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  1. Just some thoughts on my experience today riding trains around the Kansai area, which is related to some recent posts others made about Kansai private railways. This evening I caught an express service on the Nankai Koya Line originating from Mikkaiichicho Station, which has a stub end layover track for turnback services such as the one I rode. The station is located high in the foothills above Osaka, in an area that probably was originally quite rural but now is a suburban bed town. The route is quite interesting as it takes you from a rather high elevation gradually down through the various suburbs into the urban core, all the while passing through numerous stations, both simple and multi track, ending up at Nankai’s big stub end terminal at Nanba. Being around 17:45 was a good time, as the fading light further accentuated the catenary against the sky, so you really got the atmosphere of a heavy interurban operation. But what was most remarkable was the rolling stock of the service, a 6000 series trainset built in 1963! That a 55 year old trainset is still providing yeoman service is a testament to Nankai’s maintenance and the robustness of Budd Industries shotwelded stainless steel carbody design, which Tokyu had a license to manufacture. Anyway, I highly recommend this ride. If you have the time, try to ride the express service from Hashimoto, which takes you over and through via tunnels the mountain ridge that divides Osaka from Wakayama Prefecture. Otherwise, the service from Mikkaiichicho is a good ride. I rank it one of the better zenmentenbou rides in Kansai, one of my favorites along with the JR West shinkaisoku services.
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