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Saturday, 30 May 2009

Thomas & Friends

The Railway Museum (鉄道博物館, Tetsudō Hakubutsukan) at Saitama City of Japan was officially opened on 14th October 2007 to commemorate the twenty years of railway-service excellence of the East Japan Railway Company (JR East). It has also replaced the old Transportation Museum at Kanda, Tokyo, which was closed in May 2006.

I visited the Railway Museum on 31st May 2008, starting my journey at Ōmiya JR train station. The Railway museum is about 1.2 km away, so I decided to walk there. Another alternative is to take a local train to the station next to the Museum.

In the courtyard near the main entrance is a D51 steam locomotive display. This train has got a really huge smoke box!




The entrance fee was ¥1,000 and all I have got from that was a swipe card to enter the Museum.




Before entering the main exhibition area, I roamed around to look at the exhibits of parts of the locomotives.




Just after the main gate that one has to swipe the card to enter the Museum, there is a sculpture based on the theme of train masters.




The Railway Museum has 36 real railway cars on display on the ground floor. There is even a Class 9850 Mallet Steam Locomotive (1913) with cut outs on display, cool! I didn't know that there are so many steel tubes inside the steam barrel.




This is the Kaitakushi Passenger Carriage (Class Kotoku 5010) built by the Americans in 1880. It was a special passenger car for high-ranking officials of Hokkaido Kaitakushi (Hokkaido Colonization Office) riding Horonai Railway in Hokkaido. The interior can only be described by one word, luxurious!




Some of the railway cars are open to public for viewing only.




The main exhibit at the Railway Museum is the Class C57 Steam Locomotive manufactured in 1940. It used to service the Muroran Main Line between Iwamizawa and Muroran in Hokkaido to haul regular passenger trains.




This is the Class ED75 Electric Locomotive, a standardized AC electric locomotive which is cold and snow resistant. It was built in 1975 by Toshiba.




This is the Class Kuha 481 Electric Rail Car (Series 485 Electric Multiple Unit), the first AC/DC limited express EMU for through services between DC and AC electrified sections. It was built in 1965.




This is the Class Kuha 181 Electric Rail Car (Series 181 Electric Multiple Unit) which was also built in 1965. It has a maximum speed of 110 km/h.




Towards one corner of the exhibition hall is the Class C51 Steam Locomotive, the first Japan-built (1920) high-speed passenger locomotive used for express services on most important railway lines.




At the other corner is the Series 200 Shinkansen train, the first generation of Tohoku and Joetsu Shinkansen, built in 1982.




After seeing all the real railway cars, I proceeded to the first floor which offers a good overview of the exhibits on the ground floor.




Most of the exhibits on the first floors are model trains, including a model of the Series 0f Shinkansen.




The model trains that caught most of my attention were these very old and classic railway cars.






There is also an HO-gauge Railway Model Diorama on the first floor, the largest of its kind in Japan. It simulates the operation of the JR Tokyo Station. It was a lot of fun watching those model trains moving around, even for a grown up like me!




I spent almost 5 hours in the Railway Museum. The visit was actually more than seeing the real railway cars and train models. There are many simulators for visitors to experience railway operation.

Before I left the Museum, I exchanged the swipe card with a souvenir card to take home with me.


2 comments:

jedi #1 said...

eh...where's thomas?

CK-II said...

You have to imagine... :p

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