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My 2016 Trip


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Dinner that night in Maibara.



I'm sure these menu choices would have been tasty but I opted for the hand made gyoza and fried chicken with lemon ice cream and strawberry sauce for desert.


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The HO model railway however seemed quite uninspiring after the one at JR Central's SCMAGLEV and Railway Park in Nagoya. 


The problem with these museum layouts are that they are intended for a general (and specifically, juvenile) audience- they are almost never prototypical and the requirement of decent sightlines dictates the great number of ugly viaducts and implausible track arrangements.  The exception to this appears to be the layout in Tsuruga, which comes close to replicate the railway infrastructure and scenery in that area in JNR days.

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The problem with these museum layouts are that they are intended for a general (and specifically, juvenile) audience- they are almost never prototypical and the requirement of decent sightlines dictates the great number of ugly viaducts and implausible track arrangements.  The exception to this appears to be the layout in Tsuruga, which comes close to replicate the railway infrastructure and scenery in that area in JNR days.

Visiting Minatur Wunderland in Hamburg a couple of years ago probably helped spoil me too.


The layout at SCMAGLEV is of the same style spaghetti bowl trackplan but it has an amazing amount of detail that you can spend quite a bit of time taking in and there seemed to be always trains running when I was there, the Kyoto layout seems to be just track and bare scenery and trains only run at specified show times so if you miss a show there is nothing to see.  Out of ten I'd give SCMAGLEV eight and Kyoto about three only because of the impressive control panel and the amount of effort they must put in cleaning track.

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Nice new Toyoko Inn and 281, 681 and JR Tokai 311 EMUs at Maibara.



We had planned to go to Toyama the night before to have a full day in the area but after finding out the paper mill on the Johanna Line now trucks out its containers we decided to spend an extra night in Maibara and a more leisurely trip to Toyama next morning.

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My nephew and I rode the Fukutetsu from Takefu to Tawaramachi then the Echizen Railway to Katsuyama and back to Fukui on our way from Maibara to Toyama.





I think these frogs have been posted before but I like them so here they are again.



I wonder if Kato will ever add curved crossovers to the Unitram range.



Echizen Railway.



This was on display at Katsuyama.



End of the line at Fukui.



You never know who you will find at a Japanese station.  (I assume he is advertising the dinosaur museum at Katsuyama.)


Edited by westfalen
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The four of us met up in the evening and went for a ride on the portram and trams.  The two systems are not connected yet as the eastbound classic line platforms have not yet been raised up.


We waited to catch DE10 3508 passing through with the freight from Hayahoshi on the Takayama Line.






Regular trams (and a little bus).



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Toyama has old trams also in regular service.  I did not know that.  That screws up next years Japan trip planning.

Glad to be of service.


This is the oldest one we rode on this trip built in 1965 though we saw others with lower numbers



Part of the fascination of most Japanese tram systems is the mix of old and new, they don't seem to replace whole fleets but buy a new tram or two every now and then.


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I'm spending a few days in Kanazawa next April as part of our trip, we were planning on doing a day trip to Toyama so looks like we will have something extra to do when there.

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Here's another day's worth of photos.


On our way from Toyama to Tokyo we were going to make a side trip from Takasaki to visit the Usui Pass Railway Park museum but when we arrived at Takasaki the weather was looking decidely wet so we took a few shots of Shinkansen before going for a ride on the Joshin Railway.




Joshin Railway.  The terminus at Shimonita would make a nice model of a branchline terminus, especially if backdated a few years to when freight still ran.




Not going to Usui Pass gave us a bit more time so we watched the 115s at Takasaki and caught a 231 on a rapid service back to Tokyo for a more interesting trip than watching a viaduct sound barrier for half an hour from a Shinkansen.  We literally had the green car to ourselves most of the way.  At Omiya we passed the Toho zinc train.



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It's been a while since the last installment.


On our first day in Tokyo three of us went west to ride the Fujikyu Railway, a line I hadn't ridden on before.


At Shinjuku we caught a quick glimpse of the E235, the only time we saw it during our time in Tokyo.



Series 211 at Ōtsuki.



Fujikyu 8000 series.



Fujikyu 8500 series.



1200 series 'Fuji Tozan'.



Thomas and Friends train.



Fujikyu 6000 series



MAGLEV test track passes over the Fujikyu Railway.



This was at Shimoyoshida.  A kitbashing project gone wrong?



At Kofu.



A formerly rail served industry along the Minobu Line.  Cement perhaps?



The best view we got of Fuji San this trip.



A few nights shots at Tokyo station's Shinkansen platforms.



The worst pollution I saw in Japan was in the smokers room.



Edited by westfalen
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Lovely pictures... thank you for sharing them!


I love the Fujikyu pictures.. lovely trains, esp. the 8500 series! You picture made me want to hunt for that Fujikyu 6000 series too!


Haha strange to see a 165 series in Mitaka colour stuck there~


And the picture with the 'behind the scene' heros, those professional cleaner team ~

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Too bad you don't have a drone to get a better visual of some of that trackage. Are they legal in Japan ?

Back in 2012 someone had one pacing the train I was riding behind C12 66 on the Mooka Railway.

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Too bad you don't have a drone to get a better visual of some of that trackage. Are they legal in Japan ?

I've got no idea about whether they're legal or not, but there's plenty of drone videos of Japanese trains on YouTube:



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Earlier this year I think there was a drone downed on the tracks near a station that caused a rukus and someone turned themselves in.



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