Monday, 7 March 2016

Sayonara KiHa 2004 on the Minato Line

Diesel railcar KiHa 2004 is preserved in Nakaminato rail yard on the Minato Line

Do you know the JNR-type diesel railcar? JNR stands for Japanese National Railways, which was Japan's largest railway network. It was split into seven railway companies and privatized in 1987 due to financial difficulties. During the JNR era, plenty of diesel railcars, like that in the top photo, were introduced to railways all over Japan. They were not only for JNR but also for local private companies. You can see the characteristics of the JNR type railcars in the front design, body coloring and so on. After the privatization, the JNR-type railcars were gradually scrapped by ex-JNR companies. Local private railways were also no exception. Currently, they are called an "endangered species".

On December 25th last year, another one of the JNR-type old diesel railcars was retired from the track. It was KiHa 2004 on the Minato Line of Hitachinaka Kaihin Railway. KiHa 2004 was built by Niigata Tekko in 1966. The first owner was Rumoi Railway, which was a coal mine railway in Hokkaido. It was then ceded to Hitachinaka Kaihin Railway in 1969, as the coal mine was closed. KiHa 2004 is characterized by its train horns, which are installed beside the front lights. They are rounded and concordant with the shape of the front light. The beige colored body with a brownish red colored stripe is unique. It is a pity to throw it away.

The JNR-type railcar, KiHa 2004, has been replaced by the new model, KiHa 11 series, ceded from JR Central. Sayonara (good-bye) KiHa 2004.

Side view of KiHa 2004