Saturday, 13 April 2013

The Class 7100, American SL in the Railway Museum

Steam Locomotive No. 7101, "Benkei" (the Class 7100) on the ex-Japanese Government Railways

I visited the Railway Museum in Saitama City with a British rail fan. He is an authority of steam locomotives (SLs). So, taking the opportunity, I learnt much about SLs from him as an absolute beginner.

Look at the top photo. It is unit number 7101 of the Class 7100 SL on the ex-Japanese Government Railways. The Class 7100 was imported from the U.S. from 1880 to 1889. A total of 8 units were manufactured by H. K. Porter, Inc. in Pittsburgh, and had been used on Hokkaido Island. The unit number 7101 was called "Benkei", who is the famous Japanese warrior monk in the 12th Century. The Class 7100 has 3 ft sized driving wheels with the 2-6-0 axle configuration. Being outfitted with a cow catcher, a large smokestack and a wooden cockpit, it is a typical American style locomotive.

Behind the Class 7100 SL, a classic passenger carriage was exhibited (see the following photo). It looks like a scene from a western movie. This carriage is the KoToKu 5010, which was also imported from the U.S. in 1880. The KoToKu 5010 was manufactured by Harlan and Hollingsworth Company in Delaware. It had also been operated on Hokkaido Island as a VIP car. Being equipped with an air brake system, the KuToKu 5010 was the state of the art passenger carriage in the 19th Century.

With the American style classic SL and elegant passenger carriage, I enjoyed the atmosphere of the good and old days of railways in Japan.

Passenger carriage KoToKu 5010 on the ex-Japanese Government Railways
More information about the Class 7100 SL and KoToKu 5010 passenger carriage: