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International Railroad Discussion > Black Yamanote Line Train (Japan)

Date: 01/05/23 18:13
Black Yamanote Line Train (Japan)
Author: cchan006

To many people, including railfans, East Japan Railway's (JR East) Yamanote Loop Line is the symbol of Tokyo passenger railroading. Appropriately, to celebrate the 150 year anniversary of railroading in Japan, JR East decided to wrap one Yamanote Line E235 train set in black.

The black Yamanote Line train started running in October and is supposed to be unwrapped at end of 2022, presumably to return to the normal light green livery.

I was in Japan recently, and was on a mission to chase and intercept JR Freight #3086, the only freight train scheduled to run through the busiest station in the world, Shinjuku, in daylight. I have documented the #3086 elsewhere on TO, but I scouted a new location near Shibuya and wanted to catch it there.

FYI, Shibuya is ranked the world's 2nd busiest station at 3.24 million passengers per day. (#1 Shinjuku has 3.5 million passengers)

While I knew about the Black Yamanote Line train from reading Japan's railfan media, catching it was not on my list of To Do, but as luck would have it I stumbled onto it while chasing the #3086. I was riding a Saikyo Line train south from Omiya to get ahead of #3086, deciding whether to catch it again at Shinjuku or somewhere else. Saikyo Line runs on the Yamanote Freight Line (same tracks as #3086) and it runs parallel with Yamanote Line from Ikebukuro to Osaki going south.

FYI, Ikebukuro is world's 3rd busiest station at 2.6 million passengers. It's no coincidence that Yamanote Line serves Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Ikebukuro.

I'll have to post another report regarding the Saikyo Line, which serves as congestion relief for the Yamanote Line between Ikebukuro and Osaki, but it was constructed to appease the residents further north between Omiya and Akabane, who were angered by the Shinkansen construction between Omiya and Ueno. Saikyo Line runs parallel with the Shinkansen in that neightborhood, providing numerous train stations for their convenience.

Quieting NIMBYs by giving them a non-HSR service as concession. I'm sure some of you are smiling at that.

First clip of the video has the Soto-mawari (外回り, or outside loop) running Black Yamanote Line E235 approaching Shibuya. It is running geographically north toward Shinjuku and Ikebukuro. I shot this exactly 1 hour and 4 minutes after the second clip, the time it takes for a Yamanote Line train to complete the loop. There are signs of construction from this angle, with tarps covering something in the background.

Yamanote Line's Shibuya Station is about to have a major makeover, where the separate, outside loop platform will no longer be used. The platform I shot the video from (inside loop platform) will be widened and become a center platform for Yamanote Line in both directions. I suspect the outside loop platform will be absorbed as part of the extensive real estate makeover of Shibuya that has been ongoing for several years already, and what's behind the tarp might be part of that.

FYI, Yamanote Line trains will stop running on the outside loop direction between Osaki and Ikebukuro from 1/7/23 and 1/8/23 to allow the Shibuya platform migration project to finish.

Second clip was shot first, right after I detrained the Black Yamanote Liine E235 EMU. This platform and angle will no longer be available after 1/8. The Black E235 is departing Shibuya going north (outside loop direction). It's difficult to see from the video, but Black E235 was sponsored by Netflix, as their logos were on the outside and there were Netflix ads and toy figures advertised inside the train set. I didn't have a chance to document that, as the train was crowded with lunch time crowds, and my mission was to nab the #3086, not document the Black Yamanote Line train.

I ended up on the Black E235 by accident, as I had ridden the Saikyo Line train south past Shinjuku, deciding to intercept the #3086 elsewhere. I decided after the fact that I was going to find an angle to shoot near Shibuya. I overshot Shibuya, so I detrained at the next stop Ebisu, then the Black E235 showed up as I was backtracking to Shibuya. Pure Doctor Yellow luck?

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Date: 01/05/23 18:52
Re: Black Yamanote Line Train (Japan)
Author: cchan006

Had I not stumbled upon the Black Yamanote Line train, this is how I would have started the report.

To exercise the power of the JR Rail Pass, I planned a long distance chase of JR Freight's #3086 by riding the Tohoku Shinkansen north. I kept an eye on the hourly updates of JR Freight delays, and #3086 seemed to be on time, so I chose Nasu-Shiobara, one station south of Kuroiso, a crew change point, to intercept the #3086.

A northbound tank train shows up first, first clip.

#3086 shows up next, second clip, going south. I then went back to the Shinkansen platform, rode from Nasu-Shiobara to Omiya and transferred to the Saikyo Line rapid service at Omiya.

I had ample time to look for an angle near Shibuya I saw from onboard a Yamanote Line in a previous trip, so after detraining the black E235, I headed to Miyashita Park area NE from Shibuya Station.

Miyashita Park is somewhat controversial, as it had a homeless encampment for many years. It then provoked further protests as developers wanted to beautify the park. The result? Multi-story complex was built with contemporary shops, with the "park" now located on the roof of the complex. With some delays, the complex opened for business in 2020. This is also part of the major real estate makeover of Shibuya.

It was my first time visiting the new Miyashita "Park." I was able to deduce and find the location on the first try, and waitied a few minutes, and #3086 showed up, third clip, at this camera angle unavailable before July of 2020.

I had another location to visit in Shibuya, and I had time since I knew I had 1 hour and 4 minutes before the black E235 returned to Shibuya. That location will be mentioned in a future report.

That's all for now.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/05/23 18:56 by cchan006.

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Date: 01/06/23 11:29
Re: Black Yamanote Line Train (Japan)
Author: dwatry

Like the freight train clips!

Date: 01/06/23 18:36
Re: Black Yamanote Line Train (Japan)
Author: NMlurker

I echo that sentiment. I like the paint scheme and look of the electric freight locomotives. Interesting shorty containers.

Date: 01/08/23 01:19
Re: Black Yamanote Line Train (Japan)
Author: cchan006

NMlurker Wrote:
> I echo that sentiment. I like the paint scheme and
> look of the electric freight locomotives.
> Interesting shorty containers.

The locomotive in this report is the articulated, 8 axle Class EH500. Nickname is "Kintaro," based on a historic character of super-human strength. Kintaro cartoon character markings are on both #75 (tank train) and #40 (#3086). EH500 can operate in both 1500V DC and 20,000V AC territories.

The shorty containers are domestic 12' boxes, which normally don't go on ships. Occasionally, #3086 has domestic 30' containers, which weren't on this one.

Date: 01/10/23 02:58
Re: Black Yamanote Line Train (Japan)
Author: 86235

Very nice, I remember those 12' boxes when I was in Japan in 2002, five on a 60' flat. 

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