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  1. Happy 2016 everyone! Old news now, but Kyoto Tango Railway, known as Kitakinki Tango Railway before the operational takeover by Willer Bus, has refurbished one of its KTR8000 series express DMU sets with styling by the one and only Mitooka Eiji. This follows the refurb of 4 (I think) of the KTR700 local DMUs. Service began November 13th. Includes the Alfa Romeo style grill/emblem/ornament from DF200-7000 (btw off topic but did anyone else know that JR Kyushu numbered this thing 7000 not 7001?) http://trains.willer.co.jp/index.html https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwomLGBjpnA
  2. Two of Nagaragawa's 300 series DMUs will be updated and back in service as soon as spring 2016. They'll operate as the sightseeing train Nagara. The artist's rendering looks very familiar, I assume these images originate from the same place (Mitooka's design company?). The Nagaragawa's only line is the Etsumi-nan Line (the character for nan means south), originally operated by JNR. It was to be connected with the Etsumi-hoku Line (hoku is north) thereby connecting Echizen (the old name of that part of Fukui) and Mino (the old name of that part of Gifu), but this never materialized. JR West took over the Etsumi-hoku line, which still operates with KIHA120s, but presumably the southern section wasn't to be so lucky. The Nagaragawa Railway Company was established on August 28, 1986 with operation of the line beginning on December 11th, about three and a half months before the end of JNR. I suppose it was communicated that the future JR Central was not interested in the line, and if the communities wanted their trains to keep rolling, they'd have to do it themselves. Maybe this was similar to the Akechi Railway and Aichi Loop Railway, although in these cases the timing was different; the Akechi was created and took over their line in 1985, and JR Central did run the Okata Line until early 1988 when the 3rd sector company took over. The Nagaragawa Railway is based in Seki City, Gifu Prefecture, which has long been a center of sword, knife, and blade production. http://railf.jp/news/2015/11/27/110000.html https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nagaragawa_Railway_Etsumi-Nan_Line https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seki,_Gifu https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nagara_River https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eiji_Mitooka
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