Sunday, March 5, 2017

Preserved SL in the Plum City

Steam locomotive (SL) D51 515 is preserved in Semba Park near Mito Station

Mito is the main city of Ibaraki Prefecture, about 120 km northeast of Tokyo. Once a year, this local city receives a great deal of sightseers. It is from mid-February to mid-March. What is going to happen to Mito City?

In this period, Mito is filled with full-blown plums. Specifically, Kairakuen is famous for its historical plum garden. I visited this beautiful plum garden with my family last weekend. We could easily get there, because JR East opened Kairakuen Special Station on the Joban Line in the period of the plum blooming season.

After admiring full-blown plums, we stopped by Semba Park in front of Kairakuen. My purpose of visiting there is to see a preserved steam locomotive (SL), number 515 of the Class D51 (D51 515). This old SL was built by Omiya Factory of the Japanese Government Railways in 1941. D51 515, then, belonged to the Mito Engine Yard from 1948 to 1958 to transport coals on the Joban Line. Eventually, it was retired from the track in 1970, and moved to Semba Park for preservation in 1971.

In spite of being in an outdoor exhibition, D51 151 is preserved in very good condition. Probably, Mito city government takes care of this precious SL frequently. A small sub-front light adjacent to the main front light is lovely and my favorite. The beautifully painted red colored main rod is also my cup of tea.

The beautiful plum garden and the preserved SL... Mito is a must-visit city.

Rekkoubai (Rekkou's plum) in Kairakuen near Kairakuen Special Station