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bill937ca

Japan's last operating Narrow Gauge Forest Railway

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bill937ca

Craig's Guided Rail Tours

 

After a chancing across a Japanese rail-fan's account of his lone expedition to Yakushima Island in 1976, we decided to follow his footsteps and travel from Kagoshima to the Island by overnight cargo ship to arrive at dawn in late October 2019. Yakushima Island is a solidified magma dome that was uplifted so fast it failed to weather and lies between Taiwan and Kyushu in Southern Japan. We wanted to explore what remains of Yakushima's four little known 2'6" gauge forest railways which used efficient but dangerous methods and a constant gradient track to gravitate precious Cedar from the high mountains down to the coast. The 'Arakawa Railway' near Anbo is Japan's last operating narrow gauge forest railway. Today, it remains a popular walk for tourists wanting to see Jomon Sugi, Japan's oldest tree so we were lucky to walk and film the Railway's entire length one day before taking a ride the next afternoon with Forestry management in Arakawa's delightfully green, 'Gentleman's Speeder'! 

 

 

Edited by bill937ca
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Welshbloke

The Ffestiniog Railway in Wales used similar gravity trains to bring slate from the quarries down to the harbour at Porthmadog. The preservation group still run them occasionally during special events:

 

 

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