A JAPANESE JOURNEY
29/09/14 TO 05/10/14
by Howard Forster and Chris Campbell
Photos by CC Chris Campbell, HF Howard Forster, CP
Japan had not been considered for a trip as we thought it would
be too expensive. On examining Princess Cruises 2014 brochure, three
new cruises were being introduced around Japan. The ports on two of
them looked interesting as it would be possible to visit the seven
main steam locomotive museums from them. On checking their opening
times, all fitted in with the days in port. An enquiry was then made
to Travelbag, who have given us good prices for previous trips, who
came up with a price including flights from Newcastle for two 9 day
cruises and a night in Tokyo for £1885. The trip was booked, as well
as an add on excursion to Mount Fuji with a return by Shinkansen.
24/09/2014 Tokyo. A trip was made by JR train to
Koganei Park which contains a most interesting collection of buildings
from the past. It also contains C57-186 4-6-2 (Mit 519/46), together
with a coach.
25/09/2014 Mount Fuji was visited in brilliant sunshine
before lunch. Mist descended, which lasted for the remainder of the
day, and made a gondola trip to a viewpoint a waste of time. Travelling
back to Tokyo centre by Shinkansen did not create much of an impression,
as it was after nightfall and as a result there was no sense of speed.
Dusk came early, light was fading fast at 5:00pm, and darkness soon
26/09/2014 The Shiba Park Hotel in which we stayed,
was quite near to Diamon metro station and Hamamatsucho JR station.
All of the station names on both systems were shown in English as
well as Japanese. Announcements of stations and indicators on the
trains were also bi-lingual. All of the ticket machines had an English
button on them, which simplified ticket purchases. On the metro the
lines were colour coded and named, and the stations were numbered.
Our wives travelled on the metro from Daimon A09, on the Asakusa line,
to Asakusa A18, in order to visit the the Sensoji Temple, the oldest
in Tokyo, which dates from 628 A.D. The numbering system made travel
straight forward. We travelled by JR to Ome in order to visit the
Ome Railway Park is about 200m from the station as the crow flies.
What no one tells you is that it is 75m higher up a very steep hill.
A location in the sidings adjacent to the station would have been
more appropriate. An admission charge of £0.60 had been introduced
this year. All of the exhibits although exposed to the elements, were
kept in first class condition. On display were: 110 2-4-0T (YE164/71),
2221 0-6-2T (NB 16739/05), 5540 4-4-0 (BP 3911/97), 8620 2-6-0 (KisSeiz
119/14), 9608 2-8-0 (Kaw 81/13), C11-1 2-6-4T (KisSeiz 1174/32), D51-452
2-8-2 (KisSeiz 1871/40), E10-2 2-10-4T (KisSeiz 2446/48), ED16-1 2-Bo-Bo-2
(Mit 106/31), 40-054 Bo-Bo ERC (TanShar -/32), Shinkansen 22-75 Bo-Bo
(KisSeiz -/69) one car only, and on a children's railway, a small
version of BENKEI 2-6-0, which hauled the first train on Hokkaido.
27/09/2014 A JR train was taken to Nippori, on passing
through Shimbashi, the terminus of the first railway in Japan, C11-292
2-6-4T (NipShar-/45) was noted plinthed in front of the station. From
Nippori, a Nippori-Toneri Liner train was taken to Nishiaraidishinishi.
These are short trains with rubber tyres running on elevated track
clear of buildings and roads. A taxi was then taken to Kitashikahama
Park where C50-75 2-6-0 (Kaw 1333/29) was plinthed. After returning
to Nippori, a JR train was taken to Ueno, followed by a metro to Asakusa,
the 1931 art deco terminus of the Tobu Railway, from where a Tobu
Skytree Line train was taken to Higashi-Mukojima.
Beneath the station at street level, is located the Tobu Museum of
Transport and Culture. It contains exhibits from the Tobu Railway
which has remained independent since it opened in1899. Freight traffic
ceased in 2003, to leave a very busy network of lines serving commuters
from the North and East of Tokyo.
Displayed were 5 4-4-0 (BP 4028/98), which hauled the first passenger
train, 101 Bo-Bo E (Dick Kerr/EEC 741/28), the first electric locomotive,
ED5015 Bo-Bo E (Hit -/59), 5 Bo-Bo ERC (NipShar -/24) wooden bodied,
one of the first batch of ERCs used on the railway. 5701 Bo-Bo ERC
(KisSeiz -/51), the first limited stop ERC to be purchased. Due to
lack of space some of the exhibits were outside in the street, 1720
Bo-Bo ERC (-/60), Nikko Tramway tram 203 (-/54) and 6 4-4-0 BP (4029/98).
29/09/2014 In Kushiro Saiwaicho Park C58-106 (KisSeiz 1664/38) was
plinthed. At Seisaku Jo in a factory car park was 8722 (KisSeiz 109/14),
believed to be the only surviving 4-6-0 in Japan.
01/10/2014 Russia. Sakhalin Island was taken from
Russia by the Japanese in 1905 and returned to the Soviet Union in
1945. The railways were constructed and stocked by Japan during their
period of control. Visits to Russia can only be made if holding a
visa or if for less than 72hours, on an organised excursion. We attempted
to book an organised excursion weeks before departure and found we
could not, as apparently there were insufficient Russian guides available.
Purchasing a visa was not considered as it would cost around £125,
and the main interest would have been D51-22 2-8-2, one of 181 which
According to Google streetview in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, D51-22 is plinthed
just off Lenin Square, this was verified by another traveller who
did go ashore. Also shown on Google, north of the station is a small
museum containing (K) 4-78 0-8-0 750mm, TU7-015 750mm and various
other track machines and coaches.
02/10/2014 Otaru About 5 miles to the southwest on
road 393, is the Hokkaido Winery. Opposite it and out of sight away
from the right side of the road were D51-286 2-8-2 (Kaw 2192/39) and
59614 2-8-0 (Kaw 713/21) together with two coaches. A taxi was used
to reach the site then to return us to the railway museum. In Nov
1882, the first railway on Hokkaido was completed. It was used to
convey coal from the mines in Horonai to the port of Otaru. Part of
the line in the centre of Otaru has been preserved as a monument.
At the port end of the line, the original roundhouse survives as part
of the Otaru Railway Museum.
Apart from 6 SHIZUKA 2-6-0 (Porter 672/84), in the main building,
the majority of the other exhibits were outdoors. In steam giving
rides within the museum site was oil fired Cie Agricola De Guatemala
3 2-6-0 (Porter 4514/09). Displayed around the spacious site were
30 2-6-0 (Tem -/95), C12-6 2-6-2T (KisSeiz -/33), C55-50 4-6-2 (KisSeiz
1438/37), ED75-501 Bo-Bo (Mit -/66), ED76-509 Bo-2-Bo, DD13-611 Bo-Bo,
DD14-323 Bo-Bo, DD15-37 Bo-Bo, DD16-17 Bo-Bo, DD51-615 B-2-B, DE10-503
C-B, 03-1 4w DRC (Tok -/56), 25-1 Bo-Bo DRC (--/58), 56-23 4 car DRC
set (Tok -/61), 82-1 Bo-Bo DRC 2 car set (NipShar -/61) and six assorted
03/10/2014 Hakodate was being used by both diesel and electric
railcars; many of the former were being serviced in the large depot
adjacent to the station. Large hoardings around the station were proclaiming
that the Shinkansen was coming to Hakodate in 2015.
05/10/14 Aomori In Gappo Park being cosmetically
restored was C11-167 2-6-4T (KisSeiz 1932/40). At this point the cruise
schedule was changed in order to avoid a typhoon which was sweeping
the south coast of Honshu. Arrival in Yokohama was put back two days,
and departure was to be at 2:00pm instead of 6:00pm, which meant that
we would have less time ashore.
08/10/2014 A direct train from Yokohama to Omiya
passed the electric locomotive depot at Shin Tsurumi, adjacent to
Shin Kawasaki Station, which we did not have time to visit due to
the amended schedule.
Omiya Locomotive Works between the station and the museum had C57-180
4-6-2 (Mit 513/46) visible. From Omiya station the Saitama Shin-Toshikoysu
New Shuttle train was taken to Tetsudo-Hakubutsukan station, which
is adjacent to The Railway Museum Omiya.
Exhibited were 1 2-4-0T (VF 614/71) which on 14 Oct 1872, hauled the
first passenger train in Japan from Shimbashi to Yokohama on 3'-6"
gauge track which had been constructed by Edmund Morel, a British
engineer. It has been suggested that he used that gauge based upon
his previous experience in constructing Cape Gauge railways in New
Zealand. 1292 ZENKO 0-6-0T (MW 815/81), 2 BENKEI 2-6-0 (Porter 369/80)
which hauled the first train on Hokkaido on 28 Nov 1882 on the Horonai
Railway. 9856 0-6-6-0 4cyl cpd (Hens-/12), C51-5 4-6-2 (Haman 5/20),
C57-135 (Mit 285/40) which worked the last steam passenger train in
Japan on 14 Dec 1975. DD13-1 Bo-Bo ( --/58), ED17-1 Bo-Bo (EEC/DK/NB
534/24), ED40-10 Bo-Bo rack loco (Omiya -/21), EF58-89 2-C-C-2 (Hit
-/56), EF66-11 Bo-Bo-Bo (Kaw -/68), ED75-775 Bo-Bo (--/75), 61-10
Bo-Bo ERC (- -/14), 41-307 Bo-Bo DRC (--/34), 400-74 Bo-Bo ERC (--36),
454-4 Bo-Bo ERC, 455-1 Bo-Bo ERC (--/65), 481-26 Bo-Bo ERC (--65),
181-45 Bo-Bo ERC (--/65) and 222-35 Bo-Bo ERC (--/82).
Mounted on the wall outside of the museum was the front end of D51-426.
On returning to Yokohama, a taxi was taken to the ship via Honmoku
Shimin Park in which D51-516 2-8-2 (Omiya 29/40) was plinthed.
Onboard the ship we found that a second more severe typhoon was heading
towards Japan, and as a result the cruise schedule had been scrapped
and we would sail to avoid it. Instead of a full day in Kobe, we were
to dock at 2:00pm, which only gave us three hours of daylight.
09/10/2014 After arriving in Kobe, a taxi was taken
to D51-1072 2-8-2 (NipShar 1238/44), one of the wartime batch, which
is plinthed near the station. A JR train was the taken to Kyoto, and
then another to Saga Arashiyama. Adjacent to the station entrance
is the19th Century Hall SL and Piano Museum.
Plinthed outside was D51-51 2-8-2 (Kaw 1809/37), one of the early
batch with a continuous casing behind the chimney. Inside were C56-98
2-6-0 (NipShar 497/37), C58-48 2-6-2 (Kaw 2029/38) and No.1 0-4-0T
(---). The front end of D51-603 was also displayed.
On returning to Kyoto, a visit was made to the main attraction on
the trip, Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum, which is based in the 1914
roundhouse. Eight of the twenty locomotives were kept in working order*
and used either on the short museum track or on main line excursions.
On view were 8630 2-6-0 (KisSeiz -/14), in service on the 1km. museum
track. 1 YOSHITSUNE 2-6-0 (Porter 368/80)* which was to be steamed
the following day as part of the centenary celebrations of the opening
of the roundhouse, 1080 4-4-2T JGR 1926 rebuild of 651 4-4-0 (D 4166/01),
9633 2-8-0 (Kaw 142/14), B20-10 0-4-0T (Tat -/46)*, C11-64 2-6-4T
(Kaw 1532/35), C51-239 4-6-2 (KisSeiz 936/27), C53-45 4-6-2 (KisSeiz
1040/28) the only 3 cyl type in Japan, C55-1 4-6-2 (Kaw 1538/24),
C56-160 2-6-0 (Kaw 2099/39)*, C57-1 4-6-2 (Kaw1769/38)*, C58-1 2-6-2
(KisSeiz 1578/38), C59-164 4-6-2 (Hit -/46), C61-2 4-6-4 (Mit 641/47)*,
C62-1 4-6-4 (Hit 1921/48), 62-2 4-6-4 (Hit 1930/48)*, D50-140 2-8-2
(Hit 199/25), D51-1 2-8-2 (Kaw 1643/36), D51-200 2-8-2 (JNR 25/38)*,
D52-468 2-8-2 (Mit 502/46), EF66-35 Bo-Bo-Bo (Kaw -/-), DD51-756 B-2-B
(--/-) and DE10-1156 C-B (--/-).
Building work was taking place to enlarge the museum in order to incorporate
the contents of Osaka Museum which closed on 6 April 2014, and to
incorporate more modern facilities in which the working steam locomotives
could be maintained. None of the Osaka rolling stock had arrived at
the time of the visit. It was becoming dark as we walked back to the
station through Umekoji Park adjacent to the railway in which five
tramcars were preserved.
10/10/2014 A full day in Osaka had been inserted
in the revised schedule. This was to our advantage as we could visit
Suita electric locomotive depot and check out Osaka Museum site, which
we had to pass, to see if any locomotives were still there.
Osaka Museum of Modern Transportation was located next to JR Bentencho
Station. Some of the exhibits had been moved, those remaining were:
233 2-4-2T (KisSeiz 11/03), D51-2 2-8-2 (Kaw 1644/36), C62-26 4-6-4
(Kaw 3159/48) and 81-3 Bo-Bo DRC (--/60), the first express railcar
constructed in Japan. Suita Depot Modern electric classes are gradually
replacing the surviving members of class EF66, the majority of which
are based there. On view were 3xEF65, 5xEF66, 1xEF81, 2xEF200, 6xEF210and
3xEF510. A trip on Osaka Subway to Osaka Castle found C58-66 2-6-2
(Kaw 2077/39), enclosed in a glass case inside the Osaka Castle Park
Café. The remainder of the cruise was spent at sea avoiding the typhoon,
as a result potential sightings of C51-85 4-6-2 at Kagoshima, C57-100
4-6-2 Nagasaki and MK3-304 2-8-2 at Jeju,
South Korea were missed. Arrival back at Yokohama was delayed by one
day, Travelbag rearranged our flights, at no inconvenience to us.
Japan is a very tidy country, there are no litter bins, people take
home their litter. Everyone was extremely polite, and so orderly in
queuing for trains. Transport costs were not expensive, nor was food
in shops; although meals in restaurants did seem more expensive than
in GB. Overall we had a very good trip and experienced a healthy cross
section of Japanese Railways both past and present.