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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;
http://riogrande.blog.so-net.ne.jp/2010-03-02-6

Japanese


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;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Q_class.jpg



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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;
http://www.kingstonflyer.co.nz/

Japanese


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;
http://www.sarsteam.co.za/steam_specs_3ft6in_shunting.php?locoid=3


Japanese


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;

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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

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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 equipment; electric motor-assisted bicycle for 2, non-assisted bicycle for 2, non-assisted bicycle for 4 and dolly with the seat pushed by motorcycle.

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 steel by yourself?

“Rail Mountain Bike” home page (Japanese only);
http://rail-mtb.com/

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



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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 the 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. But you need the 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

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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 ’30s. 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 by UP’s M-10000 (1934) or CBQ’s Zephyr (1934), but it resembles 20th Century Limited’s tapered end parlor car (1938).

Compared with 20th Century Limited’s five windows in a parabolic plan, she has six in a circular plan. Compared with 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 a poor man’s streamliner.

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

Society preserving Katakami Railway equipment (Japanese only);



katakami_702_03.jpg: Wake, Okayama, Japan. 1990

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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. But 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 the 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 heritage 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_01.jpg
carnegie-rail_02.jpg
carnegie-rail_03.jpg: Shiomibashi, Osaka, Japan Oct. 20, 2015

At Kizugawa depot, we can find bent 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_04.jpg
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 on November 1897 at its Edgar Thomson Steel Works plant for Nankai Electric Railway.

carnegie-rail_06.jpg
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, Lackawanna Iron & Steel, Lorain Steel, Maryland Steel, Scranton Steel, Troy Steel and Union Steel are found in Japan.


Meanwhile, what has become of the "ET", the Carnegie Steel, Edgar Thomson Plant? As of Sep. 2019, It is still active as United States Steel, Mon Valley Works, Edgar Thomson Plant.
revised, Sep. 19, 2019

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

edgarthomson_01.jpg
edgarthomson_02.jpg: Braddock, PA. Sep. 7, 2019

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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

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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
 
 

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Ghost Towns of the North, part 1 [Column_Pacific Rim]

shihorosen_01.jpg: former JNR Shihoro-Sen branch right of way between Nukabira and Horoka. Aug. 24, 2018

Our summer vacation this year was the tour to Hokkaido, Japan. There, we visited several ghost towns along an abandoned railroad.

49 miles long Japanese National Railway’s Shihoro-Sen branch, extended north from Obihiro, Hokkaido, was completed in 1939[1]. Several towns were rapidly established next to the depots about that time. Unfortunately, however, the branch was abandoned in 1987 due to the lack of passengers and freights. Some of the towns along the branch declined antecedent to it, and some shared their fates with the branch.

shihorosen_timetable.jpg: April, 1980 Shihoro-Sen branch passenger timetable

What is interesting is that there are some matters common to both ghost towns along Rio Grande in Utah and ghost towns along JNR Shihoro-Sen branch in spite of different natural and social backgrounds.

First of all, it was surprising that both the towns are returning to nature so instantly. It was hard to imagine there used to be hundreds of people lived in the particular townsite.

Then, the last survived business in both the ghost towns seemed a mercantile, a “shoten” in Japanese, facing the depot. And, the last surviving structures in both the ghost towns are the post office and the power line.

Also is that both the towns are rich in nature: National Parks are within a stone's throw and wild animals stalk within the townsites.

I’ll introduce some of these ghost towns of the north in next post.

[1] Wikipedia webpage for JNR Shihoro-sen branch (Japanese only);

mitsumata_04.jpg: deer at JNR Mitsumata depot site
antelope_cisco.jpg: pronghorn on US Hwy 6 at Cisco

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Ghost Towns of the North, part 2 [Column_Pacific Rim]

Here are the three ghost towns along the former JNR Shihoro-Sen branch I visited in summer 2018. They declined in the 60’s and became the ghost town in the 80’s, or been abandoned for more than four decades. A brief history of each town is introduced below:

Shimizudani【清水谷】
shimizudani_01.jpg: looking down the depot on “Depot Street”
shimizudani_02.jpg: ruin of the Murakami-Shoten mercantile in front of an abandoned structure
shimizudani_03.jpg: housing almost hidden in the bush

The town of Shimizudani was established in 1923 as an “ekitei-sho”, a kind of roadside station organized by the prefectural government, providing horses and beds for travelers, delivering mails, and selling daily necessaries[1]. The Shimizusawa Ekitei-Sho was operated by Sadaji and Mego Takeda, parents of later Kamishihoro-Cho mayor Yohzaburo Takeda[1]. It was lasted until 1936[2].

The JNR Shihoro-Sen branch and the depot were inaugurated in 1935 as a replacement for the ekitei-sho. At the same time, the town changed its name from Shimizusawa to Shimizudani. Unfortunately, however, the depot lost its agent in 1970 and was retired in 1987 due to the abandonment of the branch itself[3].

The Murakami-Shoten mercantile next to the railroad depot fulfilled the needs of the residents at its heyday: the Shimizudani Elementary School was established in 1952 near the depot, but was closed in 1975[4]. Nothing but a ruin of a store and a housing remain today at the townsite: the only survivor on the “Depot Street”, as of summer 2018, seemed the power/phone line.

* 1987 photo of the depot from “Depot Street”;
* 2004 photo of the Murakami-Shoten mercantile;
* 1977 aerial photo of the town;


Horoka【幌加】
horoka_02.jpg: looking down the depot on “Depot Street”
horoka_03.jpg: remains of Horoka depot
horoka_01.jpg: switch left at the depot

The town of Horoka was a logging town established in the 40’s. According to the marker at the former depot site, the town boasted of the population of 350 or 80 families in 1962. Sawmill, mercantile, gas service station, and restaurant fulfilled the needs of the residents at its heyday[5]. Unfortunately, however, the forest industry at Horoka sharply declined in the late 60’s due to the exhaustion of logs. The population of only one is registered in this town as of 2015.

The JNR Shihoro-Sen branch and the depot were inaugurated in 1939, but the depot lost its agent in 1970, closed in 1978, and retired in 1987 due to the abandonment of the branch itself[6].

Today, the townsite is returning to forest. The only remaining artifacts are the tracks and the platform of the depot: the switch still works as of summer 2018.

* 1977 photo of the depot looking from Funato-Shoten mercantile on “Depot Street”;
* photo of the same switch shown above, taken maybe in the 50’s;
* 1985 photo of the same switch shown above;
* 1977 aerial photo of the town;


Mitsumata【三股】
mitsumata_01.jpg: looking down the depot on “Depot Street”
mitsumata_03.jpg: former post office, mail carrier’s little van on the left
mitsumata_02.jpg: collapsing former logging railroad blacksmith’s shop

The town of Mitsumata was a logging town established in 1938[7]. The town boasted of the population of 1162 or 221 families in 1964. Sawmills, power station, nursery, post office, clinic, theatre, mercantile, barber, and restaurants fulfilled the needs of the residents at its heyday[8, 9]. Mitsumata Kokumin Gakkou (elementary school) was established in 1939. Unfortunately, however, the forest industry at Mitsumata declined in the 60’s due to the exhaustion of logs: in 1976, the population dropped to only 18 or 8 families and the school closed its doors. The population of only 4 or two families is registered in this town as of 2015.

Otofuke-Honryu Shinrin-Tetsudo logging railway was inaugurated in 1944 to collect logs from the valley west of the town[10]. Unfortunately, however, 5.5 miles long at its best, the 2’6” gauge railway was abandoned in 1958.

The 3’6” gauge JNR Shihoro-Sen branch and the Tokachi-Mitsumata terminal was inaugurated in 1939, but the depot was closed in 1978 and retired in 1987 due to the abandonment of the branch itself[11]. The average number of passengers a day fallen from 239 in 1965 to only 6 in 1978[1].

The only survivor on “Depot Street” seems the power line as of summer 2018. Former post office structure still survives but lost its post: mails are carried 25 miles from the town of Kami-Shihoro. Former logging railroad blacksmith’s shop built in 1950 is returning to rust[12].

* 1977 photo of the depot looking from “Depot Street”;
* 1977 aerial photo of the town;

All photos were taken at Kamishihoro-Cho, Hokkaido on Aug. 24, 2018.


[1] web archive page for history of Kamishihoro-Cho (Japanese only);
[2] Ugawa, Takao (1996). vol. 3, Ekitei-Joho;
[3] Wikipedia webpage for Shimizudani Station (Japanese only);
[4] unofficial webpage for Shimizudani Elementary School (Japanese only);
[5] 1967 map of Horoka;
[6] Wikipedia webpage for Horoka Station (Japanese only);
[7] Naruse, Kenta (2014). webpage for the history of Mitsumata (Japanese only);
[8] Yatagai, Masayoshi, (1948). Studies on Forest Colonization in Hokkaido (Ⅰ), Research Bulettins of the College Experiment Forests, Hokkaido University;
[9] 1966 map of Mitsumata;
[10] webpage for the list of historic narrow gauge railroads in Hokkaido (Japanese only);
[11] Wikipedia webpage for Tokachi-Mitsumata Station (Japanese only);
[12] Hokkaido Culture & Art Database webpage for the blacksmith’s shop (Japanese only);

 

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