Shinonoi Line | Nagano - Shiojiri

Discussion in 'Suggestions' started by Commiee, Apr 9, 2021.

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  1. Commiee

    Commiee Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    An E257 series EMU on Shinonoi Line (photo via breeze.romanticrailway.com)

    We seem to have a lot of suggestions for Japanese routes centred around metropolitan areas and the busiest lines. With my request I wanted to suggest a route that would:
    • Be located away from the Tokyo hub
    • Travel partly through natural scenery and not just urban-heavy surroundings
    • Feature a diverse set of rolling stock both currently and in past services
    Taking all of these elements into consideration, I arrived at the Shinonoi Line, operated by JR East in Nagano Prefecture, about 170 km (105 miles) to the west of Tokyo.

    The route

    Located in Nagano Prefecture, the line connects the winter resort city of Nagano - one of the host locations of the 1998 Winter Olympics - with the city of Shiojiri, located about 65 km (40 miles) to the south. The route has a variety of limited express and local services, and therefore a diversity in rolling stock. The line and its destinations are connected to other passenger routes, including the Hokuriku Shinkansen bound from/to Tokyo in the east and a route towards Nagoya in the south. It also functions as a corridor between the Shinetsu Main Line and the Chūō Main Line.

    First opened in 1900, the original route connected Shinonoi to Nishijō on a distance of 30 km (18 miles), eventually extended to Shiojiri two years later. Part of the route was electrified in the mid-1960s, with the process completed for the rest of the line in the first half of the 1970s.

    Using the Japanese 1,067 mm (3ft 6in) narrow gauge railway and 1,500 Volt DC overhead electrification, the route has 15 stations along it and the maximum operating speed of 130 km/h (80 mph).


    Cab view of a journey between Matsumoto and Nagano on an HB-E300 hybrid DMU of the Rapid Resort View Furusato service

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    From left: stations on the route (via Wikipedia); the route highlighted (via rome2rio.com); the route within the context of connected lines (via snowmonkeyresorts.com)

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    From left: view of the exterior of Shiojiri Station (photo by 663highland/CC BY 2.5); Shiojiri Station platform (photo by そらみみ/CC BY-SA 3.0); Matsumoto Station platform (photo by Tbatb/CC BY-SA 4.0); view of the exterior of Akashina Station (photo by 東京特許許可局/CC BY-SA 3.0); view of the exterior of Hijiri-Kōgen Station (photo by Nyao148/CC BY 3.0); view of the surroundings of the route with the Kuwanohara Signal Field in foreground (photo by Nyao148/CC BY 3.0)

    The rolling stock

    Information around the complete current rolling stock on the line seems to be a bit out-of-date (e.g. I can't find notes on the HB-E300 hybrid DMU featured in the cab video above running on the line), but I will name the trains that I can confirm below.

    Local services on the route use the 313 series, 211 series and E127 series EMUs - seen on JR East/JR Central routes since the 1990s/1980s. Limited express services feature the E353 series and 383 series, the former operated for the Azusa and Kaiji services and the latter for the Wide View Shinano service.

    Freight locomotives on the line include the EF64 and EH200 - the former being a mainstay of Japanese freight operations for decades, and the latter being a more modern vehicle. These JR Freight-operated locos pull containers but are particularly tasked with hauling kerosene, heavy oil, petrol and more for the needs of the cold locality of Nagano prefecture.

    Commuter rolling stock


    A 313-1300 series EMU of the Shinonoi Line at the Minami-Matsumoto Station

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    From left: cab controls of the 313 series (photo by Cassiopeia sweet/Public Domain)


    First introduced in 1999, the 313 series was built by Kinki Sharyo, Nippon Sharyō and Tokyu Car Corporation until 2014 and again in 2019, with 541 units constructed. In recent years, more than 500 were still in service, used in services of central Japan regions. These EMUs replaced the 113 and 115 series trains on their introduction, and were intended as modular units to be used on both local and Rapid services. They are formed in sets of two, three, four and six cars. Made of stainless steel, 313s operate with dynamic, regenerative and pneumatic braking systems and feature ATS-ST and ATS-PT onboard safety systems. Versions of the EMU are capable of reaching a maximum speed of 130 km/h (80 mph) or 120 km/h (75 mph).


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    From left: a JR Central 211 series EMU (photo by LERK/CC BY 3.0); an E127-100 series set A11 at the Matsumoto Station (photo by uenokami/CC BY-SA 3.0)

    Constructed between 1985-1991, the 211 series was built by Hitachi, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Kinki Sharyo, Nippon Sharyō and Tokyu Car Corporation. Over 1,910 were built, with over 800 still in service over the recent years. The sets still in operation are used by JR East and JR Central, with JR West having retired its only 211 series in 2010. Featuring stainless-steel construction, these EMUs can reach speeds of 110 km/h (68 mph) or 120 km/h (75 mph). With power output of 120 kW, the train also operates regenerative braking systems.

    The 127 series EMU has been in operation by JR East since 1995, with 50 units built between 1995-1998 by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Tokyu Car Corporation and JR East. Most of the trains were still in operation around 2016 out of Matsumoto, Niigata and Naoetsu depots. Made of stainless steel, the EMUs are used in two-car formations, have three pairs of doors per side and ATS-SN, ATS-P and ATS-Ps safety systems onboard. They can reach a top speed of 110 km/h (70 mph).

    Limited express rolling stock


    Sights of trains including the E353 (starting at 0:40) and 383 series (starting at 1:20) limited express EMUs, passing the Kamuriki Station in full bloom in April 2021

    The award-winning E353 series is produced by J-TREC in Yohokama, with operations started on the Chūō Main Line in December 2017. They replaced the E351 series on Azusa Limited Express service, in operations between Shinjuku in Tokyo and Matsumoto in Nagano Prefecture. Over 200 were built between 2015–2019, with the series constructed from aluminium alloy and featuring tilting technology. Utilising the IGBT-VVVF traction system and power output between 1.2 MW (1,600 hp) and 2.8 MW (3,800 hp) for three- and nine-car sets respectively, they can reach a top speed of 130 km/h (80 mph). The E353 series uses ATS-P and ATS-PS safety systems in operation. The train was awarded the 2018 Laurel Prize by the Japan Railfan Club.

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    From left: a view of the 383 on a scenic location (photo by Saigen Jiro/CC0); a 383 seen between the Ochiaigawa Station and Nakatsugawa Station (photo by Tennen-Gas/CC BY-SA 3.0)

    Used on Shinano Limited Express and Home Liner services, the 383 series EMU is built since 1994 by Hitachi, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Nippon Sharyo. Over 75 were produced between then and recent years and are operated out of the Jinryō Depot. The train was awarded the 1996 Laurel Prize. Using the GTO traction system and ATS-ST safety system, the EMU has dynamic, regenerative, pneumatic and snow-resistant brake technology and can reach 130 km/h (81 mph).

    Freight locomotives


    A switchback operation involving an EH200 with tankers at the Kuwanohara Signal Field

    The EH200 is a design built since 2001 by Toshiba to replace the EF64, with dozens in service in the recent years. Based out of Takasaki depot, they are seen hauling consists on a number of lines, including the Chūō. The twin-unit locomotive features the Bo′Bo′+Bo′Bo′ wheel arrangement, IGBT traction system and ATS-SF safety system. The power output of 4,520 kW (6,060 hp) allows it to reach a top speed of 110 km/h (70 mph).


    An EF64-0 locomotive on the Shinonoi Line

    The EF64 locomotive was built between 1964-1976 and 1980-1982 for JNR by Kawasaki and Toshiba, with a total of 132 units of the six-axle, 96-ton locomotive produced to replace the EF16 model. By 2016, around 45 of these vehicles were still in service. Chūō Main was the second line to receive the vehicle, starting with the EF64 13. JR Freight operates them from Shiojiri and Aichi depots of the Chūō Line. Starting in 1996, the locomotives underwent refurbishment, with EF64 67 becoming the first to go through the process. The EF64 features the Bo-Bo-Bo wheel arrangement, a power output of 2.55 MW (3,420 hp) and is able to reach a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph). A few EF64s have been preserved, with one found on Chūō Main Line in the city of Kōshū and another in Tottori Prefecture.

    Former rolling stock

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    From left: E257 series EMU at Narita Station (photo by Wikimizuki/CC BY-SA 4.0); E351 series EMU (photo by Ten-nen Gas/CC BY-SA 4.0); 381 series EMU (photo by Mitsuki-2368/CC BY-SA 3.0); 123 series EMU (photo by Kei365/CC BY-SA 3.0); 115 series EMU (photo by 大前駅/CC BY 3.0)

    Sources:
    https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Shinonoi_Line
    https://www.wikiwand.com/ja/篠ノ井線
    https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Shiojiri_Station
    https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Matsumoto_Station
    https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Hijiri-Kōgen_Station
    https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Akashina_Station
    https://www.wikiwand.com/en/313_series
    https://www.wikiwand.com/en/211_series#/External_links
    https://www.wikiwand.com/en/E127_series
    https://www.wikiwand.com/en/E353_series

    https://www.wikiwand.com/en/383_series
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2021
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  2. Dinosbacsi

    Dinosbacsi Well-Known Member

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    Interesting route, I see it has some pretty steep curves and long tunnels. The hillside views are also beautiful, if TSW ever managed to nail distant terrain and scenery, it could be a very beautiful ride!

    The 211 series and 313 series are also really nice looking trains, would be great to drive them.
     
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  3. Commiee

    Commiee Well-Known Member

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  4. Commiee

    Commiee Well-Known Member

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    A couple more videos I found that show the 383 Series on the backdrop of the surroundings of the route:



     
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  5. Commiee

    Commiee Well-Known Member

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    I've replaced the cab ride video with another one. The previous one had vibrations at several points that made viewing difficult, and was shot in the fall. This one offers a look at the green surroundings of spring/summer along the route. It was recorded last month, from onboard an HB-E300 hybrid DMU of a Rapid Resort View Furusato service, which means there is at least one current service I was not aware of when creating the OP due to outdated sources in English. I guess the info I had will have to do for now.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2021
  6. Commiee

    Commiee Well-Known Member

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    I've added new videos and paragraphs, and replaced some photos to facelift the thread a bit. I am now looking for information on freight operations to add to the suggestion - if anyone has any links or bits of info, I would be grateful to have those.
     
  7. Commiee

    Commiee Well-Known Member

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    Alright, I went through some Japanese-language sources and was finally able to confirm a few details about freight services on the line. Updated the OP - this is now a route suggestion with both passenger and freight.
     
  8. DTG Natster

    DTG Natster Community Manager Staff Member

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    Please see the forum rules regarding thread bumping.
     
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