Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Kiunkaku Mansion and Bagatelle Train

Set number TA-2 of the EMU Izukyu 8000 series, "Bagatelle Train", arrives at Atami Station (2012)
 
Atami is a famous resort city located in the eastern part of Shizuoka Prefecture, some 100km west of downtown Tokyo. The name of the city, Atami, means "hot sea". Obviously, it represents the hot springs that are seen on the coast in this city.

One of the must-see spots in the city is Kiunkaku Mansion. It was
constructed in 1918 as a resort villa for Uchida Nobunari, who was Minister of Railway at that time. This villa was composed of Japanese and Western style buildings with a large garden. Currently, the site is owned by the city office and is open to the public. A traditional Japanese style room, "Kirin (giraffe)", and the attached garden is my favorite. Once sitting on the tatami (straw-mat) floor in Kirin Room, we can enjoy the relaxing garden scenery through the windows.

Speaking of Atami, I am going to show you a railway in the city. Atami is also known as a gateway city to Izu Peninsula, which is a beautiful resort area for Tokyoites. To visit this paradise, take the Izukyu Line from Atami Station.

The top photo was taken in 2012. It is set number TA-2 of the EMU Izukyu (ex-Tokyu) 8000 series standing at Atami Station. It was a poster train to promote sightseers to Kawazu Bagatelle Park (a reputable rose garden) on the Izukyu Line. I liked this coloring design, especially the beautifully designed pencil stripes and rose blossoms on the body.

A trip to Atami is interesting all the way through.

 
Kiunkaku Mansion near Atami Station

Monday, September 15, 2014

Tokyu-Denentoshi Line: 78,358 Passengers per Hour

EMU Tokyu 8500 series arrives at Aobadai Station on the Denentoshi Line
 
Tokyu is a major private railway company in the Tokyo metropolitan area. They have a labyrinthine railway network in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture. Tokyu group does 20 billion dollars a year in sales on a consolidated basis.

One of the large profit contributions to the company is the Denentoshi Line. Connecting Shibuya, a sub-center of Tokyo, and Chuo-Rinkan, a junction station on the Odakyu-Enoshima Line, the total route length is 31.5 km. The gauge size is 1,067 mm and the electric system is 1,500 V DC overhead. The trains are directly operated onto the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon or the Tokyu-Ooimachi lines.

What does "the large profit contribution to Tokyu" imply? It implies "crowded". According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the number of passengers carried by the Denentoshi Line trains was 78,353 persons per hour in the morning rush hour in 2012, which was the second largest in Japan (the largest one was the JR East Chuo-Rapid Line). The congestion factor was 183%, which means that the trains were packed.

Tokyu can't keep their arms crossed. They have been reinforcing the transportation capacities of the Denentoshi Line over the decades. For instance, the construction of a double-double track between Futako-Tamagawa and Mizonokuchi was an effective solution. The introduction of 12 door cars was also effective to reduce the boarding and alighting time, but it is still crowded.

The Denentoshi Line is a representation of transportation in a super-high density city.

 
EMU Tokyu 6000 series arrives at Aobadai Station on the Denentoshi Line

Saturday, September 13, 2014

New Train and Classic Tower

EMU Toei 12-600 series stands at Shinjuku Station on the Ooedo Line
 
Toei (Transportation Bureau of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government) is one of the major railway operators in Tokyo. They operate a total of seven subway, tram, AGT and monorail lines. The Ooedo Line is the second newest subway route in Tokyo. Currently, the route consists of the circle and branch sections. Its total operating length is 40.7 km. The track is double and the gauge size is 1,435 mm. The electric system is 1,500 V DC overhead. The linear motor technology is adopted for the train driving system on the line.

The latest model, EMU 12-600 series was launched in 2012 to reinforce the transportation capacity on the Ooedo Line. A total of two sets, 16 units, have been manufactured so far by Kawasaki Heavy Industries. The specification of the 12-600 series is mostly the same as its predecessor, the 12-000 series, but some differences exist, such as shape of the pantographs and type of the electric control system. It should be also noted that magenta colored stripes are added on the "face" of the 12-600 series.

Where are you going? Are you taking the Ooedo Line? One of my recommended spots is Tokyo Tower near Akabanebashi Station. Tokyo Tower was completed in 1958, as the tallest artificial structure (333 m high) in Japan. Although it ceded the top spot to Tokyo Sky Tree (634 m high) in 2011, this elegant iron tower still keeps its position as the most popular sightseeing spot in Tokyo.

 
Tokyo Tower (333m) is located near Akabanebashi Station on the Toei-Ooedo Line