Sunday, May 28, 2017

EMU Tokyo Metro 16000 Series: New Batch

The 4th batch train of the EMU Tokyo Metro 16000 series travels on the Odakyu-Tama Line

Although I often take the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, I have forgotten to update the topic of this subway route for nearly two years. I am going to report on it today. On September 16th, 2015, Tokyo Metro launched the fourth batch of their EMU, 16000 series, on the Chiyoda Line. This new batch of trains is a bit different from the previous ones. How and why is the new batch different?

Firstly, the new batch of trains has green and yellow colored stripes on the body, while the old batch has green and white colored ones. Secondly, a space is provided for wheelchairs in all new batch cars, while only 20% of the old batch cars have spaces for wheelchairs. Thirdly, the number of the LCD monitors above the passenger doors is increased. They are very informative for knowing the next station and operation status. Fourthly, the parallel and synchronous operations of the SIVs (static inverters or auxiliary power units) can be performed on the new batch cars, which means that only one SIV can be operated, if the power required is small. This world's first technology made it possible to reduce the electric consumption for air-conditioners, room lights, and so on.

For your information, the 16000 series debuted in 2010 to replace the deteriorated 6000 series. So far, a total of 33 sets, 330 cars of the 16000 series, have been built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Hitachi.

The 1st batch train of the EMU Tokyo Metro 16000 series travels on the Joban Line

Official information about the 4th batch trains of the EMU 16000 series (in Japanese):
Official information about the EMU Tokyo Metro 16000 series (in Japanese):

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Hinoyama Ropeway: Access to the Superb Scenery

Hinoyama Ropeway

Hinoyama (Fire Mountain) is a small mountain in Shimonoseki City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, about 1,100 km west of Tokyo. The altitude of the summit is 268.2 meters above sea level. The name, Hinoyama, came from the medieval fire signal station, not from a volcano. Currently, Hinoyama is known as a public park with beautiful flowers and scenery of the Kanmon Straits. I visited this superb spot last month with my family.

To get to the summit, Hinoyama Ropeway is convenient. It is an aerial tramway, which opened in 1958. Connecting Dannoura and Hinoyama stations, its route length is 438.96 meters. The height difference between the two stations is 165 meters. Its maximum inclination is 29.1 degrees. The gondola is operated every 20 minutes with an operating speed of 3.0 meters. It takes 4 minutes to go one way. The current gondolas, namely number 1 (Manju) and number 2 (Kanju), were built by Osaka Sharyo in 1978. Each gondola can hold up to 31 passengers.

The view from the summit was fantastic. It was a gorgeous spot to enjoy both views of the Kanmon Straits and Kanmon Bridge between Honshu (the main island of Japan) and Kyushu Island. The distant view of Mojiko Retro Heimat (height: 127 meters) in the urban area on Kyushu Island was also my favorite.

Although we visited Hinoyama during the daytime, the night view is also very beautiful, according to the Shimonoseki Tourism and Convention Association. We are going to visit there after sunset next time.

View of Kanmon Bridge and Mojiko Retro Heimat from Hinoyama Mountain

Monday, May 22, 2017

8568F: Tobu Revival Colored Train

8568F of the Tobu 8000 series travels on the Kameido Line

The Tobu-Kameido Line is a branch route of the Isesaki Line. It looks like a local line in the urban area. Connecting Kameido on the JR East Sobu Line and Hikifune on the Tobu Isesaki Line, there are five stations on the 3.4 km route. The track is double and electrified. The electric system is 1,500 V DC overhead. Its gauge size is 1,067 mm.

Two-car trains (Mc + Tc) of the EMU 8000 series travel slowly on the Kameido Line. The train threads its way through shopping streets, densely built-up residential areas, and small factories. Its operating interval is every 7 to 8 minutes during rush hour and every 10 minutes during the daytime. The standard color of the 8000 series is white with a blue stripe.

On February 16th of this year, Tobu launched a new special colored train, 8568F (unit number 8568 and 8668) of the EMU 8000 series on the Kameido Line. It has a dark green colored body with a white stripe. Its color design is a revival of the test paint in the 1950s. For your information, 8568F was originally built in 1974 by Tokyu Sharyo and currently belongs to Kasukabe Rail Yard. It is also operated on the Daishi Line depending on the day. 

Along with 8577F (unit numbers 8577 and 8588), which is also a revival colored train with the orange and yellow colored design of the 1950s, 8568F has become a new star among the local kids and rail-fans.

8568F of the Tobu 8000 series arrives at Omurai Station on the Kameido Line