Thursday, 5 September 2013

Pinch Runner on the Chichibu Railway

Passenger train pulled by the electric locomotive type 100 leaves Nagatoro Station

As I introduced early this week, the C58 363 is a precious steam locomotive (SL) on the Chichibu Railway in Saitama Prefecture. It is a 1-C-1 type large SL coupled with a coal tender. The diameter of the driving wheel is 1,520mm.

On August 6th in 2012, this SL derailed in Hirosegawara Rail Yard while shunting. Fortunately, there were no injuries but the body of the SL leaned, and the front wheels were severely damaged. It was just before the autumn sightseeing season. Chichibu Railway didn't have a spare SL, so this local company suffered big losses. It took seven months for repairs to be carried out and resume SL operation.

When I visited the Chichibu Railway last autumn, an electric locomotive (EL), type DeKi 100 was operated as a "pinch runner" of the SL. It was manufactured in 1956 for freight train operations. Pulling the unfamiliar passenger coaches, the EL was performing its job well; however, I missed the SL, which was loved by rail fans, children and local people.

Getting on the EL-pulling train, I visited a Dahlia garden near Chichibu Station. Dahlia is an autumn flower originally from Mexico in 1842. Showing vivid colors, large flowers are popular among flower lovers. We can see many kinds of Dahlia flowers in this garden. They are pink, purple, orange colored and so on.

I couldn't get on the reputable SL train, but fully enjoyed the "pinch runner" train and the beautiful Dahlia garden on that day.
Dahlia garden near Chichibu Station on the Chichibu Railway