Sunday, 6 November 2011

Classic Railcar on the Minato Line

Classic railcar Hitachinaka KiHa 2005 (right), 205, 202 and 222 at Nakaminato Station

When I visited Hitachinaka City (see my October 10th blog), a classic railcar was taking some time to rest in the station yard of Nakaminato, Hitachinaka Kaihin Railway.

Look at the top photo. You can see a railcar, which shows beige colored body with a vermillion stripe around the windows. It is Railcar No. 2005. This railcar was manufactured in 1966 for Rumoi Railway Company in Hokkaido Island. It had been operating on the Coal Mine Line. Then, in 1970, it was ceded to Hitachinaka Kaihin Railway, because the coal mine and the railway were closed.

In the meantime, this railcar is frequently called "JNR type". JNR, which stands for Japanese National Railways, was Japan's largest railway network. It was split into seven railway companies and privatized as the JR Group in 1987 due to financial difficulties. During the JNR era, plenty of railcars like the top photo were introduced to railways all over Japan. They were not only for JNR but also for local private railway companies. You can see the characteristics of JNR type railcars in the front design, body coloring and so on.

After privatizing, all JNR trains had been ceded to each JR company. Since then, JNR type railcars were gradually scrapped or modified and lost the original designs. But, they are still alive and operating in some local railway companies.

I felt like time had stopped and rendered thanks to the railway engineers of Hitachinaka Kaihin Railway, because they have maintained the JNR type railcars in good condition.

Side view of the railcar Hitachinaka KiHa 2005 at Nakaminato Station