Jump to content

Private Railway Infrastructure Question - Shimabara Railway

Tony Galiani

Recommended Posts

I am researching a possible modeling project and looking to see what other trains could be run beyond the DMUs found on small private railways.  In the cab ride videos I have seen of the Shimabara Railway, I see areas where concrete ties and new ballast have been installed.  Since I have not run across any info on private infrastructure companies in Japan, I am thinking that these small railways might handle these projects on their own.

While googling my way along the Shimabara Railway, I came across this view north of Shimabara.  This is as close a view as I can get but it looks to me as if I am seeing a small yellow shunter on the lower siding and two ballast wagons on the upper siding.

Does that seem correct?

I sense the potential to model an additional train to add to my layout if I go ahead.




For a moment, I thought that they might get services from JR Kyushu.  I had a vision of black Kyushu DE-10 pulling a couple of ballast cars but not sure that would be at all realistic.

I am thinking I could model the train above (if my interpretation is correct) with one of the small shunters I see as kits on Hobby Search.


Tony Galiani

Link to comment

@Tony Galiani, AFAIK most private railways handle their own maintenance. I suppose that whatever maintenance they cant do is done by outside contractors. The yellow shunter is a track car/MOW vehicle, while the ballast hoppers look as if they haven't turned a wheel for a long time...



Cheers Nicholas

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment

It depends on the scope of work that needs to be done. If it is a big job, they will contract the work out. If it is a small job, it will be a mixture of company workers and outsiders.


Most of these 3rd party private railways dont do regular ongoing track maintenence. So the dont have dedicated track maintenence employees.


The Shimabara Railway luckily follows the coastline and has regular road vehicle access to 90/95% of their line. They may not need MOW gear. Instead using small tippers and front loaders. Other smalker railways go up the mountains, winding past a river with nil road vehicle access, so require all materials to be railroaded in.


On a side note. If you look at the Shimabara depot. In the top north east corner, there is a small shrine. Has a small tori gate and a few old steam loco wheels. Something yiu can add to your layout if you wanna get creative. Can be seen in street view.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment

I am constantly amazed at the resources we have.  Shimabara Railway shrine as per the info from katoftw:



Tony Galiani


What a coincidence!  As I am typing this DHL has just arrived with what should be my package with a Kato/Roundhouse set of three Shimabara Kiha 20s.  I guess I am going to need to do some sort of Shimabara project now!

Edited by Tony Galiani
spelling and grammar
  • Like 4
Link to comment
On 2/21/2021 at 9:43 PM, katoftw said:

Other smalker railways go up the mountains, winding past a river with nil road vehicle access, so require all materials to be railroaded in.


Parts of the Chitetsu are like that, especially the line to Unazuki Onsen.


Cheers NB

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...