track, and preserved at ex-Ikenohata-shichikencho Stop in the Shitamachi area.

The old streetcar and the traditional merchant's house... there are a lot of interesting spots in the Shitamachi area of Tokyo.

Shitamachi Museum

Thursday, 7 September 2017

EMU 1000 Series for the 1,000th Post: Part 2

EMU Hankyu 1000 series arrives at Shukugawa Station on the Kobe-Main Line

Thank you for visiting my trainspotting website. This is the 1,001st post in my blog. Following my last post, I am going to show you the other train with the number "1000" in its name to commemorate over 1,000 posts.

Hankyu is one of the major private railway companies in the Kansai (Kobe, Osaka and Kyoto) area. It carries an average of two million passengers per day. The track gauge is 1,435 mm and the electric system is 1,500 V DC overhead. All the trains on the Hankyu line have been keeping up a tradition for a long time, which is known as the "Hankyu maroon" trains. This tradition refers to the color, which is like a chocolate or a dark brown shell of a sweet chestnut, and it is very popular among passengers for its elegance.

The EMU 1000 series is no exception. It also has maroon colored bodies made of aluminum alloy. The 1000 series was launched in 2013. It is a commuter train for the Kobe Main Line and the Takarazuka Line. So far, a total of 12 sets, 96 units, have been built by Hitachi. One set is composed of four motor cars and four trailers. The electric control system is IGBT-VVVF inverter (variable frequency drive) provided by Toshiba.

The concept of the 1000 series is "silent and highly energy efficient". In fact, the noise in the interior of motor cars has been decreased by 4 dB. The energy consumption has also been reduced by 50% compared with existing models.

EMU Hankyu 1000 series stands at Shukugawa Station on the Kobe-Main Line

Official information about the EMU Hankyu 1000 series (in Japanese):

Monday, 4 September 2017

EMU 1000 Series for the 1,000th Post

EMU Shizutetsu 1000 series travels on the Shizuoka-Shimizu Line

This is the 1,000th post in my trainspotting blog. It has been about six and a half years since I started writing. I know that many rail-fans have visited this site and sent comments to me, and I'm sorry if it has taken me a long time to respond or not respond to you, I have been very busy with my work.

In commemoration of the "1,000th" post, I am going to show the "1000" series electric car today. In Japan, many operators have "1000 series" trains, because this number is quite convenient. They are the Chiba Urban Monorail, Enoden, Fujikyu, Hakone-Tozan, Izu-Hakone, Keikyu, Keio, Odakyu, Tama Monorail, Tokyo Metro, Tokyo Monorail, Tokyu, Tsukuba Express, Yamaman, and the Yokohama New Transit in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Operators outside of Tokyo also have 1000 series trains such as Hanshin, JR Shikoku, Kobe Municipal Subway, Nagoya Rinkai Kosoku, and the Sendai Subway.

The 1000 series train on the Shizuoka Railway (Shizutetsu) may not be well known because Shizutetsu is a local private railway company in Shizuoka City, about 80 km west of Tokyo. Connecting Shin-Shizuoka and Shin-Shimizu, its operating length is only 11 km. The whole route is electrified double track.

The EMU Shizutetsu 1000 series is a stainless-steel commuter train launched in 1973. A total of 12 sets, 24 units, have been built so far by Tokyu Sharyo. Currently, the 1000 series are being replaced by the new model, the EMU A3000 series. According to the company, all the 1000 series will be retired by 2024.

EMU Shizutetsu 1000 series arrives at Shin-Shimizu Station

Friday, 1 September 2017

Yoro D04: Revival Colored Train

Set D04, "Senroku" of the EMU Yoro 600 series stands at Nishi-Oogaki Station 

As I posted before, Yoro Railway is a local private company in Mie and Gifu prefectures, about 390 km west of Tokyo. Yoro Railway was spun off from Kintetsu in 2007, but still belongs to the Kintetsu Group. Connecting Kuwana on the Kintetsu Line and Ibi Terminal, its route length is 57.5 km. The track is single and electrified. Its electric system is 1,500 V DC overhead. Different from the Kintetsu lines, its gauge size is 1,067 mm.

Most of the trains on the Yoro Railway have maroon colored bodies, but there are several exceptions. For instance, set D04 of the EMU 600 series has beige colored bodies with a blue colored stripe. This unique color design is a revival taken from that of Kintetsu's commuter trains in the late 1950's. Set D04 is also an ex-Kintetsu train. Its former name was the EMU 1600 series, called "Senroku" among rail-fans. I like the ring of this word. Senroku was a nickname of the Kintetsu 1600 series. It means thousand (sen) and six (roku) in Japanese.

In the meantime, let me explain about the specification of set D04 using the rest of the blog space. Set D04 was built by Kinki Sharyo. It is composed of two 20 meter-long cars (car number Mo 604 and Ku 504). Mo 604 is a motor car; while Ku 504 is a trailer. Their bogies and security equipment were recently changed from the original ones.

The D04 is my favorite on the Yoro Railway.

Set D01, standard color (left) and Set D04, revival color (right) of the EMU 600 series