Thursday, May 16, 2013

Diorama, Indispensable Attraction in Railway Museums


Japan's largest railway model diorama in the Railway Museum

As I mentioned previously, there are several railway museums in the Tokyo metropolitan area. They are owned by major railway companies, such as JR East, Tobu, Tokyu and Tokyo Metro.

The main exhibitions in these museums are precious retired rolling stock. For instance, Japan's first steam locomotive in the Railway Museum (see my blog on April 11th, 2011), "Cat Whiskers" train in the Tobu Museum (April 28th, 2012), "Tamaden" streetcar in the Tokyu Museum (May 17th, 2012) and Japan's first subway electric car in the Subway Museum (September 10th, 2011) are the greatest treasures in each museum. Furthermore, train simulators are currently popular attractions in these museums. Many children and rail fans always form a line and wait for their precious "train driving" opportunities.

Don't forget one more absolutely necessary attraction...the diorama. There are many large scale railway model dioramas in these museums. Look at the top photo. It is Japan's largest railway model diorama in the Railway Museum. This diorama presents a typical day of railway operation and reproduces all 24 hours in 20 minutes. You can see the other railway model diorama in the Ome Railway Park (see the following picture). This attraction is always popular among kids. They keep their sparkling eyes on running model trains.

When I was a child, railway model diorama was a hobby only for rich families. It was unreachable dream for me. Even now, the fact remains that it is an expensive hobby; therefore, it is an indispensable attraction in railway museums.

"Overnight sleeper train" passes in front of junior rail fans in Ome Railway Park