Saturday, 24 May 2014

DF50: Preserved Diesel Locomotive in Saijo City

Diesel locomotive DF50-1 is exhibited in Shikoku Tesudo Bunka-kan near Iyo-Saijo Station
Saijo is a small city in Ehime Prefecture, some 700km west of Tokyo. It has a population of 110,000 as of March this year. Saijo City was once famous for its heavy industries such as shipbuilding; however, it recently lost its lead position to the adjacent Imabari City. Saijo seems to lack a bit of energy.

Don't worry Mr. Mayor. Please keep in mind that you have rare resources in the form of railway museum, "Shikoku Tetsudo Bunka-kan". This unique museum has a precious preserved diesel locomotive (DL), unit number 1 of the Type DF50 (DF50-1). It was manufactured by Shin-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in 1957. DF50-1 was born the eldest unit of 138 brothers.

From the performance aspect, DF50-1 is a rather old locomotive. A classic diesel-electric transmission system had been adopted, since the advanced torque converter technology was immature in the 1950s. One 1,060PS diesel engine and six 100kW traction motors are equipped.

DF50-1 is a popular exhibition among children and rail fans. Its vermilion colored body is still fresh and cool. I saw many visitors taking family keepsake pictures behind this precious DL.

Saijo City took heart from the success of the railway museum. Currently, a new annex museum building is being constructed to exhibit nostalgic steam locomotive, Type C57. The new facility is planned to open in July this year.

Saijo City... he is wise who looks ahead.

EMU Shinkansen 0 series (left) and DF50-1 (right) are preserved in Shikoku Tetsudo Bunka-kan