Tuesday, September 23, 2014

SL Express: Access to the Pleasure River

SL Express (C58 363 + passenger carriages) approaches Nagatoro Station on the Chichibu Railway
 
Chichibu Railway is a local company in Saitama Prefecture, some 70 km northwest of Tokyo. Connecting Hanyu, a junction station on the Tobu-Isesaki Line, and Mitsumineguchi, a gateway village of a trail up the Kanto Mountains, the total operating length is 71.7km. The track is electrified and single. Its gauge size is 1,067 mm. The electric system is 1,500 V overhead.

The train, which puts Chichibu Railway on the map, is an express train pulled by steam locomotive (SL), C58 363. As I introduced before, Type C58 is a 1-C-1 type large SL coupled with a coal tender. A total of 431 units had been manufactured since 1938, but currently, only two units, namely numbers 239 on the JR East Kamaishi Line and 363 on the Chichibu Railway are operated on the tracks.

On August 6th, 2012, C58 363 of Chichibu Railway derailed in Hirosegawara Rail Yard while shunting. The body of the SL leaned, and the front wheels were severely damaged. It took seven months for repairs to be carried out for SL operation to be resumed. The maintenance of the SL is a really troublesome task I think.

Are you taking Chichibu Railway? Where are you going by SL express train? One of my recommended spots is Arakawa River near Nagatoro Station. It is a pleasure river for holidaymakers. You can enjoy swimming, fishing and rafting in the river. I saw many people, who were rafting, jump into the river from a large rock. Cool!
 
People, who are rafting, jump into Arakawa River near Nagatoro Station on the Chichibu Railway
 
More information about Chichibu Railway: http://www.chichibu-railway.co.jp/en/