Wooden Roundhouse at Tenryu-Futamata
A wooden roundhouse still exists at a depot on a regional railway in
the western part of Shizuoka prefecture, about 250 km southwest of
Tokyo. This is a third sector railway, Tenryu-Hamanako Railway, named
after the Tenryu river and Hamana Lake in the region, which took over
the former national railway's (JNR) Futamata line. Futamata is a small
town (currently part of Tenryu city) located in the middle of the line,
about 20 km northeast of Hamamatsu, the second largest city in the
prefecture. Tenryu-Futamata station is the most strategic point of the
line, where its headquarters and depot are placed. The Tenryu river
flows down just west of the town, and rugged mountainous areas come
closely down to the town from the north.
Click here to see the route map of the Tenryu-Hamanako Railway.
The Futamata line was strategically constructed during the last war as
a detour route of the Tokaido main line, in case any of bridges over
the Tenryu river and Hamana Lake were destroyed, and was inaugurated in
1940. It diverges from Kakegawa on the Tokaido Main line and converges
at Shinjohara, running a 67.7 km route along the rim of the Enshu (the
name of the region) Plain where rice paddies stretch, along with
numbers of tea fields and orange plantations lying on the hillsides.
The line was supposed to be abandoned as a result of the JNR
privatization in 1987, but was taken over by the new railway company
established in cooperation with local towns and villages along the
line, who eagerly wanted continuation of the rail service.
The new railway introduced newly built rail buses for its fleet upon
origination of business, but inherited facilities from the JNR as they
were, with a roundhouse associated with a turntable in the line's
engine depot at Tenryu-Futamata. Not only the roundhouse but also
surrounding wooden buildings in use for the line's workshop office and
crew office well retain the ambiance of the old JNR facility. The
images contained here, taken in August 1998 by the author, depict the
overall circumstances of the depot and station.
An overall view of Tenryu-Futamata depot, with a water tower, wooden buildings and a roundhouse associated with a turntable.
Railbuses take a rest in front of the roundhouse. The line's fleet consists of these diesel rail cars.
A view of the wooden roundhouse with an old turntable in front.
A view of the depot from the roundhouse.
A close up of the roundhouse entrance. Some steam engines (C58s) used to reside in the house, but were replaced by DE10 diesel engines in 1970.
A view of Tenryu-Futamata station, from a train pulling in. The station comprises three main tracks with two island platforms.
From a platform looking at the station office building. The line serves only passenger transportation with a fleet of railbuses. This railbus is one of the original type, Type TH3, 23.5 tons, with passenger capacity of 100, built in 1987.
The interior of the crew office with a relay interlocking control desk that governs the traffic in the station and depot.
A typical cab view of the line, with peaceful looking rustic scenery, with rice paddies on the right and tea fields on the left.