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  1. Last summer (in August 2016) I traveled on the Joban Line between Tokyo and Sendai. Due to the nuclear disaster the part around Namie is closed, between the stations Tatsuta and Odaka. Between these stations runs a very irregular bus service. I have never been to an irradiated zone before, and I must say the experience was quite otherworldly. At first, the area is quite ordinary, just like any rural Japanese community. Until you notice that all the houses and cars are abandoned and overgrown. Eventually, in the heart of the exclusion zone, earthquake and tsunami damage is clearly visible, but the roads and traffic lights are all restored (and in case of the latter, obeyed). All side roads are closed off and guarded. To the north and south of the radiation zone there are many temporary housing buildings and "black bags" full of irradiated debris and soil, along with very many construction sites. I have driven very close to the power plant, though I do not have clear pictures of it. Also, you can only really see the tall chimneys that are next to the exploded reactors, as well as the many power lines that cross the road. Here are some pictures I made of my trip. I have a lot more, but these are the ones that are 'train related'. During my trip I also visited other tsunami hit areas, between Omoto (Sanriku Railway) and Hachinohe, and Sendai - Onagawa. It was astonishing how quickly the Japanese are fixing the area up and clearing away most of the debris. If someone is interested I can upload some more train related pictures of these areas. Tatsuta station, the final station of the trains on the Joban line on the southern border with the exclusion zone. The Tatsuta station building from the bus. The geiger counter is placed just to the right of this picture, along with a big tourist map of the area. The overgrown remnants of the Joban line, between JR Namie and JR Futaba (37°28'25 N, 141°00'26 E) JR Odaka station, the northern border of the exclusion zone, looking south. Train services have only recently been resumed to this station. JR Odaka station building, with a very friendly station manager. Geiger counter next to JR Odaka. The loneliest train in Japan @ JR Odaka, serving the Joban line between JR Odaka and JR Soma (Between Soma and Hama-Yoshida the Joban line was destroyed, though it will be opened again soon for regular service). The inside of the train. Note the lack of advertisements on the walls. JR Sakamoto on the closed section of the Joban line between Soma and Watari station. The original was destroyed in the tsunami, the Joban line has now been constructed on a long viaduct with brand new stations. This section of the Joban line will soon be reopened. EDIT: Added coordinates of the overgrown Joban line picture
  2. September 28 (Sat)- First use of the imperial train ("omeshi ressha") in the Reiwa era. The emperor went to an event in Ibaraki Prefecture. Routing was Tokyo Station to Katsuta. Video by Ayokoi. Lineside in Ibaraki. Between Takahama and Ishioka. Includes footage of backup train making an emergency stop.
  3. In Wednesday (14 December 2016), PT KAI Commuter Jabodetabek (KCJ) as Commuter Line train operator did a trial run for their train. Ex-JR 203 (203-2F) series from Joban Line, Japan did a trial run from Depok - Manggarai - Bogor and back to Depok. Something new from this trainset is the train formation is 12 cars that previously operate with 8 cars in Indonesia. The formation is: 202.2 + 202.3 + 203.3 + 202.117 + 203.117 + 202.6 + 203.6 + 203.4 + 203.3 + 202.4 + 203.4 + 203.2 This is the video:
  4. This is from several months back, but an E233 set (2000 sub series Mato 10) used on Joban Line local service was sent to Nagano General Rolling Stock Center to be fitted with CBTC equipment. After a stay of almost three weeks*, it returned to its depot at Matsudo, pulled by an EF64 based out of the Nagaoka Rolling Stock Center. Locations are Hachioji and Kunitachi. *apparently fitting of CBTC equipment is quite involved/complicated, it required about 10 days per trainset for London Underground Northern Line stock to be fitted with like equipment.
  5. An internet survey conducted last month of 703 adults living in the Tokyo Metropolitan area yielded these results(selected reasons follow): Best 3 1. Yamanote Line (convenient, the core of the transport network) 2. Tokyu Toyoko Line (runs through nice neighborhoods, passengers are fashionable) 3. Tokyu Den-en Toshi Line (same as above) Worst 3 1. JR Saikyo Line (full of chikan) 2. JR Keihin Tohoku Line (dirty image) 3. JR Joban Line (full of drunks, delinquents from the boondocks i.e Chiba, Ibaraki) http://bizmakoto.jp/makoto/articles/1505/26/news080.html
  6. This Thursday JR East announcened preliminary plans for through services on the Ueno-Tokyo Line which is scheduled to open this March. Summary as follows: 1. Utsunomiya and Takasaki Line trains will run through on the Tokaido Line south of Shinagawa. 2. Joban Line trains will terminate at Shinagawa. 3. During the 8~9am peak, 5 up trains from each of the three lines will operate over the line. *however, the Joban Line through trains will only be rapid services originating at Toride. 4. All off-peak ltd express services from the Joban Line will terminate/originate at Shinagawa. Likewise a portion of services will do so in the evening peak period. 5. Off-peak a portion of Joban Line local services originating in Tsuchiura will terminate/originate at Shinagawa, and in the evening peak, rapid services for points south of/to Toride will terminate/originate at Shinagawa. 6. Two limited express services will be introduced on the Joban line, the Hitachi will be configured as a limited stop service, while the new Tokiwa service will have more stops. These services will introduce a simpler limited express tariff system, as well as existing ticketless service using smart/mobile phones. http://www.jreast.co.jp/press/2014/20141022.pdf *in the TV news report, it was stated that almost all up direction Tokaido Line trains will continue on to Ueno (and beyond?), presumably as either Utsunomiya or Takasaki Line services.
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