Friday, March 8, 2013

Old Soldier at the Foot of Mt. Kaikoma


"Old Soldier", electric locomotive EF64 37 stands at Kofu Station on the JR East Chuo Line
 
Mt. Kaikoma (2,967meters above sea level) is an icon of Yamanashi Prefecture, some 130 kilometers west of Tokyo. While it ranks only as the sixth highest mountain in the prefecture, the status of Mt. Kaikoma is worth more than its height.

The appeal of Mt. Kaikoma is its pyramid-like jagged summit and shining granitic rock face. Specifically, the view of Mt. Kaikoma from Rakanji-yama is my favorite (see the following photo). We can look closely at its peak. To enjoy this panoramic view, I took the JR East Chuo Line from downtown Tokyo, and headed to Kofu, which is the largest city in Yamanashi Prefecture.

After getting off the train at Kofu Station, I found many EMUs and locomotives in the railyard. What first struck me was the brown colored electric locomotive (EL), EF 64 37 (see the top photo). It is an old EL, manufactured in 1971. Type EF 64 is a specialist to be operated on steep tracks in mountain areas. In "his" long working life, the proudest experience was to pull a limited express sleeper train, "Akebono (dawn)" from 2009 to 2010. It was only a short period; however, it must have been a culmination of "his" life.

EF 64 37 has grown older. Currently, this old EL spends the rest of his life transporting materials, such as rails and construction machines.

The electric locomotive, EF 64 37, is an old "soldier" at the foot of the prestigious Mt. Kaikoma.
 
View of Mt. Kaikoma (right) from Rakanji-yama near Kofu Station on the JR East Chuo Line