One of Osaka’s most familiar sights, the orange 103 series train, was retired from the Osaka Loop Line on October 3rd, 2017. For almost half a century this distinctive commuter train has run the circular route of Osaka’s most important urban route. However, as part of JR West’s plans to modernize its Osaka operations, a new model of train was introduced in 2016.[Read more…]
This year marks the 70th anniversary of an important date in the history of the Kintetsu Railway company. On October 8th 1947 Kintetsu Railway began to operate their first limited express passenger service between Uehommachi in Osaka and Nagoya. This was actually the first pay-to-ride limited express service run by a Japanese private railway company.[Read more…]
Seibu Railway and Sapporo Beer are running a special “Seibu Yebisu Beer Express” on October 6th and 7th this year. One of Seibu Railway’s Limited Express Red Arrow trains will be specially fitted with a bar counter, barrels of draft beer and taps for this two hour all-you-can-drink event. This is a repeat run for the Yebisu Beer Train which made its first run with all seats occupied in September 2016.[Read more…]
Japan’s latest luxury sightseeing train, “The Royal Express,” will begin regular runs along the scenic Izu coastline on September 1st. Though the train made its official debut run between JR Yokohama Station and Izukyu Shimoda Station on July 21st, September marks the beginning of commercial operations. The train which is jointly operated by railway companies Tokyu Corporation and Izukyu Corporation, is distinctive for its elegant royal blue exterior with a dynamic gold flash.[Read more…]
Many of Japan’s larger stations are notoriously difficult to navigate. Especially in the major metropolitan stations travelers must find their way through a complicated network of railway lines operated by different railway companies. Frequent redevelopment has also seen station buildings transformed into enormous commercial centers of maze-like complexity. No doubt there are many people who have the experience of arriving at a station in a timely fashion, only to be at a complete loss how to find their designated meeting spot. On such occasions Google Street View’s new station interior views are likely to prove your salvation! [Read more…]
Fresh details have been released on a joint plan by JR West, Nankai Railway, and Hankyu Railway, working together with the local government authorities of Osaka City and Osaka Prefecture, for the tentatively named “Naniwasuji Line” in Osaka City.
The Naniwasuji Line is a long-standing plan for a new underground railway line that would provide a more direct connection between the Umeda district of northern Osaka and the Namba district of southern Osaka. This in turn would facilitate faster and better rail services between Kansai Airport and the shinkansen terminal at Shin-Osaka Station. [Read more…]
Tobu Railway are to introduce a new electric train this June that will run direct through services between the Tobu Skytree Line and Tokyo Metro’s Hibiya Line. These trains are fitted with the very latest electric traction motors which will save 25% of the energy currently used by older Tobu trains.[Read more…]
Smoking cars are to be removed from all services on the Sanyo and Tokaido Shinkansen lines by the spring of 2020 – which is just in time for the Tokyo Olympics. Currently, only the Tokaido Shinkansen line (between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka), and the Sanyo Shinkansen line (between Shin-Osaka and Hakata), still have smoking seats on their services.
Clearly a lot has changed since the last Tokyo Olympics in 1964 when passengers could smoke anywhere they liked on a shinkansen. Some 53 years later smoking cars are about to disappear entirely from the Japanese archipelago.[Read more…]
JR East have released plans to utilize wasted food from station shops as a source of biogas fuel. JR East currently have commercial complexes at or near their stations at 160 locations and are expanding shopping facilities within their station premises. Large scale food and drink retail at these facilities has led to extremely high levels of wastage. The new biogas enterprise will recycle this waste to generate energy.[Read more…]
JR East and Tohoku Tourism Promotion Organization are working together to renew 40 tourist information centers in the northeastern Tohoku region of Japan. Tourist information centers in railway stations across 7 prefectures will have their facilities updated in order to improve services for overseas visitors. The centers will also have their signage standardized with the same logo and slogan as part of the “Exploration to the Deep North” campaign. Signage will be in English, Korean, and Chinese (both simplified and traditional) and the centers’ services will be advertised with pictograms.[Read more…]