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velotrain

"Observation" cars in Japan

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I ran across this photo of an EF81 in Cassiopeia colors pulling a partial Yumekukan Hokutosei set, and additional sleeping (?) cars.

 

http://tekkenweb.sakura.ne.jp/tokyorail/photogallery2/pg2jref64.html    (last image)

 

Now, I realize that the engine could just be spotting the train at the end of a run, but it would seem more likely for a yard engine to handle that.

 

However, I feel I've seen quite a few images of what are clearly intended as end cars coupled to the engine, and can't help but feel that there are some passengers who had paid extra for preferred accommodation and aren't getting what they thought they were due.  Or, in cases like this, is the car available to all passengers with no guarantee of an unobstructed view?  Perhaps the situation I'm thinking of is only restricted to private suites.

 

I may be misunderstanding this situation, so wondered if someone could explain it to me. 

 

I know that some designer trains have the driver's cabin located on a second floor, so as not to obstruct the view from below, but that isn't always the case.  The Twilight Express Mizukaze has open platforms at each end for viewing - although, I strongly suspect they don't allow people to stand at the forward facing end while underway.

 

 

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katoftw   
Posted (edited)

It is normally for viewing backwards when the train is in operation.  But clearly when the train runs in the opposite direction, then the window is blocked by the loco.

 

Some like the Cassiopeia, SL Hitoyoshi, SL Banetsu Monogatari etc have observation cars at both ends.  This eliminates said issues.

 

Some like the current SL Yamaguichi only have a observation car with a deck on one end.  So heading towards Tswano, the observation car is on the back of the consist.  Heading back towards Shin-Yamaguchi, the deck is directly behind the tender, and the access door is locked to the deck.

 

I think for the Yumekukan Hokutosei consist, the observation car was a formal dining car.  I'd hazzard at a wild guess that being a night train with moreso better views in the mornings once the sun was up, so that said viewing window was probably only useful in one direction.

 

Someone with a better understanding of older Japanese blue trains might be able to shed better light on the idea.

Edited by katoftw

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kvp   

The last ef81 image has a description next to it stating it's a special customized train. (probably chartered) Having a train mark is always a good sign of an official loco as local shunters don't carry any.

 

Other than that, i only know of the prewar express sets with saloon cars on the end. They were turned in one piece like many american trains to always have the baggage cars facing the steam locos. This also put the saloon car on the end.

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I thought I've seen photos of private suites as the last part of end cars (i.e car wide).  Are customers warned that they only get a view when the train is traveling in one direction, or is there one at each end and the price is reduced when they get to look at the engine vs. the view from the back of the train?  

 

kvp - I don't know how late this continued (post-war I or II?), but before the "modern" era an incoming long distance passenger train wasn't just turned en masse, but was broken down and reassembled before the reverse trip.  RPO and baggage cars were taken to dedicated sidings, dining cars were taken to the commissary for cleaning and restocking, the sleeping cars were perhaps taken to a Pullman company siding for housekeeping, etc.

 

There are some guys really into "classic" passenger train operations who model all this - of course, they don't have the sub 10-minute turnaround that Japanese trains do (unless they use a slow-clock for their op-sessions ;-)

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I think for the Yumekukan Hokutosei consist, the observation car was a formal dining car.  I'd hazzard at a wild guess that being a night train with moreso better views in the mornings once the sun was up, so that said viewing window was probably only useful in one direction.

 

Right you are, Kato:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yume_K%C5%ABkan

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kvp   
Posted (edited)

kvp - I don't know how late this continued (post-war I or II?), but before the "modern" era an incoming long distance passenger train wasn't just turned en masse, but was broken down and reassembled before the reverse trip.  RPO and baggage cars were taken to dedicated sidings, dining cars were taken to the commissary for cleaning and restocking, the sleeping cars were perhaps taken to a Pullman company siding for housekeeping, etc.

 

There are some guys really into "classic" passenger train operations who model all this - of course, they don't have the sub 10-minute turnaround that Japanese trains do (unless they use a slow-clock for their op-sessions ;-)

 

In Japan, the end of steam traction on the Tokaido was relatively early and one end car landed in one of the railway museums, but in the USA this is still follewed to some extent by Amtrak as there is a need for an adapter car for some bilevel cars and this means the whole baggage/service/converter part of the train has to be turned around along with the locomotives. It's easier to just use a wye to turn the whole train. Unit passenger trains, for example the ones Kato is selling in N were also turned in one piece. Looking a the old pictures, servicing was done by small trolleys from a service platform. Even Central station in New York has (or had) a full loop on the lower level to allow turning full consists.

 

For modelling, during running sessions i often do the restaurant car has to be behind the locomotive move that was done because the rest of the train could not handle the high head end power currents needed by the kitchen equipment. This along with no shunting service at the end station means the loco has to run around the train and also the restaurant car. Add a non walk through baggage car on the other end and you get a nice 3 track shunting puzzle while the rest of the club members are also trying to keep the shedule. We usually have to use a 1:1 clock for station movements as speed and station sizes are scale. This nice shunting game could still be occasionally seen with lake Balaton north shore trains at Tapolca when the limited express service is run with a heritage nohab loco and restaurant car. Newer stock is either just a bunch of low floor multiple units or standard rakes that lack the restaurant car (replaced with trolley service) and have 2 or 3 combine cars throughout the train for baggage/bicycle/rowboat transport.

Edited by kvp

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What I find interesting--but not surprising--is that both JR East Train Suite Shiki-shima and JR West Twilight Express Mizukaze have observation cars on both ends. But JR Kyushu's Seven Stars in Kyushu lacking an observation car surprises me, especially when the Yufuin no Mori trainsets have large observation windows in almost every car.

 

In my opinion, JR East should have kept the Yume Kuukan cars, built a fourth one, and turned it into a day trip "train cruise" between Niigata and Aomori on the Uetsu and Ōu Main Lines.

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katoftw   
Posted (edited)

What I find interesting--but not surprising--is that both JR East Train Suite Shiki-shima and JR West Twilight Express Mizukaze have observation cars on both ends.  But JR Kyushu's Seven Stars in Kyushu lacking an observation car surprises me, especially when the Yufuin no Mori trainsets have large observation windows in almost every car.

um? no...

 

140902124730-seven-stars-train-horizonta

 

Both end cars have observation cars:- http://www.cruisetrain-sevenstars.com/ Highlighted on the first pages of their official website.

Edited by katoftw

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Posted (edited)

Then the Wikipedia information is wrong. I believe that Car 7 was supposed to have two suites, a crew room and a small kitchenette. If I remember correctly, on the old Cassiopeia trainset, the end of the last car was actually part of the biggest suite on the train. Since I have a Wikipedia account I might edit it to reflect this fact.

Edited by Sacto1985

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kvp - I don't know how late this continued (post-war I or II?), but before the "modern" era an incoming long distance passenger train wasn't just turned en masse, but was broken down and reassembled before the reverse trip.  RPO and baggage cars were taken to dedicated sidings, dining cars were taken to the commissary for cleaning and restocking, the sleeping cars were perhaps taken to a Pullman company siding for housekeeping, etc.

 

Charles,

 

From what I understand the old "Tsubame" (Tokyo - Osaka) train was turned in one piece at Osaka (don't know about what happened at Tokyo). The train was also a nearly fixed formation, coaches were only removed/swapped for maintenance.

 

Cheers NB

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Charles,

 

From what I understand the old "Tsubame" (Tokyo - Osaka) train was turned in one piece at Osaka (don't know about what happened at Tokyo). The train was also a nearly fixed formation, coaches were only removed/swapped for maintenance.

 

Cheers NB

 

Thanks for the info Nick - I'm curious what era that would have been?

 

I'm sure at some point the space needed for a turning loop became very expensive in Japanese cities - but then, I guess the railway would have already owned the property ;-)

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kvp   

Afaik this was before the electrification of the Tokaido corridor and during the time banking steam locomotives were used to push the train up on steeper slopes. This means before 1956.

 

For turning whole trains, you can use ballon loops or wye's, the latter requires only a single stub track more or less at right angle from the main that could hold the whole set. A triangle connection, usually a single track curve directly connecting the two Y legs of a branching mainline is also an alternative where whole trains could be turned with minimal slow speed reverse running.

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Then the Wikipedia information is wrong. I believe that Car 7 was supposed to have two suites, a crew room and a small kitchenette. If I remember correctly, on the old Cassiopeia trainset, the end of the last car was actually part of the biggest suite on the train. Since I have a Wikipedia account I might edit it to reflect this fact.

 

End cars at Kagoshima-Chuo, both ends are for observation...

 

post-265-0-44966800-1497872242_thumb.pngpost-265-0-34043900-1497872256_thumb.png

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Thanks for the info Nick - I'm curious what era that would have been?

 

I'm sure at some point the space needed for a turning loop became very expensive in Japanese cities - but then, I guess the railway would have already owned the property ;-)

 

The info I have dates from the 1950's, before the the "Tsubame" was changed to an EMU set and the stock downgraded to the "Hato". From what I gather the train was turned using a mainline wye somewhere in the vicinity of Osaka station - must have been a very disruptive operation.

 

 

Cheers NB

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End cars at Kagoshima-Chuo, both ends are for observation...

 

attachicon.gifCapture.PNGattachicon.gifCapture2.PNG

 

However, the observation area in Car 1 and Car 7 of the Seven Stars in Kyushu trainset are tiny compared to the end cars on Train Suite Shiki-shima and Twilight Express Mizukaze.

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However, the observation area in Car 1 and Car 7 of the Seven Stars in Kyushu trainset are tiny compared to the end cars on Train Suite Shiki-shima and Twilight Express Mizukaze.

 

It might be more accurate to say that this area on the latter two trains is huge.

 

This area on Car 1 is part of the Blue Moon lounge (car), while that on car 7 is a suite, and hardly tiny.

 

http://www.cruisetrain-sevenstars.com/seven-stars/#car-plans

 

http://www.cruisetrain-sevenstars.com/guest-suite/deluxe-suites/

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The turning facilities for loco-hauled passenger trains were not purposely-built wyes for this operation, but rather part of the existing trackwork, utilizing freight-only track for portions.  In the case of the Tokyo, it was the wye formed by the track going from Shinagawa to Osaki, the Yamanote Freight Line, and the Hinkaku Freight Line (now part of the Yokosuka Line).  In Osaka, arriving passenger trains continued ecs west to the Takarazuka Line, reversed and ran along the freight-only Hoppou Line, and reversed again to return to the Tokaido Line.

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