Japanese hotels offer track-side views for trainspotters

Most owners of a hotel next to a train station would curse their luck, but some Japanese entrepreneurs have turned their noisy locations into profitable ones by marketing the track-side rooms to trainspotters.

Trainspotters, who prefer to be called “railfans” much like comic book readers insist they read “graphic novels”, constitute a growing subculture in Japan. National organizations claim more than 20,000 members, there are several glossy magazines, and a lucrative industry serving the hobby, so the tourism trade was sure to pick up on the trend.

One popular destination is Shinjuku station, the busiest station in the world. The Odakyu Hotel Century Southern Tower right next to it not only caters to business travelers, but railfans with a special rate, guaranteed views, and a paperweight made of a piece of track. With an average of 3.64 million people going through the station every day, railfans are sure to see plenty of action.

While hotel owners next to Shinjuku station may have a great location, they can’t compete with the Dream House lodge in Ueda, which is made Azusa limited express train cars similar to the one pictured here.

If you can’t swing the airfare to Japan, you might want to try Ohio, which seems to be the most train-happy state in the Union.

Photo of the Day (6.19.09)

Flickr user Pirano took this shot (click to enlarge) inside the train station of Pardubice, a Czech town located about 65 miles east of Prague. I’m not entirely sure why a centaur seems to be aiming a bow-and-arrow at the earth, but bright murals like this sure beat the usual train station dinginess.

Want your photo considered for Gadling’s Photo of the Day? Submit your best pics here.

Cheshire’s weird No Kissing sign shows up on eBay

Remember when we told you how there were signs that prohibit kissing in the Warrington Railway Station in the county of Cheshire, England?

We also mentioned that their “freaky” sign (right) “looks like Mark Trail kissing a grown-up Lisa Simpson.”

Want one?? ‘Cause now they’re on eBay.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. Now you, too, can declare a No Kissing Zone in your own home. Maybe just casually leave the sign in your parents’ bedroom. Whatever helps you sleep at night.

The best news is that your purchase will benefit the British charity Comic Relief. The signs come with an official letter of release from Virgin Trains. Bid here!

Cheshire says no kissing

Sorry Cheshire cats. No kissing at your train station.

That’s right. They’ve outlawed kissing at the Warrington Railway Station. I mean, we know better than to reenact the steamy scene at the end of All the Right Moves, but no kissing? Click here to check out their totally freaky sign, too, which looks like Mark Trail kissing a grown-up Lisa Simpson.

Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Colin Daniels says:

“With these ‘no kissing’ signs we are pointing out that we don’t want people doing that right in front of the station. If they want to say a longer goodbye, they can do that in the ‘kissing zone’.”

Dude. Where is the “kissing zone?” I want to go to there.

[via Jaunted]

Live too far from a train station? Build a new one!

Jimmy Gierczyk is not your typical real estate developer. As a resident of Buffalo City, MI, Gierczyk has been hard at work helping build this little town into a getaway location for bored Chicagoans. It’s about an hour away and, interestingly enough, Buffalo City already has an Amtrak station – but only on one of the two lines that go through the town, and it’s on the outskirts. The other line passes right through downtown, but there’s no station to stop at.

Enter Mr. Gierczyk. Instead of waiting for Amtrak to try and find the money to build a new station, he decided to just do it himself – at a cost of over $1.5 million. His overall goal is attracting more Chicago tourists and real estate buyers to the area, and if it works, it’ll pay off for his business nicely.

Amtrak, of course, is perfectly agreeable to creating a new station stop now that a shiny new station exists there. As for Gierczyk, he now has a train station in the middle of downtown. It’ll create tourism, it’ll drive the economic growth of the downtown area, and it’s also right at the front door of his condominium complex. How convenient!

[Via Chicago Sun-Times]