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  1. I recently purchased a Tomytec Hiroden 3000 series articulated tram and it wasn't until I started digging into these cars on Japanese wikipedia that I realized these were part of larger fleet once operated in Kyushu by Nishitetsu in Kitakyushu and Fukuoka. Links to Japanese Wikipedia articles are included. The oldest of these cars date back to 1953 and could be applied to any era since then. https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/西鉄1000形電車_(軌道) Today the Nishitetsu tram lines in Kitakyushu and Fukuoka are gone, but these trams continue to run in Kumamoto, on the Chikuho Electric Railway, and in Hiroshima. Kumamoto Kumamoto acquired four articulated trams in 1976 and 1978. Today only 5014 remains active on the Kumamoto City Transit Authority. This tram was retired in 2009 due to aging, but was restored and returned to service in March 2017 in Nishitetsu colors. http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10421143 http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10389870 https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/熊本市交通局5000形電車 Chikuho Electric Railway Chikuho Electric Railway acquired 25 articulated cars in two groups between 1976 and 1985. All 7 2000 series trams existed in March 2012 and were operated mainly at rush hours. Tram 2003 continued to run through March 2016, when one-man operation was implemented. Tram 2103 was the last surviving although parked 2100 circa 2006. Tomytec has issued four 2000 series variations so far. http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10513497 http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10513496 http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10442539 http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10442538 https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/筑豊電気鉄道2000形電車 Hiroshima In 1976 the Hiroshima Electric Railway (aka Hiroden) acquired 8 articulated trams from Nishitetsu. These trams were originally acquired for the railway line to Miyajima. After arriving in Hiroshima a third section was added. To this day these cars continue to be equipped with a conductor's position just inside the rear door. After 1998 these trams were transferred from the railway line to city operation. The five surviving 3000s can often be found on lines 1 and 5 during rush hours. http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10495963 http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10495962 https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/広島電鉄3000形電車 There are differences in doors, windows, headlights and other details on each of these three groups. All three series have different headlight positioning and hardware.
  2. One of my favorite railway scenes is the mid route turnback operation, typically done by a local train that doesn't traverse the whole route, but rather only serves the most heavily patronized portion. On the the heavily trafficked, heavily built up routes, typically a pair of pocket tracks is provided, and thus is not as interesting. What is interesting is when a portion of the down mainline is used for the turnback, with a bit of wrong way running before the crossover is traversed. Last week I was on the Nishitetsu Omuta Line, and observed such a movement at Futsukaichi Station. Unfortunately, no video exists for this particular moment at this location, but a similar one is shown here, at Ogori Station, involving a now retired 2000 series: I've posted this before, same type of movement on the Meitetsu Main Line at Higashi Okazaki: Another scene I witnessed at Joyo Station on the JR Nara Line. This involves a pocket track, but it's on a single track main, so it maintains some interest (starting at 3:00):
  3. Just back from a two day sidetrip to Fukuoka. One of my objectives was to pick up a string diagram of the Nishitetsu Omuta Line. These are available free to the public. Afaik Nishitetsu is the only railway in Japan, and quite possibly the world that offers this type of timetable to the public. Quite remarkable and fascinating to examine, though the pocket size requires a magnifying glass to read.
  4. The venerable Nishitetsu 313 type, operating on the Kaizuka Line, is destined for retirement this January. It is a historically significant type, as it was the first monocoque body train built in Japan (1952), and was apparently built with the aid/backup of the government railway research institute. It was the precursor of later rolling stock developments during the rapid growth period. This April, it was repainted in the original Omuta Line era colors. Video of the repainted train:
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