Monday, 24 June 2019

EMU Seibu 101 Series, "Ohmi Railway's Umikaze" Color

251F of the EMU Seibu 101 series arrives at Musashi-Sakai terminal

Trains painted with other operators' colors have been in vogue in Japan. For instance, Keikyu 2103F of the EMU 2100 series and Tobu 208F of the 200 series, which were painted with the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) colors in accordance with friendship and cooperation agreements between Keikyu/Tobu and TRA. Seibu 9003F of the EMU 9000 series, called the Lucky Red Train, is painted with Keikyu colors; meanwhile, Keikyu 1057F of the EMU 1000 series, called Happy Yellow Train, is painted with Seibu colors as a symbol of the friendship between two companies. Today, I am going to show you the other example.

On June 14th, 2018, Seibu launched "Ohmi Railway's Umikaze color" train, 251F of the EMU 101 series. Ohmi Railway is a Seibu Group company in Shiga Prefecture in the western part of Japan. Ohmi recently had its 120th anniversary; meanwhile, the Seibu Tamagawa line had its 100th anniversary, so it is a time to celebrate two Seibu Group companies' anniversaries. What's Umikaze? It is a nickname of Ohmi Railway's train launched in 2013. Ohmi painted Umikaze train with a light blue color, which was adopted from the image of the wind on Lake Biwa near Ohmi Railway.

Incidentally, the EMU Seibu 101 series was launched in 1979. A total of 4 sets, 16 units, have been operated on the Tamagawa Line since 2010. Different from the other Seibu trains, its specification is rather old as DC motors with a rheostatic control system are still used.

251F of the EMU Seibu 101 series stands at Musashi-Sakai terminal

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

The 08 Series for the 8th Anniverasary

EMU Tokyo Metro 08 series arrives at Aobadai station on the Tokyu line in the rain

Thank you for visiting my blog, Tokyo Railway Labyrinth. I have been introducing you to labyrinthine railway routes in the Tokyo metropolitan area since 2011. Tokyo Railway Labyrinth had its eighth anniversary. I thank all my blog readers for visiting this website and sending comments. Sorry, I can't respond to you now, as I am very busy at work. Currently, I try to update my blog once every three days, but it is very difficult.

In commemoration of the eighth anniversary, I am going to show you a train with number "8" in the name. The EMU Tokyo Metro 08 series is a representative train on the subway, Hanzomon line. It was launched in 2003 in preparation for direct operation between the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon and the Tobu Isesaki lines. A total of 6 sets, 60 units, were built by Nippon Sharyo. The octagonal black face with a purple stripe is a good accent of this train. For your information, purple is the line color of the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line. The greatest feature of the 08 series is its body. It has a double skin structure, which is similar to that of corrugated paper. Thanks to this structure, the body of the 08 series is strong; nevertheless, it doesn't have pillars.

Incidentally, Tokyo Metro recently made a press release announcing that the new model, EMU 18000 series, will be introduced onto the Hanzomon line in 2021. It will replace the old model 8000 series. Time moves quickly.

EMU Tokyo Metro 08 series stands at Aobadai station on the Tokyu line

Saturday, 15 June 2019

EMU E231-500 Series: Large Force on the Sobu Line

Set A515 of the JR East E231-500 series travels on the Chuo-Sobu local line

Replacing the EMU 209-500 series, one group of trains has been growing to become a large force on the JR East Sobu line (or the Chuo-Sobu local line). It is the EMU E231-500 series, which has moved from the Yamanote line.

The E231-500 series was launched in 2004 in response to JR East's new train controlling system, namely the Digital Automatic Train Control (D-ATC). A total of 52 sets, 572 cars, were built by JR East Niitsu Factory. The E231-500 series once became a major fleet on the Yamanote line; however, the world of the E231-500 series did not continue long. A new model, the E235 series, has recently been increasing in numbers on the Yamanote line. As a result, the old E231-500 series has been forced to move to the other line. The new address is the Sobu line. A total of 37 sets, 370 units, of the E231-500 series have already been transferred. After moving, the color of the body stripes was changed from light green (the Yamanote line color) to yellow (the Sobu line color).

Incidentally, a train on the Yamanote line consists of 11-cars, while that on the Sobu line is composed of 10-cars. Where did the one car go? The gimmick is as follows. One surplus car (Type SaHa E231-4600) was modified and coupled to the new model, the E235 series. The modified car (new name: Type SaHa E235-4600) has rain gutters, which extend out from the outside plate, so you can easily discern it from the new car.

Set A542 of the JR East E231-500 series arrives at Nakano station

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

The 100th Anniversary of Izu-Hakone Railway

5503F of the EMU Izu-Hakone 5000 series arrives at Fuji-film-mae station

Izu-Hakone Railway is a local private company in Shizuoka and Kanagawa prefectures. The route consists of two separate lines, namely the Sunzu and the Daiyuzan lines. The Sunzu line was initially opened between Mishima-machi (present Mishima-tamachi) and Nanjo (present Izu-Nagaoka) stations in 1898; meanwhile, the Daiyuzan line was opened between Odawara and Daiyuzan in 1925. So, this is the 121st year of the Sunzu line and the 94th year of the Daiyuzan line.

Apart from the history of the Sunzu and the Daiyuzan line, the company regulates that the establishment date of Izu-Hakone Railway was November 5th, 1917. It was the time when Zuso Railway (present Izu-Hakone Railway) Company acquired the railway and the power industries from Fuji Suiryoku Denki (Fuji Hydroelectricity) Company. So, this is the 102nd year of Izu-Hakone Railway.

The company has been celebrating "the 100th year anniversary" since 2017. The anniversary events still continue. What a happy company it is! For instance, a train (5003F of the EMU 5000 series) on the Daiyuzan line still displays the 100th anniversary plate on the front. It is OK, no problem at all for rail fans.

Incidentally, the EMU 5000 series is the main fleet on the Daiyuzan line. It was launched in 1984 replacing old models. A total of 7 sets, 21 units were built by Tokyu Sharyo. Only the 1st set (5001F) is steel, while the other 6 sets are stainless-steel. The technical specifications are a bit old. It still has a traditional rheostatic control system.

5503F of the EMU Izu-Hakone 5000 series arrives at Sagami-Numata station

Official information about the trains on the Daiyuzan line (in Japanese):
Official information about the trains on the Sunzu line (in Japanese):

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Good-bye to the Sobu 209-500 Series Trains

Set C505 of the EMU JR East 209-500 series stands at Ochanomizu sta. (December, 2015)

Metropolitans are busy every day. They go to their offices or schools every day taking commuter lines, but they don't realize that the train has undergone changes. On April 19th, one group of the trains quietly disappeared from the track in Tokyo. It was the EMU 209-500 series on the JR East Sobu line.

The EMU 209-500 series is JR East's first commuter train with widened bodies. It was launched on the Sobu line (the Sobu-Chuo local line) in 1999. A total of 17 sets, 170 units, were operated on the line, but most of the 209-500 series trains had already retired from the Sobu line, and moved to the other local lines to spend their second lives. Eventually, the final set was retired from the Sobu line on April 19th.

Who is the successor of the 209-500 series? It is the E231-500 series from the Yamanote line. It is a bit of a complicated story. In 2015, JR East launched a new commuter train model, the E235 series, on the Yamanote line. The introduction of the new model caused JR East to make train transfers one after another. Firstly, the E231-500 series on the Yamanote line was transferred to the Sobu line. Secondly, the EMU 209-500 series on the Sobu line was transferred to the Musashino and the other local lines. Finally, the 205 series on the Musashino line will be transferred to Jakarta, Indonesia to spend a second life.

The volkerwanderung continues for the time being.

Close up of set C505 of the EMU JR East 209-500 series (December, 2015)

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Preserved Diesel Railcar in Kyoto Prefecture

A diesel railcar, KiHaYuNi 51 is exhibited in Kaya Steam Locomotive Square

Following the precious steam locomotive, I am going to continue to show you a unique exhibition in Kaya Steam Locomotive Square in Kyoto Prefecture.

KiHaYuNi 51 is an old railcar launched in 1936. It was originally a gasoline-powered vehicle built for Geibi Railway (present JR West Geibi line) in Okayama and Hiroshima prefectures. The manufacturer was Nippon Sharyo. It is 17.05 meters long, 2.72 meters wide, and it weighs 21.5 tons.

The original name was KiHaYuNi 18 of the Class 40900. KiHaYuNi means that it's a railcar, which has an internal combustion engine, and consists of a third-class cabin, a mailroom and a baggage room. It is multi-purpose. After being operated on Geibi Railway, this railcar was moved to Funaki Railway in Yamaguchi Prefecture in 1952. In this period, it was modified from a gasoline-powered vehicle to a diesel railcar, and renamed KiHaNi 51. It was, then, moved again to Kaya Railway in 1962, and modified again to a simple passenger car named KiHa 51. Eventually, KiHa 51 was retired from the track in 1985. In 1994, it was restored to the original state for exhibition, and named KiHaYuNi 51. It is a complicated history, isn't it?

Apart from its function as a multi-purpose railcar, KiHaYuNi 51 has another uniqueness in its appearance. You can see a bucket on the front of the railcar. It was used for transportation of perishable food such as fish and vegetables. KiHaYuNi 51 was a unique railcar for local people's everyday life.

Currently, KiHaYuNi 51 is exhibited at the right hand side of the turntable.

Interior of KiHaYuNi 51

Official information about Kaya Steam Locomotive Square:

Sunday, 2 June 2019

The 130th Anniversary of the Chuo Line

The poster train (set T24 of the EMU JR East E233 series) arrives at Kunitachi station

The Chuo line (or the Chuo main line) is one of the Japanese trunk railway routes penetrating steep mountains on Honshu Island (the main land of Japan). Connecting Tokyo and Nagoya, its total length is 396.6 kilometers. The eastern part of the route is a busy commuter line, where 10-car commuter trains are continuously operated.

The origin of the Chuo line was very old. It was initially opened between Shinjuku and Tachikawa stations (27.2 kilometers) by Kobu Railway on April 11th, 1889. So, this year is the 130th anniversary of the Chuo line. JR East Hachioji Branch Office, which is one of the train operators on the line, is conducting various anniversary events. For example, they launched a special poster train, set T27 of the EMU E233 series, on April 6th celebrating the 130th anniversary. Set T27 train has simple orange colored bodies, which are similar with those of a former Chuo line train, namely the EMU 201 series. The 130th anniversary logo, which was designed by the railway employees of Tachikawa station, are also displayed on the bodies of set T27 train.

Along with the poster train, JR East Hachioji Branch Office gives passengers special gifts. For instance, they win products on the Chuo line by lottery. The wines produced near Katsunuma-budokyo station are popular prizes. Rail-fans and kids could enjoy a Chuo line train driving experience using the simulator at Tachikawa station on April 13th.

The Chuo line era is going to continue.

Side view of the 13th anniversary poster train