Monday, September 30, 2013

Motegi in Autumn: Black and Red

SL Express (C12 66 + OHa 50 series) runs on the up-hill grade track of the Mooka Railway
 
The season of the red carpet has come back. They extend a red carpet welcome to me here and there in the fields. Who are they?

They are Spider lily flowers. Spider lily is an autumn plant with red colored blossoms. I like this flower very much as it is a signal of the coming of autumn after a severely hot summer. Following my visit to Koma in 2011 and Satte in 2012, I visited Motegi Town in Tochigi Prefecture this year with my family to be welcomed by the seasonal red carpet.

Motegi is located some 100km north of Tokyo. To visit this quiet town, Mooka Railway is convenient. Connecting Shimodate and Motegi stations, the total operating length is 41.9 kilometers. This local railway has two units of steam locomotives (SLs), namely C11 325 and C12 66. Pulling classic passenger coaches (OHa 50 series), SL Express "Mooka" is operated every weekend (see the top photo). The SL's body is a beautiful shiny black, and the piercing whistle doesn't seem old at all.

After getting off at Motegi Terminal, we visited Shiroyama Park near the station. Shiroyama is a small mountain in the town. There was a castle from medieval times, which was abandoned in 1557. Currently it is open to the public as a scenic park. We enjoyed the gorgeous red carpets of Spider Lily blossoms on the slopes of the mountain (see the following photo).

Early autumn's Motegi is the season of the black-colored SL and the red-colored Spider Lily.

 
Spider lily field in Shiroyama Park near Motegi Station on the Mooka Railway