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Tennoji, Osaka – July 2015

I'd forgotten to post about this, and I've been catching up lately on the 'airbnb apartments with railway views' theme... We stayed in an apartment just off Shin-Imamiya Station which had a terrific view of the platforms. It was a busy place every morning and you could see the Ltd. Express trains heading to Wakayama or Kansai Airport.

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Of course, you also get all of the Osaka Loop Line (Kanjousen) EMUs stopping through. It's actually quite mesmerising to watch the platforms fill up and empty as each train approaches/departs. A Kuroshio service was blocked from view just as I was taking the following photos...

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Anyway, this apartment is cheap and cheerful and happily supported 6 of us! Convenience stores are nearby. Den Den Town is nearby! Shin-Sekai is nearby! The hosts were also fantastic. Highly recommended.

17Oct/170

Akihabara, Tokyo – July 2017

Following on my thread of airbnb apartments with train views, here's a beautiful apartment in Akihabara with a good view of the Chuo Main Line and the Sobu Main Line. It's, as to be expected in Japan, a small studio-style apartment which comfortably fit 3 of us and, thanks to being in close proximity to Akihabara and some great restaurants, never left us inconvenienced!

Of course, I could stay in a pig pen, as long as the balcony had something to look at...

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Yes, Platnium Fish Cafe (previously known as N3331 Bar and Cafe) in Maach Ecute on the old Manseibashi Train Station is just there... on that platform on the curve next to the building!

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That's better... check that view out! Right up front is the Chuo Main Line, and up the back in amongst the buildings of Akihabara is the Sobu Main Line. I must admit though, there's a lot of standard passenger traffic over limited expresses. But then again, you do get some cool movements. We arrived on a Thursday night and the next morning ~0700 a Super Azusa consist dead-headed west and then another (or maybe the same) returned east. I didn't have my camera ready and this didn't happen on Saturday or Sunday morning! A little sad as they're slated for the recycle center once the new model comes out.

Either way, it's still a fantastic location to sit back with a few tinnies from 7/11 and you'll get enough Limited Express Shiosai or Ayame on the Sobu Main Line as well.

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Sheesh... I need to work on my angles! I promise the track is level.

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An Azusa consist also takes the Sobu Main Line on a single inbound AM service and outbound PM service, getting people to and from Chiba.

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Anyway, I can only recommend this place if you need quick access to Akihabara and like trains! It's also an easy commute from Narita; just take the Skyliner to Nippori and transfer to the Yamanote Line clockwise.

27Sep/170

Fukushima Station, Osaka, Japan – July 2017

Welcome back to Osaka. This time it was an airbnb apartment (marked by C below) right in town near Fukushima Station. This area is of note as it's where the limited express/freight line from Shin Osaka connects to the loop line to continue west/south (marked with a A). There's also the continuation of the Tokaido Main Line west of Osaka through to Amagasaki (marked with a B).

This location would've also been in good proximity to the Umeda freight yards, if only they still existed! Instead the freight that comes through proceeds down to Ajikawaguchi, just before Universal Studios, Japan.

All freight heading west (to Kobe or further) uses the shortcut from Shin Osaka to the triangle just south of Kashima Station. This line follows under the Shinkansen via the passenger staging yards just adjacent to Shin Osaka Station.

The arrows in the tables below indicate the direction of travel. This is directly related to the maps above: being Westbound and being Eastbound.

Tokaido Main Line

This is the continuation of the line that originates in Tokyo. The final station is Kobe, just west of Osaka, where it becomes the Sanyo Main Line.

The apartment mentioned above has a view of this from the balcony...

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With the best view being from the fire-escape's top platform...

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From here, you'll be able to see all of the standard Tokaido-Sanyo Line EMUs...

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Plus a view extra express trains. For example, here's the Super Hakuto...

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And the Hamakaze...

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And even a dead-heading Thunderbird!

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You can even see out to Osaka station, amongst the other delights of the neighbourhood.

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There's more to see down on the ground-level... but before that, here's the timetable of trains you can expect to see. Note that the dead-headings aren't listed... I have no idea how to find those! (You could probably guess that if a Thunderbird arrived at Osaka and had no return service then it might come past 10-20 minutes after it arrived?)

Tokaido Line Timetable

The table below describes all the services that will traverse point A on the map above. Note that the time here indicates the action as Osaka Station. Therefore, if it's heading to Osaka (Arriving), then it's going to be ~1 minute prior to the time listed. Likewise, if departing, it'll be ~1 after the time. Regardless, I'd be in position ~5 pre/post any scheduled time.

Direction Arrive/Depart Osaka Service
0034 Sunrise Seto/Izumo
0737 Super Hakuto #1
0812 Kounotori #1
0910 Kounotori #3
0919 Super Hakuto #2
0924 Super Hakuto #3
0938 Hamakaze #1
1001 Hamakaze #2
1012 Kounotori #5
1119 Super Hakuto #4
1124 Super Hakuto #5
1211 Kounotori #9
1222 Hamakaze #3
1223 Kounotori #12
1320 Super Hakuto #6
1324 Super Hakuto #7
1411 Kounotori #13
1423 Kounotori #14
1511 Kounotori #15
1519 Super Hakuto #8
1524 Super Hakuto #9
1622 Kounotori #16
1705 Hamakaze #4
1718 Super Hakuto #10
1720 Kounotori #18
1726 Super Hakuto #11
1804 Hamakaze #5
1820 Kounotori #20
1931 Super Hakuto #12
1949 Kounotori #24
2005 Hamakaze #6
2006 Super Hakuto #13
2101 Kounotori #26
2104 Super Hakuto #14

Ground Level - Fukushima Station and the Express Line

A short walk south will get you to point B on the map right up top. This is the ground-level-crossing of the 'express line' that bypasses Osaka station from Shin-Osaka. Here'll you'll get all the south-bound express trains and a bit of freight!

First up, that perpetual impossibility! The M250 Super Rail Cargo!

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The Haruka will take you to Kansai International Airport...

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And tDSC00628he Kuroshio (ex Ocean Arrow series as well!) will take you to Shingu/Wakayama...

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You'll also see the new 'Osaka Power Loop' EMUs running up above...

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Osaka Loop Line / Wakayama Line Timetable

All passenger trains listed below depart/arrive at Shin Osaka. Therefore, the time needs to be adjusted by +/- ~4mins depending on direction of travel. Note that these trains approach the Fukushima area via the west side of the old Umeda freight yards! They're still at ground level when they cross the point marked B on the map above! They climb up to the Loop Line level by Noda Station.

I've mapped out the freight train timetable before, but I've also incorporated it into the table below. I've also snapped the Super Rail Cargo once before, but it was much easier this time as I just had to walk over.

Note that the freight times are squiggled. I've estimated when they should pass the area (not the time at Shin Osaka). I've only got the times at Suita and Ajikawaguchi. Check the link above for the more accurate times, or just arrive at the area 10 mins earlier than those times posted below.

Direction Arrive/Depart Osaka Service
~0505 JRF #59
~0512 JRF #51 (Super Rail Cargo M250)
0617 Haruka #1
0648 Haruka #3
0716 Haruka #5
0720 Kuroshio #2
0738 Haruka #2
0733 Kuroshio #1
0747 Haruka #7
0751 Kuroshio #4
0817 Haruka #9
0837 Haruka #4
0846 Haruka #11
~0850 JRF #91
0903 Kuroshio #3
0907 Haruka #6
0916 Haruka #13
0922 Kuroshio #6
0932 Kuroshio #5
0937 Haruka #8
(And then every 30 mins from here until 2100)
0950 Kuroshio #8
(And then every hour from here until 2050)
1000 Haruka #15
(And then every 30 mins from here until 2100)
1015 Kuroshio #7
(And then every hour until 2115)
~1048 JRF #1180 (Rail-Set Train)
~1140 JRF #93
~1620 JRF #1883 (Rail-Set Train)
~1715 JRF #90
~1825 JRF #5088
~2305 JRF #58
~2315 JRF #50 (Super Rail Cargo M250)
16Dec/160

Tokyo, Japan – November 2016

After a lovely t-shirt-and-shorts-weather 25 degrees in Miyazaki, it was colder in Osaka. A few days later we arrived in Tokyo to a pleasant day, somewhat similar to Osaka weather.

After failing to correctly find a good location in the Urawa area last time, I had decided this time it was time to venture onto the Musashino Line and check out the freight as they branch down from the north.

Nishi-Urawa Station

This station is located to the west of Musashi-Urawa station and forms the left leg of the triangle with the Tohoku Line. Because of this, any freight that wants to head west uses this line to bypass the city. I arrived there on a really nice pre-winter afternoon and the setting sun provided a very surreal glow on all trains approaching from the east.

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You can tell you're in the right place when there's already a row of fans blocking your first shot :)

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I saw one express passenger train, but it wasn't until now that I realised it was a school excursion! The kanji is 修学旅行.

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Next up was an EMU transfer. Totally fluked it.

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Back to Minamisenju

I'd stayed in hostels here before, but this time I chose AirBNB. The apartment was in Arakawa-ku and had an amazing view of the Joban line, right after the freight line joined from the Sumidagawa Yard.

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There was a constant barrage of passenger trains, including express trains.

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And then the odd freight train!

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Having a beer on the balcony provided a perfect end to a fun day. The weather was getting eerily cool though.

First Tokyo November Snow in 54 Years?

WTF... it was freezing. What was happening... the sunset was amazing the evening before... where'd the heat go?

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Hahaha... that is ACTUALLY snow. And the flakes are huge. It's even settled around the neighbourhood already!

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Venturing out into it saw that the trains were actually struggling. Quite a few delays and a few track faults? I always laugh when Melbourne fails in the heat but never expected Japan to be caught unawares.

Back to Nishi-Urawa, the long way...

As that I was staying right next to Minamisenju Station, and knowing that freight traversed the Musashino Line, a direct path was cut to the closest Musashino Station. This happened to be Shin-Koshigaya Station on the Tobu SkyTree Line. Initially a local train was taken, but a transfer to an express occurred halfway down the line when the delays meant that the local would take a lot longer than expected.

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The snow was simply beautiful and not getting any lighter. It was actually making it pretty hard to focus on the trains over the large flakes!

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At Shin-Koshigaya Station, lunch was had at Matsuya. Once thawed out, we entered JR Minami-Koshigaya Station and departed for Nishi-Urawa once more.

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Even in the snow, there were still avid fans taking photos.

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This shot was nearly totally blocked by the EMU. My fellow photo taker got a little excited!

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An umbrella would've been a really great idea... keeping snow off the lens was a challenge.

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From there it was off to Akihabara...

Night Time in Minamisenju

Japan is always picturesque at night, so we went for an urban crawl photographing the scenes whilst trying not to freak out the locals.

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That last shot is a bit of cool street art depicting the Arakawa Street Car line that has a terminus just around the corner.

Freight at Mikawashima Station

The next day was back to brisk but sunny weather, so we checked out the area to the west of the apartment.

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The freight line drops away from the Joban Line at Mikawashima Station and there are a few level crossings to be taken advantage of. Unfortunately, the lighting in the morning isn't good for west-bound trains.

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Arakawa Toden Line

This is a small tram line running in the inner-north of Tokyo. It's all single-car EMUs and runs light rail at the east end.

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Most of my photos are in the shade as the line runs between tall buildings most of the time. I recommend checking it out later in the day!

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Last day in Minamisenju

A final shot from the balcony in the late-morning sun provided great lighting!

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The one location I haven't mentioned yet is the Sumidagawa Freight Yard which was just east of where I was staying. I've been here before a few times and have never been disappointed. There's always something being shunted, as well as services departing and arriving. This time they have a new hybrid shunter!

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And that was a wrap.. I'll post two more articles on Tokyo. We stopped through the N3331 Cafe in Ochanomizu and also ventured into Narita town itself as Jetstar delayed our flight!