Welcome to a new week, and Quick Takes! In this release, two-way translator at train stations, Fuji Excursion details, Shinkansen driver cabin tour, and more.
- Odakyu to introduce two-way translators at all stations: Odakyu had announced plan to adopt a portable two-way translation device at all of their train stations. The translator is an off-the-shelf brand, Pocketalk, which we reported their launch earlier last year. Odakyu will equip station staff with the translator to better communicate and help foreign tourists. Also, they are already training staff to speak English as well. All stations will have the mobile translator by end of April this year.
- JR/Fujikyu to start direct express train from Shinjuku to Lake Kawaguchi: Fuji Excursion, a new collaboration between JR East and Fujikyu Railway, will start service by March 16th. It will connect Shinjuku to Lake Kawaguchi, the latter being one of the five lakes around the Mount Fuji Area and a major tourist attraction. JR East now runs Narita Express from Narita Airport to Lake Kawaguchi station on weekends and holidays. This connection will end by March 10, to make way for Fuji Excursion. Fuji Excursion will run about half an hour faster than existing connections, and will run two trains both ways every day.
- Railway Museum to offer driver cabin tours of retired Shinkansen trains: Railway Museum at Saitama will have Spring Festival from March 9th to April 8th. The festival will feature tours of their Shinkansen 200 and 400 series locomotives on the weekends. Tours of the driver cabins are planned as well. The 200 series locomotive tour will be on March 16/17/21/23/24th, at 3:30 pm, while the tour for 400 series will be on March 30th and 31st, as well as on April 6th and 7th, at 11 am. If you are visiting the museum on these dates, don’t miss the chance!
- Arakawa Line launch Sakura themed streetcars for a limited time: The Toei Transportation in Tokyo had announced the operation of a limited time Arakawa Line streetcar called “Tokyo Sakura Dream”. The streetcar will operate from March 1st to May 6th. This will coincide with the Sakura season, as well as the upcoming 10 days Golden Week/Imperial Transition holidays. The streetcar will have Sakura motif decorations. There will be in-car announcements highlighting the major Sakura spots along the line as well.
That’s it for this week. In the meantime, spread the word, ask me questions, or just leave a comment. Every bit of your support is important to this community! Thanks. I will see you all next time!