Friday, 29 November 2019

Kanazawa Seaside Line: Update

Set 43 of the EMU 2000 series travels on the Kanazawa seaside line

I recently visited the Kanazawa seaside line for the first time since 2012. What has changed on this automated guideway transit (AGT) line in the last 7 years?

The biggest change was its rolling stock. All the sets of the old EMU 1000 series were retired from the track in 2014. Instead, the new EMU 2000 series has become the sole model on the line. The 2000 series was first introduced in 2011 on the line. A total of 16 sets (from set 31 to set 46) were built by J-TREC (former Tokyu Sharyo). One set is composed of 5 motor cars. The body of the 2000 series is stainless steel, which is different from the previous 1000 series.

Incidentally, the Kanazawa seaside line is a rubber-tired AGT transportation system in the southern part of Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture, about 40 kilometers south of Tokyo. It was opened in 1989 by Yokohama seaside Line Company. Connecting Shin-Sugita on the JR East Negishi line and Kanazawa-hakkei on the Keikyu main line, its operating length is 10.8 kilometers. The electric system is 750 V DC. ATO (Automatic Train Operation) system is adopted, so there is no driver and conductor on the train.

Sitting on the front seat, the passenger can enjoy the view ahead. I specifically like a marine view between Hakkei-jima and Nojima-koen stations. Same as the Yurikamome line on the coast of Tokyo Bay, the Kanazawa seaside line is the urban marine resort route in Yokohama City.

Set 37 of the EMU 2000 series travels on the Kanazawa seaside line

Official information about the Kanazawa seaside line:
Official information about the EMU Yokohama Ne Transit 2000 series (in Japanese):

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Toei Festa 2019: Gorgeous Train Line-up

"Toei Festa 2019" is held in Magome rail yard on the Toei-Asakusa line

Following the Tokyu Train Festival 2019, I joined the other autumn rail yard tour in Tokyo.

On November 16th, the Transportation Bureau of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (Toei) held a rail yard tour named "Toei Festa 2019" in their Magome rail yard on the Asakusa line. I saw a gorgeous line-up of the trains in the yard. They were the EMU 5300, 5500 series and the electric locomotive Class E5000 on the Asakusa line. The EMU Keisei 3000 series and the Keikyu 2100 series also joined the line-up. In addition, the EMU 12-000 series from the Toei-Ooedo line also joined.

Why could the Keisei and Keikyu line trains come to Toei Magome rail yard? It must be an easy problem for rail-fans. The Keisei and Keikyu lines are directly connected with the Toei-Asakusa line, so they could easily come to Magome rail yard.

Next problem... why could the Ooedo line train come to Magome rail yard on the Asakusa line? It might be difficult, because these two lines don't look like they are connected to each other and the electric system of the two lines is different. The answer is "by way of a special underground connecting line using a special locomotive". The train on the Ooedo line is transported to the Asakusa line by way of the Shiodome connecting line pulled by the electric locomotive Class E5000. It sometimes happens when the legal inspection of the Ooedo line train is conducted at Magome rail yard on the Asakusa line.

Gorgeous line-up of the Toei, Keikyu and Keisei trains

Friday, 22 November 2019

Tokyu Train Festival 2019: Class DMC4000

Diesel locomotive Class Tokyu DMC4000 is exhibited at Nagatsuta rail yard

After observing the inspection car, "TOQi", I found another strange car in the rail yard. It was a brand new, blue colored and convex type diesel locomotive. What was that? The answer was an engineering car, Class DMC4000, belonging to the Engineering Department of Tokyu Railways.

The Class DMC4000 is classified as a locomotive for industrial use. It is used for ballast transportation and pulling the rail-grinder car. In other words, this locomotive doesn't pull freight and passenger trains. The axis arrangement of the Class DMC4000 is Bo+Bo in UIC notation. The dry weight is 45 ton. The operating speed is 42 kilometers per hour pulling 120 ton materials on a horizontal track. It can go as fast as 10 kilometers per hour even on a 30 per mill inclined track.

The Class DMC4000 was built by Hokuriku Juki Kogyo Company in 2018. This company is well known as the manufacturer of the "Satoyama Torocco" sightseeing train on the Kominato Railway in Chiba Prefecture. Many rail-fans were flocking to the shooting area of the Class DMC4000, and taking photographs of this unique locomotive. I was also one of them. It was beautifully shining in the morning sun. It has become my favorite locomotive.

The railway employees of Tokyu Railways were very friendly and kind to visitors. They answered my questions nicely. The festival was indeed a great success. Plenty of people enjoyed the festival safely. I am truly grateful to Tokyu Railways Companies to have held this special event.

Diesel locomotive Class Tokyu DMC4000 (left)

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Tokyu Train Festival 2019: TOQi

Inspection car, the EMU Tokyu 7500 series, "TOQi", is exhibited in Nagatsuta rail yard

Autumn is the season of railways in Japan. It was originated from the inauguration of Japan's first railway that was completed on October 14th in 1872. In commemoration of this special day, the Japanese Government designated October 14th as Railway Day in 1994. Since then, many railway companies have started to hold special events in autumn such as rail yard tours and/or special memorial train operations.

This year, I joined the rail yard tour of Tokyu Railways held in their Nagatsuta rail yard on November 10th. I saw many families with small children, young couples and rail fans like me in the yard, which is normally closed to the public. My desired train was TOQi, whose formal name is the EMU 7500 series. TOQi is the inspection cars for the Tokyu lines. It can inspect all Tokyu lines except the Setagaya line. Targets of the inspection are tracks, overhead wires, signal safety facilities and train radio systems.

TOQi was built in 2012 by Tokyu Sharyo to replace the old inspection train named the EMU 7200 series. TOQi is a 2-car train consisting of two motor cars (2M), DeYa 7500 and DeYa 7550. Each car has an 18 meter-long body. Its technical specifications are similar with those of the commuter train, the EMU 7000 seriesI was very impressive that TOQi has a special roof for overhead wire observation. Not only the mechanical measurement of the trolley wire abrasion, visual inspection is also conducted by Tokyu engineers.

To be continued...

Area for overhead wire observation on the EMU Tokyu 7500 series, "TOQi"

Official information about TOQi (in Japanese):
Official information about the trains on the Tokyu lines (in Japanese):

Saturday, 16 November 2019

EMU 3100 Series: New Model on the Keisei Line

EMU Keisei 3100 series travels on the Hokuso line

On October 26th, Keisei Electric Railway launched a brand new train named the EMU 3100 series. Introduction of the new model was for the first time in 9 years on the Keisei line. The 3100 series is operated as an "Access Express" train between the New Tokyo International Airport (Narita) and the Tokyo International Airport (Haneda) via the Hokuso, Toei-Asakusa and the Keikyu lines. What is new with the 3100 series?

Firstly, flip-up type luggage storage is equipped on each car. The storage is used for passenger seats, if no luggage is on the car. It is structurally rational and quite useful for tourists. Secondly, the free Wi-Fi system is equipped on the train. It is convenient especially for inbound passengers. Thirdly, you can see orange colored stripes on the bodies. It is totally different from the other existing Keisei trains, and effective in order to prevent mistaken boarding. With regard to the technical specifications, the 3100 series has a brand new SiC-VVVF (silicon carbide-variable frequency drive) inverter electric control system. The new system comes with a fifteen-percent improvement in its electric power consumption performance over the previous IGBT-VVVF inverter electric control system.

Different from Keisei Skyliner and JR East Narita Express, "Access Express" requires no extra charge. It is good news for young passengers. Keisei plans to introduce a total of 2 sets, 16 cars, of the 3100 series by the end of March 2020, and will continue to introduce it as well from 2021 on.

EMU Keisei 3100 series stands at Oshiage station

Official information about the Keisei trains (in Japanese):
Official information about the EMU Keisei 3100 series (in Japanese):

Monday, 11 November 2019

EMU 7500 Series: New Model on the Yurikamome Line

Set 51 of the EMU 7500 series travels on the Yurikamome line

I recently visited the Tokyo Bay area for the first time in a year. What was new with this futuristic region in Tokyo?

I found that Yurikamome Company (the former name was Tokyo Rinkai Shin-kotsu Company) introduced a new train model named the EMU 7500 series on November 11th, 2018. Yurikamome is a rubber-tyred AGT (automated guide way transit) line opened in 1995. Connecting Shimbashi and Toyosu, its current operating length is 14.7 kilometers.

The 7500 series is ordinarily operated without a driver the same as its senior models namely EMU 7000, 7200 and 7300 series. There is no independent cockpit on the train, so the passengers, especially rail-fans like me, can enjoy the beautiful bay view ahead. Technical specifications of the 7500 series are the same as those of the previously-existing 7300 series, but a different point from the 7300 series is the frontal design. You can see blue-colored "driver-less operation lights". They are lighted when the train is operated in driver-less operation mode. Regarding the interior, dual information displays and a free Wi-Fi system are equipped on the 7500 series. The company plans to introduce a total of 8 sets, 48 units, by June 2020.

Incidentally, before inauguration of the Yurikamome line, people were concerned that the railway company would struggle with debts, because the construction cost was quite large. So far, their fears were utterly groundless, because the number of passengers has been much higher than anticipated. I saw many foreign passengers use this line for sightseeing in the Tokyo Bay area.

Set 51 of the EMU 7500 series travels on the Yurikamome line

Official information about the EMU Yurikamome 7500 series (in Japanese):

Friday, 8 November 2019

Chrysanthemum Season on the Arakawa Line

Unit 8905 (rose-red color) of the Toei 8900 series travels on the Arakawa line

It is already November. Time really flies. The minimum temperature in Tokyo is around 10 degrees Celsius. Last weekend, I visited the downtown area with my family looking for deep autumn scenes.

We found that a chrysanthemum show was being held at Kogan-ji temple by the local people. Together with cosmos, chrysanthemum is an autumn flower that represents Japan. They were yellow, purple, pink and white colored large flowers... so beautiful. Kogan-ji temple, also called Togenuki-jizo, is a famous tourist spot on the Arakawa line. Especially, elderly people love this place to pray for the cure of their diseases.

To visit Kogan-ji temple, the nearest tram stop is Koshinzuka on the Toei-Arakawa line. Tokyo once had a 181km-long tram network; but most routes were abolished due to heavy traffic jams. The Arakawa line is a precious survivor, as it was constructed as an exclusive track. Connecting Waseda and Minowabashi, its operating length is 12.2km. The track is 1,372mm dual-gauge. The electric system is 600V DC overhead.

The 8900 series is the latest electric car operated by the Transportation Bureau of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (Toei). There are 4 types of body colors. They are orange (unit number 8901 and 8902), blue (8903 and 8904), rose-red (8905 and 8906) and yellow (8907 and 8908). The operator once planned to introduce a total of 16 units; however, it was canceled half way through, since it costed much. Instead, the 7700 series (converted from the 7000 series) has been increasing in numbers.

Chrysanthemum show is held at Kogan-ji temple near Koshinzuka stop on the Arakawa line

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

EMU Seibu 001 Series: New Flagship Train

EMU Seibu 001 series, "Laview", travels on the Ikebukuro line

On March 16th this year, Seibu Railway Company launched a new express train, the EMU 001 series, "Laview", on the Ikebukuro line.

What is Laview? It is Seibu's coined word combining Luxury, Arrow and View. "Luxury" means a space that is like a living room. "Arrow" means high speed and "View" means large passenger windows of this new train. Seibu first launched an express train, the EMU 5000 series, "Red Arrow", in 1969 in time with the opening of the Chichibu line. The 5000 series was then replaced by the EMU 10000 series, "New Red Arrow", in 1993. 26 years later, Seibu eventually introduced the long-awaited new flagship train, "Laview".

Laview is an 8 car train consisting of 4 motor cars and 4 trailers (4M4T). The bodies are made of aluminum alloy. It was designed by a female architect, Sejima Kazuyo. The greatest features of the outer design are its rounded faces and large side windows. They are totally different from those of Red Arrow and New Red Arrow. The body color of Laview is metallic silver, which integrates into the scenery along the Seibu lines. The interior is based around the color yellow, and is also very beautiful. Regarding the technical specifications, the state of art VVVF (variable frequency drive) electric control system with full SiC-MOSFET elements was adopted. A total of 7 sets will be built by Hitachi by the end of March next year.

The Seibu express train is going to a new stage.

Side view of the EMU Seibu 001 series, "Laview"

Official information about the EMU Seibu 001 series, "Laview":
Official promotion movie, the EMU Seibu 001 series, "Laview":
Official information about the EMU Seibu 001 series, "Laview" (in Japanese):

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Indonesian Railway Update: Marchen Face Train

Ex-set M14 (4 cars) and M35 (8 cars) of the ex-JR East 205 series, Bogor line in Indonesia
Photo: Faris Fadhli

I have received news from an Indonesian rail fan. My thanks go to Faris Fadhli, who often kindly sends me recent photos.

On September 17, PT Kereta Commuter Indonesia (KCI) launched what is called the "marchen face" train on their railway network in the Jakarta metropolitan area. What is the "marchen face" train? It is one of a group of the EMU ex-JR East 205 series that operated on the Keiyo and Musashino lines in Japan. As you may know, many ex-205 series trains have been imported from Japan, but the marchen face trains have new and special "faces" on the front. These unique designs were a nod to Tokyo Disneyland, which is located on the Keiyo line. Marchen is a German word meaning fairytale. One of Tokyo Disneyland's themes is fairytales so Japanese rail fans call these unique face trains on the Keiyo line marchen face, named after Tokyo Disneyland.

The marchen face trains were built from 1990 by Kawsaki Heavy Industries, Hitachi, Tokyu Sharyo and Kinki Sharyo. In Japan, they were 8 car trains consisting of 4 motor cars and 4 trailers (4M4T), but in Jakarta, they are operated as 12 car trains to alleviate severe congestion. The first set in Jakarta was ex-set M35 (8 cars) with a half of ex-set M14 (4 cars). I like the new red and yellow Indonesian coloring design, as it suits these "smiling faces."

I wish the marchen trains well for their new life in Jakarta.

Ex-set M64 of the ex-JR East 205 series stands at Sudirman station, Jakarta Indonesia
Photo: Faris Fadhli