755 at Tanigumi

1928-built Meitetsu veteran car 755, at Tanigumi, by Anthony Robuns, February 2000.

Meitetsu to Hon-Ibi and Tanigumi

By Anthony Robins

Time is running out to take the veteran tramcars running north-west from Gifu on the lines beyond Kurono to Hon-Ibi and Tanigumi. Both lines are expected to close in September 2001 and the number of workings by the vintage, traditional cars in the Meitetsu fleet is falling.

The line to Tanigumi, originally opened in April 1926 by the Tanigumi Railway became part of Meitetsu in 1944, while the line to Hon-Ibi was originally a Mino Railway line which opened in December 1929. Connection through to Gifu occurred with the link-up of systems at Chusetsu in December 1954.

Older types have diminished, including the type 2320 trailers used until 1997, but among the veteran cars still running is 755 featured here in archetypal Meitetsu red, dating from November 1928 and converted for one-man operation in 1984. 755 is very noticeably heavier, higher, and larger than its new counterparts, the two-car type 770 and single car 780. 755 features on the cover of Meitetsu's 2000 timetable and continues, at least for now, to operate alongside 751 and 754, as well as the three handsome red and white 510s (512, 513 and 514). The 510s survive from 1926, the last year of the Taisho period.

Operation of the lines is ending and time to see them is running out. Hon-Ibi is seven kilometres and nine minutes from Kurono, with two intermediate stops en route, while Tanigumi takes twenty two minutes for the fourteen kilometres, with seven intermediate stops. Frequency in both cases is basically hourly, increasing to half-hourly (Hon-Ibi) and every fifty minutes (Tanigumi) in the morning and afternoon peak period.

755 at Tanigumi

755 waiting for next operation at lonely Tanigumi station, by Anthony Robins, February 2000.

755 with its new counterpart 787

755 with its new counterpart 787, type 780, at Kurono, by Anthony Robins, February 2000, by Anthony Robins, March 2000.

784 at Hon-Ibi

784 parking at Hon-Ibi, seven kilometres and nine minutes from Kurono, by Anthony Robins, February 2000.

Scenery viewed from Hon-Ibi station

Scenery viewed from Hon-Ibi station. The track stretches all the way to Kurono by single track, by Anthony Robins, February 2000.

781 running in Gifu city

781 street running in Gifu city, by Hiroshi Naito, March 1999.

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