Sad news for railfans – JR East will retire the last double-decker high-speed bullet train this autumn. First introduced in 1997, the E4 series was the second double-decker series of shinkansen trains after the E1 series which was introduced in 1994 and retired in 2012. Both series were marketed under the name “Max” or “Multi-Amenity Express” and were built to transport more passengers on busy commuter routes between Tokyo and the cities of northern Japan. Formerly running on the Tohoku, Nagano, and Joetsu Shinkansen lines, the E4 now runs only on the Joetsu Shinkansen which runs between Tokyo and Niigata.[Read more…]
Asa Seaside Railway in Tokushima Prefecture will introduce a dual-mode vehicle (DMV) this summer which can run along both railway tracks and roads. The new DMV runs on normal rubber tires when on roads, but at interchange stops the rubber tires are lifted and special rail-track wheels descend. Although JR Hokkaido have previously tested a similar DMV, the new DMV in Tokushima will be the first of its kind to run regular commercial operations.[Read more…]
Nankai Electric Railway’s Koyasan Cable Line has become the first cable car line in Japan to completely decarbonize and now operates with 100% renewable energy.[Read more…]
The Fuji Kyuko company which operates the Fujikyuko Railway in Yamanashi Prefecture has announced that it is splitting its railway division off into a separate company this month. To mark the railway’s newfound independence, the railway will also be renamed Fuji Electric Railway (富士山麓電気鉄道- Fuji Sanroku Denki Tetsudo) a historic name it last held 61 years ago.[Read more…]
Yaesu Bus Terminal, which is now under construction on the east side of Tokyo Station, is to become the biggest bus station in Japan.[Read more…]
A new upscale hotel in Kyoto has added a train-themed “Railway Room” which is sure to delight railway enthusiasts. The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Umekoji, which opened on March 12th this year, overlooks Umekoji Park and is just a 4-minute walk from Kyoto Railway Museum, Japan’s biggest railway museum.
Odakyu Electric Railway will open their new Romancecar Museum on Monday, April 19th. The new museum will display several vehicles from Odakyu’s luxury limited express “Romancecar” series and is located beside Ebina Station in Ebina City, Kanagawa Prefecture. This is Odakyu’s first permanent indoor exhibition site and is designed to be a family-friendly facility which can be enjoyed by both children and adults.
JR West have released plans for a new station building and plaza at Hiroshima Station. The new building will be an access point for city trams and it will be located on the south side of Hiroshima Station.[Read more…]
JR East will introduce a new limited express service on the Tokaido Main Line this spring which will be called the Limited Express Shonan. The new service will run between stations at Shinjuku/Tokyo and Odawara. This train will replace the current Shonan Liner, Ohayo Liner Shinjuku, and Home Liner Odawara services. Although this is a commuter train service it may well be useful for sightseers, because Odawara is the location of a popular castle and hot spring resort and is also the gateway to the Hakone and Izu hot spring regions.[Read more…]
JR East is currently testing shinkansen cars as designated teleworking spaces on the Tohoku Shinkansen route which runs between Tokyo and northern Japan. Designated office cars are now available on between eight to ten shinkansen trains a day and the trials will continue until February 26th.
The trials are a response to the recent accelerated spread of remote working and if the office cars prove popular, the plan is to remodel cars as work spaces on other shinkansen routes between Tokyo and Kanagawa, Chiba, and Saitama.
Currently, talking on a mobile phone is discouraged within train cars as it disturbs other passengers. However, within the designated office space passengers can freely take work-related calls and full online meetings are also permitted. Any passenger can freely move from their seat in an ordinary car to use the designated office car at no extra cost. And there is also a decided seating plan so that passengers can do their work at a sufficient distance from each other. Sound-masking technology has been installed to give passengers more privacy and remote routers are also freely provided to ensure a more reliable internet connection.
The office car trials have been organized in cooperation with the telecommunications operator KDDI and after the initial proof-of-concept trials are completed the further expansion of the program is likely to go ahead this spring.
Article by Michael Lambe. Image courtesy of JR East. All rights reserved.