Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Japan/Taiwan Trip 2016 Day 1: Arrival, Isumi Railway, Goi


So, normally around June we will take off for Japan (for fun) and Taiwan (for family), and we always visit many interesting places. I'm going to break up our trip into 16-17 parts so the computers and mobile devices don't crash, so I hope it will work. Anyway, this is JPBX904 Palo Alto, an EMD F40PH-2 powering a northbound train to San Francisco.
This is all that remains of Evelyn Station. They demolished it to make way for a second track.
While at Santa Clara station we missed the bus...by a total of ten seconds. So, this little diversion in time let me photograph the very new EMD SD59MX which is pretty rare to see.
It  was coupled up to a couple of SD70M locos in the siding, all of which were just sitting there idling.
While on the plane I spotted another plane below us, probably at 35,000 feet above ground. It was extremely hard to tell, but I am fairly sure that it was a Hawaiian Airlines plane because of the purple-orange-white color scheme.

 Well, once we arrived into Tokyo Narita Int'l Airport off of an ANA 787-9 with terrible food and entertainment we took the JR Narita Line to Chiba station. We did not take the Narita Express, just a local train to Chiba Main Station.
Turns out that our Toyoko Inn room has a monorail view in it! Monorails came in every 10 minutes on the two lines of the Chiba Urban Monorail.
I can't believe that there is a station called Mikado. Mikado is the name for any steam engine with a 2-8-2 wheel arrangement. This was taken on the train to Ohara station the next morning.
This is the Isumi Railway Class 350 train that we took to Otaki station, the mid-point of the line.
The Isumi Railway trains are all decorated with characters from the Dutch comic "Moomin." Why, you ask? The president's wife likes them.
At one of the stations along the line, the Isumi railway has an old KiHa 30 diesel railcar from the old Kururi line. It is a line that is farther down in Chiba, it is one of three cross-Chiba railway lines. The other two are the Isumi Railway and the Kominato Railway.

The Isumi railway was operating in the red for years, but now the new president Akira Torizuka has been making money everywhere. For example, there are themed trains, railfan-friendly trains, and even planter boxes.
Oh, right. Both the Isumi and Kominato Railways have their own painted vending machines.
The Isumi Railway is famous among railfans for preserving several diesel railcars and planting many flowers along the rail line. Incidentally, both a railfan and the flowers are included in this picture.
As with the rest of Japan, PRR position-light signals are still in operation.
This is the Isumi Class 350 train that we took. I believe that it was built by Niigata Transys, which makes many railcars in Japan and elsewhere in the world.
This is the only form of maintenance equipment that I saw along the entire line. It is a small shunter and two flatcars.
Inside the waiting room they had a bunch of Japanese rail magazines, which are really more like books. Book Off usually has a very good selection of used ones. Normally they go for about $10, but there you can find them for less than $5 (mostly.) Anyway, this is a picture that they had of an Isumi Class 300 railcar, #301. We actually rode this railcar from Kazusa-Nakano (terminus 1) to Ohara (terminus 2.)
On our last visit to Japan we got to see a Highland Rail train at the Matsumoto station.
This is a picture of the Toyama Chiho Railway, in Toyama. This is one of their special trains, a 16010 set.
Yes. This station is literally called "Dental Support Otaki Station." As I said, the Isumi Railway was searching for some money, so...they let companies buy the names to some of their stations.
Yeah, toooooooootally not creepy or disturbing in any way at all!
Inside a gas museum that was like a little house that was next to the Tourism Office, there was literally no one inside the museum. Not a soul! Just these two charming receptionists bored with their job.
This is a KiHa 52 that was painted to look exactly as it did in the old JNR days.
On the main platform of Otaki station there is a statue of a samurai and his two ninjas.
This is the back of the last operational KiHa 28 in all of Japan. Due to the fact that it only consists of one car, a second one is needed, and that second car is generally an orange KiHa 52.

This is an Isumi Class 200 railcar hanging out at the sheds.
On our walk up Mexico Road, we spotted some features along the river such as this bridge.
These are some flowers on the Mexico Road. Not sure what type, but  I did see them near the tracks on the train.
The Mexico Road leads to Otaki Castle, one of the many Japanese medieval castles.

There was a well next to a junior high school that used to be the source of water for Otaki Castle.

In the background is Otaki Castle, and in the foreground is the well.
This is the Isumi Railway's KiHa 52-125 (left) and one of their LE-Car II (right).

This is the head of their KiHa 52 diesel railcar. It was the most numerous railcar in all of Japan, mainly used for express services, but now this is the last in operation.
Japan Railway Journal is my absolute favorite TV show. The reason that I know of the Isumi Railway's existence is because of them. Anyway, they bought a railway tie (yes, you can do that) with the presenter's name on it.
Back on the line, we have another railfan taking pictures of the Isumi Class 350 railcar that we were riding.
At the terminus of the Isumi Railway in Kazusa-Nakano there is not really that much. This is a dead jinja, meaning that absolutely no one is there.
This is their temple, which was as dead as the jinja. No water running, none of the lights burning, nothing.
Depressive station building...
...that last had an upgrade in the JNR days!
This is our Isumi Class 300 railcar that took us back to Ohara.
In the old days this station had another through track towards Goi, but now the only remnant of those times is an island platform. However, there is an extremely overgrown track that connects the two railways, but that has not been used in ages!
The Kominato Railway operates KTK cars, as shown here. They run between Kazusa-Nakano and Goi Stations, and charge way too much!
This cute painting of some Moomin characters was outside one of the stations after Kazusa-Nakano.
The Isumi Railway crosses over a river many, many times. This is just one of those times.
Stopping at Nittano station, which is extremely overgrown.
This is the Isumi Railway's KiHa 20. It was built in 2015 by Niigata Transys, and is painted in the old JNR colors of beige and orange.
I made this video with various scenes that I took out of the railfan windows.

This video shows a JR Sotobo Line train departing Ohara Station.
And our Wakashio that we rode to Soga.

At Soga there were two freight locomotives there, a EF210 and a EF65.

From Soga we transferred onto the Uchibo Line to Goi, where we were visiting the Kominato Railway's shed.
This is where they store their KTK railcars and some old steam locomotives.
These are the steam locomotives that I was talking about.
The two on the right are American locomotives, and the one on the left is a British locomotive.
It reminds me of the locomotives of the Isle of Man Steam Railway, so I am guessing that it is a Beyer-Peacock design.
The management was extremely nice, because we were there after hours. They let us come in and photograph the trains, and when the manager came out he asked us about our current residence. When we told him America, he gave us some very special treatment and brought us into the shed to see the Satoyama Torokko train.
It is a train that operates on weekends with large windows and open areas like this.

The Satoyama Torokko is pulled by a "steam" locomotive that is really a Volvo engine in a steam costume.
This is the Uchibo line train that we rode back to Chiba, where our hotel was.
Next post will be about the Omiya RR Museum and the Hokkaido Shinkansen.

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