Sunday, March 26, 2017

2017 Sonyan Super-day Festa on the Sagami Railway

The third (right) and the fourth (left) generation Sonyan poster trains

On March 12th, Sagami Railway (Sotetsu) held a special event for kids and rail-fans at their Sagami-Otsuka Rail Yard named "Sonyan Super-day Festa." What is Sonyan?

Sonyan is Sotetsu's mascot character, which is used to promote their services to passengers. He is a cat, who was born on March 10th on the Sotetsu Line, and a Sotetsu employee assigned to public relations. "Sonyan Super-day Festa" was held to celebrate his birthday. Sonyan came to the event site to communicate the visitors. I saw that many local kids joined in the games and quizzes with Sonyan.

One of the main events for rail-fans was a photo session of old and new Sonyan poster trains. The old one, which was the third generation Sonyan poster train, namely the 11003F of the EMU 11000 series, was retired on that day and will be returned to the standard colors, while the new one, which is the fourth generation Sonyan poster train, namely the 11004F of the 11000 series, debuted on the same day. In addition to the Sonyan characters, we can see the history of Sotetsu on the body of the new Sonyan poster train, because the new Sonyan poster train celebrates Sotetsu's 100th anniversary as well.

For your information, the EMU 11000 series is the newest model on the Sotetsu Line. It was launched in 2008 and a total of 5 sets, 50 units, have been built by Tokyu Sharyo and JR East Niitsu Factory so far.

Sonyan is indeed a flack for the company.

Sotetsu's mascot character, Sonyan, comes to Sonyan Super-day Festa

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Old Plum Grove on the Sobu Main Line

EMU JR East 209 series arrives at Naruto Station on the Sobu Main Line

There are many fully blooming plum groves in the Tokyo metropolitan area now, so, I couldn't make up my mind which one to choose for visiting next to the Kairakuen plum garden in Ibaraki prefecture. Eventually, my family chose a plum grove in Sakata castle ruins as our next destination.

Sakata castle ruins are located in Chiba Prefecture, about 90 km east of Tokyo. As its name suggests, this site was a castle in medieval times. It is said that the Chiba family, a regional powerful clan, constructed the castle in the middle of 14th century. Currently, the site of the castle is changed to farmland. Specifically, local people have been cultivating plum trees for a long time for fruit to eat. When we visited there, white plums were in full bloom. The visitors were enjoying the last days of the 2017 plum blossoms season as freely as they liked.

To get to this old plum grove, we took the JR East Sobu Main Line, and got off at Yokoshiba Station. The Sobu Main Line is a trunk route connecting Tokyo and Choshi stations (120.5 km). The EMU 209-2000 and 2100 series are main fleets in the eastern section between Chiba and Choshi stations. These models debuted in 2009 to replace the old commuter trains such as the 113 and the 211 series. There are 4-car and 6-car trains. The square stainless-steel body with yellow and blue colored stripes is characteristic as the JR East's local train in Chiba Prefecture.

Plum grove near Yokoshiba Station on the Sobu Main Line

Monday, March 20, 2017

Two Kinds of Sceneries on the Enoden Line

EMU Enoden 10 series travels on the shared track near Koshigoe Station

Enoden, Enoshima Electric Railway, is a local line in Kanagawa Prefecture. It was opened in 1902 as a route to the famous sightseeing spots such as beautiful Enoshima Island and historical Kamakura City. Connecting Fujisawa and Kamakura, its route length is 10 km. The track is 1,067 mm-size single. The electric system is 600 V DC overhead. Trains are operated frequently, every 12 minutes during daytime, but it is always crowded with sightseers, local people, and students. The number of foreign passengers has increased drastically in the past several years.

Enoden is quite a unique railway, since passengers can enjoy two kinds of contrasting sceneries on its short route. One is crowded, and the other one is magnificent. They are exactly contrary to each other.

The former scenery is found on the section between Enoshima and Koshigoe stations. The track is shared with a busy public road there. Passengers can see the train weaving its way through the crowded automobiles. It is a quite thrilling scene. People's lives along the track are also seen closely.

The latter is found on the section between Koshigoe and Kamakura-koko-mae (Kamakura high school) stations. The train runs fast in the breeze on the exclusive track along the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Passengers can enjoy the magnificent scenery of the beautiful ocean. Enoshima Island is also beautiful and a good accent there.

Enoden, it is a cost-effective railway for passengers, who would like to enjoy a variety of sceneries from the train windows.

EMU Enoden 1000 series travels on the coast near Kamakura-koko-mae Station.