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Some random photos from the past


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Just a few random photos from trips to Japan in past years. 

 

Tobu Isesaki Line's Asakusa Station and bridge over Sumida River. Trains crossing the bridge on a rainy day in December 2018. Hard-working Gods of Thunder and Rain had devoured the upper half of SkyTree by the nightfall...

 

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The mini Tokyo Station inside the lobby of Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Marunouchi near the actual station. I believe the train models were running...

 

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Views of the Tokyo Station

 

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You can get a wonderful perspective on north approaches to Tokyo Station from the Hotel Metropolitan Marunouchi's restroom around some 17th floor (restaurant).

 

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View from the building above the Sapporo Station, December 2018, after a snow storm. The first two photos are the East and the West approaches to the station.

 

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Kyoto Railway Museum, April 2019. View from the open terrace in the museum territory. 683 series on Thunderbird or perhaps Biwako Express service just departed Kyoto Station, heading for Osaka. In the background, To-ji Temple that dates back to 796.

 

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Series 221 EMU about to arrive at Kyoto Station on the Sagano Line.

 

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A flock of photographers were gathered on the roof, regularly checking watches. Eventually, the reason became obvious. Dr. Yellow arrives from Shin-Osaka and heads into Kyoto Station, passing by 223 series and 225 series EMUs parked in wait for their next runs.

 

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A better picture from another person on the same trip:

 

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...while the scale model of Dr. Yellow navigates the night inside the museum layout (same person's photo):

 

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Nozomi N700 on the same layout:

 

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 Couple exhibits in the museum from the same trip. 0 series shinkansen, former car 1 of set H1 built in 1964 that operated on Tokaido Shinkansen from its day 1 of service.

 

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EF58 150, operated 1958-1985 and from 1987 again at special events

 

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Edited by Aleks
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Railway Museum in Saitama, January 2019. 181 series train 45. The original Toki service before shinkansen was Ueno to Niigata Rapid Express these trains operated.

 

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EF66 11 built in 1968 hauled freight trains on Tokaido and Sanyo main lines, and from 1985 passenger sleeper services from Tokyo to Shimonoseki.

 

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ED75 775 built in 1975 for work on AC networks for Uetsu and Ou main lines.

 

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Interesting form EF55 1. The opposite end of the loco is very different, simply a flat end. These locs had to be turned around to run back. Only 3 were produced in 1936, and retired by 1958. This is the only one surviving.

 

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The rear end of the same loc on Wikipedia:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JNR_Class_EF55#/media/File:JNR-EF55-1-back.jpg

 

Don't recall what train this one is...

 

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Two more photos from the Kyoto Railway Museum.

 

Series 100 shinkansen, from 6-car JR West set K54, on Kodama service until 2012. Originally part of set V3 that worked on Grand Hikari until about 2002.

 

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KiHa 81-3 DMU. This design earned Blue Ribbon Award in 1961.

 

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I think they are both pretty good, but I think I liked Kyoto more.

 

1) Large open deck with views on both lines to Osaka and the Sagano Line. Saitama museum has a deck that I think is right next to shinkansen and regular tracks but Kyoto views are nicer. You also get to see some hanami (cherry blossom) in season in the Kyoto Museum.

2) A very large model layout in Kyoto. I don't recall the Saitama layout at all...

3) An open air roundhouse with steam locos, and I think they run them regularly so you can ride on one, passing under the Sagano line. This is how I found out first about the Kyoto Museum, I was riding with a guide on Sagano line and saw a steam train, I was surprised and asked him, and he did not know anything about it. :). To his credit, I think the museum had just opened. So I got interested and found out more about it...

4) You can walk to the Kyoto Museum from Kyoto Station, very nice walk if the weather is nice. When I did this in April, there was a lot of street stalls with food, souvenirs, and a school dancing event. The Saitama museum is... well, in Saitama. You do get to ride the Saitama New Urban Shuttle Line to get there  from Omiya (1 stop ride)  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Shuttle) which feels a bit like riding a tram, slow and squeezing into tight curves (at Omiya Station). And of course you can take a shinkansen to Omiya, or a nice local line like Keihin Tohoku. But it's a longer trip and a longer time commitment because of this.

5) Collections I think are roughly equivalent in value to my eye, but I am not the best judge of it. Overall, I enjoyed time in both, and there is a ton you can learn, if you either read Japanese or use a translator and commit to spend some time there.

6) Both have interactive experiences (simulators). I tried one in Saitama. It was hard though without much language. I don't think I even left the station...

Edited by Aleks
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Some tram pictures today.

 

Toden Arakawa (now Sakura) Line, depot. This is in 2011, before all the nicely restored trams of today.

 

I wish I got a chance to ride this one, but the moment I caught up with it, it pulled into the depot.

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But what is this van doing next to it, in Tokyo? This is Russian- (actually Soviet Union) made 4-wheel drive UAZ 452 model built starting in 1965 and I think potentially even today and very widely used throughout those lands especially in rural areas. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UAZ-452 I know it was exported, but exported to Japan?... to a tram company?

 

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Kyoto. This tram is not easy to find, it's in a place you would not expect to see a tram. To my knowledge, there was no line there. It is listed on Google Maps as Chinchin train (which means "jingle" or "chink" but also has another not so nice meaning in Japanese) and is inside the garden of Heian Shrine. A fee is required to enter I believe, no doubt only because of the tram.

 

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Osaka, September 2015, Hankai Lines. The tracks leading straight had been closed forever just a couple of months earlier, and likely removed by now. It was just a short one-stop spur to Sumiyoshikoen station in some railway backyard (well, a transfer to a train station), so the decision probably made sense, but any time a tram line is closed, it's sad. Especially since with this closure, the 4-way intersection with 3 possible routings became a standard branching. Looking at Google Maps, this spur line is definitely paved over. 

 https://www.google.com/maps/place/Sumiyoshi+Taisha/@34.6137168,135.4911031,207m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x6000e7bbc67c0001:0xa7f51dfe4d001f82!8m2!3d34.6123945!4d135.4937612

 

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The view of the closed line.

 

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The same Hankai Line, trams turnaround using depot tracks near Abikomichi Stop. Car 711 has passed the exit from the depot and is now reversing into the depot onto the layover track, where car 708 is standing right now, preparing to go back towards Osaka (not in the picture, but the layover track crosses the near track which is for going to Sakai and merges onto the far track for direction to Osaka).

 

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A tram in Hakodate. October 2018.

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My personal favorites - old red and yellow trams of Matsuyama. September 2014. This is the scale model I'd buy at a heartbeat. Although it looks like they are orange now 😞. Matsuyama trams have been operating since 1887 and are famous for level tram/train crossing with the Iyotetsu Takahama line in the center of the city. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iyotetsu

 

Perhaps less well known, but the system has another level crossing with the same railroad line, just next to the tram depot. Unlike the first one which is at 90 degrees, the one near the depot (Komachi Rail Station) is at a sharp angle (but no crossover, as there is no need for it, and likely different voltage). It is located here - the tram line comes from southwest and leaves north-east. There is also a small EMU depot on the opposite side from the tram depot. Unfortunately I did not take pictures of either crossing (except one so-so that is below)... oh well, a reason to go back.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Matsuyama+Station/@33.846297,132.7540302,418m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x354fe5814c7744a9:0x149ed5a9ccc032ce!8m2!3d33.8403466!4d132.7512785

 

This grade level crossing is likely only in existence because both the tram system and this railroad line belong to the same company, Iyotetsu. Who probably would not want to pay for two bridges either.

 

Dead-end and turnaround at Matsuyama City train station (note - this is not JR Matsuyama Station). Tram 2006 from the 2000 series purchased since 1964.

 

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Same place, different tram, 75, from the 50 series purchased since 1951. And they also have a little replica steam train running. Replica because it is a diesel. It actually can also feed from the tram wire. How does this turn around in the dead end? Matsuyama just like other cities has no balloon loops. Well... cars are disconnected, driver and assistance manually pull the steamer from the tracks, turn it around and set back on the opposite direction tracks. Wiki photo of the process here:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iyotetsu#/media/File:Bocchan-ressha(Matsuyama-Ekimae-Turning).jpg

 

The original steam train featured in a 1906 novel by Natsume Soseki.

 

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A more modern tram and the same steamer.

 

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It's not easy to see its lyra current collector on the roof of the passenger cars, but it's there. See the next photo:

 

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Tram 69 has departed Matsuyama City Station stop.

 

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3-way tram line intersection near the grounds of the Matsuyama Castle - passenger lines operate in all 3 directions:

 

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This stop is near JR Matsumoto Station. It's not a deadend, but the crossover is used as a turnaround place for line 5 (tram 71 just did exactly that and is ready to head back to the opposite terminus at Dogo Onsen, one of the most famous and oldest onsens in Japan).

 

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Routes 1 and 2 run Johoku Line in the opposite directions (both starting and ending at Matsumoto City Station). Johoku Line is single tracked with passing sidings, and has a fairly narrow right of way with sometimes minimal clearance to houses, like so:

 

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The two older city tram models can be seen next to each other - on the left, the 1951 model, on the right, the 1964. Why they jumped the numbers like they did (from <100 to 2000+)... who knows.

 

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Tram 75 controls:

 

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The depot. The track left of the shed is the beginning of this one-track Johoku Line used by routes 1 and 2.

 

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Tram 51 is approaching the Komachi stop in front of the depot and has just crossed at grade the two-track Iyotetsu- Takahama railroad line which is in the background.

 

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Although not a rail topic, but Matsuyama is truly a nice city. One of the few genuine remaining historical castles, in a very good condition (although not all of it is original), and surrounded by mountains. View of the castle and the city from the castle hill.

 

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Edited by Aleks
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On 1/14/2023 at 9:14 PM, Aleks said:

The two older city tram models can be seen next to each other - on the left, the 1951 model, on the right, the 1964. Why they jumped the numbers like they did (from <100 to 2000+)... who knows.

 

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I think I can demystify you, @Aleks. The MoHa 2000 series cars have those numbers because they weren't new to the Iyotetsu, in fact they are former Kyoto Municipal Transportation Bureau 2000-series tramcars. I recently posted about them over on the N gauge "What did you order or the post deliver?" thread. Tomytec have made models of these trams for their Railway Collection, two in Kyoto colours (2011 and 2020 releases), plus three in Iyotetsu colours (2011 and 2015 releases in orange and cream, 2016 in allover orange) in the past but you'll need to do a bit of lurking to find one second-hand.

 

On 1/14/2023 at 9:14 PM, Aleks said:

Looking at Google Maps, this spur line is definitely paved over.

Google Streetview indicates that most of the track had been or was being removed as of August 2016. No tracks lurking under the tarmac, sadly!

 

Alastair

Edited by ED75-775
Textual clarification
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@ED75-775Thanks Alastair, this makes sense. Looks like 1964 was when they were supplied to Kyoto? And the line in Osaka, I should have just said, it's gone. I was not sure if it was paved or removed.

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8 hours ago, Aleks said:

@ED75-775Thanks Alastair, this makes sense. Looks like 1964 was when they were supplied to Kyoto? And the line in Osaka, I should have just said, it's gone. I was not sure if it was paved or removed.

Yes, that's right - all six were built by Naniwa Koki and entered service in 1964. They were capable of being used in multiple, though by the time these cars were withdrawn in December 1977 the M.U. equipment was more of a problem than anything else. According to the Japanese Wiki page for the 2000-series, the original motors were permanently configured to operate in parallel to support faster acceleration in M.U. operation, but the way they were set to do so meant the motors could be made to accelerate without engaging the resistors in the main electrical circuit. Cue magic smoke!

 

You may also be interested to know that the older Iyotetsu MoHa 50 trams are in fact derivates of the Kyoto Municipal Transportation Bureau 800-series built by Teikoku Sharyo and (surprise!) Naniwa Koki! Currently the Japanese Wiki for this type lists six MoHa 50s in service and three in storage out of twenty-seven with the remainder now since scrapped.

 

Alastair

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Thanks Alastair! @ED75-775 Good information to know! They do look similar between the 50 series and the 2000 series, no surprise they shared the origin and a manufacturer. Actually the 1964 version does not look much like 1960s design, at least to me. More like late 1940s or may be 1950s (since Japan in late 1940s had other problems than building trams). I do hope to make another trip to Matsumoto some time soon and spend more time there and Shikoku in general... I only was there for less than 24 hours the first time around.

 

It's interesting how trying to create a better product (with MU) creates problems that defeat the purpose! Japanese engineers in 1950s probably still did not have enough experience and were far from technological marvels that made Japan famous in 1970s...

 

I am glad I was able to take a photo of your alias in the Saitama museum!

 

 

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On 1/13/2023 at 5:30 PM, miyakoji said:

@AleksHow would you rate the Saitama museum vs the Kyoto museum?

Here is Saitama museum layout video. Actually pretty good!

 

 

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bill937ca
On 1/14/2023 at 3:14 AM, Aleks said:

 

Kyoto. This tram is not easy to find, it's in a place you would not expect to see a tram. To my knowledge, there was no line there. It is listed on Google Maps as Chinchin train (which means "jingle" or "chink" but also has another not so nice meaning in Japanese) and is inside the garden of Heian Shrine. A fee is required to enter I believe, no doubt only because of the tram.

 

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There were some tram lines in Kyoto with ancient trams until about 1960.

 

You will find one of these trams at the Southern California Railway Museum.   Don't know what condition it is in. https://socalrailway.org/collections/other-electric-railways/19-details/

 

 

 

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bill937ca

The Hankai spur was closed because the diamonds needed replacement.  There are only about three sets of diamonds on Japanese tram systems. One is the tram/ train crossing in Matsuyama.  Another is the 90 degree crossing on the Tosa Electric Railway.  I believe the castings would have to be imported, possibly from Davis & Baird and that would probably require approval from the Ministry of Transportation.

 

The Chin-Chin tram I believe is actually Ding-Ding tram referring to the gong.  I've read this for Toden in Tokyo, Hankai Tramway in Osaka and Hong Kong Tramways in Hong Kong.

 

https://gowithguide.com/blog/chin-chin-train-2534

Edited by bill937ca
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22 minutes ago, bill937ca said:

The Hankai spur was closed because the diamonds needed replacement.  There are only about three sets of diamonds on Japanese tram systems. One is the tram/ train crossing in Matsuyama.  Another is the 90 degree crossing on the Tosa Electric Railway.  I believe the castings would have to be imported, possibly from Davis & Baird and that would probably require approval from the Ministry of Transportation.

 

The Chin-Chin tram I believe is actually Ding-Ding tram referring to the gong.  I read this for Toden in Tokyo, Hankai Tramway in Osaka and Hong Kong Tramways in Hong Kong.

 

https://gowithguide.com/blog/chin-chin-train-2534

 

That's one bizarre reason to close a line... But probably also explains why Japanese cities don't have more developed tram systems.

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35 minutes ago, bill937ca said:

Tomytec has offered Iyotetsu trams in the past.  You might be able to pick them up from second hand vendors.

 

https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/search?typ1_c=104&cat=rail&state=&sold=0&sortid=6&searchkey=iyotetsu&Make=Tomytec&spage=1&ItemSeries=Electric+Car

 

Yes I saw they made them in the original livery in 2011 and again in 2015, the second time probably as Matsuyama decided to repaint them. So 2016 was the new livery. My guess observing their manufacturing patterns, they will probably make them again when they scrap them or repaint again. So yes, second hand likely the only option. Interestingly they have not been on eBay much at all. Like, almost ever. Ironically, the only one found in sold searches... was sold just a month ago. 🙂 for mere $24 plus shipping, including motored truck.

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bill937ca

Second hand in this case can mean Buyee or Zen Market which are proxy services allowing you to bid on Yahoo Japan or Amazon in Japan and collect purchases and have them shipped to you.

 

https://zenmarket.jp/en/

 

https://buyee.jp/?lang=en

 

There is a thread on bidding on Japanese auctions. Items that seem rare may not be that rare with this route.

 

 

 

 

Edited by bill937ca
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@bill937casomehow Zenmarket does not want to register me... 😞 But I think I can see what I want on ZenPlus. Shipping is expensive, $50, but if I combine this with something else...

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Some more photos.

 

Osaka, bridges over Yodo River. Taken from the roof of Umeda Sky Building.

 

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Sendai, light trails of two shinkansen trains leaving from/approaching Sendai Station.

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Tokyo, Shimbashi Station.

 

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Light trails of Yamanote and Keihin Tohoku passing trains also reflect in the mirror-like metal wall.

 

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Shimbashi station from another angle.

 

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Marunouchi Line "subway" passing through a building.

 

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Line from Akashi Kaikyo bridge (JR Maikokoen Station) towards Kobe.

 

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JR Nikko Station, 2011. My first trip to Japan

 

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Nearby, Tobu Nikko Station, on Tobu Nikko Line, with 6050 series train. This series was just discontinued on this line in March 2022 and naturally released as a model, by Greemax. https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10883260

 

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Downtown Nikko, 2011. What train was this phone booth made out of?

 

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4 hours ago, Aleks said:

Downtown Nikko, 2011. What train was this phone booth made out of?

 

That appears to be an aerial tramway/cable car gondola rather than the carbody, or a section thereof, of a railway vehicle.

 

This appears to be one of the original Akechidaira Ropeway gondolas dating back to the opening in 1933, the "new" gondolas introduced in 1950 lacked the wraparound passenger windows as seen in your picture, and appear to have been slightly larger. That being said, as I'm not exactly the biggest cable car/aerial tramway enthusiast on this planet, please take it for what it's worth😅.

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On 1/16/2023 at 6:23 AM, Aleks said:

It's interesting how trying to create a better product (with MU) creates problems that defeat the purpose! Japanese engineers in 1950s probably still did not have enough experience and were far from technological marvels that made Japan famous in 1970s...

 

Given the fact that the first commercial electric tramway in Japan dates from 1896 (Kyoto) and the first mainline electrification (on part of what is today the Chuo Line)  dated from 1904, there was no lack of experience in electric traction by the time 1950's rolled in. I'd hazard that this problem with the ex-Kyoto trams was just a case of a good idea gone sour, as it is wont to happen everywhere...

 

Cheers Nicholas

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