On March 10, JR West announced the departure notification sound (departure melody) that will be used at each station of the Hokuriku Shinkansen extension (Kanazawa-Tsuruga), which is scheduled to open in 2023.
Local governments are required to select and provide departure warning tones
The idea of having a unique departure warning tone for each station came about after JR West made a proposal to local governments along the railway lines. The selection of personnel and music is also the responsibility of the local governments along the railway line. So it seems like each local government has a different way of thinking about the choice of composer and song. So, in some cases, songs are composed by local people.
However, from the perspective of JR West, which is actually in charge of the operation, the song is too long or too short to fulfill its original function because it is used as a departure warning sound. Therefore, the length of the song is set at about 15 seconds.
Additionally, guidelines are said to be set for frequencies. This is because if it is difficult to hear music played from speakers installed on the station platform, it cannot function as a departure warning sound. Then, there needs to be a range that matches the capabilities of the speaker without favoring high or low frequencies.
The explanation of the departure announcement sound at each station will be based on the perspective of the appearance of the station, and the publication materials of JR West will be cited. The lineup is as follows.
actual starting melody
These departure melodies will be used from the beginning of the museum’s scheduled opening in spring 2024. In addition, the chime used for W7 series in-car broadcasting will continue to use the current “Hokuriku Roman” (composed by Shinji Tanimura). The Hokuriku Shinkansen also uses the E7 series belonging to JR East, but uses a different chime.
Build the station based on a design concept proposed by the local community
Earlier, I quoted a reference from the JR West handout about the sound of departure announcements at each station, but I want you to notice that each station has a different appearance.
This is not limited to the Hokuriku Shinkansen, but it is common to maintain the Shinkansen currently. When the Japan Railway Transport Organization (JRTT) builds the Shinkansen, local governments are required to propose a design concept for each station, and design and build based on this. In this regard, JRTT explained, “Our basic position is to work together with the local community to create a station that satisfies users, is convenient and easy to use, and is loved by the local community.”
Of course, the design concept is reflected in the construction of the station building, and has no direct relationship with the departure warning sound. But from the perspective of “creating a Shinkansen rooted in the local area and loved by the local area”, whether it is preparing a special departure warning sound for each station or the design concept of the station building being compiled, the local community is consistent. I can say.
Therefore, I would like to introduce the design concept of the Hokuriku Shinkansen extension and each station.
Design Concept of Stations of the Hokuriku Shinkansen Extension Line
Komatsu: A “terminal” that connects hometown tradition and future
Kaga Onsen: A station that showcases Kaga’s nature, history, and culture
Awara Onsen: A luxury station emerging from Awara no Sato
Fukui: From ancient times to the future – a station where eternal history and nature can be seen
Takeyu Echizen: A station as a symbol connecting tradition and culture with the future
Tsuruga: Ukabu in the sky～A station overlooking the harbor surrounded by nature～
In addition, efforts were made to express the characteristics of the area, such as using locally produced materials inside the station. I happened to visit Komatsu Station and Kaga Onsen Station, which are under construction, and saw the difference in their interior design. After the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen, if you have the opportunity to visit various stations, wouldn’t it be interesting to pay attention to those places?