Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Public Transportation in the Waterfront Area

EMU Tokyo Monorail 1000 series travels in the waterfront area of Tokyo Metropolis

Tokyo is a super-high density city. More than 30 million people live in this small metropolitan area. It has been spreading into the suburbs, underground, air and sea. There are many reclaimed lands on Tokyo Bay. What is the public transportation like in this newly created waterfront area?

Firstly, the railway is the main transportation artery. The JR East Keiyo Line plays an important role in the eastern part of the waterfront area. It was fully opened in 1990, connecting Tokyo and Soga in Chiba Prefecture.

Secondly, AGT (Automated Guideway Transit) is also important in the central part of the waterfront area. The Yurikamome Line was opened in 1995, connecting Shimbashi and Ariake. It was later extended to Toyosu, a newly developed residential quarter.

Thirdly, the Monorail is a traditional transportation mean. The Haneda Line of Tokyo Monorail Company was opened in the western part of the waterfront area in 1964, connecting Hamamatsucho and Tokyo International Airport (Haneda). The track was mainly constructed on the canals in the reclaimed lands. 

Please don't forget one more public transportation mean. It is a water bus. Currently, at least three companies operate several routes in the waterfront area. They have unique boats to attract passengers. A newly established Urban Launch has a small boat. Connecting Shibaura, Odaiba and Toyosu, the company operates seven services per day. The route is located mainly on the canals, rivers and the coastal part of Tokyo Bay.

Mini-travel in the waterfront area is an excellent attraction in Tokyo.

A water bus travels in the waterfront area of Tokyo Metropolis

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Nostalgic Diesel Rail-car on the Tenryu-Hamanako Line

Diesel rail-car, TH3501, travels on the Tenryu-Hamanako Line

As I posted before, Tenryu-Hamanako Railway is a local company in Shizuoka Prefecture, about 270 km west of Tokyo. It is the former Futamata Line of Japanese National Railways (JNR), and was spun off from JNR and privatized in 1986. Connecting Kakegawa and Shinjohara on the JR Central Tokaido Main Line, the route length is 67.7 km. The track is single and non-electrified. The gauge size is 1,067 mm. A lovely diesel rail-car is operated every half an hour on average.

Along with the TH2100 series, which I introduced before, a diesel rail-car, TH3000 series, plays an important role on the Tenryu-Hamanako Line. The TH3000 was launched in 1995 to increase transportation capacity of the line. A total of two units were built by Fuji Heavy Industries (present Subaru). One unit, named TH3502, was scrapped in 2010; therefore, only one unit, named TH3501, is operated as an active member. The TH3000 series has an 18 meter-long steel body and a diesel engine, which was made by Cummins Inc., with 257 kW output. The transmission system is hydraulic.

Currently, TH3501 is operated as a "Slow Life Train". Its concept is enjoying what the Japanese landscape used to be. Riding the slow train, passengers can enjoy the nostalgic landscape in the countryside. For that purpose, beautiful window curtains and headrests are equipped as train interior decorations. They are made by Finnish fabric brand, Marimekko.

Riding the TH3000 series diesel rail-car, I enjoyed the slow life on the Tenryu-Hamanoko Line with my family.

Diesel rail-car, TH 2100 series (left) and TH3500 series (right)

Official information about Tenryu Hamanako Railway:
Official information about Slow Life Train (in Japanese):
Official information about the trains on the Tenryu-Hamanako Line (in Japanese):

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Two Rebirth Stories in Ome City

Electric locomotive ED16 1 is preserved in the Ome Railway Park (April, 2013)

Ome is a small city located in the western part of Tokyo Metropolis. I visited this suburban city with my family last month, and found two rebirth stories.

The first story is about plums. Ome was famous for its plum blossoms, after which the city was named. In late February, the plum trees showed off their beautiful white and pink-colored flowers here and there. It was the herald of spring. The tragedy occurred in 2009. Many plum trees in the city were infected with Plum pox virus. It was the first case in Japan. After the specialists' investigation, the mayor decided to cut down all the plum trees in public places, and replanted seedlings. Now that nine years have passed since the replanting, the plum trees in Ome Plum Park have bloomed beautifully, although the trees are still small.

The second rebirth story is about the exhibitions in Ome Railway Park. This unique museum was opened in 1962 by ex-Japanese National Railways. A total of 11 retired rolling stocks, such as EMUs and locomotives, were exhibited. The problem was that some exhibitions were damaged by time. In 2017, the museum finally decided to repair precious exhibitions such as the electric locomotive, Class ED16. As you may know, the Class ED16 was a direct current locomotive for freight trains. It was launched in 1931 on the Chuo Main Line and the Joetsu Line.

I am looking forward to the rebirthing of plum blossoms and the old rolling stock in Ome City. 

Ome Plum Park (March, 2018)