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Pacific Rim - 01 [Column_Pacific Rim]

taiwan_01.jpg: MOW cars at Ruifang, Taiwan, Sep. 7, 2010

I'm trying to paint out the edge of the Pacific Ocean by visiting the countries there.
We can find many influences of American way of railroading in many countries forming the edge of the ocean.

This summer, I visited Taiwan.
As Taiwan was the colony of Japan, their railroad today still looks very similar to Japan. But EMD diesel locomotives and GE electric locomotives are on the roster and used frequently (Yes, it's narrow gauge!).

Here, I represent another evidence.
I found these MOW crew cars at the station of Ruifang. These cars seems converted from freight cars and painted gray. I don't know such a car in Japan. It looks like typical MOW cars in United States, which I kitbashed before.

Kitbashing Rio Grande Wood-side MOW Foreman Office Car;


Pacific Rim - 02 [Column_Pacific Rim]

NZR_AB_01.jpg: NZR AB-class locomotive, Kingston, New Zealand. Jan. 4, 1994

Many of us call the wheel arrangement 4-6-2 for the steam locomotive as "Pacific". We know great "Pacific"s, such as Pennsy K-4 or Southern Ps-4. In Japan, here we have C57. Here I represent the origin of these "Pacific" engines.

This locomotive pictured above is the son of the first "pacific" type engine built by Baldwin for NZR in 1901. Though built in New Zealand, this narrow gauge locomotive built in 1915 has a flavor of United States such as low proportion, cow catcher, and especially the Vanderbilt tender.

I don't know why they adopted the Vanderbilt tender. It is said that there are several advantages over the usual rectangular tender; needs less steel, has more strength, has less weight. Maybe some advantages attracted NZR.

Anyway, this locomotive has the blood of both the origin and the application of the American steam locomotive.

Picture of the first pacific-type engine;

Japanese & Comments

Pacific Rim - 03 [Column_Pacific Rim]

NZR_AB_02.jpg: Kingston, New Zealand. Jan. 4, 1994

There also was a turntable and a water tank at this small terminal.
As the backdrop of these structures looked similar to the Rockies, this terminal also had a flavor of Chama or Silverton. Coals were loaded by bucket using a small derrick.

This locomotive was seasonally operated as the "Kingston Flyer" departing from the village of Kingston near the world famous resort town, Queenstown. It's a pity that the train ceased fire according to a trouble during the acquirement.

Homepage of Kingston Flyer;


Pacific Rim - 04 [Column_Pacific Rim]

africa_01.jpg: Cape Town, South Africa. winter (in the northern hemisphere) 1976

Here is another Vanderbilt tender photo.
Far from the rim of the Pacific, a steam locomotive with Vanderbilt tender was found here in South Africa in 1976. This South Africa Railway S2 class 0-8-0 shunting engine built by Krupp in 1953 was switching cars at the port of the city, where the ice breaker "FUJI" which my father was on board called at on the way to the Antarctic Continent. This was his souvenir for me.

Web page for South Africa Railway S2 class engine;


Pacific Rim - 05 [Column_Pacific Rim]

gn_c02.jpg: Havre MT, summer, 1971

For the conclusion of the Vanderbilt tender cession, here I represent the photo of the Vanderbilt tender in United States.
This Great Northern S-2 class locomotive 2584 was found next to the then BN(ex-GN) station at Havre MO. Though its glacier green was rather faded, this beautiful locomotive is the one of my favorite Northerns.

Then BN station at Havre;
Web page introducing this S-2 locomotive;

Japanese & Comments

Pacific Rim – 06 [Column_Pacific Rim]

mulu_01.jpg: Mulu, Sarawak, Malaysia. Jul. 7, 1994
mulu_02.jpg: Mulu, Sarawak, Malaysia. Jul. 7, 1994

A kind of “rail transit” Pictures were found during my slide scanning. Here are the pictures of a cart I found at the rim of the Pacific: the Borneo Island side of Malaysia (Sorry, there is no relation with North American railroads but rim of the Pacific) .

Narrow gauge steam train of Sabah State Railway at Kota Kinabalu in Borneo may be famous. But few may have information about this temporary narrow gauge track I found in Mulu.

Mulu is well known for its huge limestone caves. There is a hotel and some bungalows in the village. The cart and track were found at the backyard of the hotel: laid about 200 meters along the riverbank to the hotel site, maybe used to build the hotel facilities. The whole system was quite primitive, but still enchanted me.

Speaking of rails found at unexpected place, here is another one.

Hardly seen in the picture below, there was a track climbing the hill of Potala Palace at Lhasa in China. The Palace was under restoration when I visited there. A gondola car was dragged by wire to bring materials up the hill.

lhasa_01.jpg: Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, China. May 15, 1993

Japanese & Comments


Pacific Rim - 07 [Column_Pacific Rim]

kamioka_02.jpg: Kamioka, Gifu, Japan. Aug. 8, 2013

When I first wrote my Pacific Rim column, I wrote that I was trying to paint out the edge of the Pacific Ocean by visiting the countries there. Japan is of course laid on the edge of the Pacific and I live here. It may look small from the other side of the ocean, but it’s pretty large and there are so many rail fun oriented places I’ve never visited. Here, I introduce some “first time for me” rail fun oriented places I visited for this summer vacation.

Our family visited the town of Kamioka this summer. Kamioka, located in the mountainous area of central Japan, is known for “KAMIOKANDE”, the observing equipment for neutrino. The facilities are built underground at the remnant of zinc mine.

The mine was served by rail. 2’ and later 3’6” rail connected Kamioka and junction at Inotani to change cars. Formerly JNR, the 3’6” railroad was spun off in 1984 as Kamioka Tetsudo. Due to the closure of the mine, the railroad lost its major revenue source and abandoned in 2006.

I rode the line in 1992 to take pictures of freight trains. But all the freight trains were bound for “Kamioka Kozannmae” and didn’t go to its terminal “Okuhida Onsennguchi”. So, I also didn’t go to the terminal. Thus, it seemed for me that the route between the two stations, less than only 2 miles, was left inexperienced forever. But, this summer, I covered this blank on my own feet!

kamioka_01.jpg: Okuhida Onsennguchi, Gifu, Japan. Aug. 8, 2013

The remnant of the route between the two stations is used for the “Rail Mountain Bike” today. “Rail Mountain Bike” is a kind of equipment powered by bicycles. They have many kinds of equipments; electric motor assisted bicycle for 2, non-assisted bicycle for 2, non-assisted bicycle for 4 and dolly with seat pushed by motor cycle.

This longest track we can “bike” in Japan is kept fine. Turnouts, curves, trestles and tunnels are provided along the route. About an hour round trip starts at “Okuhida Onsennguchi” station. The outward trip is easy, but the homeward is hard because of its 2.0% climb.

As the equipment is made rigid without any cushioning, the sense of climb, super elevated curves and joints of the track is conducted directly. Why don’t you experience the sense of the steel by yourself?

“Rail Mountain Bike” home page (Japanese only);

kamioka_05.jpg: Kamioka Kozannmae, Gifu, Japan. Aug. 8, 2013
kamioka_03.jpg: Kamioka Kozannmae, Gifu, Japan. Aug. 8, 2013
kamioka_04.jpg: Kamioka Kozannmae, Gifu, Japan. Dec. 18, 1992

Japanese & Comments


Pacific Rim - 08 [Column_Pacific Rim]

tateyama_01.jpg: Tateyama, Toyama, Japan. Aug. 9, 2013

Town of Kamioka can be reached from Toyama. Toyama also has many rail fun oriented resources, particularly narrow gauge.

Here, I introduce one of such narrow gauge railroads I’ve never visited; the Tateyama Sabo’s Service Railway. The Railway runs the valley next to the valley where previous rail-mountain bike route runs, and is known for its 18 levels switchbacks.

“Sabo” means erosion control. Tateyama Caldera, near Mt. Tateyama is one of the major landslide sites in Japan, which is difficult to access by road. To protect the plain spread out downstream, administrative started building this 2’ gauge railroad in 1926, along the river to carry workers and materials to the site.

Because of its steep grade, the route of the railroad is complicated. It has 12 tunnels, 20 bridges and 38 switchbacks along its entire 3.5% climb 11 miles route. The history and the hard terrain brought this railroad as a Registered Monuments of Japan in 2006.

The railroad is closed to public. But the museum located at the second floor of the car shed provides the ride as an outdoor workshop program every Wednesday between July and October. However, you need luck to win a lottery reserving the workshop. We missed it.

tateyama_02.jpg: Tateyama, Toyama, Japan. Aug. 9, 2013

If you missed the workshop, you can see them from the window and the backyard of the museum. And, there is another narrow gauge railroad to ride, the electrified Kurobe Gorge Railway. There, you can enjoy the tremendous view of the gorge and hot springs. Private railroad Toyama Chihou Tetsudou connects both Tateyama Sabo’s Service Railway terminal and Kurobe Gorge Railway terminal. Toyama Chihou Tetsudou also runs trams and LRTs covering the downtown Toyama area. Shinkansen, which will reach Toyama in spring 2015, will bring you to Toyama from Tokyo in only 2 hours.

* Tateyama Sabo’s Service Railway home page;
* Tateyama Caldera Sabo Museum Workshop information (Japanese only)
* map of Tateyama Sabo’s Service Railway route;
* Kurobe Gorge Railway home page

toyamatram_2015_03.jpg: Toyama, Japan. Mar. 7, 2015
toyamatram_2015_02.jpg: Toyama, Japan. Mar. 7, 2015
toyama_03.jpg: Toyama, Japan. Aug. 8, 2013

Japanese & Comments


Pacific Rim – 09: Streamlined Design Movements among the Pacific [Column_Pacific Rim]

katakami_702_01.jpg: Wake, Okayama, Japan. Mar 27, 1991

Streamlined design movement also rose here in Japan in the 30’s. Streamlined steam locomotives, electric locomotives, RDCs and EMUs were introduced in the decade.

Here is one of the streamliners still surviving in Japan. This RDC is Kiha-702 of Katakami Railway. She was one of the former Japanese National Railways’ Kiha-07 series RDCs first produced in 1935. There seems no evidence that this streamliner was inspired from UP’s M-10000 (1934) or CBQ’s Zephyr (1934), but it resembles 20th Century Limited’s tapered end parlor car (1938).

Compared to 20th Century Limited’s five windows in a parabolic plan, she has six in a circular plan. Compared to Zephyr’s nose, her supposed slant nose might have given in to the passenger’s space. Still more, her sides have no idea of this trend. Accordingly, she may be called as a poor man’s streamliner.

Katakami Railway was abandoned in 1991. Remnants including a depot and several equipments are now preserved at the former Kichigahara Station at Misaki, Okayama. Kiha-702 is included in the equipments and still in active today.

Society preserving Katakami Railway equipments (Japanese only);

katakami_702_03.jpg: Wake, Okayama, Japan. 1990

Japanese & Comments


Carnegies in Japan [Column_Pacific Rim]

carnegie-rail_00.jpg: Rowe, NM. Sep. 13, 2015

According to the announcement, Feb. 2016 issue of Trains magazine will feature rail. Here is my approval.

Rail is one of the subjects of our hobby. However, little is introduced in magazines, books and web: My last memory of the article for rail is that of Colorado Fuel & Iron established by D&RG founder William Jackson Palmer appeared in May 2010 Trains magazine. Things are much the same here in Japan.

Nevertheless, a few Japanese hard-core enthusiasts research vintage rails and present the results in magazines and web[1]. Unfortunately, the results are Japanese only. Thus, I would like to introduce a fragment of their works to let you know this little known field of our hobby.

In the early days of constructing railroad tracks in Japan, contractors imported rails as the quality of the homemade rail was still unreliable at that time. Accordingly, imported rails contributed to the expanding of Japanese railroad network.

After the end of service life as rails, imported rails were often reused as steel beams to build railroad facilities. Accordingly, we can still find these vintage imported rails, which are regarded as one of the heritages of Japan’s industrial modernization. Thanks to the enthusiasts researching these vintage rails, we can easily find out them. Here are the examples:

In Osaka, Nankai Electric Railway established in 1884 keeps some of these vintage imported rails as facilities’ steel frames. Most of them exist as platform roof supports along branch lines and spun-off trolley lines.

At Shiomibashi terminus, we can find vintage rails made by Carnegie Steel and US Steel.
According to the marking (CARNEGIE STEEL CO LTD ET 96 IIIIIIII NANKAI), the rail used as a catenary pole was produced in August 1896 at Carnegie Steel’s Edgar Thomson Steel Works plant at Braddock, PA for Nankai Electric Railway.
According to the marking (OH TENNESSEE 6040-ASCE-9-1922), the rail used as a platform roof support was produced in September 1922 at US Steel’s Fairfield Works plant at Birmingham, AL. OH means for open hearth, ASCE means for American Society of Civil Engineers, and is a 60lb rail.

carnegie-rail_03.jpg: Shiomibashi, Osaka, Japan Oct. 20, 2015

At Kizugawa depot, we can find bended vintage rails made by Carnegie Steel. According to the marking (CARNEGIE 1910 ET IIIIIIIII), the rail used as a platform roof support was produced in September 1910 at its Edgar Thomson Steel Works plant.

carnegie-rail_05.jpg: Kizugawa, Osaka, Japan Oct. 20, 2015

At Ebisucho terminus, we can find vintage rails made by Carnegie Steel. According to the marking (CARNEGIE 1897 ET IIIIIIIIIII NANKAI), this rail used as a platform roof support was produced in November 1897 at its Edgar Thomson Steel Works plant for Nankai Electric Railway.

carnegie-rail_07.jpg: Ebisucho, Osaka, Japan Oct. 20, 2015

According to Arashi Michihiro of Old Rails in Japan, besides Carnegie Steel and US Steel, vintage rails produced by Bethlehem Steel, Albany & Rensselaer Iron & Steel, Cambria Steel, Colorado Fuel & Iron, Edgar Thomson Steel, Illinois Steel, Joliet Iron and Steel, Lackwanna Iron & Steel, Lorain Steel, Maryland Steel, Scranton Steel, Troy Steel and Union Steel are found in Japan.

[1] Old Rails in Japan web page; (Japanese only)

Japanese & Comments


Trip to Taiwan in 1963, part 1 [Column_Pacific Rim]

These photos below are from my dad’s album. I scanned the slides because more than fifty years old film began deteriorating. Only transportation related cuts are represented here, starting with Haiou of Keelung leaving port of Kobe.

1963_TWN_008.jpg: Mar. 3, 1963|Port of Kobe|神戸港兵庫突堤
1963_TWN_026.jpg: Mar. 1963|Taipei Station|台北車站
1963_TWN_033.jpg: Mar. 1963|Taipei Station|台北車站
1963_TWN_063.jpg: Mar. 1963|Peitou Station|北投車站
1963_TWN_064.jpg: Mar. 1963|Peitou Station|北投車站
1963_TWN_066.jpg: Mar. 1963|Chair Car Interior|非空調旅客車
1963_TWN_067.jpg: Mar. 1963|Air Conditioned Chair Car Interior|空調旅客車

Japanese & Comments


Trip to Taiwan in 1963, part 2 [Column_Pacific Rim]

These photos are from my dad’s album. I scanned the slides because more than fifty years old film began deteriorating. Only transportation related cuts are represented here, ending with Northwest airplane at Taipei Songshan Airport.

1963_TWN_068.jpg: Mar. 1963|Xinbeitou Station|新北投車站
1963_TWN_070.jpg: Mar. 1963|Hsinchu Station|新竹車站
1963_TWN_071.jpg:Mar. 31, 1963|Hualien Station|花蓮車站
1963_TWN_093.jpg: Mar. 29, 1963|Taiwan Sugar Company Push Car Railway|臺灣製糖埔里台車
1963_TWN_119.jpg: Mar. 29, 1963|Taiwan Sugar Company Push Car Railway|臺灣製糖埔里台車
1963_TWN_041.jpg: Mar. 1963|Taipei Airport|台北航空站・現臺北松山機場
1963_TWN_118.jpg: Mar. 1963|Taipei Airport|台北航空站

Japanese & Comments

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