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new NHK World show: Japan Railway Journal

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bikkuri bahn

NHK often repeats programs, viewers here in Japan can even write to request a repeat viewing of a favorite or missed program.  I am hoping some time they repeat an episode of "Professionals", the one which profiled a timetable scheduler (sujiya) at Tokyo Metro.  Apparently there is a DVD of the episode, but with considerably cut footage compared to the original broadcast.

 

*last week "Professionals" dealt with people who deal with winter weather, one of the segments was about a JASDF officer who is chief at the Shin-Chitose Airport control tower, a place often hit by bad winter storms on one of the busiest air traffic corridors in the world.

Edited by bikkuri bahn

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Ronny

Thanks for sharing.I have a question, is an old documentary because it's aspect ratio is 4:3?

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dabsan

Thanks for sharing.I have a question, is an old documentary because it's aspect ratio is 4:3?

Hi Ronny, yes sadly it's only 4:3, I downloaded this from a file sharing site so the person who made it originally did it in this size.

:)

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kvp

It was interesting, but i'm a bit confused about the date when this was made. The technology they use is ancient, at least the paper diagrams and the abacus. Also i'm a bit surprised that the delay diagrams are on paper and the planners have to count the passengers, instead of of the station staff of dedicated passenger flow counters or the use of modern technology like getting data from the ticketing system.

 

Besides that the idea of metro trains not following a set service pattern seems a bit odd for me. This is probably the result of the many interrunning lines from different companies, but for me the classic periodic pattern is the normal. (german: taktfahrplan) This was in use from the start on the first underground in Budapest in the late 19th century, mandated by the electromechanical block control system. Train frequencies could be selected from the possible values for the whole line and non periodic arrivals could occur only during frequency changes. (like taking every second train out of the service or inserting them back or switching from 60 second headways to 80 or 120 late at night. Writing a schedule for non regularly spaced stations with different passenger flows, joining and splitting lines is complex, but can be handled algorithymically without manual calculations. To see this kind of manual work in the 21st century is quite surprising for me.

 

ps: Also the mention that train schedule graphs are kept secret is something i don't understand. In Europe in the past, they were always hanged out at stations and nowdays are also published in electronic form, so route planners can take advantage of this. Including some apps from the transit companies, showing the exact location of each train (or even bus) and if they are late or early and the reason of delay. (overcrowding, technical problems, etc.) These data collected and made available can be used to improve schedules and for passengers and route planning software to choose a better route. (based on minimal time, walk distance, wait time, number of route changes, etc.) I think this shows that in Japan many things that could be automated are still done manually just for the sake of it.

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mrp

I’ve noticed that there seems to be a whole sub-branch of model railroading in Japan dedicated to creating (and then re-enacting) hugely complex schedules and timetables.

 
They even seem to have their own club  - the Railway Fan Club.  (These are the same guys that did the Seibu Line display at JAM last year).
 
And various free software packages available, like WinDIA and OuDia.  As far as I can tell, you can download current and historical timetables and schedules for a whole bunch of railways.
 
Oudia_main.JPG
 
 
Pretty hard core!
 

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kvp

 

They even seem to have their own club - the Railway Fan Club. (These are the same guys that did the Seibu Line display at JAM last year).

I like those guys. They always choose a real life line and built it as a layout. Not too much scenery, but real signalling, operations and everything. They even did the Toyoko line elevated/subway swap timetable, which was a one off in real life.

 

The european version of this is part of the fremo layout and operations standard. Based on this, in the recent years my lego club followed a real timetable during the yearly exhibitions in the hungarian railway historical park (in the old roundhouse of the budapest western railway station). Of course we had to use a compressed time scale, and the schedule was repeated every hour. I even wrote a planning and display software that could show each station's timetable in various old and new display formats (printed, old mechanical board, led board, modern lcd display) and update it according to the clock.

 

Considering this, i'm still surprised the real ones were still made on paper.

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Ronny

Dabsan I'm askyng only because i work in a TV in my hometown and i rememeber that Japanese television use 16:9 aspect  for some years now. :-D

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dabsan

Dabsan I'm askyng only because i work in a TV in my hometown and i rememeber that Japanese television use 16:9 aspect  for some years now. :-D

Hi Ronny, thanks for the info :) yeah not sure what happened with that recording. It must be great work for TV, do you know if there are any TV shows about railways in Italy? That's a great loco you are standing in front of in your photo.

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Ronny

On the main national broadcasters (Rai = national TV) (Mediaset or La7 = big private nationalwide group) there're no specific tv show on Italian Trains. Dmax, a branch of Discovery Italia, broadcasts "Railroad Alaska". Other regional Tv like the one where I work maybe have, but there's so many of them that i can not know.

The TV where I work made some show on tourism where trains were present, but at the moment i didn't find the youtube links.

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bikkuri bahn

The technology they use is ancient, at least the paper diagrams and the abacus.

 

"Ancient" does not necessarily mean ineffective.  For a trained sujiya, a paper diagram is superior to a computer program to visualize the interactions between trains.  Particularly when a service is disrupted- sujiya use pen and pencil to draw up emergency diagrams because it's faster to rely on the most advanced computer we know- the human brain. I have a friend who once worked with an ex-JR man who did this work, and they always relied on paper digrams rather than the computer when the shit hits the fan.  Also, for someone trained in it, an abacus allows faster calculation than an electronic device.

 

Also i'm a bit surprised that the delay diagrams are on paper and the planners have to count the passengers, instead of of the station staff of dedicated passenger flow counters or the use of modern technology like getting data from the ticketing system.

 

The sujiya are expected to know the situation at each station intimately, and measure the flows at certain points on platforms- relying on other people and computers allows room for error, which cannot be allowed when you're literally squeezing seconds from the operating diagram. 

 

Besides that the idea of metro trains not following a set service pattern seems a bit odd for me.

 

Japan is not Europe- the traffic flows are greater here.  An interval pattern during the rush hour would clog up the system in no time- it must be more dynamic and tailored.  Off peak, many railways do run a regular interval service- called a pattern daiya.

 

To see this kind of manual work in the 21st century is quite surprising for me.

 

That's because the sujiya are not just railway workers, they are craftsmen that are expert at what they do- I would stack them up in ability against anyone else (or a computer) in the world*.  Yes, it's labor intensive, but necessary in Japanese railway conditions.

 

ps: Also the mention that train schedule graphs are kept secret is something i don't understand.

 

 

Most railways in Japan are private- why would they reveal working diagrams for employees use that could possibly be used by competitors to their advantage?  There are detailed schedules for the riding public at stations, published in paper timetables, and online, which are wholly adequate for the customers.  No one (except railfans) need to know ecs moves and the like.

 

*to make an analogy, I would liken the sujiya to the regleurs of the mechanical watchmaking world.  Very precise adjustments which affects results in various levels- the Japanese are also masters at this- they swept the Swiss chronometer trials in the late 1960's, forcing the Swiss to end the competition as it was at the time being used as a marketing device to sell the image of supposed Swiss watchmaking superiority.  Curiously, the chronometer trials have been revived recently- they are dubbed "International", however, only European entrants are allowed- LOL!

Edited by bikkuri bahn

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katoftw


May 14, Thu.



Isumi Railway: There's Nothing Here!
150514railway1.jpg150514railway2.jpg

Most Third Sector railways are former nationally owned lines in rural areas that run at a loss. Recently, Isumi Railway decided on a new strategy to change this. In 2009, they opened their doors to the public to hire a president. They chose a former international airline operations manager, who is also a hardcore rail fan. Discover how his unique perspective and unconventional ideas lead to the revival of the Isumi Railway. 








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katoftw

Thanks for sharing.

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Jensen

Thx for the share, really interesting video

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Ronny

Thanks guys, you are great

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katoftw

Rass Chijin Railway was interesting.  I've also changed sleepers before on a narrow gauge railway.  Not fun. haha

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LeeC22

I thought he was going to destroy the sleeper they'd just changed the way he was missing with that hammer. :)

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splifdfx

Just watched the episode, so thanks a lot again for the recording and upload.

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Sascha

Thanks a lot!!!!

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Sascha

As always my sincerest thanks!!!

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