Friday, September 30, 2016

Renewal of the EMU 9000 Series

Set 9105F (after the renewal) of the EMU Tokyo Metro 9000 series

It has been a long time since I was brought up the topic of Tokyo Metro. I am going to show you something new about the subway in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

I recently took the Tokyo Metro Namboku Line, as something came up. When I got on the train, the EMU 9000 series, I found that my vehicle had been renovated. The 9000 series was launched in 1991, when the Namboku Line was opened.

The Namboku Line was partially opened in 1991 as the eleventh subway route in Tokyo. The entire route was then opened in 2000. Penetrating from south to north, the Namboku Line connects Meguro and Akabane-Iwabuchi with a total length of 21.3 km. The track is double and the gauge size is 1,067 mm. Its electric system is 1,500 V DC overhead. The trains are directly operated onto the Tokyu-Meguro and Saitama Railway lines. The section between Shirokane-Takanawa and Meguro is shared with the Toei (Tokyo Metropolitan Government) Mita Line.

What was new with the 9000 series? Firstly, the design of the stripe on the outer body has been changed from a straight to a wavy one. Secondly, the electric control system has been changed to the latest one with full-SIC inverters. SIVs have also been replaced by new ones, which are operated cooperatively. Thirdly, the interior has also been changed. For instance, informative double VCD monitors have been equipped above the passenger doors.

The first renovated set, namely 9105F, was launched on August 15th.

Set 9105F stands at Tamagawa Station on the Tokyu Meguro Line

Official information about the renewal of the EMU Tokyo Metro 9000 series (in Japanese):

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Japan's Largest Bus Terminal above Shinjuku Station

Japan's largest expressway bus terminal is located just above JR East Shinjuku Station

Tokyo is a super-high density city. More than 30 million people live in this small metropolitan area. It has been spreading into the air, underground and into the suburbs. They are skyscrapers, underground shopping malls, subways, underground expressways and suburban new towns. Is there any space left?

Yes, there is. We still have vast spaces in the center of the city. One of the typical examples is the overhead spaces of surface railway stations. Look at the top photo. It is Japan's largest expressway bus terminal constructed just above the platforms of JR East Shinjuku Station.

Shinjuku is the world's largest railway station. The ridership of this giant terminal is 3.5 million passengers per day. Trains of six operators arrive at and leave this station. The largest operator, namely JR East, has a surface station there. In other words, they have a vast overhead space just above the platforms. The best utilization for this space is the expressway bus terminal, as it is convenient for passengers to change from and to the trains.

On April 4th this year, Japan's largest expressway bus terminal, named Basta Shinjuku, was opened just above the JR East's railway platforms. A total of 1,625 services operated by 118 companies arrive at and leave this giant terminal every day. It is always busy with passengers, who are mainly young people and tourists who can afford the time.

Gate D10 of Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal (Basta Shinjuku)

Official information of Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal (in Japanese):

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Centram: Convenient Transit in the Local City

Electric car Toyama Chiho Railway De9000 series leaves Toyama Station on the Route 3

Toyama is the main city of Toyama Prefecture, about 390 km northwest of Tokyo. This local city is facing the Sea of Japan, and had poor access from Tokyo, which is located on the side of the Pacific Ocean.

The situation totally changed in 2015, when the Hokuriku Shinkansen was opened. Now, it takes only 2 hours and 10 minutes from Tokyo by super-express train, Kagayaki (brilliance) with a maximum speed of 260 km per hour. Needless to say, tourists are flocking to this beautiful city and its suburban area for sightseeing. I was also one of them this summer.

Centram is a must-ride streetcar in Toyama City for rail-fans. Its formal name is the electric car, Toyama Chiho Railway De9000 series. This modern vehicle was launched in 2009, when the Circle Line was opened. It is included in the category of low floor type LRV (light rail vehicle). So far, a total of three units have been built by Niigata Transys.

Different from the other cities in Japan, Toyama creates a tram network as a main urban public transportation system. As you may know, tram routes in Japan were abolished one after another due to heavy traffic jams. They just stay in people's minds in many large cities such as Yokohama, Nagoya and Sendai; however, the merit of tram systems is now being recognized once again, mainly in local cities, from the point of view of environmental protection and barrier-free.

Centram... it is a convenient transit system in the local city.

Electric car Toyama Chiho Railway De9000 series travels on the Route 3

Official information about the tram in Toyama City:
Official information about the rolling stock of Toyama Chiho Railway (in Japanese):