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The latest episode of "Let's Torekatsu!" - episode 12 is out. And the topic is Yokohama, the birth of railroad trains.



The first railway was opened on Sept. 12, 1872 between Shimbashi (later known as Shiodome) and Yokohama (present Sakuragicho). A one way-trip took 53 minutes in comparison to 40 minutes for a modern electric train.


Back History: Back In 1868, Scottish merchant Thomas Blake Glover, brought the first steam locomotive, "Iron Duke", to Japan.


Glover demonstrated on an 8-mile track in the Ōura district of Nagasaki. But because of the distrust towards outsiders (i.e. non-Japanese people trying to force Japan to open up the country for import/exports), construction of a railway connecting Japan's former and new capitals by non-Japanese was unacceptable, so the government of Japan decided to build a railway from Yokohama to Tokyo while the British financed the railroad and 300 British and European technical advisors which include civil engineers, general managers, locomotive builders and drivers were involved.


And through the help of British engineer Edmund Morel, he supervised construction of the first railway in Honshu, American engineer Joseph U. Crowford supervised the construction of a coal mine railway in Hokkaido in 1880 and German engineer Hermann Rumschottel suprvised the railway construction in Kyushu in 1887. Japanese engineers would be trained (two who were trained by Crowford, and would later become presidents of the Japan National Railways).


For episode 12, announcer Kuno Tomomi is joined by entertainment manager Minamida Yusuke, who is a hardcore railway fan. And Professor Tamura Keisuke (Department of Environmental Design at Showa Women's Unviersity).


Through the Yokohama event, she would be joined by Suzuki Masayuki (TomyTec), Mori Wahei (Katsumi), Kawasaki Futoshi (KATO), Sekine Akihiro (Greenmax) aand Sudo Naoki (Tenshodo).


Kuno introduces everyone to the No. 1, one of the earliest locomotives type 110 and then an interview at Yokohama Railway Model Festa. Kuno discusses how many trains were at the time and how no passenger cars survived.


But because everything was made of wood, the passenger car was able to be reproduced thanks to images. They look at a lantern that was used at the time, but instead of flame, they used LED lights to look like flame.


Kuno then asked why Professor Tamura decided to make wooden miniature skeleton models of stations such as Yokohama. And his response is that no one would know what the station really looked like, so he wanted to create a miniature model of it for display.


Showcasing Tamura's models, of how things have changed from the station in 1872 to present day. And discussed how the first stations (Yokohama and Shimbashi) were made via American influence and were both similar. And while it took 53 minutes to get from Yokohama to Shimbashi, the thought of going to another station that looks exactly the same was pretty intriguing. But they were actually different in that Yokohama's platform faced the land side (it looked like an upside down "L"), while Shimbashi's platform looked like a "T" and how the platform would later shift.


The next discussion was how Yokohama Station was moved.


NOTE: The second Yokohama Station opened close to the present day Takashimacho Station. The original Yokohama Station was renamed Sakuragicho Station.


According to Tamura, the reason why the station was moved to allow Yokohama to continue to go to Tokyo but also a path that can lead to Kyoto towards the west. He also mentioned that prior to the second station being built, Tokyo Station was created a year before and how it was made of bricks. And how it looked luxurious.


But eight years later, the station was damaged (note: Due to the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1922) and how it's a dramatic station.


Kuno then talks about the Yokohama Line 205 Series (Note: The 8-car 205-0 series (x28) was produced from 1988 through 2014). And how a special train destination signs were created and is available for sale for Y66,000 from BS Fuji Shopping.


They then show the 2022 model of Yokohama Station which Tamura created and how it looks like a monster. Even how huge it has become, it's quite functional. He created the station via CAD and a machine that helped make the pieces.


Minamide talks about how detailed the skeleton station model looks and jokes around of how Professor Tamura would have to be precise in making it.

But Tamura credits the team of students who were involved in the project.


The show then shifts to the Yokohama Railway Model Festival 2023 and her live panel with Suzuki Masayuki of TomyTec, Mori Kazuhei of Katsumi, Kawasaki Futoshi of KATO, Sekine Akihiro of Green Max and Sudo Naoki of Tenshodo.


The question made was what leads to the idea of a producing a vehicle for commercialization.


TomyTec's Suzuki tells the audience that it "actually takes longer than most people think for a product to come out". About six months for TOMIX. He is told that it would be completed by a certain time but they also listen to what people have to say as well.


Mori of Katsumi said that they have four stores and they like to ask customers what would they like to see next and then they do the research?


In another plug, it's for the KATO 2-car Tokyo 5050-4000 series and it's now available on BS Fuji Shopping for Y6050.


They then asks what are the chances of a C11 Steam Locomotive being made. Suda of Tenshodo talks about the JNR Class C11 207 (JR Hokkaido Steam Locomotive). KATO's Kawasaki said, it's difficult because there is a lot of things to consider, especially if customers are wanting it in a different format.


The other train brought up is the TOQi (The EMU Tokyu 7500 series Inspection Car). Mori Kazuhei said it's been 45 years since they commercialized the product (they released the 1/80 version). They asked Sekine Akihiro of Greenmax about creating an N Gauge version but Sekine said that while there would be many fans of it, Green Max has their core fans and there would be division.


They then show Green Max's Plasser & Theurer (GM4709) and Minamida Yusuke tells Mori that if he sold the TOQi, it would sell well. But Sekine said, they did do an inspection train, the Techno Inspector Odakyu 31.


Minamida said, he will check out business vehicles for each company but says that as people can see from the panel, there are a lot of considerations.

The next discussion in the JR ALPHA X (Class E956 experimental Shinkansen train unveiled in 2019 by JR East).


They talk about how challenging it would be to produce the mold from the front and it would be a MAX challenge. He joked around about it but said that he was scolded for saying something unnecessary the day before, so he needs to stop.


Kuno then ends with that in April they will be working with full cooperation with JR Kyushu and will feature the 36+3 (36+3 Express 787 Luxury Train).

Edited by kndy
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The latest episode of "Let's Torekatsu!" - episode 13 is out. And the topic is the JR Kyushu 787 and the 36+3.



For episode 12, Joshitetsu announcer Kuno Tomomi is on location at Kagoshima-Chuo Station in Kyushu.


The number of new trains arriving and departing from Kagoshima Chuo Station has been increasing for the past several years.


It has become a popular destination for people to see the JR Kyushu 36 + 3, a special train which goes around Kyushu over a period of days and it’s been a hot topic since the train started operating.


The name of the train is derived from the fact that Kyushu is the 36th largest island in the world and by introducing 35 episodes along the railway line in a 5-day process, the 36th episode can be told by the user themselves.


The “+3” are the points to the passengers and the local residents of JR Kyushu.


For “Let’s Torekatsu!”, they will deilver the charm of the special project 36+3 in two parts.


Kuno watches the 787 arrive and comments about the cool headlights on the train.  The 36+3 was made by remodeling the 787 series which was used as the main vehicle for the JR Kyushu Conventional Line.


The 787 was born back in 1992 on the Kagoshima Main  Line.  The Sahashi 787 Buffet Car became a hot topic at the time.


The 787 has been diverted to various lines and continues to play an active role.


Kuno goes aboard on the 36+3 and is impressed by the interior and is shocked to find RAG FAIR’s Tsuchiya Reo and Darling Honey’s Yoshikawa Masahiro.  Both men were given a special ride on the out-of-service train before departure.


The men comment how the space doesn’t have a sense of everyday life and how there is a sense of distance.  They move to the next car and expected a car that would be similar but realized it’s a little different inside.


The men are just enamored by how luxurious the train looks with the wooden flooring and side wall panels with black and gold trim.


As the train moves, the men are shocked because the train goes with no special announcements like one would hear in a regular train.


While the two look through the train conductor’s window, they see many JR Kyushu trains.


When the men enter the next car, it looks like a Victorian setting with lamps, designed walls, posh seating.


The men then enter the dining car and then car 4 they see a multi-car with a shared space.  This space can be used by anyone riding on the train and they can dine and watching “Discover Kyushu Express 36+3″.  Cars 5 and 6 are green car seating with large luggage racks above.


The men comment on what they saw, they would be satisfied because they were blown away.


As for the dining, the dinging features various foods featuring ingredients from Kyushu and delicious meals such as Kagoshima Takamori Cafe’s Satsuma Black Chicken Curry, a fragrant curry blended with bamboo charcoal powder, and is moderately spicy, so children and adults can enjoy it.  And through BS Fuji Japan Shopping, one can order Black Chicken Curry 6-set for Y3,888.  Also including 36+3 pamphlets and 3 hand flags for 30 people chosen through lottery.


The three now meet with Mitooka Eiji, trhe man who designed the 36+3.


Yoshikawa asks how Mitooka got involved with JR Kyushu.  Mitooka said through the design of a hotel and the first president of JR Kyushu was sitting next to his table at an opening party.  And the President said it would be nice to have common sense and a sense of beauty from a designer and because he wanted to have fun trips, he got involved.


Seated in the rear center is a 787 silver train and it was an original concept design created by Mitooka.  A train that would take 4 hours and 10 minutes from Hakata Station to Kagoshima Station.


Tsuchiya then talked about how it’s cool to see a train that was made not about just getting around quickly.


Mitooka said the 787 took elements from the best train cars from around the world and the concept was brought to Japan with added Japanese elements to create a special one-of-a-kind car in advance.


Mitooka said he lived a busy life that he never turned on the TV.


Yoshikawa talked about how Mitooka’s trains are big hits among children.  Mitooka said when create a train for the future, he wanted to provide the best for his children and children in general.  But also creating a train that would be easy to maintain and work with.


While the three are riding on the 36+3, they come across the predecessor train, the 787.


Then they spot Mount Sakurajima.  Kuno explains that many times you can’t see it but today, you could.  They are very lucky!


Tsuchiya then talks about how the train is not loud and the design is really nice on the 36+3.  Tsuchiya said riding on the train makes him want to drink sake.


A stewardess then comes to ask what they want to drink but the men abstain because there is a camera filming them and they’ll take juice.  But Kuno tells everyone,”That because the cameras are filming, I’ll have sake”.  The three then look at the waitresses 36+3 uniform.


The bento arrives and the three make a toast for their awesome trip on the 36+3.


The show shows a teaser for the next episode as the trio enjoy Kyushu and also the guys become “toritetsu” train photographers.



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