Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Electric Car, Keio 500 in My Grandpa's Photo Album

Electric car Keio 500 and railway engineers in 1931(?)

As I mentioned in my October 22nd blog, my grandpa, who passed away in 1999, was a railway engineer in Keio Electric Railway Company. Since he was quiet and reserved, I don't know his affairs in detail. But, I can learn a bit about it from his photo album.

Look at the top photo. It is the electric car Keio number 500, which was manufactured by Amemiya Works Ltd. in 1931. It's a VIP car for the imperial family to visit Tama Goryo, the imperial mausoleum. For that purpose, the car body is very elegant. For example, you can see beautiful arched windows on the side and a modern rounded single roof at the top of the body.

It's probably taken just after its completion. According to published literature, Keio 500 was completed in "March" 1931. It was early spring, but still cold in Tokyo. That's why several railway engineers in front of the car were wearing overcoats. All of the engineers seem very proud of the fact that they are introducing a new elegant electric car.

But later in 1938, this car was converted to a standard commuter train (new car number was 2501A, then 2503), because the imperial family took the Chuo Line to visit the mausoleum. Then, after World War II, the "VIP car", Keio 500 was lost in the mists of time. Eventually, this car was retired in 1968 from the Keio Line.