JR Kyushu’s Aru Ressha, also called the “Sweet Train” has an unusual and rather complicated history. It is said that back in 1906, Kyushu Railway (a private company) commissioned the construction of a gorgeous luxury passenger train from a company in America. Apparently the train was built and sent to Japan, but before it could begin operations Kyushu Railway was nationalized and all plans for the train were cancelled. The train, which never ran, passed into legend and became known ever afterward as the “train of dreams”.[Read more…]
JR West have announced plans for a series of renovations at Osaka’s Tennoji Station. The station’s East Gate Concourse is to be completely renewed with new walls, floors, and ceilings, and fitted with LED lighting. The changes are intended to make the station both prettier and more convenient.
Many railway lines converge at Tennoji so the concourse will also be fitted with new signage in both Japanese and English to make it easier for passengers to find their way around. Additionally the station’s toilets are to be replaced with new state-of-the-art Western style toilets, and fitted with “washlet” style bidets throughout. The concourse’s 500 meter square shopping area will also be renovated and reinforced to make it earthquake resistant.[Read more…]
Earlier this month Odakyu Railway unveiled designs for the next generation of their famous Limited Express Romancecar series of trains. The Odakyu Romancecar series has been providing luxury high speed access between Tokyo and resort areas such as Hakone, Izu, and Enoshima since 1957.
This newest #70000 series “Red Romancecar” has a distinctive vermilion exterior that hearkens back to the traditional coloring of the earliest Romancecars, and has more seats with improved visibility through larger windows. [Read more…]
Kyoto Railway Museum opened their very first special exhibition this month with a nostalgic look back at the history of the Japanese Sleeper Train.
“The Sleeper Train” exhibition is divided into five main sections. The first section details the early history of the sleeper train in Europe and the Americas starting with the pioneering invention of the world’s first sleeping car by America’s Cumberland Valley Railway in 1838. [Read more…]
In a special collaboration with “Peanuts Worldwide” west Japan’s Hankyu Railway began running a special “Snoopy Train” on all three of its main routes this month. The Snoopy Trains are decorated inside and out with characters from the famous comic by the late great Charles M. Schulz, and are now running on the Hankyu Kyoto, Kobe, and Takarazuka Main Lines.[Read more…]
This October JR Kyushu are to debut a new energy saving electric train which can run from overhead power lines or an electric storage battery. The new #819 series train has been dubbed “DENCHA” which stands for “Dual ENergy CHArge train”, and it will have a trial run on the Chikuho Main Line on October 1st.[Read more…]
JR West have announced plans for a new Travel Service Center in Osaka Station to open in March of 2017. Responding to a continued increase in both domestic and overseas visitors, the new center will consolidate and strengthen facilities already available at Osaka Station and provide more multilingual support for foreign visitors.
According to the new plans, the current Tourist Information Office in Osaka Station will be moved to a location facing the station’s central ticket gates. At the same time the facilities will be expanded and more staff will be employed to offer information and consultation services in English, Korean, and Chinese. There will also be counters for foreign currency exchange, for hotel bookings, and facilities at the current station Baggage Room will be expanded. [Read more…]
Rail fans will be delighted to know that Hankyu Railway are releasing a new range of “kawaii” or “cute” souvenirs goods on September 12th. The new “Hankyu Densha” series of goods will be available for sale both on Hankyu station premises and in underground shopping arcades connected to those stations.
With a slightly retro-pop style the new goods will feature the famous Hankyu maroon train as their central motif with background images from the town and cityscapes served by Hankyu railway lines. These background designs will feature famous buildings from the major areas served by Hankyu Railways: Kobe, Takarazuka, Kyoto, and Umeda. Can you recognize all the famous locations represented below? [Read more…]
JR East have released fresh images and details of the new station slated to be built in the Shinagawa area in time for the 2020 Olympics. The new station, provisionally named “Shinagawa Shin-Eki” or “Shinagawa New Station”, will serve the Yamanote and Keihin-Tohoku lines and is due to be built on a disused rail-yard located roughly midway between the current Shinagawa and Tamachi Stations.
The project which was first announced in 2014 is being overseen by Kengo Kuma, who is perhaps Japan’s best known architect, and who is also designing the new Tokyo Olympic Stadium. [Read more…]
On August 22nd JR Shikoku published their annual white paper on lost property. This report constitutes a tally of every single forgotten item on JR Shikoku property from April of 2015 to the end of March this year.
Though a lost property report from Japan’s southern island of Shikoku may seem like a provincial subject to some, having analyzed the sometimes surprising data we believe it holds invaluable lessons for travelers in Japan (as well as some general life lessons and hope for humanity). And let’s not forget that JR Shikoku is no small enterprise. The company operates a railway system of 855.2 km, with 259 stations (including 2 temporary stations), and runs roughly 1,006 passenger trains a day. That’s a great big area in which to lose your stuff! [Read more…]