Wednesday, November 25, 2015

New Model to the New World Heritage Site

EMU Joshin 7000 series approaches Negoya Station

As I introduced before, Tomioka City is famous for the ex-state-owned Tomioka Silk Mill. It was opened in 1872, importing technology and machines from France. The main objective of the silk mill was to set up modern industries in Japan and to catch up with the West. Since then, Tomioka Silk Mill had been operated for 115 years until 1987. Last year, it was designated a World Heritage Site. As a result, visitors have increased drastically. They can see the brick buildings and old machines along with volunteer guides.

A local private railway company, Joshin Electric Railway, has taken measures to transport the flocking visitors to the new World Heritage Site. The company has introduced a new model, EMU 7000 series, to reinforce their transportation ability.

The 7000 series is a 2-car train (KuMoHa 7001 and KuHa 7501) with one motor car (1M1T) built by Niigata Transys. It is a direct current train with VVVF inverter electric control (variable frequency drive) system. The interior has comfortable semi-cross seats. High sound reduction performance is achieved.

For your information, Joshin Electric Railway connects Takasaki, a major city in Gumma Prefecture and Shimonita, a mountain foot town of Mt. Myogi. The line is a 33.7km-long single track with 20 stations. The electric system is 1,500 V DC overhead and the gauge size is 1,067 mm. The nearest station to the ex-silk mill is Joshu-Tomioka.

The EMU Joshin 7000 series... it is a new model accessing the new World Heritage Site.
EMU Joshin 7000 series stands at Joshu-Tomioka Station

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Holy River on the Sangu Line

Diesel Railcar KiHa11-300 leaves Iseshi Station on the Sangu Line

Isuzu River is a clear stream in Mie Prefecture, some 470 km southwest of Tokyo. It is beautiful and limpid, but not only that. Isuzu River is a holy river, which appears in Japanese myths. For instance, Princess Yamatohime-no-mikoto, who was a daughter of Emperor Suijin, was said to wash her skirt in river water.

Isuzu River flows in the Inner Shrine of Ise Grand Shrine. It is a holy place for local people. Its origin is unknown, but according to the literature in China, the shrine dates back to at least the era of Emperor Yuryaku, who ruled in the middle of 5th century. Ise Grand Shrine is surrounded by a deep green forest.

To get to this holy river, there are two routes from Nagoya Station on the Tokaido Shinkansen. One is the Kintetsu and the other is JR Central lines. Generally speaking, Kintetsu is more popular among tourists, so, I am going to introduce you to the JR Central route today. Am I perverse?

The JR Central Sangu Line is a 29.1 km-long short local route connecting Wake and Toba stations. It is an un-electrified single track. The gauge size is 1,067 mm. Two or three-car diesel trains are operated every 30 minutes to one hour. If you come from Nagoya, the rapid train, "Mie", is convenient, as it is directly operated onto the Sangu Line via the Kansai Main and the Kisei Main lines. Your exit station is Iseshi. Have a nice trip.

Isuzu River near Iseshi Station

Thursday, November 19, 2015

KuHa 201-1: Preserved Top Number Car

JR East KuHa 201-1 is exhibited in Toyoda Rail Yard for the 2015 Toyoda Train Festival
Following my previous post, I am going to continue to show you the other train, which was exhibited in the 2015 Toyoda Train Festival in Toyoda Rail Yard. It was KuHa 201-1 of the EMU 201 series.

The 201 series is a direct current commuter train developed by Japanese National Railways. The prototype car was launched in 1979. A total of 1,018 units have been built for six years by Tokyu Sharyo, Nippon Sharyo, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Kinki Sharyo and Hitachi. The 201 series has already been retired from the tracks in the Tokyo metropolitan area, but is still operated in the Osaka area such as the Osaka Loop Line.

The KuHa 201-1 is a top number unit of the 201 series. It was built as the first mass-produced car in 1981, and was retired from the track in January, 2008. Seven years have already passed since it was preserved in Toyoda Rail Yard, but it is still in good condition. The vermilion colored body is still vivid. You can see the black colored jumper plug, which was restored on the front of the car after retirement from the track. It is for reproduction of KuHa 201-1's original style. I was very impressed that JR East staff put their heart into this historical train.

I am not sure what it will happen to it after this, but hope that KuHa 201-1 will be moved to the Railway Museum in Saitama City in the near future, otherwise it is just a useless treasure.

"KuHa 201-1", the top number car