Thursday, 25 August 2011

"Fruit Liner" in Yamagata Prefecture

Diesel railcars JR East Type 101 (100 series), "Fruit Liner" stand at Yamagata Station Yard

When I arrived in Yamagata on the Shinkansen, I found a small-sized local train in the corner of the station. The two coach, beige and sky-blue colored train had a “Fruit Liner” logo on the body. It’s JR East’s diesel raiclar, Type KiHa 101 (100 series).

This diesel railcar is for the Aterazawa Line, which is a local section connecting Yamagata City and Aterazawa in Ooe Town. The length of the car body is only 16m, and cockpits are equipped in both ends of the car. A total of 13 units were manufactured in 1993 and 1994. The train runs without conductors on board which means that the driver has to operate the train doors. I saw many high school students using the line to go to school in the morning, despite it being during the summer vacation.

In the meantime, why there is a “Fruit Liner” logo on the car body? It’s because Yamagata Prefecture is the “kingdom of fruit”. Strawberries, blueberries, peaches, plums, grapes, and apples from the area are very famous. Specifically, I think that the taste of cherries and pears from Yamagata the best in Japan or even in the world. They are sweet and flavorsome, but still delicate and harmonious. Whenever I taste fruit from Yamagata Prefecture, I always feel the farmers’ love for their products. Right now, peaches and grapes are in season, so, I had my fill of fruits during this trip.

Delicious fruit and lovely local trains… Yamagata is really an area of charm, isn’t it?
Interior of the diesel railcar JR East Type 101 (100 series) for the Aterazawa Line