Friday, April 18, 2014

EMU 1000 Series: 2013 Blue Ribbon Winner

EMU Tokyo Metro 1000 series stands at Shibuya Station on the Ginza Line
Currently, we can see special stickers on the body of the EMU 1000 series on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line. They are memorial stickers of the 2013 Blue Ribbon Prize.

What is the Blue Ribbon Prize? It is an annual award presented by Japan Railfan Club since 1958, awarded to the best train that was launched in the previous year. Actually, almost all awarded trains to date are representative carriages in each railway company.

For example, Odakyu 3100 series (the second generation Romance Car) in 1964, JNR 0 series (the first generation Shinkansen train) in 1965, Tobu 100 series (Spacia) in 1995, Keisei AE series (Skyliner) in 2011 and JR East E5 series (present fastest Shinkansen train) in 2012 are well known as previous Blue Ribbon Prize winners.

Last year, Japan Railfan Club elected EMU Tokyo Metro 1000 series as the 2013 Blue Ribbon Prize train. The 1000 series won for its high-tech system such as the steering truck to reduce noise and vibration on sharp curve tracks. It also has high-tech equipment such as permanent magnet synchronous motors and LED lights to reduce energy consumption.

To be honest, the 1000 series does not have an aura as the best annual train if it is compared with the past awarded trains; however, it is probably a train of choice for savvy railfans, since it has state-of-the-art equipment, so I think this choice was quite reasonable.

Now, which one will win the Blue Ribbon Prize this year?

The EMU Tokyo Metro 1000 series has a memorial sticker on the body
More information about the old and new EMU 1000 series (in Japanese):

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

EMU L0 Series: 311MPH Next Generation Train

Magnetically-elevated train, EMU JR Central L0 series passes though full-bloomed peach grove
After the Sakura (cherry) season passed, the peach blooming season has come to the Tokyo metropolitan area. Currently, rich pink-colored flowers are seen here and there in the Kofu basin, some 130km west of Tokyo.

I visited a small hill in Fuefuki City, Yamanashi Prefecture with my family last weekend. It was a bright and clear day, so we could enjoy the full-blown peach blossoms backed by the snow-capped Japanese Southern Alps from the viewing point on the hill.

What we were looking for was not only the peach blossoms, but also a brand new train on the JR Central Yamanashi SCMAGLEV Test Line. SCMAGLEV is a magnetic levitation railway. The test track was recently upgraded to revenue service specifications and was extended from its original length of 18.4 to 42.8 kilometers. Commercial operation is planned to start in 2027. JR Central will operate the super express train at 500km/hour (311MPH) to connect Tokyo and Nagoya in 40 minutes.

In accordance with the extension of the test line, JR Central introduced the SCMAGLEV train, the EMU L0 series last year. The test run of the L0 is now underway. I saw a 7-car test train from the viewing point. It passed through an elevated track and entered into a tunnel in a moment. The L0 slashed across the beautiful pink colored carpet in the Kofu basin.

Spring is in full bloom in Japan.

Yamanashi SCMAGLEV Test Line
More information about Linear Express (in Japanese):

Monday, April 14, 2014

Train in Yokohama: New Model on the Yokohama Line

EMU JR East E233-6000 series arrives at Kamoi Station on the Yokohama Line
Replacement of the old trains is under way in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Following the Saikyo Line, the Yokohama Line has also been modernized with the introduction of a new model.

The JR East Yokohama Line is a commuter route in the Yokohama area. It was opened in 1908 to transport silk from the midland area to Yokohama Port. Connecting Higashi-Kanagawa and Hachioji, the route length is 42.6km. The trains on the Yokohama Line are directly operated into the Keihin-Tohoku and Negishi Line to Ofuna.

An 8-car train, the EMU 205 series, has been operated as a singular model on the Yokohama Line; however, the situation has drastically changed recently. On February 16th this year, JR East launched a brand new train, the EMU E233-6000 series, on this route. The company plans to introduce a total of 28 sets, 224 units, by this August. It means that the entire 205 series will be retired from the Yokohama Line.

The E233-6000 series has a stainless steel body with a light green colored stripe. Light green is the "line color" of the Yokohama Line. The logo for the "YOKOHAMA LINE" is displayed on the front of the train.

The specification of the E233-6000 series is mostly the same as that of the E233-7000 series on the Saikyo Line. Induction motors with a VVVF inverter control system are equipped. LED lights are widely used for interior illumination to reduce the electric consumption.

The E233-6000 series will be a front man for the transportation in Yokohama City.

EMU JR East E233-6000 series stands at Sakuragi-cho Station on the Negishi Line