Friday, April 19, 2013

Coming up Soon, 2013 Torokko Train Operation


Torokko train stands at Ashio Station on the Watarase Valley Railway (September, 2012)

The cherry blossom season is finally ending, and the temperature in Tokyo is rising day by day. It exceeds 20-degrees Celsius, if the weather is clear.

It is time to resume the operation of the "Torokko" train. Torokko is an open-air train to make passengers enjoy the outdoor air. Watarase Valley Railway has announced that this year's Torokko train operation will be started on April 20th. Watarase River Railway is a local line in the northern part of the Tokyo metropolitan area. It is famous for the beautiful valley and popular attractions such as an ex-copper mine (see my blog on September 13th, 2012) and superb hot springs.

Look at the top photo. This is the Torokko Train, which is operated on the Watarase Valley Railway. A powerful diesel locomotive, Type DE10, pulls four coaches and ascends the chasm of the Watarase River. The middle two carriages are so-called "torokko" style cars, which are characterized by a lack of windows on the both sides of coaches. "Torokko" got its name from a mining cart, which also has no windows.

Getting on the Torokko train, the passengers can admire the outside view, such as beautiful forests, fresh streams and quiet farming villages without looking through windows. What happens if it starts to rain? Don't worry. The answer is simple. Passengers who don't want to get wet only have to move to the next car with glass windows.

Torokko train ... it is a star on this small local railway.

Torokko train passes through Watarase River near Souri Station (September, 2012)