Sunday, 17 January 2021

Tenku: Nankai's Leisure Train on the Koya Line

Set 2058 of the EMU Nankai 2200 series, "Tenku", stands at Gokurakubashi station
When I visited Koya-san with my family last year, we came across Nankai Electric Railway's leisure train named "Tenku (Sky)" at Gokurakubashi terminal.

The formal name of Tenku is Set 2058 of the EMU Nankai 2200 series. The 2200 series was originally debuted under the name of the EMU 22000 series in 1969. 16 sets, 32 cars, were built by Tokyu Sharyo from 1969 to 1972. The interior and exterior of 4 sets, 8 cars, of the 22000 series were then modified, and changed number to the EMU 2200 series. Set 2203 of the 2200 series was modified and changed number again to Set 2058 (Tenku) in 2009. It's a bit complicated history.

Tenku consists of two motorcars. The electric control system is traditional rheostatic with DC motors. The body is two-toned color of red and green. The red stands for Konpon Daito (the Basic Great Pagoda); meanwhile the green stands for the forest of Koya-san. The train has special front view seats, wide view seats, compartment seats and an observation deck. The passengers can relax and enjoy the mountain view on the Koya line.

After taking photos of the Tenku train, we headed to Koya-san passing through Daimon. What's Daimon? It's a large front gate at the entrance of the Buddhist temple settlement. This wooden gate was reconstructed in 1705. It's 25.8 meters tall and one of the largest wooden two-storied gates in Japan. Irimoya style (semigabled), two-storied gate is a main gateway to the Koya-san area.

Daimon, Koya-san

Official information about the leisure train "Tenku" (in Japanese):
Official information about Koya-san:

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Preserved Electric Car in Kyoto City

N28 of the Kyoto Municipal Transportation Bureau N1 series is preserved in Kyoto City

When I visited Kyoto City last September, I found an old preserved tramcar in a building of the city center. What was that?

It's an electric car, N28 of the Kyoto Municipal Transportation Bureau N1 series. The N1 series was commissioned in 1912 by Kyoto Electric Railway Company. 133 cars were built by Umehachi Tekko. All cars were taken over by Kyoto Municipal Transportation Bureau in 1918, and operated until 1961, when the Kitano line was abolished. The N1 series is an electric car for the 1,067 millimeters-wide track with a 600 V direct current electric system. It has two direct current electric motors (25 HP each) with a direct electric control system. The travelling truck is a single truck made by J.G. Brill and Company in the United States. The brake system is a horizontal one-handled hand brake. The electric current collectors for vehicles are trolley poles. Passenger doors are not equipped on the side body. This tiny tramcar is a precious historical memorial for Japanese railways.

Incidentally, Kyoto Municipal Transportation Bureau was established in 1912. Taking over Kyoto Electric Railway Company, they operated tramcars from 1918 to 1978. They had two kinds of tracks namely the 1,067 millimeters-wide narrow gauge track and the 1,435 millimeters-wide standard gauge track. The total operating length was 68.8 kilometers. Although the tram was a very useful transportation means for local people, it was unfortunately abolished in 1978 due to heavy traffic congestion in the city. It's quite regrettable, isn't it?

Front view of N28

Saturday, 9 January 2021

The Sunset over Tanzawa Mountains

Set R7 of the EMU JR East 205-500 series arrives at Shimomizo station

It's mid-winter in Japan. The maximum daytime temperature is around 10 degrees Celsius in Tokyo. Although it's a bit cold, I went to the suburban area for strolling on the weekend. My destination was Hakkei-no-tana in Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Prefecture about 60 kilometers southwest of Tokyo. Hakkei-no-tana is famous among local people for its superb view overlooking Sagami River and the Tanzawa mountains. You can see a beautiful sunset from there. When I visited there, there were several "sunset lovers" who brought their cameras waiting for the beautiful twilight glow.

To get to this viewing spot, the nearest railway station is Shimomizo on the JR East Sagami line. The Sagami line penetrates the western part of Kanagawa Prefecture from north to south. Connecting Hashimoto and Chigasaki stations, its total length is 33.3 kilometers. The entire route is electrified and single. The electric system is 1,500 V DC overhead. 4-car trains named the EMU 205-500 series are operated every 20 minutes on average.

The 205-500 series was launched in 1991, when the route was electrified. 13 sets, 52 cars, were built by Tokyu Sharyo and JR East Ofuna Factory. Its technical specification is rather old at this distance of time, but the 205-500 series is still operated as the only model on the line. It will be replaced by a new model, E131 series, or the E231 series moved from the Tokaido line in the near future, but it has not been officially announced yet by JR East.

Incidentally, I have linked to an infromative website, JABODETABEK COMMUTERS NEWS (in Japanese). Please enjoy the latest news on the urban railways in Indonesia.

Sunset over the Tanzawa mountains