Thursday, 20 December 2012

Electric Car Type 3000, Black Tram in the Castle City

Electric car Type 3000, "Kuro" arrives at Shiroshita Stop on the Okayama Electric Tramway 

Okayama is the main city in Okayama Prefecture, some 700km west of Tokyo. Along with Hiroshima, it is a business center of the Chugoku District, in the western part of Japan.

I have a theory that most trams are operated in castle cities in Japan. For example, Kochi has a beautiful Kochi Castle and convenient tram system (see my blog on May 11th, 2012), whilst Hakodate also has a western style castle, Goryokaku and extensive tram routes (see my blog on August 23rd, 2012). Similarly, Okayama also has a castle and tramways.

Okayama Electric Tramway is a local private company, which operates two tram routes (Higashiyama and Seikibashi lines) in the city. It was opened in 1910; and the current operating length is 4.7km only. Lovely electric cars are operated every 5 minutes on the Higashiyama Line, and every 10 minutes on the Seikibashi Line.

I like car number 3007 of the oldest model, Type 3000, best. It is known as "Kuro (black)". The classic style, splendid black body with a large rounded front light is my favorite. A large iron stand below the pantograph is also peculier to this electric car. "Kuro" was originally manufactured for the Nikko Tram Line of Tobu Railway in 1953. After closing the Nikko Tram Line, a total of 10 units were transferred to Okayama to spend a second life.

The black face, "Kuro" is the front man in the historic castle city.

Okayama castle

More information about trains of Okayama Electric Railway (in Japanese):