Friday, 26 February 2021

EMU Tobu 30000 Series: Update

EMU Tobu 30000 series leaves Morinji-mae station on the Isesaki Line

One and a half months have passed since Japan's Prime Minister Suga declared a state of emergency again in ten prefectures including Tokyo because of new coronavirus infection risks. There is a sign that the situation will improve, but the governor of Tokyo still announces that Tokyoites should refrain from any non-essential and non-urgent outings. It's unfortunate, but OK. I'm going to continue introducing my old photos, which I recently rediscovered on my hard disk.

The EMU 30000 series is one of Tobu's representative commuter trains. It was introduced in 1996. 30 sets, 150 cars in total, were built from 1996 to 2003 by Alna Koki, Tokyu Sharyo and Fuji Heavy Industries. The overall mission of the 30000 series was direct operation between the Tobu-Isesaki, Tokyo Metro-Hanzomon and Tokyu-Den-en-toshi lines. Several new devices, such as an IGBT-VVVF invertor (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor-variable frequency drive) electric control system, a one handle master controller and high intensity discharge front lamps were equipped for the first time on the Tobu trains.

25 years have passed since the 30000 series debuted. Almost all sets of the 30000 series trains have already been transferred to the Tojo line, because a new model, the EMU 50050 series, has been introduced onto the Isesaki line since 2006. As a result, only two sets of the 30000 series are still operated on the Isesaki line. Please take photographs of the 30000 series operated on the Isesaki line before it's too late.

EMU Tobu 30000 series stands at Horikiri station on the Isesaki Line

Monday, 22 February 2021

Nostalgic Commuter Train on the Nara Line

EMU JR West 500 series stands at Kyoto station on the Nara line
When I visited Kyoto City last year, I came across an old commuter train in Kyoto station. It's a nostalgic model, the EMU JR West 205 series on the Nara line. The 205 series is 1,067 millimeter-gauge and 1,500 V DC EMU, which was launched by the Japanese National Railways (JNR) in 1985. It has been widely operated on the urban routes in Japan. This model has a stainless steel body and DC motors with a resistor control system. 1,461 units in total were built from 1985 to 1994.

Nearly four decades have passed since the 205 series debuted. JNR was split into seven railways companies such as JR East and JR West in 1987. New companies uniquely have been introducing new trains.

It's time for the 205 series to retire specifically in the JR East area. Many units have already been dismantled. The remaining units have been modified and moved to the local areas and overseas namely Indonesia. On the other hand, the 205 series is still active in the JR West area. For example, 9 sets, 36 units of the 205 series, are operated on the Nara line. It has gabled stainless steel bodies with a light blue colored stripe. As a rail fan, it's exciting to see the old 205 series in the JR West area. Along with the EMU 103 series, the 205 series is the evergreen commuter train in the JR West area. The JR West EMU 205 series... take care yourself. Until next time.

EMU JR West 500 series  arrives at Kyoto terminal

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Advent of Spring on the Odakyu Line

 1092F of the EMU Odakyu 1000 series passes through Umegaoka station

It's mid-February already. Time really flies. I recently visited a plum grove in the neighborhood with my family to find an advent of spring.

Our destination was Hanegi Park in Setagaya Ward of Tokyo Metropolis. It looks just like a common public park located in the residential area, but a plum grove in the park is famous for local people. When we visited there, white, pink and red colored plums were one-third in bloom. The visitors were enjoying the early days of the 2021 plum viewing season in their own way. I specifically enjoyed seeing a cat sleeping on a stone poem monument backed by fully blown pink colored plum blossoms. He (or she) never worried about visitors, as it was warm and comfortable on the stone monument. The combination of full blown plums and the sleeping cat was indeed picturesque.

To get to Hanegi Park, the nearest railway station is Umegaoka on the Odakyu line. Taking this opportunity, I'm going to show you a precious train, which I took a photo at Umegaoka station. It's 1092F (set 1092) of the EMU Odakyu 1000 series built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries in 1992. As you know, the most 1000 series trains recently have modern LED destination displays on their front and side bodies, but the displays of 1092F are still old rollsigns. It's nostalgic and popular among trainspotters like me, because of its scarcity. Please take photographs of these classic destination rollsigns before it's too late.

A cat sleeps on the stone poem monument in Hanegi Park

Sunday, 14 February 2021

Ultra-hero on the Shintetsu Line

EMU Kobe Electric Railway 3000 series arrives at Maruyama station   

Japan's Prime Minister Suga declared a state of emergency again in ten prefectures including Tokyo because of new coronavirus infection risks. Following this declaration, the governor of Tokyo announced again that Tokyoites should refrain from any nonessential and non-urgent outings. I reluctantly agreed to that. Instead, I'm going to show you the photographs, which I rediscovered on my hard disk.

Kobe Electric Railway (Shintetsu) has a 70-kilometers-long network in Hyogo Prefecture about 600 kilometers west of Tokyo. The EMU 3000 series is a unique commuter train on the line. It was launched in 1973 as Shintetsu's first train with aluminum alloy bodies. 36 cars in total were built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries. 47 years have already passed, but 28 cars are still operated on the track. One set consists of four motorcars. It doesn't have trailers as Shintetsu has steep tracks passing through Rokko Mountains. One of the features of this model is its cruise control system (constant-speed travel controller). It helps train drivers specifically on the steep sections.

Because of its front face, the 3000 series is called "Ultraman" among rail-fans. Ultraman is a famous TV series in Japan. It's very popular among kids. I'm also fond of Ultraman, as he's a hero protecting the earth from evil monsters. The two large front windows, the silver and red colored bodies of the 3000 series are indeed similar to Ultraman. I believe that the EMU Shintetsu 3000 series is also an ultra-hero among local people.

EMU Kobe Electric Railway 3000 series stands at Maruyama station   

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Hanepyon Poster Train on the Keikyu Line

Set 2133 of the EMU Keikyu 2100 series, Hanepyon Poster Train

Speaking of Keikyu, people can imagine red colored trains. It's correct, but there are exceptions. For instance, Keikyu operates a yellow colored train, namely Keikyu Yellow Happy Train using one set of the EMU 1000 series. Another example is blue colored trains named Keikyu Blue Sky Trains using the EMU 600 and 2100 series, one set of each. Needless to say, the purpose of these trains is to promote tourism to the sightseeing spots on the Keikyu line.

From September 14 to November 28 last year, Keikyu operated a poster train named Hanepyon Train using an existing blue colored train. It means that one set of Keikyu Blue Sky Trains was modified to Hanepyon Train in the above period. What's Hanepyon? It's the official character of Ota Ward in Tokyo Metropolis. Keikyu line penetrates Ota Ward from north to south. The purpose of Hanepyon Train was to promote tourism to Ota Ward. The most famous spot in Ota Ward is Tokyo International Airport (Haneda). Haneda is not only the transportation hub but also the sightseeing spot with a large shopping mall. Ota Ward is enthusiastic about attracting customers to the airport area.

The vehicle for Hanepyon Train was an 8-car train, set 2133 of the EMU 2100 series. One of the features of this train is its comfortable cross seats with 2+2 configuration. We could see many Hanepyon characters on the train body. It definitely contributed to promote tourism to Ota Ward. Thank you Hanepyon Train.

Set 2133 of the EMU Keikyu 2100 series, Keikyu Blue Sky Train (right)

Saturday, 6 February 2021

Indonesian Commuter Train: New Color

Set 32 (new color) of the EMU ex-Tokyo Metro 6000 series in Indonesia  
(Photo: Faris Fadhli)  

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

At the end of last year, PT Kereta Commuter Indonesia (KCI) launched new trains with a new color design on their railway network in the Jakarta metropolitan area. The top photo is set 32 of the ex-Tokyo Metro 6000 series with the new color design. Different from the previous stripes (red and yellow-colored), it has red and white colored stripes on the bodies. As you know, "Red and White" is another name of the Indonesian national flag. Set HaE26 of the ex-JR East 205 series was also changed to the new color design.

Set 32 of the EMU ex-Tokyo Metro 6000 series was operated on the Tokyo Metro-Chiyoda line. It was built as the 32nd set of the 6000 series by Kawasaki Heavy Industries in 1986. It consists of five motorcars and five trailers (5M5T). The electric control system is an IGBT-VVVF inverter with induction motors. Set 32 was, then, transferred to Indonesia after retirement from the Chiyoda line in 2017. On the other hand, Set HaE26 of the ex-JR East 205 series was operated on the JR East Saikyo line. It was built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries in 1990. It consists of six motorcars and four trailers (6M4T). The electric control system is a field added excitation with DC motors. Set 32 was, then, transferred to Indonesia after retirement from the Saikyo line in 2013.

Good luck with Indonesian Railways.

Set HaE26 (new color) of the EMU ex-JR East 205 series in Indonesia  
(Photo: Faris Fadhli)  

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Preserved Train on the Setagaya Line

Unit 601 of the tramcar EER 600 series is preserved behind Miyanosaka station  

After enjoying Tokyu SDGs Train, I dropped by Miyanosaka station on the Tokyu-Setagaya line to see a preserved tramcar.

The Tokyu-Setagaya line, connecting Sangen-jaya and Shimo-Takaido (5.0 kilometers), was opened in 1925 as a branch route of the Tamagawa line. The main route of the Tamagawa line, connecting Shibuya and Futako-Tamagawa via Sangen-jaya, was constructed on highway Route 246; meanwhile, the branch route was constructed as an exclusive track. Unfortunately, the main route was abolished in 1969, due to heavy traffic jams on Route 246. As a result, only the branch route exclusive track was left under the new name of Setagaya line.

The preserved tramcar was unit 601 of the Enoshima-Kamakura Sightseeing Electric Railway (EER) 600 series. It was originally built under the name of unit 87 of the Tokyu 80 series on the Tokyu-Tamagawa line. The 80 series was launched in 1950. 28 units in total were built by Hitachi, Tokyu-Yokohama Factory and Kawasaki Sharyo. Unit 87 was then moved to EER in 1970 just after the main route of the Tamagawa line was abolished. It was modified and renamed as unit 601 of the 600 series. Unit 601 was operated until 1988 on the EER line, and retired from the track.

In 1990, unit 601 came back to its hometown. It was preserved and open to the public behind the platform of Miyanosaka station. He (she) is spending the rest of his (her) life looking at the tramcars currently in service on the Tokyu-Setagaya line.

Unit 601 of the tramcar EER 600 series