Friday, August 22, 2014

Photogenic Bridge and SL Train

Special train, SL Ginga (C58 239 + DMU KiHa 141 series) passes through Glasses Bridge
 
One of the photogenic spots in Toono City is a railway bridge called Glasses Bridge, spanning the Miyamori River. Since the bridge looks like a pair of glasses, local people call it Glasses Bridge. Its formal name is Miyamori-gawa Railway Bridge.

The Glasses Bridge was constructed in 1915 by Iwate Light Railway (present JR East Kamaishi Line). It attains a height of 20 m and its length is 107 m. It is similar to another glasses bridge, which is preserved as a national important cultural property, in Gumma Prefecture; but, Miyamori-gawa Railway Bridge is still being used as a railway bridge in active service. I like this bridge, as it is not only an arched bridge but also the girder is beautifully curved.

When we visited this spot, many families and rail fans were waiting for a train. What was coming? It was a special train, "SL Ginga". SL Ginga (Milky Way) is a passenger train pulled by steam locomotive (SL), C58 239. It is operated only on weekends of vacation seasons. The leading SL was manufactured in 1940 by Kawasaki Sharyo. It was once retired in 1973, but came back onto the track in March this year after a careful inspection and maintenance.

The following 4-cars are not passenger coaches, but DMUs, KiHa 141 series. It is because the power of the SL is not strong enough to climb a steep track in the Kitakami Mountains. The blue colored bodies with the Milky Way design are my favorite.

 
DMU KiHa 141 series (Milky Way color)
 
More information about SL Ginga (in Japanese): http://www.jr-morioka.com/sl/