Monday, May 30, 2016

Preserved Shinkansen Train in NRM-York

Unit 22-141 of the EMU JR West Shinkansen 0 series is exhibited in NRM-York, the U.K.
(Photo: Stuart Marlow)

One of my blog readers kindly sent me his photographs of a Shinkansen train... Unit 22-141 of the EMU JR West 0 series in National Railway Museum-York (NRM-York), the U.K. I am going to show you his beautiful pictures today. Thanks, Stuart-san, for providing me with these precious photos.

Shinkansen is the bullet train that represents Japanese railways. Its total network length is about 3,000km and there are 1 million passengers per day. The first Shinkansen, namely Tokaido Shinkansen, was opened between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka in 1964, just before the opening of the Tokyo Olympics.

The first model, the EMU 0 series, achieved a maximum speed of 210 kilometers/hour (133MPH). It was the world speed record of commercial trains at that time. Since then, Japanese National Railways and its successors, JR companies, have launched 17 models one after another. The fastest ones are the EMU E5/H5 and the E6 series, which have a maximum speed of 320km/hour (199MPH); but more importantly, there have been no fatal passenger accidents on the Shinkansen so far.

Unit 22-141 was built as a control motor car by Hitachi in 1976. It was the 21st batch of the 0 series. Its vehicle length is 25 m. The gauge size is 1,435 mm. Electric system is 25,000 V and 60 Hz AC overhead. The silver colored shining roof is definitely my favorite. The cob-nosed face is winsome and lovely. I am very happy that the Japanese Shinkansen train is preserved carefully in the birth country of railways.

Interior of Unit 22-141, the EMU JR West Shinkansen 0 series
(Photo: Stuart Marlow)

Official information about Unit 22-141, the EMU JR West Shinkansen 0 series:

Friday, May 27, 2016

Rose Garden on the Sotetsu Line

EMU Sotetsu 10000 series arrives at Futamatagawa Station
It is rose flower season again in Japan. We can see the beautiful blossoms here and there. They are fully bloomed in public parks, private gardens and on exterior walls of houses and office buildings as well.

There are several reputable rose gardens in the Tokyo metropolitan area... Yono Park, Keisei Rose Garden, Kyu-Furukawa Garden and so on. This year, I visited Yokohama English Garden in Kanagawa Prefecture with my family in the peak blooming season. When we visited the garden, I saw many rose lovers, including foreigners, admiring the blossoms. The flowers were red, pink, yellow and white colored... a total of 850 kinds of roses. We enjoyed the colorful blossoms, and smelled the sweet fragrances. My most favorite ones were large white roses with slightly pink colored tinged in the center of the flowers.

To get to this beautiful garden, the nearest station is Hiranuma-bashi on the Main Line of Sagami Railway (Sotetsu). Sotetsu has a Yokohama-based railway line network. Our vehicle was their representative model... the EMU 10000 series. The 10000 series was launched in 2002 to replace old models such as the 2100 and 6000 series. A total of 8 sets (10-car and 8-car trains), 70 units, have been built so far by Tokyu Sharyo and JR East Niitsu factory. To reduce the manufacturing costs, it has a common spec with JR East's EMU E231series.

Yokohama English Garden... it is a gorgeous rose viewing spot on the Sotetsu Line.

Yokohama English Garden near Hiranuma-bashi Station on the Sotetsu Line
Official information about the Sotetsu trains (in Japanese):

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Class 166: Rapid DMU to Gatwick Airport

DMU Class 166 (First Great Western) stands at Gatwick Airport Station

Gatwick is known as the second largest international airport in the London area. Although it has only one runway, 281 world cities are networked with this busy airport by flights. To get to Gatwick Airport, trains are the best transportation, since the airport station is directly connected with the airport terminal. From London to Gatwick, an electric train, Gatwick Express, is convenient. It is operated every 15 minutes, and takes only half an hour from the city center.

What else can we see in Gatwick Airport Station? One of the must-see trains is DMU Class 166, operated between Gatwick Airport and Reading by First Great Western. The Class 166 was launched in 1992 by British Rail. So far, a total of 21 sets, 63 units have been built by ABB York Factory. It belongs to so-called Networker trains same as the EMU Class 465 and 466. The maximum speed of the Class 166 is 145 km/hour, which is faster than those DMUs in Japan.

I like the coloring design of the Class 166, specifically its dark green colored side bodies. It is similar with that of the EMU Kintetsu 15400 series, "Kagirohi (shining light)", in Japan, but the body color of the Class 166 is more deep. It is definitely my cup of tea... cool!

Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to ride on this beautiful DMU, when I visited London last time. I will take that for pleasures in my future vacation.

Side view of the DMU Class 166