Saturday, August 13, 2016

DMU KiYa 97 Series: JR Central's Rail Carrying Train

DMU JR Central KiYa 97 series stands at Kusanagi station yard on the Tokaido Main Line

After taking photographs of the EMU A3000 series at Kusanagi Station on the Shizuoka Railway, I transferred to the JR Central Tokaido Main Line to go home. When I went down to the platform of the Tokaido Main Line track, the first thing that came to my attention was a strange train standing on a siding of the station yard. What was that?

It was a rail carrying train, DMU KiYa 97 series. The 97 series was launched in 2007 to transport rails for the JR Central lines. A total of five sets have been built by Nippon Sharyo. There are two types of the 97 series. One is for 25 meter-long standard rails and the other is for 200 meter-long welded rails. The former trains (set R1 to R4) are 2-car trains and the latter (set R101) is a 13-car train.

What I saw at the station yard was set R1 for 25 meter-long standard rails. It looked like a freight wagon, but had a section of driver's cabin cut out from a commuter train. Why does JR Central use this kind of DMU instead of a freight train pulled by a locomotive for rail transportation? It was because JR Central doesn't have enough electric and diesel locomotives. The company thought it better to build rail carrying DMUs, which can be operated on both electrified and un-electrified tracks.

The DMU KiYa 97 series... she was a unique specialist for maintaining railway tracks on the JR Central lines.

Side view of the KiYa 97 series

Official information about the DMU JR Central KiYa 97 series (in Japanese):