BYLINE: Nariyasu MatsuokaChief Engineer, Rolling Stock DepartmentWest Japan Railway CoECONOMIC and financial circumstances facing JR-West mean that the Rolling Stock Department must give its highest priority to providing passengers with high-quality trains at low cost. Plans are well in hand to develop better trains for the Sanyo shinkansen (RG 5.97 p308), but it is just as important to improve services on the 4425 km network of 1067mm gauge lines. The narrow gauge routes are centred on Osaka and cover the regions of Hokuriku, Kinki,and Chugoku. Rail services in these areas are designed to meet specific local needs, but there are also important inter-city links between major cities such as Kyoto, Kobe, Wakayama and Nara.Services are being enhanced by introducing direct limited expresses on regional routes so that fewer passengers have to change trains. Timetable changes have added extra trains on urban networks, and there are promising signs of growth in traffic volume.Regional routes in each area account for about 35% of total route-km, and most services on these lines carry commuters to and from work. However, increased use of private cars in recent years has led to a decline in traffic volume on regional lines.In an attempt to revitalise them, we are giving local managers more freedom to run their own businesses. This entails setting up regional railway operations departments as part of a policy based on using the management style of small private railways. Such independent management is intended to introduce a programme of measures to ensure efficiency while retaining features specific to each railway zone.Given that background, JR-West’s rolling stock department is faced with the need to develop vehicles that exploit the latest advances in technology. The aim is to raise speeds and improve services by enhancing the whole fleet, which currently comprises 4400 EMU vehicles and 770 diesel cars.Inter-city routesJR-West operates trains at 140 km/h on certain sections of the 1067mm gauge network, but this requires special authorisation. Elsewhere, the maximum operating speed is limited to 130 km/h because of a Ministry of Transport regulation requiring stopping distances to be 600m or less.JR-West’s Series 681 Limited Express dual-system train has a design speed of 160 km/h, and we plan to exploit this on the level crossing-free Kosei line linking Hokuriku and Kinki. Before we can do this, we will have to ensure that we meet all the government’s regulations for operation at the higher speed – these include improving the visibility of signals.Before high speed running can be introduced more widely, we need to carry out more research and development into braking equipment and control systems that will ensure trains can halt in the specified stopping distance. This will avoid the need to seek special authority from the Ministry of Transport.More tilting trains As many of JR-West’s lines have a high proportion of curved track, lifting the maximum speed has only a small effect on journey times. For this reason we are introducing more trains with tilting bodies, allowing faster speeds through curves and hence shorter timings.For example, the combination of tilting trains and higher line speeds on the Kinokuni line has cut timings by about 20min between Shin Osaka and Shingu. Series 283 Super Kuroshio trains (RG 12.96 p796) have provided three daily round trips since March 22. In some places the curve radius on this 280 km scenic route is just 200m, and there are about 60 locations where it is less than 300m. This is the longest JR route where tilting trains are used.Raising speeds further will require even better bogie designs and low cost tilting equipment. We will also seek to reduce car body weight, so achieving a lower centre of gravity.In the long term there may be opportunities to make more fundamental changes. One possibility would be mixed-gauge tracks to allow through running from Shinkansen lines, but this would depend on local governments being willing to contribute to the development costs.Urban networksRolling stock used for urban services has to cater for passengers travelling on business, sightseeing or simply commuting to work and school. We have sought to design trains that will appeal to commuting passengers because they are bright, spacious, quiet and comfortable.On the busiest commuting routes we are currently operating Series 207 trains with four pairs of doors on each side of each car, longitudinal seats, and a maximum speed of 120 km/h. These trains also offer rapid acceleration.Within the next few years we plan to introduce more Series 223 trains able to run at 130 km/h and with only three pairs of doors per side plus transverse seating.Series 223 has two trailer cars for each motor car and VVVF traction control. This formation allows capacity to be matched more easily to traffic volume. We have recently developed trains where the formation can vary from a single car to the maximum number permitted on individual routes.We are now intent on cutting the weight of traction equipment and are working with suppliers so that the price of electrical and electronic components can be reduced. Local servicesFor the moment old rolling stock cascaded from urban routes forms a large proportion of the trains used on regional lines. Within the next few years we plan to invest in new short formation trains which can be easily operated by regional departments.This development process will see us investigate technology for automatic couplings, driver-only operation, and equipment to permit different types of train to run in multiple. Also essential is a comprehensive programme to bring costs down. On non-electrified lines services are worked by diesel-mechanical railcars, which are costlier to maintain than electric trains. We are therefore looking at diesel-electric units. In February 1996 tests were carried out with a prototype. Although the initial cost is higher, there are many advantages, especially if it proves possible to reduce the cost of components.Finally, we are seeking to make local lines more attractive, and to this end we are investigating the potential for low-floor cars similar to those developed for trams and light rail.It is imperative that we continue our efforts to ensure that society is given the kind of rolling stock that will prove, with the passage of time, to have played a vital role in our cultural history oCAPTION: JR-West has rebuilt a number of its older trains to give passengers a panoramic view throught the driver’s cabCAPTION: Series 283 Super Kuroshio (Ocean Arrow) EMUs connect coastal resorts between Shingu and Gobo with Osaka and KyotoCAPTION: A fleet of 48 Series 223 trains was built quickly after the Great Hanshin earthquake to meet demand on busy commuter routesCAPTION: Super Raicho Thunderbird sets have introduced higher standards of comfort on JR-West’s longer inter-city routes
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Facebook621Tweet0Pin0 Submitted by Washington House DemocratsState Representative Chris Reykdal (D-Tumwater) is donating the difference between his cost of living increase and other state workers to charity.State Representative Chris Reykdal (D-Tumwater) announced that he will donate to charity any cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) provided to Legislators in excess of the COLA provided to teachers, state employees, long-term care workers, and other state collectively bargained agreements.“I deeply respect the individual decision each lawmaker will make regarding their COLA,” Reykdal said. “These are friends and fellow public servants. They often live away from their families and their communities for several months in order to serve in our citizen legislature.“There are 147 passionate and deserving legislators that serve, but speaking only for myself and as a former classroom teacher, I think it is inappropriate to accept any percentage greater than what our teachers, state employees, and other public servants receive for a COLA.”In 1986, the voters of Washington adopted a constitutional amendment taking away the salary setting authority of the Legislature. Instead, The Washington Citizens’ Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials is tasked with setting salaries of legislators, statewide office holders, and judges.The independent commission approved an 11.2% COLA for legislators over two years.“It’s good policy to have a citizens’ commission doing this. Legislators should not set their own salaries,” Reykdal said. “But, after six years of frozen pay for our educators and state employees that choose a life of public service, they should be first in line now that the economy is recovering.”Reykdal will donate the difference between the Legislature’s COLA (expected to be 8% beginning in September) and the COLA provided to teachers, state employees, and other bargaining groups as determined in the final operating budget to the Children’s Fund Charity.“This fund reimburses teachers who spend money out of their own pockets to buy meals, jackets, shoes, glasses, and other necessities for their students,” Reykdal said. “Educators are heroes who deserve substantially more compensation than we currently provide. They should not have to be on our state’s social safety net at the same time.”“At this point we are working hard to get our teachers and public employees a 3% COLA in the first year. If that holds, I will donate the difference, 5% of my legislative salary, to the Children’s Fund Charity. And I will continue to do so in perpetuity until teachers and state employees achieve 11.2% COLAs.”
Other teams entered included Grand Forks, Spokane and Castlegar. Kelowna came away the big winner at the Nelson Midget Rep Minor Hockey Tournament Sunday at the NDCC Arena.The Central Okanagan squad defeated South Okanagan in the tourney final.Host Nelson Midget Reps had a solid weekend, but lost a heartbreaker Sunday morning to South Okanagan squad.
The West Kootenay Wildcats travel to the Central Okanagan Sunday to do battle in the B.C. Hockey Female A Championships.The Cats kick off the tournament Sunday in Vernon against the host club in the 8 p.m. feature game.West Kootenay closes out the round robin Monday against Prince George and Tuesday against South Island.Wednesday is playoff time before the provincial champ is crowned at 8 p.m. Mallard’s Source for Sports would like to honour the Cats with Team of the Week accolades.The team includes, back row, L-R, assistant coach Todd Stevens, assistant coach Simon Wheeldon, head coach D’Arcy Caron and trainer Mike Bonacci. Middle back, Kali Horner, Jessica Bonacci, Haley Elias, Emilie Tebulte, Jordan Zilkie, Hailey Herridge and Dakota Mular.Middle, front Taylor Harrison, Kendra Waterstreet, Reece Hunt, Reese McCrory, Emma Caron and Emma Wheeldon.Front, Brady Stevens, assistant captain Julie Sidoni, captain Merissa Dawson, goalie Catalina Hartland, assistant captain Paige Gattafoni and Shayla Elias.Missing trainer Jason Zilkie and assistant captain Madelaine Vockeroth-Fisher.