Topic: Sightseeing train turns ’problem’ Kyoto line into talk of the town
A railway here in Miyazu, Kyoto Prefecture once on the verge of being defunct has a new lease on life with its slow-moving sightseeing train featuring a cafe-like interior.
The Tango Aka-Matsu is operated by Kyoto Tango Railway （Tantetsu）, whose lines were famously dubbed the symbol of unprofitable train routes in the Heisei Era, which started in 1989.
The train, which connects Nishi-Maizuru and Amanohashidate stations, runs at reduced speeds offering scenic views.
Passengers let out cries of delight on a weekend in December as the fully occupied 33-seat train approached Yuragawa Kyoryo bridge over the Yuragawa river.
"It’s amazing. It’s like we are on the sea," one passenger said.
The 550-meter-long bridge is only a few meters above the river, making passengers feel as if the train is traveling on the water.
Topic: Emergency bathroom run lands Japanese "bullet train" driver in hot water 煩
The famed high-speed "bullet train" in Japan got some unwanted attention from regulators last month after the driver briefly abandoned his controls to take a bathroom break — leaving the train and its 160 passengers to hurtle along the tracks at 93 miles-per-hour.
The train departed Tokyo Station at 7:33 a.m., bound for Shin-Osaka station. At 8:14, outside the city of Odawara southwest of Tokyo, the driver suffered a bout of abdominal distress.
Instead of stopping the train to run to the bathroom, he called in the conductor to occupy the control room for three minutes, until he was able to scramble back to his post.
"Many of our conductors are licensed to take the controls," Central Japan Railway public relations representative Ryumon Hashimoto said. "But this one wasn’t."
Topic: Aesthetic makeover: TRA launches new tour train
When the plans for the Taiwan Railway Administration’s (TRA) NT$79 million (US$2.6 million) 29 “Formosa Express” passenger tour carriages were revealed earlier this year, the designs were met with an avalanche of criticism. In response, TRA director Chang Cheng-yuan announced in April that the company would hold consultations on the design, and that the most vehement detractors would be invited to contribute.
Headed by designer Han Wu, the team of consultants brought together experts from various fields, and the award-winning Taiwanese design firm J. C. Architecture was invited to undertake an aesthetic makeover, designing the 13 cars yet to be converted.
Unveiled on Friday, the newly designed TRA Tour Train sports a black and orange exterior, imparting an air of gravitas to its new look. Redundant signs distracting from the minimalist interior design were removed, and soft lighting was introduced to create a comfortable, relaxing ambience, to give passengers the impression of being in a hotel.
The curtains in the carriages are based on the works of Yuma Taru, an aboriginal craftswoman, employing geometric shapes suggestive of mountains, while the upholstery utilizes blues and grays, a reference to Taiwan’s oceans, rocks and mountains. The overall effect goes beyond that of a simple means of transportation, and now has more of an emotional impact.
Commenting on why black and orange were chosen for the exterior, Nora Wang, co-founder of J. C. Architecture, says that black imparts a sense of mystery and sobriety, and that old photos of TRA train carriages show that black was widely used for train exteriors in the past. The orange, meanwhile, is a reference to the Chu Kuang Express train designs. The tour train’s black and orange theme is therefore a link to railway history, reinvented from and recombining older design elements.
Wang’s favorite design is the bar counter area, reminiscent of a hotel reception, featuring a small lamp on the dining table, giving boarding passengers the impression they are entering a hotel. Passengers get to experience the hotel-like service, too, reclining in the train’s parlor car accompanied by friends and family, leisurely sipping coffee. The windows offer magnificent ocean views to the east and vistas of rice paddies and mountains to the west.
Wang says, “The TRA train is not just a means of transportation, it is a starting point for a journey.” She hopes that the TRA Tour Train will help promote rail travel in Taiwan. Tour trains in countries such as Japan and Italy attract visitors from all over the world every year, and Wang believes Taiwan has the potential to be like this. “Taiwan’s landscape is so beautiful,” she says, and “some scenery can only be seen from the train.”
Source article: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2019/12/17/2003727649/2
Topic: The hydrogen, or hydrail, train is set to run in Lower Saxony starting in December 2017.
The train - called the "Coradia iLint" - has been developed over the past two years by French company Alstom.
The hydrogen train operates using a hydrogen fuel tank, stored on the roof of the train, that in turn powers a fuel cell to produce electrical energy. This technology provides a new environmentally friendly alternative to the diesel trains that are still used across much of Germany.
Engineers have been developing ‘hydrail’ technology for the last 15 years, but mostly with freight trains.
The new Alstom train will be the first hydrogen passenger train to regularly operate on long-distance journeys.
With a full tank, the new locomotive will be able to travel 600 to 800 kilometers.
Because of its much larger fuel capacity, the train does not have to confront the same problems that hydro-cars face with refueling. Another advantage is its quietness： even at its top speed of 140 km/h, the only noise is that produced by the motion of the wheels and air resistance.
Source article: http://iservice.ltn.com.tw/Service/english/english.php?engno=1038108&day=2016-10-03 ; https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1322516 ; https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1452760;