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"Blast From The Past: North Korea’s Whacky 1930s Japanese Railcars"


railsquid

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railsquid

Apologies if already known.

 

https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2021/07/blast-from-past-north-koreas-whacky.html
 

 

Quote

Another sighting of the antique railcars came in 2021 when a set was seen being pulled by a former East German Type GI subway train

 

 

Kind of weird to think that trains which used to go past Railsquid's apartment in Berlin (and which I have very likely ridden on) have run together with olde-style Japanese stock...

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I'm kinda surprised to see Oryx referenced on this forum, I noticed the article this morning ( amid a week long rain of T-62M's, not that I'm complaining 😉 ) but never expected to see it linked here. It is interesting to see that these cars are still in "service", though unfortunately no longer in their original guise.

 

Of interest, KeHa as perhaps already surmised by some isn't actually a class of trains, but rather a car type designator. Ke (ケ) was simply the kana used to denote cars using light-oil (gasoline) internal combustion engines, while Ha (ハ) was of course the symbol for a 3rd class accommodation, so KeHa simply refers to a gasoline powered, third class car, with the following number denoting the actual type. Though I don't think any gasoline powered units were built for the (Japanese) national railroad, quite a few were built for the Mantetsu (South-Manchurian Railways) and Sentetsu (Korean Governor-General Office Railway, Chōsen Government Railway).

Conversely, another type of car which couldn't be found in Japan itself where JiHa and JiDe type cars. The kana Ji (ジ) was used for units which used heavy fuel oil, with a number of heavy fuel oil-electric cars (diesel-electric using heavy fuel oil as fuel for the diesel engine) being built for the Mantetsu during the 1930's. Both gasoline (mechanical) and heavy fuel-oil (electric) powered cars were, as far as I know, a peculiarity of the colonial railway systems of both Korea and Manchuria, at least as far as (Japanese) Ministry of Railway equipment is concerned (there were a number of gasoline units in service at a number of small private railways, though perhaps one of our more diesel/combustion engine minded members may be able to correct me here (trying to stay in my, electrified, lane), some of which made possible by these networks being standard gauge, with its resulting higher maximum axle loading allowing for some technical solutions which couldn't be taken on the Japanese mainline network, like diesel-electric units for example.

 

At any rate, the disposition of Japanese built, designed, procured, equipment for the Chōsen and Manjūkoku railway systems after 1945 is an interesting subject in and of itself. Though it is of course a sensitive subject, rightfully so I might add, quite a number of these trains had long and interesting service lives after the dissolution of Japanese imperial holdings post liberation.

Though the Taiwanese railway system is probably the most well known among the former colonial systems, and also the closest to the Japanese railway system in most regards, both in terms of rolling stock (as built during the colonial period) and infrastructure, though it's still far removed from the Japanese railway system. The fact that Taiwan arguably has the "best" relationship out of all the affected countries with Japan, probably helps as well. That said there were quite a number of interesting former Japanese, or Japanese built, pieces of rolling stock which survived in Korea and China as well, which may be of interest to those of us interested in Japanese railway history, not even including the obviously interesting indigenous rolling stock. This includes a number of early production 9600 type steam locomotives, converted to standard gauge before being shipped to China in 1937 during the initial phase of the Japanese invasion, a number of which being requisitioned into the Ministry of Railways of the Chinese Peoples Republic in 1949, the last of which (converted to meter gauge and classified as KD5 type locomotives) surviving into the mid 1980's. Or the JiDe 1 type, streamlined heavy oil-electric cars built by Nippon Sharyō in 1935 for the Mantetsu, whom were shipped to the Fushun Electric Railway just before the end of the war, with at least 1 car being converted to an EMU by 1945, with the rest being converted after the war, modified, lengthened  and combined with trailer cars some of which were converted former Mantetsu KeHa and KiHa cars, with at least a handful surviving into the 20th century, while some may have stayed in service until the Fushun Electric Railway ended passenger services in 2009. The same railway also had a number of Mitsubishi, Hitachi and Tōshiba built electric locomotives which might actually still be in service today. For Korea we have the above mentioned cars, and though it is of course difficult to confirm because of all the secrecy, there might still be some Japanese built steam locomotives in the (semi) active inventory of the North Korean Railways

 

7 hours ago, railsquid said:

Kind of weird to think that trains which used to go past Railsquid's apartment in Berlin (and which I have very likely ridden on) have run together with olde-style Japanese stock...

 

The Best (*) North Korean railway system is, like everything North Korean, is hmmm, for a lack of a better word, quite interesting in a lot of ways. Besides the GI and GII's mentioned in the article, there's also the former (west) Berliner D wagen (early production units) which are being used on the Pyongyang metro since 1999  while  the humbly named Revolutionary Museum of the Railway Ministry has the sole, as far as I'm aware of, surviving DeRoHaNi 100 type car, DeRoHaNi 102, on display, which might be the sole surviving Kongō-san Dentetsu car, period (according to legend, Kim il-Sung descended from the heavens and graced his subjects toured part of the North Korean railway network in 1952 aboard this car, hence why it was preserved). Then there's the system in general, A quick look at their supposed roster revealing a delightful mix of (former) Japanese, Soviet, Czechoslovakian, Chinese and indigenous designs, as well as a number of interesting conversions, like for example M62 type diesel-electric locomotives converted into pure electrics, or Chinese built DK4 type electric multiple units originally built for use on the Pyongyang metro being converted into mainline EMUs.

 

So, when can we expect a, glorious leader approved, DPRK themed module to appear at Takahachikawa?😅

 

* This is obviously meant to be taken in jest 😉

 

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railsquid
15 minutes ago, 200系 said:

I'm kinda surprised to see Oryx referenced on this forum, I noticed the article this morning ( amid a week long rain of T-62M's, not that I'm complaining 😉 )

 

Yeah, this comes via my "political" Twitter feed, which does indeed feature a lot of ex-Soviet armour at the moment.

 

15 minutes ago, 200系 said:

So, when can we expect a, glorious leader approved, DPRK themed module to appear at Takahachikawa?😅

 

* This is obviously meant to be taken in jest 😉

 

I must admit for a brief moment I considered the bunch of Shapeways class "G" shells in the todo-drawer and whether some of these Japan-derived vehicles are available in some form ;).

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maihama eki

Reminds me a little bit of the classic American cars that populate the roads of Cuba.

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disturbman
5 hours ago, 200系 said:

there might still be some Japanese built steam locomotives in the (semi) active inventory of the North Korean Railways


This reminds me that there was one large Japanese steam engine in the shed of the Hedjaz Jordan Railway in Amman, in 2015. A 2-4-6 built by Nippon Sharyo as per Wiki.

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