Tuesday, February 21, 2017

KM-151: Preserved Diesel Rail-car in Kamioka Town

Diesel rail-car Kamioka KM-151 (Okuhida number 2) of the KM-150 series

When I visited "Rail Mountain Bike, Gattan-Go (a new attraction using the dead track)" last summer, I stopped by the storage of ex-Kamioka Railway with my family. We could easily get permission to enter the storage, as we asked a local volunteer guide in advance.

Kamioka Railway Company was established in 1984 taking over the Kamioka Line of ex-Japanese National Railways. The function of the railway was freight and passenger transportation for Kamioka Mine and its employees. Connecting Inotani and Okuhida-onsenguchi, the route length was 19.9 km. The track was single and un-electrified. The gauge size was 1,067 mm. There were 8 stations on the route. 60 % of the route was covered by tunnels, as it was constructed in the steep mountain area.

The Kamioka Line was closed in 2006 due to closing of the mine, but we can still see the rolling stock of ex-Kamioka Railway at the storage adjacent to ex-Kamioka-kozan-mae Station. One of the must-see vehicles is a diesel rail-car, KM-151 of the KM-150 series. KM-151, also known as Okuhida number 2, was built in 1984 by Niigata Tekkosho. It is an 18 m-long rail-car with a 250 ps engine. The large snow plow on the front shows that KM-101 was operated in the snow-covered area. This rail-car could be reserved for group tours, so, it had a karaoke set and irori (fireplace)-like corners for passengers to enjoy chatting.

I hope that KM-151, Okuhida number 2, will be opened to the public someday.

Interior of KM-151