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  1. So In march 2023 I went through japan for the 1st time since my American trip in 2018/19, and Loved every second of it. went Tokyo -> Kyoto -> Hiroshima -> Osaka -> Mount fuji/Nagoya -> tokyo in about 3 weeks and several extra days. Here are a couple of photos I took that I think were the best
  2. Nice short vid mainly of freight recently on the Tokaido Main Line between Ogaki and Minami Arao, in Gifu Prefecture. Colder than usual winter weather has left a dusting of snow.
  3. 150 years of railways anniversary special event. 185 series traversing considerable freight line trackage in southern Kanto (Kanagawa Prefecture). Reservation only, groups of two or more. Would love to take this tour, but probably will sell out in seconds on 4/27. JR East Press release: https://www.jreast.co.jp/press/2022/yokohama/20220421_y1.pdf
  4. Last Thursday saw the Super Rail Cargo train run during the midday, due to a seven hour late start. Typically runs during the night, so hard to catch in light except early AM in the spring and early summer. At Inazawa, Aichi Pref. Later, in the Numazu area, Shizuoka Pref.
  5. From my last Japan trip, as far as I am aware there were just 6 remaining EF66 0 series still in use by JRF although of these I saw 3 were resident in the "out of use" lines at Suita depot which also housed 4 of the remaining 9 EF200 also as "out of use". From reading a blog I follow by an enthusiast who lives by Suita depot, it seems that EF66-21, -26 and -33 are now moved into the scrapping area at Suita, as of yesterday, in preparation for imminent demolition. This just leaves EF66-27, -30 and -36 extant although EF66-36, which moved recently down to the JRF plant in Hiroshima, may be also down to soon suffer the same fate as it is residing in the equivalent line there. Unless anyone knows of any other EF66 0 series (outside of those in museums / preservation) then it appears that the end of a classic JNR express loco class is nigh....
  6. Looks like the JR Freight EF210-0/100 series locomotives will receive a new livery based on the EF210-300 series livery.
  7. Digest feature of an interesting cab ride aboard EF 210 163 on train 1155 from Tokyo Freight Terminal to Sagami Freight Station in Kanagawa Prefecture. It starts with 24 cars, dropping off 8 at Kawasaki, another 4 at Hazawa, and continuing on with the remaining 12 to Sagami Freight Station. Rare footage of freight only tunnels which allow freight trains to bypass the heavily trafficked passenger train routes in the Keihin corridor. A Jiji Tsushin production. Hat tip to Sr. Horn over at SSC for this.
  8. I have a trip to Japan confirmed for March next year and I will have free time (2 or 3 days) whilst I am staying near Omiya Station in Saitama. As this is an area I have not been to for any significant amount of time, so apart from "The Railway Museum" at Omiya, has anyone any suggestions for good spots to go for photographing freight trains through stations and locos in depots? As I will have quite a bit of free time, I am happy to make longer trips out to get to more interesting places so do not have to be just in or around Omiya.
  9. All JRF locomotives in active use carry at least one and sometimes two "区名札" (translates as Ward Name Tags) usually below the cab window at one end on both sides, as metal or latterly plastic plates slotted into a pair of holders. These tags identify the depot or agency district within Japan that the loco is allocated to (first or left tag position) and any specific use they are to be put to (second or right tag position). These tags date back to the early days of steam and are collected by train enthusiasts in Japan with particularly old and rare examples or those from long defunct depots being highly valued. Each tag is a kanji character that represents the depot or agency, in the first example the EF210 has "岡" for Okayama. The second example is from an EF66 from Shimonoseki, as shown by the "関" tag and with the second tag showing the symbol for a "Limited Express Blue Train" (this photograph happens to be from one of the last runs of the "Akatsuki" at Kyoto). Alternatively the second position is also used for despatching information, for example if an out of use loco is to be returned to its allocated depot as in the third example. Also if a loco is out on loan from one company to another then a kanji or symbol representing the temporary user is placed in the second position (fourth example: Aichi Depot JRF loco on loan to JRW). If a loco has no tags then it could either be unallocated or "resting" as a spare or, given the on-going run down of older types within the JRF fleet, it may have been struck off and is awaiting disposal. As I have many photographs of JRF locos, I have started a project to working through them identifying these different tags. Unfortunately I have not been able to find a Japanese website that identifies all of these tags and what they represent, so I have had to use vendor websites, such as this for one of the Karamatsu Train shops ( http://www.karamatsu-train.co.jp/yokohama-index.htm ) who sell JR collectables and where pictures and descriptions are posted. Now the big ask. Even using these vendor websites, I have (so far) one tag that I cannot identify so can anyone on this forum help by identifying the kanji so I can try to relate it back to the issuing depot or agency that this tag in the fifth example belongs?
  10. Of possible interest to members in Japan. Topics to be covered: the Hitachi IEP class 800 project team, steel wheel production, twilight express mizukaze and how bathtub water won't spill in a train, JR Freight and its on-time record of 94%. Next Saturday from 9pm on BS3 (satellite) domestic only. Repeat broadcast of the previous episode (originally broadcast last March) will be on same day from 11am. http://www.nhk.or.jp/docudocu/program/9999/1623466/index.html
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