Friday, October 21, 2016

Toei 7700 Series: Renovated Model on the Arakawa Line

Unit number 7704 of the Toei 7700 series stands at Zoshigaya Stop

In parallel with the introduction of a new model. the 8900 series, the Transportation Bureau of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (Toei) is conducting the renovation of an old model, the 7000 series on the Arakawa Line. The first renovated streetcar was launched on May 30th under the new name of the 7700 series. The 7000 series is the Toei's longest-serving active model launched in 1954. A total of 93 units have been built by Alna Koki. 10 of the 93 units are still operated on the track, but because they are decrepit, Toei plans to renovate 8 units of the 7000 series to the 7700 series.

What are the differences between the 7000 and the 7700 series? Firstly, the outer design has been changed to so-called modern-retro. For instance, unit number 7703 (ex-7015) and 7704 (ex-7031) are painted dark blue. It is chic and stylish. The doors have been widened for easily going in and out of passengers. Secondly, the traveling system has been totally changed. For instance, VVVF (variable voltage and variable frequency) inverter has been adopted as an electric control system to save electric power consumption. The bogies have also been changed to the advanced model, Type-FS91C, manufactured by Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation to enhance the riding comfort. Thirdly, the interior has been renovated. For instance, the displays have been changed from the single LED to the double LCDs to enhance the visibility.

According to Toei, the renovation cost of each unit is about $1.25 million.

Unit number 7703 of the Toei 7700 series leaves Higashi-Ikebukuro 4-chome Stop

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Great Waterfall on the Yoro Line

Set D12 of the EMU Yoro Railway 610 series arrives at Mino-Matsuyama Station

Yoro-no-taki is a famous waterfall in Gifu Prefecture, about 420 km southwest of Tokyo. It is 32 meters high and 4 meters wide, and chosen as one of Japan's Top 100 Waterfalls by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment in 1990. Although it is not a large waterfall, Yoro-no-taki is reputable as it has a long history in the region. For instance, the female Emperor Gensho (680 - 748) visited there and praised it. She then changed the era name to Yoro in 717.

To visit Yoro-no-taki, please take the Yoro Line of Yoro Railway, and get off at Yoro Station. Yoro Railway is a local private company, which belongs to the Kintetsu Group. It was spun off from Kintetsu in 2007. Connecting Kuwana and Ibi, its route length is 57.5 km. The track is single and electrified. Its electric system is 1,500 V DC overhead. Different from the other Kintetsu lines, its gauge size is 1,067 mm.

One of the main fleets on the Yoro Line is the EMU 610 series. It is a 2 or 3-car train with one motor car. A total of 11 units were moved from Kintetsu in 1993 and 1994. Although its technical specifications, such as the classic rheostatic electric control systems, is rather old, 9 of the 11 units are still operated on the line. The solid maroon colored 20 m-long bodies provide a heavy feeling, and are definitely my favorite.

The waterfall and the railway, there are two great spots in the Yoro area.

Yoro Waterfall near Yoro Station on the Yoro Railway

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Classic Ex-Tokyu Train in Atsumi Peninsula

Set 1805F of the EMU Toyohashi Railway 1800 series travels on the Atsumi Line

Atsumi Peninsula is famous for its mild climate. It is located about 300 km west of Tokyo, and surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and Mikawa Bay. The influx of the Kuroshio Warm Current has influenced the temperate climate of Atsumi Peninsula. Using this climate, the production of flowers is one of the main industries in the area.

To visit Atsumi Peninsula, the Atsumi Line of Toyohashi Railway is convenient. Connecting Toyohashi on the JR Central Tokaido Shinkansen and Mikawa-Tahara, its route length is 18 km. The track is single and electrified. The gauge size is 1,067 mm. Its electric system is 1,500 V DC overhead.

The EMU 1800 series is a sole model on the Atsumi Line. It was launched in 2000 to replace the old model, the ex-Meitetsu 7300 series. The 1800 series was originally the Tokyu 7200 series, which was built by Tokyu Sharyo from the 1960s to 1970s. So far, a total of 32 units have been moved to Toyohashi Railway. Currently, 10 sets of 3-car trains have gone into commercial services.

The odd-shaped face (so-called diamond cut) of the 1800 series is definitely my favorite. Their body colors are also attractive, as each set has its own color. A total of 10 different colors such as purple, blue, red, yellow and green are used.

Now that their brother train, namely the EMU Tokyu 7600 series, was retired from the Ikegami Line, the EMU Toyohashi Railway 1800 series is a precious odd-shaped classic train in Atsumi Peninsula.

Set 1804F leaves Yagumadai Station on the Atsumi Line