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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. It's rare to get such a good view of this line. In this case it's possible due to the modified 485 series NO.DO.KA joyful train used for this "Sakata Kandara Festival" service. The train is classified as a rapid, so there's no express surcharge, although all seats are reserved. The 3-car formation has 96 seats. I've been trying to fill in some background on this; the cities of Sakata and Tsuruoka, both in Yamagata Prefecture, have this festival (28th and 27th times, respectively) for kandara, which I believe is cod caught in cold water. A soup is made with it, which does not appear to be cold :). This service conveys people from Niigata, which is the regional big city. One of my goals for any meaningfully long trip to Japan is to travel as much of the Sea of Japan coast as possible. I've only covered Tsuruga to Hagi so far, leaving quite a bit to do . video by tejy Train: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6LK0a-tL54 And here at Shibata Station, we can see tejy Train making the video. :) :). Video by Igarashi Satoshi. JR East Niigata Branch publication on service (pdf format): http://www.jrniigata.co.jp/20141128kandara.pdf page for festival: http://www.sakata-kankou.com/event/102 Uetsu Main LIne: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uetsu_Main_Line Sakata Station: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sakata_Station_%28Yamagata%29 lastly, cod ('tara' in Japanese): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gadidae
  3. I often think about long-haul rides on conventional lines. In particular, Aomori to Kyoto and Kyoto to Shimonoseki on the lines on the Sea of Japan. I've done most but not all of the Kyoto-to-Shimonoseki half in separate runs, but none of the northeastern part. Have any of you? The parts of the San'in that I've traveled, I think were almost all worth doing by local train. What about the Tohoku/Hokuriku region? But it looks like a much longer distance, possibly double. I wonder if I'd be tempted to pay out for a limited express ticket
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