From today's Japan Today and inspired by today's in-class viewing of Tokyology (!):
The Seibu Railway Group has announced plans to introduce a new maid cafe-style train service between Ikebukuro and Chichibu stations.
Akihabara’s maid cafe culture is closely aligned with Japan’s “otaku” subculture that is rapidly going mainstream. As several animation houses already exist along that stretch of the railway line that runs from Tokyo to Saitama, Seibu Railway officials said they are hoping to promote Japanese pop culture in the area between those stations by solidifying its reputation as an anime production zone.
It is believed to be the first time a major Kanto rail operator has attempted to carry out such an unconventional project.
The emphasis of the new service will be to allow passengers to ride in “New Red Arrow” trains alongside staff selected from Akihabara’s maid cafes. Maid cafe games and competitions will be held and train announcements will be made by the maids. There are also plans to have small photography studios alongside the station shops around Seibu Chichibu station at which customers can pay to have their photographs taken with a maid (emphasis added).
The fare for a trip will be 3,500 yen for adults and 3,000 yen for children. Each trip will accommodate 360 passengers.
The service starts on Dec 11. For reservations, visit http://maidtrain.info