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  1. Testing on the Tokaido Shinkansen up to Tokyo began in June.
  2. Through running was done 1945~1968. Junction was Tanbabashi. It ended because Kintetsu was converting to 1500v DC while Keihan still stuck to 600v for a few more years, and the flat junction at Tanbabashi was an impediment to more frequent services.
  3. I was in Shiga Prefecture yesterday. The delays cascaded down the Tokaido main line, affecting the local and shin kaisoku services. Thankfully, the delays weren't too bad- the local service I took from Maibara was delayed 9 minutes.
  4. Yes, it's an afternoon weekend/shoulder season-only schedule, aimed at a submarket, (younger) customers in Kyushu looking to check out Himeji Castle, and customers in the Himeji area to go to Kyushu, as well as points between. This group may otherwise take a competing highway bus. Note there is for this pair of trains an internet-only discount ticket w/reserved seating for only 8000 yen one way between Himeji and Kokura/Hakata. Likely this fills an otherwise slack period in the mid-afternoon Sanyo Shinkansen timetable, JR West marketing came up with this to get a bit more revenue without biting into the peak revenue AM and evening periods. https://www.jr-odekake.net/railroad/hikarirailstar/ video:
  5. bikkuri bahn

    Yamato Transport Containers

    Lee Han Hwa Hatabu, in the city of Shimonoseki. Yamaguchi Prefecture. Yes, runs between the Fukuoka and Tokyo freight terminals. Mainly Yamato traffic, but there is some Sagawa and other firms, sometimes Runtec, which specializes in refrigerated/constant temperature freight.
  6. Yes, I reckon within the next ten to twenty years we will see just the electrified lines and the most vital non-electrified trunk lines remaining. The demographics and travel habits of the populace predict it. Basically the Sapporo urban network, Hakodate/Muroran/Chitose line, between Hakodate and Asahikawa, and the Sekisho/Nemuro Line as far as Kushiro, will remain (The Nemuro Main Line may have to be renamed as Nemuro will lose its rail access, I predict replacement with some nonsense monicker like "East Rainbow Line"). Everything else will be axed. No more rail service north or west of Asahikawa, and Kitami and Abashiri will lose their rail access.
  7. This. JR West has stated the reason was to appeal to foreign tourists (i.e. from mainland Asia), and to tie in with their Sanyo region tourist destination campaign. The EVA was more of an appeal to both foreign and domestic otaku/anime fans, a smaller cache than the mainstream Hello Kitty.
  8. bikkuri bahn

    Texas Central Railway unveils plan for northern terminus

    Recent news. Seems to be moving along. https://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/news/2018/05/02/engineering-giant-bechtel-named-project-manager.html https://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/news/2018/05/04/amtrak-partners-with-texas-bullet-train-for.html
  9. bikkuri bahn

    Kiha 40 in Sapporo

    Sekisho Line from Chitose to Oiwake. Oiwake to Iwamizawa on the Muroran Line. Return to Sapporo from Iwamizawa on electrified line. This is your best bet.
  10. bikkuri bahn

    Hankyu 3 way switch

    A little excursion on the Hankyu Takarazuka Line this Monday yielded this discovery- a three way switch at the “down” end of Shounai Station. These type of switches are relatively rare due to their expense of construction and maintenance, but Hankyu saw it fit to construct one at this location, possibly to keep conflicting movements to a minimum should a turnback service be required. View from an “up” direction train: From the end of the up platform: Apparently, in addition to this location, there are six other places on the Hankyu system where three way switches are in use. Given that there are only 4 other known locations of this type of switch elsewhere on other railways in the nation, it can be said that Hankyu is the “Mecca” of the three way switch.
  11. The train after arrival at the Nanba terminal. The destination indicator has already changed to the next service this trainset will go on: corrugations, characteristic of the Budd design:
  12. Just some thoughts on my experience today riding trains around the Kansai area, which is related to some recent posts others made about Kansai private railways. This evening I caught an express service on the Nankai Koya Line originating from Mikkaiichicho Station, which has a stub end layover track for turnback services such as the one I rode. The station is located high in the foothills above Osaka, in an area that probably was originally quite rural but now is a suburban bed town. The route is quite interesting as it takes you from a rather high elevation gradually down through the various suburbs into the urban core, all the while passing through numerous stations, both simple and multi track, ending up at Nankai’s big stub end terminal at Nanba. Being around 17:45 was a good time, as the fading light further accentuated the catenary against the sky, so you really got the atmosphere of a heavy interurban operation. But what was most remarkable was the rolling stock of the service, a 6000 series trainset built in 1963! That a 55 year old trainset is still providing yeoman service is a testament to Nankai’s maintenance and the robustness of Budd Industries shotwelded stainless steel carbody design, which Tokyu had a license to manufacture. Anyway, I highly recommend this ride. If you have the time, try to ride the express service from Hashimoto, which takes you over and through via tunnels the mountain ridge that divides Osaka from Wakayama Prefecture. Otherwise, the service from Mikkaiichicho is a good ride. I rank it one of the better zenmentenbou rides in Kansai, one of my favorites along with the JR West shinkaisoku services.
  13. Be aware that this year the cherry blossoms are blooming about a week earlier than usual. So better go see them at the top of the month at the latest. As far as crowds, it will be crowded anywhere there is a sizeable number of trees. And in Osaka/Kansai, expect to alot of Chinese(who tend to travel in large family groups) and Korean tourists to be in your company, as that region is especially popular with them.
  14. bikkuri bahn

    My Bracket is Broken

    It's very much a U.S. thing, even more than say the Super Bowl, which generates some international interest (and FWIW something I have zero interest in). I think especially those that went to college in the U.S. have a connection with it, either because their alma mater participated in it, and/or the charm of little schools (the "Cinderella schools") having a chance to compete with, and even perhaps beat the perennial powerhouse college teams. As an event it still has the atmosphere of amateur athletics as opposed to the crass commercial feel of professional sports, though we now know the college sports administration is as corrupt as any professional or supranational organization.
  15. bikkuri bahn

    My Bracket is Broken

    The closest equivalent here in Japan would be the summer National High School Baseball Championship at Koshien, in terms of unlikely, underdog teams beating the well-known goliaths, and how that scenario resonates with the public. Unfortunately this year, my team (UCLA), got beat in a "play-in" game as an 11 seed, ugh....
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