Friday, 22 January 2016

Preserved SL and Katakuri Field on the Chuo Main Line

Steam locomotive C12 67 is preserved in front of Chino Station on the Chuo Main Line

After one month and a half of mild winter, a cold wave has come to the Tokyo metropolitan area. The maximum daytime temperature was less than 10 degrees Celsius yesterday. I can hardly wait for spring. Before the exciting season, I am going to show you last year's spring scene on the Chuo Main Line.

Chino is an inland city in Nagano Prefecture, some 200 km west of Tokyo. It is surrounded by high mountains. At the end of April, this small city says goodbye to winter and says hello to spring. I visited this beautiful city with my family last year taking the JR East Chuo Main Line. Our purpose of this visit was to see the Katakuri flowers. Katakuri (Japanese Dogtooth Violet) produces lovely pale purple blossoms in early spring. The natural masses of Katakuri blossoms were found here and there in the forest. They were carefully protected by local people.

On the way to the Katakuri field from Chino Station, I came across a preserved steam locomotive (SL), C12 67, in front of the Chino Station. The SL Class C12 was launched in 1932 for the local lines throughout Japan. It is a 2-6-2 type (Whyte notation) small tank locomotive. A total of 282 units had been built for eight years. Unit number 67, namely C12 67, was built in 1933 by Hitachi. After her retirement from the track, she was moved to Chino City in 1973 to be preserved.

Travel sometimes has unexpected lucky accidents

Katakuri blossoms are seen near Chino Station on the Chuo Main Line