Friday, 9 November 2012

Shibamata, Good Old Days on the Urban Local Line

Nostalgic EMU, Keisei 3300 series arrives at Shibamata Station on the Kanamachi Line

Shibamata is located some 10km east of the city center, and is one of the traditional areas in Tokyo. It is also home to a 17th-century temple, Taishakuten. The area maintains the feel of the good old days in Tokyo. The winding residential backstreet is a typical example.

It was a series of movies, Otokowa Tsuraiyo (It's Hard Being a Man) that made Shibamata famous throughout Japan. In the movie, Shibamata is described as an area where time has stopped.

The railway in Shibamata is also old-fashioned. The nearest route, the Kanamachi Line was opened in 1899 as a handcar railway. Operators pushed the car from behind. It was electrified in 1913 as a part of the Keisei Electric Railway of today, but it is still a single track local line. There are only 3 stations over a total operating length of 2.5km.

An old-fashioned 4-car train, the EMU 3300 series is operated every 10 to 15 minutes on the route. The 3300 series was launched in 1968. A total of 54 units have been manufactured, and 16 units are still operated.

I like these nostalgic trains very much, as the 4 large front lights are very cute. When I was a child, I often got on the 3300 series on the subway Toei-Asakusa Line, as this train was directly operated into the subway line. It was called Akaden (the red train), as the body color was red at that time.

The 3300 series really goes with nostalgic town of Shibamata.

Taishakuten-temple and a residential backstreet near Shibamata Station on the Kanamachi Line