Thursday, 30 December 2021

The Nagareyama Line: Update, Part 2

Mix colored Ryutetsu train, KuMoHa 5003 (red) + KuMoHa 5105 (yellow)

Let me continue where I left off my last post.

I'm going to introduce the rolling stock on the Ryutetsu Nagareyama line in more detail. The EMU 5000 series is the sole model operated on the line. It's the ex-Seibu New 101 series, and moved to Ryutetsu in 2010. Five sets in total belong to Nagareyama Rail Yard. Each set has a different base color. They are pink (set 5001, "Sakura"), orange (set 5002, "Ryusei"), red (set 5003, "Akagi"), light-green (set 5004, "Wakaba") and yellow (set 5005, "Nanohana"). One set is composed of two 20 meters-long motorcars. They are Class KuMoHa 5000 and KuMoHa 5100. Class KuMoHa 5000 has two pantographs and rheostatic controllers; meanwhile, Class KuMoHa 5100 has a motor generator and a compressor. Each car has four 150 kW DC motors. All sets have been modified to meet a driver-only operation, as conductors are not on board on Nagareyama line trains.

In the meantime, I found a mixed-colored train by chance. It's a combination of a red car (KuMoHa 5003) and a yellow car (KuMoHa 5105). According to several rail fans' sites, KuMoHa 5005 of the set 5005, "Nanohana", broke down during operation on November 22nd this year. The combination of the red and the yellow car may be a temporary solution to cope with the car trouble. Although it's a cursed nuisance for Ryutetsu railway engineers, I was happy to see this kind of rare train as a trainspotter. Trainspotters are troublesome creatures.

Mix colored train of the EMU Ryutetsu 5000 series stands at Mabashi station

Tuesday, 28 December 2021

The Nagareyama Line: Update

Set 5002, "Ryusei" of the EMU Ryutetsu 5000 series

The end of the year is coming soon. Time really flies. The spread of COVID-19 is lessening in Japan, so, I recently visited the Ryutetsu Nagareyama line for the first time in seven years. What was new with this local route?

Before getting down to the main topic, let me quickly review the Nagareyama line. It's a short private railway operated by Ryutetsu company in Chiba Prefecture, about 20 kilometers northeast of Tokyo. Its route length is 5.7 kilometers between Mabashi and Nagareyama stations. Nagareyama has been developed as a center of an inland water transportation system since the 18th century, and changed to a commuter city in the 1970s. The route was opened in 1916 by Nagareyama Light Railway Company (present Ryutetsu Company). Passengers are commuters and students who go to offices and schools in Tokyo and its surrounding large cities. The track is single and electrified. The gauge size is 1,067 millimeters. The electric system is 1,500 V DC overhead. 2-car trains are operated every 13 to 20 minutes.

I found that the color design of the trains had been changed compared to seven years ago. For example, set 5002 of the EMU 5000 series named "Ryusei" was changed from orange with a white stripe to orange and light-blue two-toned. It was designed by an illustrator Sugimoto Seina. She designed not only the train bodies but also the frontal plates and the hold on straps. This unique train was launched in January, 2021.

To be continued...

Set 5002, "Ryusei" arrives at Nagareyama station

Official information about the rolling stock of Ryutetsu (in Japanese):
Official website, Ryutetsu (in Japanese):

Saturday, 25 December 2021

Type C Train: New Model on the Disney Resort Line

Set 1 of the EMU 100 series (Type C train) arrives at Tokyo Disney Land station

Merry Christmas! The spread of COVID-19 is lessening in Japan. Most of the amusement parks are open as usual. Tokyo Disney Resort is no exception, but you need to make a reservation in advance. I recently visited the Disney Resort line in Tokyo Disney Resort for the first time in almost eight years.

Let's quickly review the Disney Resort line. It's a monorail route operated by Maihama Resort Line Company. It's a public transport opened in 2001 under the Railway Business Act, NOT an attraction inside the resort. The route is a looped single track running through amusement facilities, official hotels and JR East Maihama station. It's 5 kilometer-long with four stations. The trains run counterclockwise throughout the day. Using ATO (automatic train operation) system, driverless operation is conducted; meanwhile, a conductor is on board for door operation and guide announcements to passengers.

What's new with this resort monorail? I found a new train named the EMU 100 series (hereafter "Type C") on the line. It was commissioned in July, 2020 to replace the old model, 10 series (hereafter "Type X"). Two sets of Type C are currently operated on the line. What are the differences between the two models? The outer designs are similar to each other, but only Type C has color shades on the body stripe. The passenger windows of Type C are slightly larger than those of the Type X. Regarding the interior, Type C has simple long seats; meanwhile Type X has corner sofa-type seats.

Interior of the EMU 100 series (Type C train)

Official website, Disney Resort line:
Official website, the 20th anniversary of Disney Resort line
including promotion movie (in Japanese):

Thursday, 23 December 2021

Yotsuya: "Four Valleys" in the Urban Area

JR East Yotsuya station is situated in a valley

Tokyo is a city of hills. It's especially true in the western part of the downtown area. Yotsuya is no exception. Yotsuya means "four valleys" in Japanese. In fact, JR East Yotsuya station is situated in a valley. There is a railway tunnel in the immediate vicinity of the station that cannot be imagined within a city center. I pass through Yotsuya by train every day on my way to the office.

One day, I stopped over at Yotsuya station as I had a business meeting there. I had some time before my meeting, so I enjoyed a stroll for a while. What was new with this valley station? I found that the railway signal for the eastbound trains on the Chuo Rapid line track was moved about 200 meters toward the east. It's probably because of the effect of platform extension work. JR East currently plans to connect additional cars for the existing Chuo Rapid line commuter trains. 10-car trains will be changed to 12-car ones by the fiscal year 2023. During the above work period, the station platforms are also extended at each station. Under the influence of platform extension, the railway signal at Yotsuya station had to be moved.

Now I understand what had hitherto puzzled me... why do train traffic jams recently form during morning rush hour at Yotsuya station? The answer must be... "because the railway signal was moved". Is it trifling news? You're not wrong, but it was an eye-opening experience for me.

The railway signal was recently moved about 200 meters toward the east.
(The previous position was here)

Tuesday, 21 December 2021

The New Shuttle: Maruyama Rail Yard

Maruyama Rail Yard

Let me continue where I left off my last post. After taking a photo of the EMU 2020 series, I stopped by Maruyama Rail Yard near Maruyama station. It's New Shuttle's only rail yard.

I could observe many trains from an outer road of the yard and a bridge crossing the storage tracks. They were the EMU 2000 and 2020 series. The 2000 series is the largest fleet on the line. It was commissioned in 2007 to replace the old EMU 1010 series. 7 sets, 42 cars in total, belong to Maruyama Rail Yard. Each set has a different color. Among these, set 01 (dark pink), 02 (orange), 03 (green) and 06 (red) were being stored on the storage tracks. On the other hand, the 2020 series is the cutting edge model on the line. I could see set 23 (dark pink) and 24 (yellow) on the storage tracks.

I found one more... set 53 of the EMU 1050 series. It's the second generation train launched in 1990 for the entire opening of the route. 4 sets (24 cars) of the 1050 series were built, but currently, set 53 may be only active on the line. The 1050 series has got older, and is near the end of its own life. The body color of the 1050 series was changed to white in 2019, matching the brand new 2020 series.

Maruyama Rail Yard is open to the public once a year. I would like to join the next rail yard tour.

EMU New Shuttle 2000 (left), 1050 (center) and 2020 (right) series

Sunday, 19 December 2021

The New Shuttle: Update

Set 25 of the EMU New Shuttle 2020 series travels on the Ina line

I visited the Ina line of Saitama New Urban Transit Company (hereafter "the New Shuttle") for the first time in four years. What's new with this AGT line?

To begin with, let's quickly review the New Shuttle. The New Shuttle is a rubber-tyred automated guideway transit (AGT) system in Saitama Prefecture, about 30 kilometers north of Tokyo. Its route length is 12.7 kilometers between Omiya and Uchijuku stations. The track is mostly double, but partly single. The route was opened in 1983 beside the JR East's Joetsu Shinkansen track. Unlike the other AGT lines such as the Yurikamome, Nippori-Toneri Liner and Seaside Line, a driver operates each train. It's not a driver-less operation.

I found that many trains had been retired from the track for the past four years. For example, set 1151 of the EMU 1050 series disappeared in March, 2020. I liked this red-colored vehicle, but would no longer be able to see it. The remaining two sets of the 1050 series are still on active duty, but chances for traveling on the track are getting less and less because of degradation over time. Another news is the increasing number of the latest model, the EMU 2020 series. Five sets of the 2020 series are being operated on the line. They have green (set 21), orange (set 22), pink (set 23), yellow (set 24) and purple-colored (set 25) stripes... very colorful. I show you the newest set, named set 25, debuted in February, 2020. Please look at the picture above.

To be continued...

Set 1151 of the EMU New Shuttle 1050 series (January, 2016)

Official information about the New Shuttle (in Japanese):

Friday, 17 December 2021

Riverside Walking on the Keisei Line

EMU Keisei 3700 series crosses Edo River Bridge in the sunset

The Tokyo metropolitan area is cut by many rivers. They are Tama, Sumida, Arakawa, Edo River and so on. I like to walk along these river banks. It provides me with a relaxation. While gazing at the river flow and the scenery around, I often enjoy walking for hours.

Edo River is one of my favorite walking courses. We can admire pale pink cherry blossoms on the river bank in early spring. In early summer, iris flowers are vivid on the flood plain. In this winter season, there are only a few flowers, but the sunset is stunning as the air is clear. When I recently enjoyed walking near Kohnodai station, I came across a Keisei train, the EMU 3700 series, crossing Edo River Bridge in the beautiful winter sunset.

Taking this opportunity, let me introduce the 3700 series. This urban commuter train was commissioned in 1991 as Keisei's first model with a VVVF-inverter (variable frequency drive) control system. A total of 132 cars were built by Tokyu Sharyo and Nippon Sharyo. GTO (Gate Turn-Off thyristor) was adopted as a semiconductor device. It's a rather old device nowadays, but still in good condition. The outer design of the 3700 series is very similar with that of the 3400 series. The 3700 series has stainless-steel bodies; while the 3400 series has steel bodies. The 3700 series has the larger model number than that of the 3400 series, but it's older than the 3400 series. This complicated model numbering annoys trainspotters like me.

Crossing Edo River Bridge, EMU Keisei 3700 series arrives at Kohnodai station

Official information about the EMU Keisei 3700 series (in Japanese):

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

EMU Keisei 3050 Series: Update

EMU Keisei 3050 series, "Airport Express", travels on the Keikyu line

Because of the COVID-19 calamity, airline companies are facing financial difficulties in Japan. Accordingly, railway companies, which have airport access routes, are also in a tough situation. Keisei Electric Railway is no exception. 44% of the airport access "Skyliner" trains were temporarily suspended until the end of October this year due to decreasing passengers.

Although Keisei was in the worst condition, the company continues to improve the quality of transportation. For example, in October, 2020, a brand new train named the EMU 3100 series was commissioned. It was the first time for the introduction of a new model on the Keisei line in 9 years. 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. The 3100 series has futuristic stainless-steel bodies with orange-colored stripes.

Following the debut of the 3100 series, the existing Access Express train namely the EMU Keisei 3050 series was also renewed a bit. Its body stripe color was changed from blue to orange. It's just a minor change, but important for passengers to distinguish the Access Express train from the other trains to prevent getting on the wrong trains. For your information, the 3050 series was commissioned in 2010 for airport-to-airport transportation. It has the same technical specifications as the EMU Keisei 3000 series commuter train. Different from Keisei Skyliner and JR East Narita Express, the Access Express train requires no extra charge.

EMU Keisei 3050 series stands at Keisei-Hikifune station

Official route map, Keisei Access Express:
Official information about the Keisei trains (in Japanese):
Official website, Keisei Electric Railway:

Sunday, 12 December 2021

Yellow Colors on the Seibu-Tamagawa Line

EMU Seibu New-101 series, "Seibu revival color", travels on the Tamagawa line

It's starting to feel more like early winter in Tokyo. The leaves on the urban trees have turned brown, red and yellow. I recently enjoyed a stroll at Nogawa Park in the western suburb of Tokyo. Yellow-colored fallen ginkgo leaves covered the ground of the park. They were shining golden yellow from the sunlight. It was so beautiful.

To get to Nogawa Park, the nearest station is Tama on the Seibu-Tamagawa line. The Tamagawa line is a short local route. Connecting Musashi-Sakai on the JR East Chuo Line and Koremasa near Tama River, the operating length is only 8 kilometers. My vehicle was the EMU New-101 series. This model was launched in 1979, and had been operated on Seibu's trunk lines such as the Ikebukuro line for over three decades. It was then moved to the Tamagawa line in 2010. The body color of the New-101 series was white at that time.

Later in 2017 and 2018, there were various changes in the color designs of the New-101 series. New designs are Izu-Hakone Raiway color, Akaden color, Ohmi Railway color and "Seibu revival color". The former three were taken from the trains of Seibu's sister railway companies; meanwhile, "Seibu revival color" is the original yellow color of the New-101 series, when it debuted in 1979. It's a bit of a complicated coloring history of the New-101 series, but I hope that you understand the outline.

The fallen leaves and the nostalgic train... I really enjoyed "the yellow colors" on the Seibu-Tamagawa line.

Yellow-colored fallen ginkgo leaves cover the ground of Nogawa Park

Official information about the EMU Seibu New-101 series (in Japanese):
Official website, Seibu Railway:

Thursday, 9 December 2021

JR West’s New Protagonist on the Local Lines

EMU JR West 227-1000 series arrives at Miwa station on the Sakurai line

When I visited Nara Prefecture in October, I saw a strange train on the JR West Sakurai line. It was a brand-new model, the EMU 227-1000 series. I'm going to show you this new commuter train today.

The 227-1000 series was commissioned in March, 2019 to replace the decrepit models such as the 105 and the 117 series. 68 cars in total were built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Kinki Sharyo from 2019 to 2021. One set is composed of only two cars, because the 227-1000 series is for local lines. The 227-1000 series enables a train operation without a conductor. It has onboard ticket gates. A driver observes passengers getting on and off in the cockpit, and operates passenger doors. Different from the other JR West commuter trains, the 227-1000 series has only long seats.

In terms of the technical specifications, the 227-1000 series employs what we call 0.5M system. It means that all cars have both a driving truck and a trailing truck. It enables the weight equalization of each car, and enhances passengers' riding comfort. Furthermore, this system enhances vehicle formation flexibility, as all cars are the same... motorcars with an electric controller. The electric control system is an IGBT-VVVF (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor - variable frequency drive) inverter. One car has two 270 kW three phase-induction motors.

The 227-1000 series has shining stainless-steel bodies with dark green, black and gray-colored stripes. It fits historical areas on the Sakurai line and it's definitely my favorite.

A driver operates passenger doors at Miwa station on the Sakurai line

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Autumn Roses and DDT on the Odakyu Line

EMU Odakyu 60000 (left) and 4000 series (right) travel side by side on the DDT section

Roses look great in May when they are in full bloom, but autumn roses are also attractive. I visited Ikuta Ryokuchi Rose Garden in Kawasaki City last month to see the autumn roses in season.

Ikuta Ryokuchi Rose Garden was opened in 1958 as a part of Mukogaoka Amusement Park by Odakyu Electric Railway. I can retrace my memory to the time when I visited there on a primary school excursion with my teacher and classmates. Although Mukogaoka Amusement Park was closed in 2002 due to a decreasing number of visitors, the rose garden was taken over by Kawasaki City, and continued. As soon as I entered the garden, I could feel the lovely breeze, which was carrying the rose-scented air. I enjoyed red, pink, white and yellow-colored roses in bloom.

To get to this beautiful garden, the nearest station is Mukogaoka-yuen on the Odakyu line. Taking this opportunity, I'm going to show you the double-double track (DDT) of the Odakyu line. Odakyu is one of the busiest railways in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The company decided to increase tracks from double to DDT between Yoyogi-Uehara and Noborito stations in order to alleviate congestion. The construction work took nearly 30 years because of the built-up area, but was eventually completed in 2018. The inner two tracks are used for limited express "Romance Cars" and express trains; meanwhile, the outer tracks are for Semi-express and local trains. To see parallel travelling trains like a race is exciting for rail-fans.

Ikuta Ryokuchi Rose Garden near Mukogaoka-yuen station on the Odakyu line

Official information about the DDT on the Odakyu line (in Japanese):

Saturday, 4 December 2021

EMU E131-500 series: New Model on the Sagami Line

Set G-07 of the EMU JR East E131-500 series travels on the Sagami line

Following the 100th anniversary, I'm going to show you another news on the JR East Sagami line. It's the debut of a new train model. On November 18th this year, JR East launched a new model named the EMU E131-500 series on the Sagami line. The introduction of the new model was for the first time in 30 years on the line. The E131-500 series is a "younger brother" of the E131 series, which was commissioned in the Chiba area in March this year.

What are the differences between the E131 series and the E131-500 series? The largest difference is the composition of one train. The "elder brother", namely the E131 series, is composed of 2 cars; while the "younger brother", the E131-500 series consists of 4 cars. The E131 series has yellow and light blue-colored stripes on their bodies; while the E131-500 series has dark blue and light blue-colored ones. The E131 series has both cross and long seats; while the E131-500 series has only long seats. I hope that the new model will be welcomed by the local people.

According to JR East, 12 sets, 48 cars in total, of the E131-500 series will be built by J-TREC, and commissioned on the Sagami line by March, 2022. It means that the all existing 205-500 series will be replaced and retired from the track by that time. The 205-500 series left the track with only four months of the operation remaining. The Sagami line is undergoing a rapid generational change.

Set G-07 of the EMU JR East E131-500 series stands at Shimomizo station

Official information about the EMU JR East E131-500 series (in Japanese):

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

The 100th Anniversary of the Sagami Line

Set R1 of the EMU JR East 205-500 series travels on the Sagami line

The JR East Sagami line is a local railway route penetrating Kanagawa Prefecture from south to north. Connecting Chigasaki, a Pacific city, and Hashimoto, an interior transportation key junction, its total length is 33.3 kilometers. The entire route is electrified but single track. The electric system is 1,500 V DC overhead. 4-car trains named the EMU 205-500 series are operated every 20 minutes on average.

The Sagami line was opened in 1921 by Sagami railway company to transport gravel from the Sagami riverbed to large cities for constructions. The route was nationalized under government control during WWII. It was then privatized again in 1986, when the Japanese National Railway was split into seven companies. As you know, it's currently operated by East Japan railway company (JR East).

On September 28th this year, JR East marked the 100th anniversary of the Sagami line. In commemoration of the 100th anniversary, a memorial plate is displayed on their train, set R1 of the EMU 205-500 series. Set R1 was built as the first set of the EMU 205-500 series by Tokyu-sharyo in 1991. 13 sets, 52 cars, in total of the 205-500 series were built in the same year. Its technical specifications are rather old, but it WAS the sole reliable model on the line. Why "WAS"? It's because a new model was just recently launched on the Sagami line for the first time in 30 years. I'm going to show you it on my next post.

To be continued...

The 100th anniversary plate is displayed on the EMU 205-500 series

Official information about the EMU JR East 205 series (in Japanese):