Taking a good look at one of the old orange 201-series Chuo Line trains - one of the last (or even the very last one?) still being used on the Chuo Line. The 201-series has been almost completely replaced with the newer E233-series trains, which could have been nice, except for two horrible aspects to them: No air "leaks", and thus poor quality stale air, and the curse of the early-21st century in Tokyo - inane and ultra-irritating poor quality recorded English announcements - carefully designed to drive people stark-raving-mad. And so a ride in one of the old 201 trains is a wonderful experience: "Air! I can breathe!" & "No tortuous horribly inane English announcements! Bliss!! Banzai!!!".
"201 Series Chuo Line at Kokubunji - February 2010" (100203-1049)
One of the last 201 series Chuo Line trains still in service on the Chuo Line pulls into Kokubunji Station, heading west towards Tachikawa.
The 201 series has separate throttle and brake controls that must be a lot more rewarding to operate than the new type controls (on the E233-series, etc.), which just has one lever to push forward and pull back.
There are some detail views in this - such as of one of the side vents in the train cars, that were an excellent idea, but were shut off permanently from the inside many years ago (probably to save time in shutting down the trains at night), as well as a view of one of the side destination signs. [As for vents - there were still operational openable vents in the ceiling - a great idea and very much appreciated on many an evening coming come on a sardine run!]
A large part of the ambiance of a train is in the noises it makes - such as the air-compressor pump that you can hear as I & the camera walk past it - the sound of it running - chug-chug-chug - at first, and then the sounds it makes as it shuts off.
中央線の201車両が国分寺駅に到着 東京 (Recorded on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010, at 10:49 a.m.)
"Tokkyu Train Passes 201 Series Chuo Line at Kokubunji" (100203-1051)
Views of a tokkyu reserved-seat train zooming past a waiting 201 series orange Chuo Line train stopped at Kokubunji Station.
中央線の201車両が国分寺駅で待っている時、特急が通る 東京 (Recorded on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010, at 10:51 a.m.)
"201 Series Chuo Line Manual Operation - Kokubunji to Nishi-Kokubunji" (100203-1053)
Looking westward from the JR Chuo Line platform; while a 201 series orange train waits on the left, a yellow Seibu-Kokubunji Line train leaves Kokubunji Station off to the right, and as the Seibu train accelerates away, a newer E233 series inbound Chuo Line train comes from the opposite direction, slowing to a stop at Kokubunji Station (at another platform).
Then the station doors-about-to-close melody plays, the doors close, and the 201-series train gets underway - running from Kokubunji Station to Nishi-Kokubunji Station. There are also views of the inside of the train - which is not crowded at all - unusual for the Chuo Line!
Sounds: Being a pre-recording train, an actual human being (gasp!) makes live announcements from the rear of the train about the next stops, etc. Train rides here were vastly more enjoyable when human beings made the announcements - the recordings (especially the horrible English ones on most lines) detract from the journey. If nothing else, it would be great if they'd either discontinue the half-speed, over-pronounced, over-intonated, too-loud, ultra-irritating English announcements, or at least make new recordings with someone with a nice voice who speaks genuine English at a normal speed, and keep the volume down at a reasonable level....
国分寺駅から、西国分寺駅まで、中央線の201車両の前から、景色や運転手の電車操作を見る 東京 (Recorded on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010, at 10:53 a.m.)
"201 Series Chuo Line Manual Operation - Kunitachi to Tachikawa" (100203-1059)
The Chuo Line - running from Kunitachi to Tachikawa on a newly elevated stretch of the rails. Views of the driver running the manually operated train, and then the driver turning over control of the train to a new driver in Tachikawa.
国立駅から、立川駅まで、中央線の201車両の前から、景色や運転手の電車操作 東京 (Recorded on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010, at 10:59 a.m.)
"Orange 201 Series Chuo Line Train Departs Tachikawa" (100203-1102)
Standing on the end of the platform at Tachikawa Station, watching all ten cars of an outbound/westbound orange 201-series Chuo Line train accelerate out of the station. As the day approaches when there will be none of the 201-series trains left on the Chuo Line, I'm getting increasingly nostalgic about that model - for a number of reasons:
- I've spent a lot of time over the past 25 years riding in those train cars - which were still fairly new back in 1984, when I began using the line.
- There are no evil and ultra-irritating recordings on the 201 series trains.
- They have vastly better ventilation than the new ones. The new ones were probably designed with the engineering goal of not "leaking" air - and in that they succeeded. The result? The air generally seems stale, uncomfortable, and slightly toxic. On crowded trains, If they don't pump in fresh air, then air "leaking" is a good thing! It provides oxygen to breathe!
- Cool sounds - the old trains seem more like living things with the various noises they make.
立川駅から、中央線の201シリーズ車両西へ出発 東京 (Recorded on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010, at 11:02 a.m.)
Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon