Saturday, November 26, 2016

Extended Operation of Chibi Maruko-chan

Set 1011F, Chibi Maruko-chan poster train, of the EMU Shizutetsu 1000 series

On November 25th, Shizuoka Railway (Shizutetsu) announced that the Chibi Maruko-chan poster train on the Shizuoka-Shimizu Line is extended to operate until March, 2017 due to high popularity. It is good news for the local people and the Shizutetsu rail-fans.

What is Chibi Maruko-chan? As I introduced before, Chibi Maruko-chan (a little Maruko) is a popular TV animation series created by Ms. Sakura Momoko. The series depicts the everyday life of Sakura Momoko living on the Shizuoka Railway, when she was a little girl in the year of 1974. Chibi Maruko-chan was her nick name at that time.

Set 1011F of the EMU Shizutetsu 1000 series is used for the Chibi Maruko-chan poster train. It is a 2-car stainless-steel train built by Tokyu Sharyo in 1984, as the 11th set of the 1000 series. Being decorated with Chibi Maruko-chan's characters, set 1011 has been operated as the poster train since July, 2015. Its pink colored bodies are very unique and my favorite.

The poster train is very popular especially among the local children. When I visited Shizuoka City this summer, I saw that the poster train was hired by local families with children, and operated as a special group tour train. It was proof of its popularity with the local people.

The last run of the Chibi Maruko-chan poster train will be on March 31st, 2017. Set 1011F will, then, soon revert to an ordinary commuter train. Please ride it now or never!

Chibi Maruko-chan poster train arrives at Naganuma Station