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7Oct/190

103 Series Final Run, Osaka – June, 2019

This was officially the third final run 'seen' in one trip to Japan! First I got to see Ohmi Railway's 700 Series do its last run. Secondly, although not the final-final, I saw/rode Kumamoto Dentetsu's 200 Series during it's last month of operations. Finally, we have the Osaka Loop Line special: an orange-liveried 103-Series EMU. Starting in 2016, JR West put a lot of money into the Osaka Power Loop marketing campaign which saw new EMUs and new liveries on the Loop Line. This therefore meant a phasing out of the older rolling-stock.

Just my luck, the final run of the last running orange 103-series happened in early June. Unfortunately, I was working from the apartment and hadn't paid enough attention to when the final run would actually be! It turns out it was a single lap in the early morning peak! The train then retired to the yards near Osaka-Jo. I had actually gone out for a lap of the loop at around 3pm, waiting around Bentencho Station for the train to pass... after a while I google'd, only to find out that I was too late and therefore decided to head to the yards at Morinomiya. Before that though, there were some cool sites to be seen!

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And, of course, my goal had been to catch the last-run and freight... so at least I was in one correct spot at one correct time!

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The yard is located to the south of Kyobashi Station on the eastern side of the Osaka Loop Line. Morinomiya is the station directly south of the yard. The yard's entrance is on the north side and all operations are visible from the southern end of the Kyobashi Station platforms. To see parked trains though, I'd recommend walking from Morinomiya Station. It seems that everyone else had the same idea!

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So, the train was in the yard and the wall was high and secure. If you look in the photo above, there was a poor little kid who'd ridden his bicycle down and tried to use it as a pedestal to see over the wall. Unfortunately, he still wasn't tall enough to take a photo with his Nintendo 3DS. I didn't ask why he was using that... but I guess he was too young to have a phone?

I took the following photo over the wall...

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And then the poor kid looked up at me ... totally distraught. What else was there to do? I grabbed him and lifted him up high enough to take photos with his Nintendo! Made his day! On the way back, I stopped through Kyobashi Station as I wanted to actually check out the area. Whilst alighting, I grabbed a few shots of the local rolling-stock.

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I was pretty sad... this was my second-last day of a 5-week trip.

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4Oct/190

Flea Markets, Osaka – May, 2019

There's nothing better than queuing (queueing?) up at the entrance of a Flea Market... there could be any amount of treasure inside, so you'll never know what you might find. One also doesn't want others to steal said treasure, so one must be early! In Japan, just like most other countries, there's a lust for flea markets and there's always someone selling something which piques one's interest.

Banpaku Recycle Fair - Expo Park

This flea market, named Banpaku Recycle Fair, is held twice a month at Expo Park in North Osaka. Getting there from Shin-Osaka was very easy, taking the subway and the Osaka Monorail.

After getting off at Expo Memorial Park Station, exit to the east and then cross under the monorail lines. The entrance is well organised, and really, you just need to head towards this guy to find it...

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The park is used for a lot of events, even just families going for a picnic. The weather was perfect for a picnic also, but that's not what I was there for. Following the main path around to the left, you'll find the flea market.

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From here, the browsing commenced! I ended up picking up a Famicom and a few n-gauge trains.

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That Tower of the Sun God is ever-so-daunting.

Ohatsu Tenjin Shrine Flea Market

This one is nicely tucked away behind the busy streets of Umeda. It's a little bit south-east of the main JR Osaka Station, but within easy walking distance.

The temple itself is beautiful, a complete relic nestled in amongst a ring of skyscrapers. The area is connected to the Sonezaki Ohatsu Tenjin Dori Shopping Street (Shoutengai) which also offers some vintage and retro stores... if they're open when you're at the market!

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I managed to pick up a really nice Sony Walkman-style personal recorder. It had all the right inputs and looked like it might be able to be connected to an MSX/C64/etc.. for data recording.

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Don't forget to actually check out the shrine itself! Make a wish if you want!

Shi-Tennoji Flea Market

This market was huge! It's on the grounds of the Shi-Tennoji Temple and it's quite an effort to navigate the layout. You can access this market via the Tanimachi Subway Line at Shitennoji-mae Yuhigaoka Station or by walking north from JR Tennoji Station.

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If you're walking from the Subway station, you'll find the residents have their own stalls in the street leading to the main market. I don't know how by-the-book this is, but they've made the most of the traffic that comes through!

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Wandering around, the usual trinkets were to be seen... until I saw this!

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It's a vintage model maglev Linear Shuttle! Opening the box to check the contents proved that it wasn't in the best condition.

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There seems to be a small oil tube included, which makes me think that the vehicle isn't always levitating... a quick google indicated that it actually only levitates on one section of track which then propels it around the loop. The loop is also vertical, as in a loop-the-loop, and not a flat circuit. The metal was also quite corroded... so I passed on it... but I had been pretty damn keen!

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Don't forget to say Hi! to the turtles in the middle of the temple yard. And the dancing monkey! I just missed the show.

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Some stall holders happily dumped their wares on their tarpaulins... others were a lot more organised.

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And yeah... there's a lot of the above as well... it's always fun to check out the customers of such wares!

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This small market is open every Saturday morning. Markets are pretty-much always on Sundays in Australia, so it was fun to come across this randomly when heading to the station to meet friends. Fortunately, there wasn't anyting that interesting... so I didn't have to lug anything around all day.

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It was also extremely hot... so anything you see above has probably already melted!

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1Oct/190

Suita Yard, Osaka – May, 2019

Thanks to the time of year, the sun was already starting to set later in the evening during May. I used the opportunities, when it wasn't raining, to venture out to the freight areas along the JR Kyoto Line. I'd visited Takatsuki the night before and realised, on the way back to Shin-Osaka, that I'd never really investigated the freight yard in Suita. The yard is officially located between Suita Station and Kishibe Station and there's a locomotive depot on the southern side of the line. I chose to proceed to Kishibe Station on train and then walk back to Suita.

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Approaching from the east, I was instantly happy with my timing. The sun was setting perfectly, pointing straight at the faces of quite a lot of freight locomotives! Not only that, the variety was quite surprising. There were even some EF200s ready to be chopped up!

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From the east side, there's a gate to the yard. This area provides a great vantage point to watch anything shunting around. It just so happens that a new HD300 was doing the honours with a set of KOKI flats. I don't actually remember the note of the engine as it was shunting, but for the life of me I don't think it sounded any less diesel! Shouldn't it have been more hybrid?

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An EF63 then came through and parked into a free road in the yard. It had actually just come from Hirano, where I'd seen it earlier passing through!

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Waaaay up the back of the yard there was also a standard YO5000 black guards van.

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I continued to walk around to the other side of the yard. A lot of the length is just the side of the engine shed, in which I could here a lot of work being done, but couldn't really see it. And then there was some treasure on the side of the road... wouldn't fit in the suitcase though... might have been handy to test the famicom tho!

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Things got more interesting on the other side of the yard... EF66s! My favourite!

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And then, after a bit more of a walk, there was an open gate with a perfectly framed view straight into the yard.

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What an awesome line up! The lighting wasn't too bad either. Finally, down the very western end, is the entrance to the offices. They've mounted a 52 Series EMU (KuMoHa 52001) in their yard!

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Nice surprise! I totally recommend anyone in the area to go for a walk and check this place out.

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30Sep/190

Takatsuki, Osaka – May 2019

There's a lot to check out in this area of town. If you catch Hankyu in, you'll arrive at Takatsuki-Shi Station and you'll find yourself closer to 国道171号 (Koudou 171) (National Route 171), the main highway through town, than you would if you took JR. On this strip of tarmac, you'll find 3 different recycle shops!

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Much fun was had and much junk was bought, but then it was time for trains. Actually, it was time for a cheeseburger at McDonalds next door. After that, a quick walk north takes you to a tunnel under the Hankyu line.

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But we're not here for that either... further north (about another 20 minutes on-foot through some beautiful suburbia) is the main JR Kyoto/Tokaido line. More specifically, it's the location of the Takatsuki Staging Yards that I'd visited a really long time ago. The weather was much better on that previous adventure! I think it was a lot earlier in the morning and there were more EMUs in nicer locations.... and it wasn't raining.

Anyway, There's a whole new housing development being built over the rice fields, so the view from the JR lines back to Hankyu will soon be obscured.

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But the view of the JR lines wont change as you really wouldn't want to get any closer...

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As per the previous shots taken near the monorail, there's the usual selection of Harukas, Thunderbirds, etc... and they are going track-speed here. Surprising really, as the pedestrian crossing is pretty daunting. It's actually a lift-it-yourself weighted broom stick!

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So, as per the link above, when you cross you get to wander straight through the storage yards. There wasn't much happening here this time around though.

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From the middle of the crossing, there's also cool views in either direction!

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Finally, back on the safe-side, there's a good view of the train wash. It just so happened that one EMU needed a clean whilst I was there.

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I then walked all the way to Senrioka Station, getting off again at Kishibe to check out Suita Yards... but I'll throw that into another post.

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26Sep/190

Minami-Ibaraki, Osaka – May, 2019

I can't remember exactly why, but I'd been on the Osaka Monorail again (see all about it here) and alighted at Minami-Ibaraki Station. The goal was to transfer to JR by following the Monorail north and then turning east towards the Aeon Mall, eventually arriving at Ibaraki Station. On the way, you pass under the freight viaduct and then over the JR Kyoto/Tokaido Line. Both actually offer quite nice afternoon/evening vantage points.

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Above you can see the same bridge that I shot the EF66 on previously from Minami-Ibaraki Station itself. The sun was in a really nice position, but there was really little visibility of the freight line from street level! If something did pass, I didn't hear or see it. As I kept venturing north, I passed over the JR lines and saw that there was a direct path to the Aeon Mall. The sun was still up so I checked out the area just across the overpass. It turns out that there was a nice channel to the west of the intersection where one could possibly see some interesting traffic.

As per usual, loitering around long enough got the following...

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All the limited expresses that pass my apartment in Shin-Osaka! I was a little sad that I couldn't get a freight train... or the Monorail + a LTD.EXP in the same pic... so here's just a Monorail.

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The sun was gone and even a local Crane was eating dinner...

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I packed up and proceeded over to Aeon and had a delicious Chicken Katsu Curry with added Spinach!

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25Sep/190

Osaka Monorail – May, 2019

The Osaka Monorail runs a quarter-ring around northern and eastern Osaka. Starting at Itami Airport in the north, it passes through Senri-Chuo Station (the terminus of the Midosuji Subway Line), continues through to Expo City and then turns south, passing through Ibaraki and Settsu before terminating at Kadomashi. There's also a branch at Expo City that ventures north, terminating at Saito-Nishi Station.

From Shin-Osaka, getting to the monorail is quite easy. Catching the Midosuji Line subway at either Nishinakajima-Minamikata or Shin-Osaka Stations and heading north will get you to Senri-Chuo Station for an easy transfer. This is the terminus, so there's no need to really worry about which train you catch, although some do terminate and reverse at Shin-Osaka Station. If this happens, then just alight, wait on the platform and the next one should take you to the end of the line.

Riding the monorail is just like any other train in Japan. Buy tickets or use your Ikoka/Pasmo and then board after people have alighted. Note that, just like most trains, you get a great view out the front. There's also a really cool seat where you can pretend to drive... unless someone else takes the seat... and then just sleeps... because why else would you want the front row?

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During this most recent trip to Japan, my first venture on the Monorail was due to a huge flea market known as Garage Sale being held at Expo Park, just north of Expo City. As mentioned above, the subway was taken north and then the monorail east to Expo Memorial Park Station. This station is fantastic, as to the east is the junction of the two monorail lines and, if you wait for a while at the eastern end of the platform, you'll get to watch the infrastructure deal with the traffic.

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Don't forget to also check out Expo Park... especially for the Tower Of The Sun...

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The flea market was awesome, but I'll post about that another time... also note that there's a Poppondetta Model Railway Store in the Lalaport Shopping Centre at Expo City! There's also delicious food and other great shopping.

From Expo City, the main monorail line turns south, towards Ibaraki. The next station is Minami-Ibaraki, but before you get there you pass under a huge sweeping concrete viaduct that happens to be a single-line electrified freight overpass. This line connects the freight yard in Suita to the yard adjacent to the Shinkansen staging yard in Settsu.

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I checked my freight timetable and timed a trip on the Monorail once more to catch a freight movement on the bridge. Sure, it was only a light engine (from what I could see?) but hey, it's an EF66! After seeing that, I continued south to Minami-Settsu. Prior to arriving at the station though, the Monorail passover over the Ai River, which happens to be a branch of the Kanzaki River. Anyway, the main point? Directly on the other side of the river is a JR Freight yard and straight after that is the Osaka/Settsu Shinkansen Depot!

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You'll find a differing amount of stored Shinkansen there depending on the time of day, but there'll always be at least one and therefore always be something to look at. The Yard is actually longer than 2 16-car shinkansens end to end to facilitate a storage area (closest to the monorail) and then actual cleaning/repair/inspection facilities at the far end.

Once arriving at Minami-Settsu, one can exit to the east and head south to find a land of treasure!

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Otherwise stay at the station and watch the trains coming and going from the crazy white wavy bridge further south. This bridge actually crosses the Yodo River!

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Actually, the view north is pretty cool too!

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If you keep travelling south, you'll end up at Kadomashi, the end of line. The track extends further south, through a crossover and into two end roads and a central lay-over. The best part here is that, if you've come south into the station, chances are good that your train has to run into the central road and turn back. Don't forget to head to the southern end of the platform to watch this happen!

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At Kadomashi, one can make an easy transfer to the Keihan Railway.

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24Sep/190

Higashi Osaka Line – May, 2019

It was finally finished and it was finally my time to check it out! I've written about this before and before and before as it's exciting to see that JR West are continually building/extending/enhancing their network. This new line meant that, since I often stay in the area, one could have direct access to see the freight trains running through to Hirano without needing to hike too far on-foot!

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The line starts at Shin-Osaka and uses platform 2. The train above had terminated an up service at Shin-Osaka Station, but was now on its way back down towards Kyuhoji. It's interesting that they managed to find enough of a slot to have the trains lay-over on platform 2 without causing too much of a timetable re-write. The fact that the trains are allowed to wait for (sometimes up to) 20 minutes at a time is quite interesting as I would've thought that this platform was heavily utilised by limited express services. It seem that crossovers have been installed on either side of platforms 1 and 2 to allow those limited express trains (Kuroshio and Haruka) to only now use platform 1 with no schedule changes!

As mentioned, the line starts at Shin-Osaka Station and heads north-east, following the Tokaido/Kyoto line alignment. Just after Higashi-Yodogawa station, the line splits off the main and elevates, taking you into Minami-Suita Station. This elevated curve and station actually form the fork of a full triangle connecting the Higashi Line to the Kyoto/Tokaido Line. From the northern platform, you can see the other half of the triangle; the path the freighters take to get to/from Suita Yard. Straight after the station is a beautifully curved bridge which you can see under construction here. It takes you across the Kanzaki River into JR Awaji Station. They had to prefix "JR" to the name, as Awaji Station is in use by Hankyu and it's a short walk to transfer between. This is also the easiest station to walk from to get to the northern bank of the Yodo River.

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The shots above were actually from another trip I took where I wanted to be in-time for the first southbound freight through the Higashi Line. It turns out that if you take the first JR service, you'll just miss the first southound freight as the passenger service is scheduled afterwards. Instead, from Shin-Osaka you need to use Hankyu Minamikata Station to get to Hankyu Awaji and then walked across to JR Awaji.

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From JR Awaji, there's also a good view down onto the Hankyu tracks below. Hankyu are currently undertaking a massive bit of construction to elevate their whole line from Juso to Awaji and beyond... and I believe it'll take quite a while longer as these concrete supports have been around for a few years.

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Note that you can also stroll south-west from Hankyu Awaji Station to see the stuffed-and-mounted EH10 in the park just nearby...

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From the northern end of the platforms at JR Awaji, you can see the shinkansen pass! You can also get a good view for southbound freight.

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And then there's also the northbounders!

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From JR Awaji Station, the line heads south and crosses the Yodo River. This bridge is a favourite for railfans in Kansai and used to be just a single lane, with a pedestrian path down one side. This has since been removed to allow the bridge to be dual-tracked.

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I'm surprised they didn't receive bad press for removing the ability for pedestrians to cross the river here. You can now, of course, take the train, but more-often-that-not this was used by bicycles with large loads of stuff....

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The first station after the bridge is Shirokitakoendori. As with all stations on this line, it's brand new and everything is very clean and tidy.

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For some weird reason, I was particularly fond of the design of the escalators. Not just clean and tidy, but the quality and styling! JR West knows how to build a nice station.

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From here it's an easy walk north to get to the southern side of the Yodo River. Stay on the eastern side and follow the bike tracks for some good views.

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There's also some interesting vantage points from the fire escapes of nearby buildings. Just make sure you ask the local residents or authorities if it's OK to take train photos from an elevated position!

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And then the freighter came through! A cute little light engine. My camera perfectly failed at this point with a lens error but I was happy the following shot succeeded.

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The train's next stop is JR Noe Station. Again, this is another station where the 'plain' name was already taken; this time by the Keihan Railway. It's an easy walk to transfer between these two stations and it can be a good path to get to the Osaka Monorail, transferring at Keihan Kadomashi Station.

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From JR Noe, the line travels south before joining the alignment of the Gakkentoshi Line. Just before the junction, you can see a former alignment and triangle where the Higashi Line branched west to a yard next to Sakuranomiya Station. It's now a footpath/cycleway and the yard is long-gone, full of apartment. I'll have to dig up more information on that area. But back to the line in question, after the bridge, the train curves into Shigino Station. Here you can transfer to the Gakkentoshi Line, through to Umeda at Kita-Shinchi Station, or after it turns into the Tozai Line and therefore beyond to Amagasaki or Nishi-Akashi.

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Staying on the train, you'll now approach Hanaten Station and then curve south to finally intersect with the Yamatoji Line to Nara. Before this though, there's quite a few more new stations, where JR have once again had to prepend "JR" to make the names unique: JR-Kawachi-Eiwa Station, JR-Shintokumichi Station and JR-Nagase. Kizuri-Kamikita Station after the list above, is finally a newly-named station, and I made an effort to get here one afternoon for a southbound freighter.

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Next comes Shinkami Station, named "shin-" as Kami Station is already just next door on the Yamatoji Line. Due to the design of the triangle, getting an "internal" transfer seemed impossible, so they went ahead and built two stations.

If you've stayed on-board then you're now approaching Kyūhōji Station - the end of the Higashi Osaka Line! Here you get the best transfers onto the Yamatoji Line to continue onto Nara and further east into Kansai. I actually did this on my previous trip through to Yokkaichi and Sendai.

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18Sep/190

Shin-Osaka Station Area – May 2019

Whilst recently staying in the area, I made it my goal to check out all corners of the railway. There's a lot to see around Shin-Osaka Station, so I'll try and document everything I stumbled across!

Staging Yards

To the west of Shin-Osaka Station, there's a large staging yard where all sorts of trains get cleaned/repaired/shunted. I started my walk around the yards from the south-east corner, as that was closest to the apartment.

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Straight up there were interesting things to be seen. The Salon Car Naniwa was stored, not to be going anywhere anytime soon, and the Twilight Express Mizukaze was being cleaned and prepared for an afternoon departure. I started my anti-clockwise walk around the yard.

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There wasn't much to be seen along the northern edge of the yard. Although you can see into the yard, under the shinkansen tracks, you can't really get much of a vantage point as the Tokaido line (for freight and non-revenue movements) runs along the ground level. On the western edge of the yard, there's a level crossing where the Tokaido Line runs out and re-connects with itself. I wonder if this part is actually called the Tokaido Line? It's the track that allows the freight trains to skip Osaka Station.

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The level crossing gives you a good fore-warning of railway events. Unfortunately, I only got to see it trigger once when a Thunderbird was dead-heading from Osaka in to the yard. The Twilight Express Mizukaze was being washed and didn't budge. I'd actually hoped it'd leave this yard via the apartment, but instead it seems to have exited on this west side, turned left at the triangle and proceeded down to Osaka Station.

I continued my lap around the yards, there's something to see over every fence... although you might have to jump!

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Freight Branch

That line I mentioned above splits off from the main line on the northern side of the actual platforms at Shin-Osaka Station. If you follow the road under the station to the west of the lines, then you'll cross the tracks. It's still a level crossing, so you'll know when something is coming.

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If you browse over to the Shin-Osaka Webcam write-up, you'll find interesting things that you can wait here for. Above is the light-engine movements that I've written about. If you see the DE10 run west at around 8am, then you'll have good chances of seeing it drag something east at around 2pm! Extra hint when there's others waiting around!

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Higashi-Yodogawa Station Area

Walking east from Shin-Osaka Station, you can do a lap of the area via the Higashi-Yodogawa Station pedestrian overpass. This station used to have a level crossing which, spanning over 10 tracks, was more-often-than-not closed.

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The station itself has received a huge upgrade, probably because of the new Higashi-Osaka Line changing the track layout quite a bit. The overpass it a bit of overkill... with REALLY LONG ramps to allow bicycles to easily be pushed over the hill.

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Walking down the southern(eastern?) side of the line, I realised I was in direct frame for the Shin-Osaka Webcam. It was dusk, so I used the flashlight on my phone to annoy the locals.

If you look really closely in the video above, I'm standing for the first 4 seconds to the left of the pedestrian underpass tunnel entrance. I'm wearing a white t-shirt and I hold my phone above my head to shine a tiny little white light for a few seconds. I then walk to the right, mid-way into the frame, to the next street corner and do the same again with my phone.

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Here's the neighbourhood in more light! Can you spot where the camera might be!?

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Shin-Osaka Station

Finally, the station itself! You'll see all sorts of services passing through here. Most stop, as it's the major connection to the Shinkansen above. Freight pass on the northern-most lines, either directly past the station (and the yard mentioned above), or through the station, past the apartment and down to Ajikawaguchi.

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With all the departure boards, you'll know exactly what's coming and going... I'm going to finish this article with a shot from 10 years ago, on the same platform, in what-feels-like another lifetime.

The Twilight Express pulls into ShinOsaka

Ahh... loco-hauled sleeper trains... I miss you.

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11Sep/190

Shin-Osaka Apartment – May 2019

It's just occurred to me that I've been visiting/staying at this apartment for well-over 10 years now. I first found it via a google search for "long stay apartments" in 2007, when I was planning my first longer-than-usual trip to Japan. The goal was to spend time away from Australia whilst switching jobs... avoiding all those funny clauses in IT contracts.

It turns out the advertisement is still online, 12 years later! Note that the TV/Video doesn't exist anymore... it was analogue terrestrial and, well, I don't think I ever turned it on for longer than 5 minutes... although... Japanese TV Commercials are pretty hilarious. Especially when you have no idea what's going on and just catch the odd (weirdly placed) English adjective. There also is no PC... but there is amazing wifi... Fiber to the wall is the bessssst.

The Location

The apartment is located 10-minutes-walk south of Shin-Osaka Station. I've also proven that it's located a 5-minute-run south! Every now and then, one might wake up late, or take too long getting ready, to realise that their Shinkansen wont wait... And so... One doth run. You also have the Nishinakajima area just south of the apartment, with it's Hankyu Station, Subway Station and host of amenities. There's even a Sega world with original arcade games!

Right near the apartment is a Lawson and a Famimart. Under the railway bridge to the west is a Coco Ichiban Curry House, Daily Yamazaki, Post Office ATM, Yayoiken, MOS Burger, etc... The list goes on! There's a real post office just north-east of the apartment and the staff are very friendly and helped me send some large boxes this time around.

The View

The apartment, unfortunately, faces to the east. Fortunately, the main stairwell (actually, and the fire-escape spiral stairwell) have great views of the main line between Shin-Osaka and Osaka Station.

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Of note, to the right are two repeater signals that you'll want to keep an eye on. Three vertical lights indicates a green signal ahead, diagonal is caution and horizontal is stop.

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They're both at stop above. This can be very handy when trying to work out if a northbound train is operating.

The video above was taken over the course of a fortnight... all services seen are described below.

What can you expect to see?

There's around 8 freight services per day, and on any day at least 75% of those will run. Some might just be loco provisioning whereas others are full services down to Ajikawaguchi. You'll also get all of the north-east Tokaido Line express passenger services. Sometimes there's also random freight movements with DD51s. Of course, the Twlight Mizukaze also passes through on some of its journeys.

So, where to start? Let's get up at 0455 in the morning! First you'll get a southbound freight train... and then the M250 Super Rail Cargo. Note that it doesn't run on Sunday morning.

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Of course, trains this early are only really visible during the summer months when the sun rises very early; thanks to Japan not using daylight savings. The next sweet spot for freight is between 11:15 and 11:55am. Three are due in this period. Sometimes they're just light engines, other times provisioning.

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Some of the shots above were also taken around 4pm, where you'll get two more freights in a half-hour window. Below, we have the odd movements, which I happened to fluke. Note that the Shin-Osaka Webcam comes in really handy here! It gives you visibility north of Shin-Osaka Station which'll give you enough time to put pants on, run outside and get your happy snaps!

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Above is a DD51 towing two Kansai Main Line DMUs southound. I assume these were going via Osaka, anti-clockwise via the Osaka Loop Line (they'd have to reverse to go clockwise), through Tennoji and then east to their depot?

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Meanwhile that HD300 got towed back and forth quite a few times!

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Plus the other express passenger services...

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And then, of course, the main event!

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Trackside - Green Pedestrian Bridge

In the shots above, you can see a green pedestrian bridge running parallel to the tracks. This is a pretty good point in the afternoon when the sun is on the right angle. Of course, the weather doesn't always have to agree... either way, I checked it out when the Mizukaze was due.

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Right before it came through, I had a trifecta of expresses!

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It's a really mean-sounding train... all-diesel so it can run along the entire 'west' coast of Japan.

The Bridges Over The Yodogawa

If you follow the main road (turn right at Family Mart) that runs parallel on the eastern side of the railway, you'll end up on the northern bank of the Yodogawa. This area happens to be a 10 minute walk, just south of the apartment, and provides a nice view of the railway lines. Before getting there though, you have to cross the Hankyu lines. There's then a pedestrian bridge over the road that also gives you a nice bit of elevation.

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From here, you then just get to stare at the JR lines...

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Of course, I was here for a good reason...

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I'll wrap up the apartment post here and post a few more articles soon about other places to visit in the area!

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6Sep/190

Katsura, Kyoto – May 2019

I made a pitstop in Katsura on my way back to ShinOsaka from the Eizan Dentetsu in north Kyoto. I'd seen from Google Maps that there was a Hankyu depot here and I wanted to check it out. I was also using Hankyu to return from Kyoto, transferring off Keihan at Gion-Shijo.

Katsura Station

This is the junction where the Kyoto and Arashiyama lines join. From the station, a short walk north will get you right next to the Katsura depot. I wandered around on-foot, to see what I could from the street.

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Straight up, no disappointments! The 4053 maintenance train was sitting right at the end of the yard, just begging to be photographed.

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The yard is perpetually busy, with trains being constantly shuffled in and out.

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I then followed the elevated Arashiyama Line to the magical land that time forgot.

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Well, to the magical land that equipment, of which time has forgotten, gets deposited!

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There were some beautiful old macintosh desktops in this branch, as well as a lot of interesting musical equipment!

Hankyu Kyo-Train

Most station platforms on the Hankyu Kyoto Line have stickers on them advertising the Hankyu Kyo-Train. I had totally forgotten about it and failed to plan it into my journey. It runs at specific times on weekends only! I did have one chance to see it though. I had just been to the Hard-Off above and was dawdling back to Katsura Station. It occurred to me that the Kyo-Train would be making its final run from Kawaramachi to Umeda as I was wandering to Katsura... and... if I ran (in the rain) I could get line-side to see it.

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Total fluke! The livery isn't too different to a standard 6000-class, but the interior is meant to be beautiful. Hankyu are always fitting a consist out like this, so I'll make sure I catch the next one, next time I'm in Japan.

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