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“Old fumikiri” revisited


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(See former post) Hi everyone, I’m back, I have more info as well as more pictures and even a video. 

I’m still not done with my research,
I’d like to know if any of these signals are still around today, in a museum or otherwise. Any other pictures you know of would also be appreciated!




Edited by Alfo
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It's very hard to know if some of those signals have been preserved operational.


For units still in operation, the situatio is even more bleak. Surely none of that type is still operating in Japan - indeed there still are mechanical bell crossings, but they are of a different, more modern type (1960s to 1970s).

Korea and Taiwan are the remaining countries where this crossing could be found. In south South Korea it'd be an exceptionally rare find, as most (if not all) crossings there have been modernized and upgraded with modern types, if they haven't been removed altogheter. Taiwan might be more probable, but still a hard find, considering that most mainlines have had their crossings upgraded or removed, and TRA has closed most of it's branchlines, wich have since been replaced by subways or other transportation means. (the crossing in the photo you sent was located on the TRA Tamsui Line, wich was closed in 1988 and replaced by the Tamsui-Xinyi Line of the Taipei Metro).


There is however, one last possibility: North Korea.

North Korea does indeed still uses a lot of equipment from Japanese colonial times, including old semaphore signals, therefore, finding a level crossing signal of that type there isn't an unrealistical hypothesis.


Having said that, pictures of North Korean level crossings are very scarce on the internet (partly due to obvious reasons and partly because level crossings aren't the first thing one cares about photographing in the DPRK).

From the few ones i managed to scavenge, it appears that most level crossings in North Korea are still of the manual type, either wire operated or "muscle" operated (completely manual gates that the gatekeeper has to raise and lower with his bare hands).

However, some of those seem to be equipped with warning lights or bells (it's impossible to know if they're manually or automatically activated), wich do bear a passing similarity to the ones you posted, as they might have been designed after them.


Here's one picture of a North Korean "manual gates + warning lights crossing")


The top bell is completely different, but the lights, paintscheme and even the concrete block acting as base, all have a passing similarity to the one in the image you posted (their height is however closer to the one in the video you also posted).

Edited by Socimi
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Posted (edited)

Yea, I’ve figured. There’s almost nothing anywhere about them anywhere, and I can’t imagine any in-use ones in modern day Japan. Though I could see some rusty one laying in Taiwan or the South Korean fields.  North Korea is definitely not a name I was expecting in my search but it makes plenty of sense. I too have seen that photo and noticed the similarities in the stripes and lights, I did not notice the concrete block but it definitely proves inspiration.  Thank you for your help, I wonder if any of these countries’s rail museums have one.


(Besides N. Korea, I feel like they have a rail museum but I’m not sure)

Edited by Alfo
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