Sunday, November 20, 2016

Lovely Narrow Gauge Train on the Hokusei Line

EMU Sangi Railway 270 series arrives at Sohara Station on the Hokusei Line

There are four kinds of railway gauge sizes in Japan. They are the 1,435 mm, the 1,372 mm, the 1,067 mm and the 762 mm-wide gauges.

The 1,435 mm-wide gauge is adopted by the Shinkansens and several major railways such as Keikyu and Kesei. Several subway routes, such as the Toei-Asakusa Line and the Tokyo Metro-Ginza Line, are also 1,435 mm-wide tracks. Needless to say, they are suitable for high speed train operations. The 1,372 mm-wide gauge is quite unique. It was originated from horse tramways. You can see it on the Keio Line of the Keio Electric railway, the Toei-Shinjuku Line, the Toei-Arakawa Line, the Tokyu-Setagaya Line and Hakodate City Tram. The 1,067 mm-wide gauge is the most common one in Japan. It was originally introduced by the U.K. when the first railway route was constructed between Shimbashi and Yokohama in 1872. Most of the JR group and private railway lines are this size of gauge.

One more... the 762 mm gauge. It is also quite unique. We can see it only on the Kurobe Gorge Railway, Yokkaichi Asunarou Railway and the Hokusei Line of Sangi Railway. Due to the narrow size, the trains on the 762 mm-wide tracks are also small. For instance, the train of the Hokusei Line looks like a mechanical ride at an amusement park. This lovely train, the EMU 270 series, is definitely my favorite. Because of its size, the maximum speed of the train is only 45 km per hour on the Hokusei Line.

EMU Sangi Railway 270 series stands at Ageki Terminal on the Hokusei Line